Do you make your day-to-day activities depending on how you feel that morning? Do you have to change plans with your family and friends depending on if you’re having an acute flare-up of abdominal pain, bloating, or diarrhea? Or, are you afraid to make plans knowing that you’ll most likely have to cancel… again?
When you have a chronic digestive disease like Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) just making it through the day is a huge challenge. There are days that you feel 100% and can truly participate in all aspects of your life. Then there are the days when you wake up with dread and just know that today is gonna be a bad day.
In the first blog post in this series, What is Chronic Disease and How Can a Functional Medicine Doctor Help, we talked about chronic diseases as a condition that lasts a year or longer and how they can affect other areas of your life. The impact of stress, managing your lifestyle choices, and nutrition are key pieces of combating any chronic disease.
We also talked about inflammation and the digestive system (AKA the gut), together they play a huge role in your overall health and the impact they have on chronic diseases.
Although these Chronic Digestive Diseases vary in severity and symptoms they all have underlying connections. Let’s take some time to look at a few simple ways to improve your gut health whether you have Irritable Bowel Disease or Crohn’s Disease.
5 Ways to Improve Your Health When Dealing With Chronic Digestive Disease
Remove any stressors that are negatively impacting your gut. That includes foods you might be sensitive to (see below) and parasites, yeast, or bad bacteria overgrowths in your gut.
Doing an Elimination Diet to find out what foods you are sensitive to with the guidance of your functional medicine doctor is a good starting point. Sometimes specific herbs or medications are needed to get rid of an infection in the gut.
Replace what is lacking. Decreased digestive acids and secretions are a missing key component. Under your provider’s supervision, you might add things like digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acids, and bile acids. Low levels of these digestive components directly affect proper digestion and absorption. This can impact diet, medications, and other factors.
It’s very important to help the good bacteria of your gut thrive and flourish. We can do this by eating probiotic-rich foods or taking supplements containing “good” bacteria. Such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species. Eating high-fiber foods provides prebiotics to help nourish these healthy microbes.
Good bacteria, or probiotics, are very beneficial and should be highly abundant in the gut. Antibiotics kill off both good and bad bacteria. This causes an imbalance in probiotics in the gut and the rest of the body. Probiotic supplements are needed to reestablish your gut with healthy microbes.
When it comes to repairing the gut we need to look at key nutrients that might be needed. They may have left the gut compromised because they might be missing from our diets. We need to take the time to rebuild the gut with the healthy building blocks that have been lacking. Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, amino acids, omega-3 fish oils, and glutamine are some of the common nutritional deficiencies that are needed for repair.
Stress, sleep, and exercise are all important lifestyle choices that we need to take into consideration when working to let any part of the body heal and rebuild. These lifestyle choices can help or hurt your overall health and finding balance can promote optimal health of your digestive tract.
Chronic Digestive Disease Insecurity with Food
If you have been diagnosed with a Chronic Digestive Disease, or just know something more is going on with your gut health, have experienced sudden belly bloating, pain, cramping, nausea, or diarrhea shortly after eating. It might even feel like they come out of nowhere and attack!
If that’s the case, you may have likely started looking at the foods you eat. What is a “safe food” and what might “trigger foods” be for me? You might not have even considered that certain foods can make you sick or trigger a flare-up.
The uncertainty of how you could feel after eating can cause you to feel insecure about eating and even cause avoidance. And, you likely don’t want to have a flare-up while you are on a date or a road trip.
Digestive Health Can Impact Other Chronic Diseases
A properly functioning digestive system is critical to good health. Problems
with the digestive tract can cause more problems than just stomach upset,
gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Digestive health can impact other chronic health conditions that might seem unrelated to digestive health. Including autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis), skin problems (such as eczema and acne rosacea), heart disease, and other diseases.
It is always best to seek the advice of your doctor or a functional medicine provider before making changes to your current medical or holistic regimen. If you are looking for a more holistic way to help improve your digestive and overall health, take the time to work with a functional medicine doctor.
So What’s Next?
In our next article on Chronic Diseases, we will be talking about Autoimmune Disorders and how you can feel better and thrive with the help of holistic and functional medicine. The final article in this series on Chronic Diseases will be on Type 2 Diabetes through a holistic perspective.
Start Functional Medicine for Chronic Digestive Disease in Orland Park, IL
Do you feel like your day-to-day life is dictated by your chronic digestive disease? It might even be affecting parts of your life that you do not even realize. With holistic and functional medicine you can get to the root of the problem and start to heal your gut. From there your functional medicine doctor will help you create the healthy lifestyle that you need to start thriving. Get started on your fight against chronic disease at Anchored in Health by following these steps:
- Reach out to Anchored in Health
- Schedule your first appointment for Functional Medicine in the Chicago area
- Learn how to truly heal your gut
Other Holistic Health & Wellness Services We Offer in Orland Park, IL
At Anchored in Health we are dedicated to providing holistic care for your health and well-being. For holistic medicine and disease prevention, we offer thermography and genetic testing. While for overall wellness and relief we offer massage therapy, Shape ReClaimed Program, acupuncture, and chiropractic care.