It is very important for overall health to treat digestive problems. While digestive discomfort itself is troublesome, unless treated, problems that begin in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to further issues in other parts of the body. The gut wall is a semi-permeable membrane which ideally facilitates the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream and protects us against pathogens allowing them to be eliminated via the bowel. Problems with either absorption or elimination not only cause digestive grief but are the precursors to problems further downstream, elsewhere in the body.
Conventional medicine is excellent at the diagnosis of gut problems. Gastroscopies and colonoscopies can accurately pinpoint problems. However, becoming reliant on laxatives, antacids and immuno-suppressive drugs to manage such problems is not an ideal long-term solution.
There are natural remedies for diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, and colic. Without treatment they cause other problems. Chronic constipation can limit the excretion of the by-products of oestrogen metabolism which then recirculate, affecting thyroid hormones, slowing down your metabolic rate and causing weight gain, hormonal issues and migraine headaches.
The entry of toxins via gut wall into our circulation can cause systemic inflammation associated with many chronic diseases such as arthritis, allergies, sinusitis, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.
The gut wall is a major site for the production of our calming neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine. So a damaged gut wall can lead to impaired neurotransmitter production and an inability to get out of “fight and flight” mode, contributing to anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Inflammatory Conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s Disease can be managed long-term. Management involves dietary changes as well as some medicines or supplements. In severe cases it is wise to marry both conventional and complementary treatment options until such time as symptoms subside and you can continue without the immuno-suppressive drugs.
Similarly, dyspepsia, reflux, heartburn and oesophagitis can be helped. Proton pump inhibitors which decrease stomach acidity, are one of the most commonly prescribed conventional medicines. However, such medicines reduce the capacity of our stomach to breakdown food and often deplete the body of magnesium and calcium, causing other problems as a result. Our indigestion may get better but we experience more headaches, fatigue, cramps and bone loss.
Often all it takes is some dietary tweaking, some gut-soothing herbal medicine, digestive enzyme support and the right probiotics. Much easier than a lifetime of antacid medications that cause further problems downstream. However, as with most pharmaceuticals, you should never wean yourself of them too quickly.
Efficient digestive function is crucial for overall health.
I have suffered from constipation for years and didn’t realise the extent to which it was affecting my whole health. I can’t believe how much better I feel being able to have regular bowel motions! Don’t know why I put up with it all for so long. Really glad I came to see Cath.