Many patients complain of feeling bloated all the time, running to the bathroom with chronic diarrhea, and enduring frequent abdominal cramps. There are many reasons, sometimes more than one at a time, why people feel these Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.
Some folks are gluten intolerant, some are lactose intolerant, some suffer from candida overgrowth in their digestive tract, and some have contracted parasites during their travels to the hird world countries. Yet, other patient can be sensitive to foods that are almost never looked upon as allergenic: such as mushrooms or cucumbers.
A detailed stool analysis, as well as blood and allergy tests can help pinpoint the particular sensitivity an individual may have. For everyone who suffers from gastrointestinal issues, I usually recommend to limit your intake of hot beverages and spicy foods. I also recommend taking a good, mercury and gelatin-free probiotic to help normalize gastrointestinal microflora.
There are two other modalities we often use to treat IBS-like symptoms. They are: professional nutritional assessment and targeted acupuncture.
While it is unquestionable that acupuncture can provide significant pain relief and help minimize other symptoms of IBS as well, from a Western medical standpoint (though certainly not from the traditional Chinese medicine point of view) no one quite knows how or why this is true. From the Western viewpoint, it may be that acupuncture affects the nervous system by stimulating the release of endorphins, naturally produced chemicals in the body that block pain signals in the brain and spinal cord. Research has shown that acupuncture results in changes in the conduction of electromagnetic signals in the brain, an alteration of blood circulation within the brain that increases blood flow to the thalamus (the area associated with relaying pain and other sensory impulses), and measurable differences in the brain’s output of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and of inflammation-causing substances such as prostaglandins. The nutritional assessment helps to identify the foods which can provoke a serotonin surge, as it has been demonstrated that these serotonin surges are associated with IBS-like symptoms. That is why so many people who take SSRI antidepressants, like Prozac, are often complaining of feeling bloated and having to go to the bathroom a lot.
Many psychosocial circumstances also have to be considered in the treatment of IBS-like symptoms. Anxiety and Insomnia (bad sleeping habits) have to be addressed and are often overlooked by a traditional Western approach to gastrointestinal issues. For us, at Doctors at Trump Place, prescription medications are always the last resort. We try to help the body balance itself naturally, and believe in patient education and empowerment as a great clinical tool. I have tried to post some of my common tips in a video format at Organizedwisdom.com Have a healthful month of March and live well!
Svetlana Kogan, MD
Founder of The Doctors at Trump Place
194 Riverside Boulevard
New York, NY 10069
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For more information about her practice call 212-580-0900
or visit www.DTPdoctors.com