Digestive Disorders are increasingly common and cause uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and fatigue. Poor digestion leads to malnutrition which affects multiple systems causing immune deficiency, mood imbalances, joint and skin inflammation and general fatigue.
IBD (irritable bowel disease) is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal system, fistulas and fissures which are more serious complications of the disease can occur towards the end of the colon and anus. The most common conditions of IBD are Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is also a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect both the small and large intestines, but is less serious than IBD.
SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth) is a very difficult condition to treat and causes widespread symptoms.
Gastroenterologists do not have a cure for chronic digestive disorders such as Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Current medical treatments are oriented towards pain control and immune system modulation. The following lines of treatment are used in the following order, according to the progression of symptoms.
Unfortunately as in all specialized medicine, the cause is not addressed. When it comes to digestive disorders, the cause can easily be addressed, as an individual has control over it. In 20% of Crohn’s patients there is a genetic predisposition, however, we all learn in basic biology that not all genes we carry are expressed. Another point to consider is that lifestyles are also “inherited”. Parents eat SAD (Standard American Diet) and children tend to eat the same diet as their parents. Most patients with digestive disorders say the symptoms started as a child or young adult.
Naturopathic medicine focuses on the health of the digestive system, as this system is so vital to the health of the rest of the body. Naturopathic physicians have a large box of tools or modalities to choose from other than medications and surgery. Our goal is to cure the organ’s disease and bring it back to normal functionality. Patients who have chosen naturopathic treatments have a much better quality of life than those who have followed their insurance dollars through specialized medicine. As in all cases, naturopathic medicine is more powerful when the patients start treatment in the early stages rather than after the intestines have been removed. However, even those patients benefit significantly by seeing a naturopath.
Naturopathic treatments used in IBD and IBS are wide and varied depending on the patient and the physician. In all cases the patient will be taught to live a healthy lifestyle that will eliminate anything that can cause inflammation in the body. Herbal formulas and nutritional supplements are used to facilitate the immune system back to health and improve intestinal absorption of nutrients. Bowel flora balance is a vital part of healing the gut mucosa and normalizing the immune system response. In patients who use naturopathic medicine, the side effects of these treatments include more energy and a higher quality of life.
I saw Dr. Hendricks in 2007. I had already had part of my colon removed, had seen a naturopath and was taking a bunch of supplements and also still taking a medication that suppressed my immune system. I had ongoing diarrhea with blood. Dr. Hendricks took me off of all the supplements and replaced them with herbal foods. Soon the diarrhea was controlled and I also got off of my medication. It’s been 9 years and I have gained weight, can eat raw fruits and vegetables again, and live a normal quality of life as long as I stay on the herbal food supplements. I am very fortunate to have found her and may not be here today if it weren’t for her guidance and the herbal foods. SH Williams, AZ
I saw Dr. Jane in 2004. I was on a couple pharmaceuticals which suppressed my immune system. I had already been on a healthy diet for some time and a few supplements. But I still had ulcerations and bloody diarrhea. I met her at Sprouts and went to go see her. She put me on some teas and shakes. At first the symptoms seemed to get worse, but she explained that we were no longer shutting down my immune system and that there may be some rebalancing or cleansing symptoms in the process. Soon I was doing better. Then I stopped taking them to look for something cheaper but I didn’t find anything else that worked that good. So I just decided to stay on the shakes and teas for good since it really improved my quality of life. I eat a fairly normal diet (healthy of course) and am able to travel and stay active. I used to be a pharmaceutical rep but after this experience I actually changed my career. I really believe that naturopathic medicine works! LW Tempe, AZ
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