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Restoring Gastrointestinal Health and Function: Part Two — Testing and Treatment

Welcome Part Two in my series on gastrointestinal (gut) health and function. In Part One, I covered several ways that the gut supports overall health, explained common factors that can impair gut health and function, and described obvious and not-so-obvious symptoms that can arise when gut health is compromised. In this part, I turn my focus to testing for gut dysfunction and restoring and optimizing gut health and function.

Graphic for Digestive Repair Protocol

Testing to Rule Out or Confirm and Identify Gut Issues

Based on our initial consultation and examination, I may suspect that the health issues you are experiencing are related to your digestive system. However, testing is required to confirm any suspicion I may have (or rule it out) and to identify more precisely what is going on. If I suspect that gut dysfunction may be at the root of your symptoms, I will recommend one or more of the following tests:

  • GI Map Stool: This comprehensive study of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and digestive function checks for leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease, gluten sensitivity, blood loss, and pancreatic enzymes.
  • Microbial Organic Acids Test (MOAT): This urine test checks for overgrowth of potentially harmful bacteria and yeasts, levels of beneficial bacteria, and metabolic issues. Organic acids are metabolic intermediates involved in several processes, including energy production, detoxification, and the breakdown of neurotransmitters. Levels of specific organic acids serve as valuable indicators of digestive function.
  • SIBO Breath Test: This test measures gases produced by bacteria in the small intestine. Results can help identify a bacterial overgrowth.
  • Abdominal/Liver Sonogram: This exam is often used to check for fatty liver, which can disrupt metabolism and detoxification pathways. Results reveal any signs of inflammation or indications of any blockage of bile flow from the gallbladder. Based on the results, I may refer you to a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy or colonoscopy and follow-up treatment.
  • Pelvic Sonogram: This exam may reveal uterine fibroids or cysts that can cause abdominal discomfort, pain, and altered digestion. If I think a transvaginal sonogram is required, I will refer you to a gynecologist.

I may also recommend the elimination of certain inflammatory foods from the diet, such as dairy, sugary foods or beverages, alcohol, fried foods, or refined carbohydrates to determine whether certain foods or classes of foods trigger or worsen symptoms.

Targeting the Three Factors That Impact Gut Health and Function

Gut health is complex but can best be understood by examining the following three factors that play a pivotal role in gut health and function: Continue reading…

Chronic Itching? It’s Usually More Than Skin Deep

By |2022-04-21T16:00:24-04:00April 21st, 2022|Categories: Skin Conditions|Tags: , , , , , , , |3 Comments

If you are suffering chronic itching — a common but difficult-to-treat symptom of an inflammatory skin condition — then you’ll want to read about my experience with diagnosing and treating Lexi.

Chronic Itching

Lexi is a 25-year-old woman who came to see me about a skin condition that was causing persistent itching. She was suffering with cellulitis on her face and eczema on her hands. (Cellulitis a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. With cellulitis, the affected skin appears swollen, red, and is typically warm to the touch and painful.) In Lexi’s case, she had been previously treated by another doctor with several rounds of topical steroids, oral steroids, and antibiotics.

She told me that, at first, the infections and skin cleared. But after a few short weeks, all of her symptoms reappeared. She said the skin on her hands was itchy, and the cellulitis on the side of her face was causing her to feel depressed and self-conscious.

The astonishing thing to me, was that her dermatologist continued to write prescriptions without actively seeking out the cause — the root cause. Lexi was never questioned about her environment at home or work or her stress levels, and her diet was only briefly discussed. And perhaps most shocking of all — no lab tests were ever ordered.

If this sounds familiar, you might be relieved to find out that skin conditions like Lexi’s — while often more than skin deep — can be effectively treated. In fact, you can start experiencing relief in a matter of days and be on your way with a treatment plan aimed at curing you in a matter of weeks.

Common Skin Conditions

Before we investigate the causes and cures for itchy skin conditions, let’s take a look at the most common diagnoses: Continue reading…

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Healing Your Frustrations!

Have you ever been told it’s all in your head? I mean, did you ever have the feeling that when you speak with your doctor, the look on his or her face is saying “you must be making this all up”? 

In my Tampa holistic and functional medicine practice, I regularly see patients who have many chronic symptoms. Symptoms that on the surface are seemingly unrelated and bizarrely appear to have no known cause. Many of these patients have been diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or exhibit multiple symptoms in multiple systems of the body. It appears as if they have some type of autoimmune condition(s). Although, some have been diagnosed with a specific autoimmune condition, many elude diagnosis. The doctor often suggesting “let’s retest in a few months or a year, it looks autoimmune, but I don’t see anything in your labs yet”. 

Case Study 

A forty year old female administrator recently presented with complaints of memory loss, lack of motivation and anxiety, all brain based symptoms, ok that fits. She explained to me that she has low sex drive, stomach pain, rashes that come and go and is always tired. When, I let her continue to state her concerns, “I also have cramps in my legs and I wake up stiff, my joints hurt, and at times I find it difficult to breathe. I sleep well enough but wake up tired.” There was more! “I have tingling in my hands and I feel weak”. This is suddenly sounding way more complex! 

The patient went on to tell me about her  Continue reading…

Five Gastroenterologists And Not One Stool Test