Louise H Connolly MD
A different kind of medical practice
Those Gut Reactions
Gas, GERD, Bloat, Pain, IBS….. So many people have these problems.
They are embarrassing, certainly decrease your enjoyment of life and your sociability, and seem to have no clear cause or cure. You tweak your diet this way and that, your problem wanes and then whacks you for no apparent reason.
Exlax, tums, beano, milk of magnesia….. there’s got to be something better ….. and there’s got to be a cause.
Your doctor ignores you, reassures you that it is “normal”, or tells you what you DON’T have. No ovarian cancer on pelvic ultrasound, CT scan is negative, no H pylori. Well, that’s good but you still have your problem. He then gives you a little purple pill. It works, well sort of works, but you’ve heard it can be bad for you.
If you complain loud enough, you’ll find yourself at the gastroenterologist for a work up. Again you are told no ulcer, no cancer, no inflammatory bowel disease. Yes, you are relieved, of course. But when did a colonoscopy ever cure IBS? And after that prep, you’ll learn it may be better to suffer in silence.
What do I think? Well, that’s a long story! First, you need to STOP TREATING YOUR STOMACH AS A TRASH CAN!
Fast food, GMO modified food, anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food probably doesn’t belong in your mouth.
Then take a minute to appreciate your meal and give thanks for it. Next taste it and chew it. People forget to chew! People forget to taste! Finally stop when you are two thirds full. It’s that simple.
Now, how does your body feel. Nourished? Good! Fatigued and sluggish? Pay attention…. These are your gut feelings, your gut reactions and they have meaning..
Ultimately the relationship between the contents of your intestines and you is vitally important and amazingly complex. You think of yourself as a single human being but really you’re not. You are a complex community of mostly cooperative organisms. In this case we are talking about your gut flora and you. There are 10 times more organisms within your gut as there are cells in your body. These gut biofilm communities digest your food for you and are nourished in the process. They also react to your stress, and protest mightily if fed “garbage”. They are separated from you by a single cell layer. Think of it, a single cell layer. Together you and 10 trillion organisms are nourished and happy, or malnourished and disgruntled.
Yes, the quantity and quality of the food you eat will affect your health. But that’s not all. We are what we ABSORB from what we eat. Your gut flora is intimately involved in what gets pushed through undigested and what gets absorbed. Some gut flora absorb calories very,very efficiently and you get fat. Other flora just push things through so you eat like a horse, starve, and stay skinny. There are so many other factors – how good is your diet, how fast do you eat, your gut allergies, your digestive enzymes, occult parasites and more.
I can’t promise you an easy instant cure. But I can promise you more than a peek at your gut processes from an integrated perspective. And I can promise you some help. These problems are both rapidly emerging and ancient. Hippocrates said: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”.
My daddy said “My stomach isn’t a trashcan. (He actually said this to a waiter!)
Elie Metchnikoff, who won a Nobel Prize in microbiology said: “Death begins in the gut”.
I believe all are correct.
We need to remember the basic food nutrition of our ancestors. We need to listen to our gut instincts. And we need to understand not only our genome, but the other “omes” within us and more, starting with our gut microbiome. We currently have computers analyzing the genomic fingerprints of the trillions of organisms in human stool and separating different types found in health and disease. We even are beginning to know what fecal genotypes promote risk for what types of disease. We have health insurance approval of fecal transplants in some situations. All of this is just beginning.
I offer individualized comprehensive stool analysis. I also offer testing of your digestive enzymes, propensity for food allergies, celiac and celiac risk assessment, nutrient need analysis, Candida and more. I’m sure we can make you more comfortable. You’ll just have to come in and see.
Your stomach is not a trashcan.