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Stomach distress and heartburn are not fun and may significantly impact your quality of life.
When these symptoms are treated as ‘problems’ rather than as ‘flags’ signaling greater problems, then the APPROACH to treatment becomes an additional cause for concern.
Dr. Susan Kolb treats reflux by addressing the fungal overgrowth. She explains that she uses, “Nystatin oral solution to kill yeast affecting the cardiac valve along with Heartburn Free, a supplement that causes the valve to work better (orange peel extract) with good success.” She avoids some of the popular prescriptions, noting that, “[r]educing acid with H2 blockers over time increases food allergies as well.”
Her approach recognizes that, “[w]hen amino acids do not get absorbed, one gets degenerative disc disease, rotator cuff issues, and other problems.” Her patient population is a unique group, “. . . that is toxic from silicone and 100% of them have yeast overgrowth as well as malabsorption problems.” She uses Calorad or a broad amino acid supplement in many [of her] patients [and she addresses] the dysbiosis in the gut [that causes] leaky gut. All patients with immune deficiencies including those on chemoRx are at risk for these problems.”
Her entire approach to inflammation is wonderfully refreshing. Feel free to look her up online.
Reminders as we continue with this discussion:
- The mind often communicates with us through the body (i.e. anxiety, stomach issues, muscle tension etc).
- The body communicates with us through pain and fever.
- When we treat the ‘flags’ or ‘symptoms’ as if they are the actual problem, we risk silencing the valuable communication system, throwing off our mind/body/ spirit balance.
For more about how these bottom lines came to be, click here for Part 1, click here for Part 2, click here for Part 3.
The focus of this blog – Part 4:
- How the complex digestive system calls attention to itself
- Evidence-based approaches to address underlying imbalances expressed
Gas, bloating, acid-reflux, “IBS” & “GERD” FLAGS & SYMPTOMS often misunderstood & treated as if they are the cause
Functional medicine addresses root causes. As we age, our stomach experiences symptoms from naturally decreased acid (hypochlorhydria). Supplements may help. Click here for an explanation and details about why and how.
When your symptoms include gas, bloating, and other discomfort of the stomach, and you are told “You have IBS” (irritable bowel syndrome), the ROOT CAUSE is still yet to be addressed. Conventional medicine, however, stops at the diagnosis and prescribes an antacid, as if to ‘treat’ the symptoms.
Symptoms can’t be ‘treated’ . . . they can only be ‘masked’
Part of the approach functional medical doctor Dr. Mark Hyman MD takes includes analyzing food choices along with body responses, as well as the balance of bacteria that are present in the ‘gut’ of the individual patient. He addresses the ’cause’ and uses ‘symptoms’ to flag and guide.
Before offering a treatment, and certainly before prescribing a pharmaceutical medication, these factors are carefully assessed by functional medicine, and then addressed. Click here to read more about how Dr. Hyman treats IBS.
Dr. Andrew Weil MD also offers interventions that include a wide range of evidence-based approaches to help patients heal stomach issues. If you are interested in herbal interventions, in addition to the other evidence-based recommendations he has to offer, click here.
The integrative medicine approach to GERD is to avoid PPIs (i.e Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, click here for a more complete list) and to actually wean patients who are on them, OFF. Click here for the current thinking and detailed rationale. As with ‘functional medicine’, the integrative medical approach addresses lifestyle, including diet and exercise, as well as what the patient’s body presents with (i.e. degree of stomach acid, organisms in the gut).
Pros and cons of over-the-counter and prescription antacids: The bottom line is that, while soothing of the symptoms does occur, long term use of these products is now known to contribute to bone fractures. Click here for research out of Forsyth Institute.
The above essay highlights ways in which your digestive system communicates with you through symptoms. It also suggests how functional and integrative approaches address the true causes, recognizing the importance of listening to rather than silencing the sophisticated ‘alert system’ your body has in place.
The bottom line is that there are many causes and ways of dealing with stomach issues. When medication is the ONLY approach used and/or first line approach, the risks may outweigh the benefits.
Speak to your health provider about the information in this article and then, together with your provider, make decisions that are in the best interest of your mind/body/spirit balance. It is your life. Your journey. Your body. Here’s to your health. ~Dr. Iankowitz
- Antacids and the health of your bones
- Medications for osteoporosis together with antacids?
- Scientific research concluding that bone health is at risk for patients on long term PPI medication
About the Author: Dr. Iankowitz is an ANCC board certified advanced practice nurse, in private practice as founder and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. Dr. Iankowitz is the editor and author of several articles and books, and founder of Universe’Secretary.
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