Root Cause Medical Clinic and Digestion Solutions
I wanted to write about the most common complaints patients come in to see us about at Root Cause Medical Clinic, and what we do that is so effective and different as compared to what most other clinicians do.
Sometimes I don’t realize how unique our thought process is until I’m speaking to a patient about their problems and frustrations regarding their health. This was one of the reasons we changed our name; we have always discussed our approach of “getting to the root cause” with our patients, and we have found the concept is not only instantly comprehended for its meaning, but most realize they have never been evaluated from that viewpoint before. When they hear how root cause medicine works and experience the thought process as we review through their personal health history, one for one they feel it makes sense and, once they learn of our success rate, are excited to begin the program.
According to a recent survey, 74% of Americans are living with digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain. Seventy four percent! Even considering the fact digestive problems are the number one problem for which patients come to see us, I still found that percentage surprising.
The most common digestive problems are:
- Acid reflux (affects 45% of the world’s population), heartburn, GERD
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
Unfortunately, digestive problems are often ignored, sometimes for years by those suffering. Why? Based on my experience, digestion is not something patients like to talk about; they find it embarrassing. The embarrassment combined with a lack of appreciation of the importance of the digestive tract, and you have a good reason to ignore digestive problems for as long as possible. Even when they come into the office for their initial consultation, patients with digestive complaints frequently preface a response about their digestion with: “You probably don’t want to hear about this, but…”
I have learned the reason doctors “miss” discovering digestive problems is because they don’t ask the right questions.
Here’s an example: You can ask someone if they’re constipated and they’ll say no. You can ask the same person how often they move their bowels and they’ll say 3 to 4 times per week! Are they constipated? You bet!
Just this past week a patient said she moved her bowels whenever she went to the bathroom. At first I didn’t fully understand what she meant. Of course her bowels moved when she went to the bathroom, but how often is that, I again inquired. “When I go to the bathroom”, she repeated. This wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I phrased it another way. “Do you poop more than once in any given day, and if so how many times – please give me a number.” That question got me the data I required: three to six times per day was her reply!
I’ve just reviewed two different extremes, constipation and diarrhea, that upon initial questioning of the patient wasn’t revealed. I had to dig to get accurate information.
Getting back to why individuals ignore their digestive issues, another reason is that they really don’t know that what they’re experiencing is abnormal.
Initially, the average American with heartburn, as an example, will just take an over-the-counter antacid. If that seems to “work” they’ll simply continue taking the medication, not giving it another thought why they developed the heartburn or what it might mean about their health.
Commercials “tell” us taking drugs is the solution and
we begin to believe it’s the truth.
Does the individual know heartburn could mean a serious infection in their stomach that could later lead to stomach cancer? No.
Do they know heartburn likely means they are eating a food that is creating a spasm in their stomach with the result stomach acid shoots up their esophagus, potentially leading to an ulcer? No.
Do they know taking antacids, be it over the counter or prescription, creates an imbalance in digestion, leading to more serious absorption issues and allergy issues? No.
Do they know PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) such as Prilosec, Prevacid, Zantac and Nexium, prescribed for chronic acid reflux have serious side effects, including an increased risk of SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and the resistant bacterial infection, C. dificile? Unlikely.
Do they know these same PPIs decrease the good bacteria populating their microbiome, a diverse population of 100 trillion organisms in the gut giving strength to the immune system and preventing a host of degenerative diseases? Most definitely not.
Diminishing acid in the stomach upsets the acid/alkaline balance of the gut, creating an environment that encourages the growth of bad bacteria and an unhealthy microbiome. Reducing acid in the stomach also creates poor digestion of proteins, allowing abnormally large protein fragments to enter the small intestine, leading to increased risk of food sensitivities and allergies.
Are you bothered by digestive problems? Choose an option below.