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Can Naturopathic Doctors Help with My Digestive Issues?

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

September 15, 2023


 

Digestive issues are of no joke - they can disrupt our daily lives, cause daily discomfort & toilet-related accidents, and even stress & anxiety. If you've been struggling with problems like bloating, indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea, seeing a naturopathic doctor could be beneficial to find digestive relief. In naturopathic medicine, we focus on what the actual cause of digestive issues are, rather than treating symptoms. No more having to deal with these discomforts and pain, and having natural relief so that you can live your day fully!


a woman bent over with stomach pain in bed

Common Digestive Issues

Before exploring the solutions, it's important to understand some common digestive issues people experience:

  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): People who may have IBS experience common symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation, and sometimes bad-smelling gas.

  2. Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): People who may have GERD experience common symptoms like heartburn, acid reflux, food regurgitation, burning feeling in the throat, cough or clearing their throat frequently, and difficulty swallowing.

  3. Food Sensitivities & Allergies: Did you know that allergic reactions can include digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain? And food sensitivities (NOT allergies) can also contribute to common symptoms like stomach pain, stool changes, and sometimes even skin rash or low energy.

  4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Conditions within IBD includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These are autoimmune conditions that cause inflammation and damages to the digestive tract. Often times, those with IBD can benefit from naturopathic medicine beyond the medication.

  5. Intestinal Dysbiosis (aka Overgrowth & SIBO): Leaky gut syndrome can fall closely to this category. Our gut is a house for trillions of bacteria and other critters, which is important on digestive function. Commonly, our gut microbiome balance can be disrupted by various factors, which can cause common symptoms like diarrhea and/or constipation, digestive upset, bloating, and more! We'll talk more about gut microbiome very soon in another post.


The Naturopathic Approach to Digestive Issues

When it comes to digestive issues, naturopathic doctors focus on finding the underlying causes of the issues beforehand, so that we can develop personalized treatment plans. Here's how they can approach the digestive issues:


1. Comprehensive Assessment

Naturopathic doctors will evaluate you thoroughly, inquiring about your medical history, diet, lifestyle, stress, medication use and overall health. Every person's history is unique, and understanding each person's circumstances helps to direct a specific approach.


2. Diagnostics: Labs and Imaging

It's important to use labs and imaging as part of that thorough evaluation. Naturopathic doctors can order certain labs to investigate digestive function or other markers. These can be through a national lab centers, but can also include specialty or functional tests. If indicated, they may also order or refer you to get imaging done (e.g. ultrasound, CT, endoscopy, colonoscopy), which can give us more information beyond the naked eyes.


3. Lifestyle Modifications

It wouldn't be a whole-person approach if lifestyle factors are not addressed even with digestive issues. Factors such as stress, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep actually contribute and aggravate digestive issues. As part of a treatment plan, naturopathic doctors often suggest lifestyle modifications that can positively impact your digestive issues.


4. Supplements: Herbs, Enzymes, Probiotics & More

Depending on what is found through evaluation or intake, supplements can be recommended for effective treatment. Whether the products consist of herbal remedies, digestive enzymes or probiotics, they can be effective in treating and healing the digestive system so that the digestive function can be restored to balance for healthy system.


5. Dietary Guidance and Nutritional Support

It's no surprise that diet plays a crucial role in our digestive health. Naturopathic doctors can provide nutritional guidance on a digestive-friendly diet, emphasizing foods that can support your digestive tract. Often times with digestive issues, certain micronutrients like vitamins and minerals can also be deficient - in this case, naturopathic doctors can provide supplements or foods rich in those micronutrients to combat the deficiencies.


6. Mind-Body Techniques

Stress is a significant factor on our digestive health, and it wouldn't be a comprehensive digestive support if stress is not well-managed. Naturopathic doctors will incorporate mind-body techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga, along with other methods to help manage stress and digestive issues.


7. Acupuncture

Depending on the state the naturopathic doctor practices in, or if the naturopathic doctor also has a degree in this medicine, they can also offer acupuncture as part of the treatment for digestive issues. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for centuries for various conditions including digestive issues.


8. Monitoring & Adjustments

A crucial aspect of naturopathic care is monitoring of your progress and making necessary adjustments to your treatment plan as needed. This ensures that the chosen approach is effective and can be modified if needed for optimal results. Remember, change doesn't happen overnight and healing has ups & downs before we reach it. It's important to have your naturopathic doctor as part of your care to guide you through these moments too.


To summarize...

If you're struggling with digestive issues, a naturopathic doctor can offer a comprehensive and holistic approach to find the cause and treatment of the issues. By finding the cause of the issues, you can improve your digestive health and enhance your overall quality of life that is personalized for you. Always consult a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your healthcare routine.


If you want to learn more and find relief for your digestive issues, book your appointment with Dr. Jung.



 

DISCLAIMER:

THIS POST DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT. THE CONTENTS OF THIS POST ARE FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING A MEDICAL CONDITION. ALWAYS SPEAK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE TAKING ANY MEDICATION OR NUTRITIONAL/HERBAL/HOMEOPATHIC SUPPLEMENT, OR ADOPTING ANY TREATMENT FOR A HEALTH PROBLEM. INFORMATION AND STATEMENTS REGARDING DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AVAILABLE ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING IT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON THIS POST.

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