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Posts Tagged ‘irritable bowel syndrome’

Candida albicans is a yeast that is normally present in our gastrointestinal tract, skin, and vaginal tract in women. Under normal circumstances it remains in those places causing no harm whatsoever. However, it is quite common for candida to grow out of control and cause many debilitating symptoms. An overgrowth of candida is probably one of the most common conditions that I see in patients with digestive disturbances. But it doesn’t stop there. Candida can cause (directly or indirectly) any of the following symptoms or conditions: irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, GERD, sinusitis and chronic sinus problems, inability to lose weight, thyroid imbalances, headaches, vaginitis, chronic fatigue, “foggy-headedness” or inability to concentrate, food allergies or sensitivities, pre-menstrual syndrome or dysmenorrhea, skin rashes, depression, pain, yeast infections, and more. The question now is: why does it grow out of control?

There can be any number of reasons that someone has an overgrowth of yeast. The main thing to think of however, is a person’s diet. And the main culprit in the diet is definitely sugar. This obviously includes foods like pies, cakes, cookies, candy, ice cream, soda, donuts, brownies, and the like. However, even so-called natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, corn syrup, brown sugar, fruit and fruit juices are problematic as well. One more “food group” needs to be added to the list. I’m referring to refined grains and flour products. This would include bread (even whole grain), cereals (even sugar-free), muffins, croissants, pancakes, waffles, etc.. Although these foods are not sugar per se, they quickly get metabolized into sugar (or glucose). Additionally, any foods that actually contain yeast or fungus will certainly be a problem. And don’t forget alcohol, as that is certainly a very refined “sugar”.

The problem with these foods and sugar is that they actually “feed” the yeast or candida. It is synonymous with adding gasoline to a fire. So in order to quell a yeast or candida problem, one MUST avoid these foods temporarily. Other factors leading to an overgrowth of yeast or candida include a weakened immune system, nutrient deficiencies (particularly certain minerals), and use of antibiotics. All of the above can lead to an imbalance between the amount of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the intestines. This imbalance in intestinal or vaginal bacteria can be both a cause and effect depending on how the problem began. The length of time it takes for this condition (and it’s related symptoms) to resolve will depend on many factors including: the amount of candida in the system, the strength of the immune system, intestinal and digestive integrity, and nutrient status.

In addition to dietary changes, supplements are usually necessary to fully eradicate the problem. Think of dietary changes (i.e.: avoiding sugars and refined grains) as a way of starving the yeast. Specific supplements on the other hand can actually “kill-off” candida as some can act as natural anti-yeast or anti-fungals. Additionally, certain supplements that address mineral deficiencies and help strengthen the immune system can often be necessary. And lastly, probiotics (or “good” bacteria) as well as digestive enzymes and/or hydrochloric acid may be necessary.

In general, this can be an easy condition to eliminate, IF you avoid sugar and yeast-containing foods. Besides the obvious sugary foods and flour products, it’s often also necessary to avoid eating fermented, fungus/mold-containing, and aged foods such as: vinegar, mushrooms, aged cheeses, soy sauce, and also peanuts and corn (they often contain a fungus or mold known as aflatoxin). High starch vegetables like potatoes, carrots and beets can be an issue in very stubborn cases. The extent that these dietary changes need to be in place will certainly vary individually. Although, I would say a minimum of three weeks is necessary, and it would be wise to avoid pure sugar-containing foods afterward in order to prevent a recurrence.

If you don’t avoid eating the above mentioned foods, the situation usually becomes a vicious cycle. Eating sugar and refined carbohydrates feeds the yeast, and disrupts the balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in the intestinal and/or vaginal tract. This will result in a weakened immune system and altered gastrointestinal integrity which causes the yeast to continue to grow out of control. This will ultimately result in more immune compromise, allowing the yeast to continue to grow; and so on. As you can see, without changing your food intake, it can be very difficult to clear up this problem.

Please keep in mind that vaginal yeast infections almost always indicate a gastrointestinal overgrowth of yeast. And candida and yeast infections do not discriminate…men are just as susceptible as women to succumbing to the deleterious effects of candida in any part of the body. The worst two cases of yeast infections I’ve “seen” in my patients were among a male and a female.

Because this is such a rampant problem with potential “far-reaching” effects, it would be wise to rule this in or out in many different symptoms and conditions.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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The phrase: “Death begins in the colon”, coined by Nobel Prize winner professor Elie Metchnikoff, is a well known one; at least amongst my peers and I. I’m not sure who originally coined the 4 R’s approach to digestive disorders, but it is certainly a great way to help someone gain optimal digestive health. The 4 R’s are: 1) Remove. 2) Replace, 3) Re-inoculate, 4) Repair. I’ll discuss each individually.

1) Remove – This refers to removing food allergens, sugar (in most forms), alcohol, artificial sweeteners and colors, and perhaps even gluten from the diet. Additionally, “removal” of pathogens such as: (an overgrowth of) yeast, parasites, harmful bacteria, viruses, protozoa, etc. is part of the “remove” step. This can be accomplished through the making healthy food choices and taking specific nutritional and/or herbal formulas.

2) Replace – This refers to “replacing”, really adding the biochemicals (via dietary supplements) necessary to digest food. For example, one may need digestive enzymes (to break down fat, carbohydrates, and protein) and/or hydrochloric acid to help with digestion of protein in the stomach, among other important reasons.

3) Re-inoculate – This step involves adding beneficial flora (or gut bacteria) in the form of dietary supplements. This helps to ensure the “good” and “bad” bacteria in the digestive tract is balanced in a healthy way. Often, there will be an overgrowth of organisms (those mentioned in step 2), that necessitates “re-inoculation” of good bacteria into the intestines. There are purportedly about 500 different species of bacteria residing in the gut. The common ones you’ve probably heard of are acidophilus and bifidus. These bacteria perform so many important functions that the topic deserves an article of its own.

4) Repair – This refers to repairing the structural integrity of the stomach and digestive tract. The digestive lining is easily irritated, especially from food allergens and foreign (natural or artificial) chemicals. The small intestine lining specifically tends to lose its integrity easily and can result in a condition known as “leaky gut syndrome”. This is when the cells that create the barrier against food getting into the bloodstream become damaged, thus allowing large undigested food particles (and chemicals) to be released systemically. As a result, the body can mount an immune response in reaction to these “foreign” and undigested chemicals causing a whole host of symptoms, especially allergic reactions leading to systemic inflammation. There are a variety of remedies that address this situation.

In my experience each individual does not necessarily need to go through all of these steps in order to feel better. However, implementing at least one (usually 2-3) can be the difference between success and failure. Changing the diet alone is usually not sufficient enough to feel and function better, especially if the condition is chronic.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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I find that roughly 50% of my patient’s conditions stem from the foods they eat. Think about it. Other than an obvious injury or emotional stressor, there really is not much else other than food that will cause problems. Many people and doctors think genetic factors are the cause of their problem, but genetic limitations can almost always be overcome through lifestyle. Other causative factors in health conditions may stem from chemical exposure. However, if you are eating well, your body will be able to cope much better assuming the chemical is not present in large amounts over a long (or short) period of time. If you are interested in general dietary guidelines, click here. This article will focus on food allergies/sensitivities specifically. And I may use the terms interchangeably, though technically, there is a difference.

I don’t want to go too in-depth between the differences of an allergy and sensitivity. Essentially, the body’s response differs in that it involves different areas of the immune system being activated depending on if you are truly allergic as compared to sensitive (or intolerant). And it is not uncommon for blood tests to completely miss a sensitivity (as opposed to an outright allergy) that may be the cause for your major health concern. Additionally, the body can respond to a food via a lectin reaction. Please read more about lectins here, as they are beyond the scope of this article. Just know for now that they are in some foods (especially grains) that can potentially cause cell damage and conditions just as allergies and sensitivities do. By the way, those who experience this are the “classic” patients who come back with normal blood tests and no explanation for their symptoms.

There really is no limit to the symptoms or conditions that can be caused or exacerbated by foods. The most common symptoms that I see in patients are: fatigue, digestive complaints or abdominal pain, “foggy-headedness”, chronic pain/arthritis, skin rashes (including eczema and psoriasis), inability to lose weight, headaches or migraines, phlegm in the throat, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing “attacks”, yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, ADHD (often caused or exacerbated by food additives), fibromyalgia, sinus problems, sleeping difficulties, elevated cholesterol, mood changes, asthma, and hypertension (high blood pressure). [A quick aside to hypertension and foods. It is not uncommon to have normal blood pressure and then experience low blood pressure after removing an offending food. Presumably, the body was releasing too many stress hormones (i.e.: adrenaline/epinephrine) which raised the blood pressure to begin with.] One of the most common musculoskeletal conditions I see as a result of food sensitivities is knee pain. Patients have even showed me how arthritic their knees were on an x-ray; however, after they avoid the foods we discovered as being a problem, the pain often “disappears”. [Anything can cause anything, and an x-ray is only one measurement. A doctor should not simply make assumptions based on what appears “obvious”.]

OK, now for the major foods out there that result in allergic/sensitivity/lectin reactions. Wheat, corn, dairy, and soy are the most common by far. One of my mentors, Dr. Tim Francis claims that everyone is sensitive to these four, but in varying degrees. However, he still has ALL of his patients avoid them. The next most common in no particular order are eggs, citrus fruits, beef, peanuts, chocolate, fish and tree nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.). Let’s not forget gluten, contained in the following foods: wheat (and foods and drinks made from it), barley, rye, spelt, kamut, oats (through cross-contamination only), triticale, and farro. Don’t forget beer, whiskey, and scotch usually. Gluten is one of the most common “problem-causing” food ingredients that gets missed time and time again on blood tests.

There are some more “advanced” lab tests rather than standard blood analysis. One great test is known as the ALCAT Test. One problem I have with some tests, even the advanced ones, is that a person often comes back sensitive to 50 or more foods. If that’s the case, you have other problems going on that need to be addressed (probably first and foremost). Restricting yourself of 50+ foods must sound a bit ridiculous to you as well. When I see that, I look to a gut problem (most often leaky gut syndrome) and/or a weakened immune system.

One way to determine if a specific food is causing you a problem is to simply avoid it. The time-frame may vary between individuals though. For example, the food may cause symptoms minutes after you eat it or even a week (more rarely) after you eat it; this is known as a delayed-onset reaction. Remember, even though food sensitivities may be a problem, you may not notice a change in symptoms if you only avoid one at a time if you actually have 2 or more sensitivities causing the same symptom.

One more thing. It’s very common to crave the foods you are sensitive to. Unfortunately, I could not find solid references to back this up. Some say it occurs because of withdrawl symptoms that may follow; similar to drug addiction. Frankly, I’ve never see withdrawl symptoms (caffeine is a different story and not usually an allergy). The second reason I’ve been told seems more likely. It’s that the body responds by increasing the output of stress hormones, which may give the person a “boost” of energy causing them to quickly feel better, thus continuing to reach for that food. Regardless, one of the most common things I here from patients after identifying an offending food is: “But I love…” or, “I eat that all the time”. This concept of allergy and craving is worth paying attention to.

Please keep this in mind also! Food allergies, sensitivities, and lectin reactions are by far one of the most common causes of chronic (often undetected) inflammation. And specific inflammatory markers in the blood may not pick this up.

I choose to use applied kinesiology muscle testing most of the time when I suspect foods may be causing a problem. I don’t diagnose food allergies, sensitivities, or lectin reactions; I simply see how your nervous system responds.

Come back soon to learn more about potential problems with some more specific foods we enjoy most, like avocado, banana….

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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Digestive problems are one of the most common conditions I see in my patients. And they are usually one of the easiest to “fix”. Now I want to discuss one possible reason that people can have faulty digestion, related to hydrochloric acid (HCl).

The chemical aspect of digestion begins in the mouth with salivary enzymes contacting food and beginning the breakdown process. It would certainly be feasible to argue that digestion actually begins in the brain when we first look at appetizing food and begin to salivate. Regardless, I will focus this article on the role and critical importance of HCl as it relates to the digestive process in the stomach.

The pH (i.e.: acidity, neutrality, or alkalinity) of  gastric (stomach) acid should normally be between 1.5-3.5, according the National Institutes of Health, some sources report an even lower pH. This is the most acidic area in our body and is a result of HCl. There are other components of gastric acid, mostly water, but let’s focus on HCl. I’ll now discuss the four roles HCl plays in the stomach. Two roles relate directly to digestion and the other two indirectly.

1) Hydrochloric acid denatures proteins. Essentially, it cleaves the bonds and basically “melts” the proteins. This is what it is generally thought to do, but there is more. [By the way, undigested proteins tend to result in allergic reactions, as the body can’t recognize the substance (when undigested) and the immune system then “attacks” it causing the reaction]

2) Hydrochloric acid also activates a substance called pepsin, via its conversion from a substance called pepsinogen. It is pepsin that mainly digests the protein we eat. Protein is critical for just about everything in our body and every cell in our body; namely collagen, elastin, hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes, antibodies, hair, skin, nails, and muscle; and other bodily functions.

3) Indirectly HCl assists digestion further down the gastrointestinal tract by acting as antiseptic in the stomach. This occurs through literally killing microorganisms that exist in the food we eat. These organisms can come from the handling of food, natural organisms that may be present on raw food, and the unfortunate result of spoiled, semi-spoiled or uncooked meat and fish. Hydrochloric acid will also assist in the prevention of food fermentation that may occur in the dark, moist environment of the stomach. This function of HCl is of critical importance in order to prevent food-poisoning, and clinical or sub-clinical occurrence(s) of yeast, bacterial, viral, parasitic, and protozoal infections – which all happen to be a very common cause of digestive distress.

4) Lastly, HCl allows for proper mineral absorption as it assists in ionizing minerals, like calcium and magnesium to name a few. Minerals are necessary for many functions in the body, especially as catalysts to enzymes that run the important biochemical reactions that take place every second in our body. Additionally, they contribute to structural formation, as in bone.

A need for hydrochloric acid supplementation is definitely one of the most common things I see in patients. Especially those patients who complain of digestive difficulties like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, yeast overgrowth (even vaginal), and even heartburn. Additionally, patients who complain that they “lost the taste” for meat tend to need HCl as well. Lastly, it should be investigated in everyone with mineral deficiency symptoms, especially osteoporosis. Bone actually has more protein than calcium. To date, I’ve literally only had one patient say that he felt a slight uncomfortable sensation from HCl supplementation, but nothing serious at all according to him. He was willing continue but I chose to have him stop it and use supplements to increase his HCl production instead. This leads me to my next point on how we make HCl.

Here’s how it’s formed. By the way, it takes more energy to make HCl in the body than any other chemical. Additionally, the mineral zinc is absolutely necessary to make it. Hydrochloric acid production is formed by the interaction of carbon dioxide and water, which is mediated by an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase, which is zinc-dependent. As a result, I always supplement zinc when I find a patient needs HCl, and then eventually wean them off the HCl. By the way, a generally accepted reliable indicator of the need for more zinc is white spots on the finger nails. I can’t find conclusive scientific evidence for this, however, I’ve had personal experience with it and also with my patients. Also, chloride is necessary, so don’t be overly afraid to consume sodium chloride (salt) unless it is necessary as determined by your doctor. I find more people need extra salt that not (for reasons beyond the scope of this articles.

One last thing, if HCl supplementation causes irritation to the stomach, or burning in the stomach, you can simply drink down a glass of water and baking soda in order to neutralize the acid right away. Again, I’ve only had it happen to one patient and he felt he didn’t even need the water and baking soda to relieve the discomfort as it was so mild. Warning: if you have been prescribed an acid-blocking medication, you should NOT take supplemental HCl before consulting with the physician who prescribed it. If you take over-the-counter acid-blockers, you should also consult a physician about your problem, as it may be more serious than you think. And remember, those medications were probably prescription-only before they went over-the-counter.

In my experience, digestive symptoms of any sort are quite prevalent. This includes but is not limited to bloating, gas, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation to name the most common. Why those symptoms exist in the first place is key to “fixing” them. And they are also usually the easiest to “fix”. But 90% of the time, the patient must alter their diet. Very often, HCl supplementation is one of the main solutions. But HCl is NOT always necessary. By the way, many, many, many chronic (or acute) low back pain tends to be the result of a dysfunctional digestive system and vice versa. Typically the back pain tends to be dull, achy, diffuse and worse in the morning. Hope this helps!

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

Some of this information came from Chris Astill-Smith, DO, DIBAK – and biochemist.

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Nightshades are plants in the solanaceae family. Within that family are some common foods in almost everyone’s diet. These include: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and all types of pepper (except black pepper).  According to Michael Lebowitz, DC, goji berries and ashwaganda (“Indian Ginseng”) contain the same potential toxin as nightshades. And the National Toxicology Program reports that apples, cherries, and sugar beets contain the chemical as well. Bilberry (huckleberry) is also in that list. Obviously, don’t forget about condiments and products that contain these foods. Lastly, tobacco is a nightshade.

OK, so now for the reasons these nightshades can cause a problem! These foods have a specific chemical in them known as solanine. First, according to one researcher, solanine may directly irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. And additionally, when it is absorbed into the bloodstream, it can cause destruction of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells. I could not find the mechanism related to that effect.

Second, solanine is known as an aceytlcholinesterase inhibitor.  That means it acts to prevent the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh), leading to an excessive build-up of ACh in the nerve receptor sites. Therefore, it will allow for a constant (over)stimulation of ACh receptors. Acetylcholine has many functions in the nervous system. Generally, it is responsible for stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. To avoid boring you, I won’t go into all of the effects of ACh.

Instead, I’ll simply discuss the potential symptoms of nightshades as it pertains to their neurological effects. Don’t forget, as stated above, direct GI tract irritation can occur. And some researchers found that solanine can cause vomiting and enteritis (GI tract inflammation). In addition, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps were reported. According to research by Michael Lebowitz, DC, solanine has the following potential attributes: “1- act as an endocrine disruptor especially to the thyroid; 2- cause chronic joint pain, arthritis (all forms), joint inflammation- this is due to solanine’s ability to remove calcium from the bones and deposit it in any weak or genetically predisposed area of the body; 3- for the same reason it can be a major contributor to osteoporosis (since it removes calcium from the bones) and arteriosclerosis (it can deposit the calcium in the blood vessels); 4- “leaky gut” as well as IBS; 5- appendicitis; 6- birth defects including spina bifida; 7- depression; 8- migraines; 9- can greatly interfere with calcium and vitamin D absorption, despite supplementation.” There may be more symptoms associated, but that’s a good start.

And for your information, “nerve gas” and certain pesticides act as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors as well. Strange to think of those foods acting like such toxic chemicals. Drugs that act as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Please be aware that not everyone will be affected by nightshades in the same way. However, if you are, you’ll want to know so you can avoid them. Some of my colleagues find solanine to be causing a problem in about one-third of their patients. You know I always ask the question: “Why?”, so let me address that. There can be many reasons why they affect an individual, and they are similar to why other potential toxins cause symptoms. They are: genetics, the ability to clear the chemical from the system (most likely liver and kidney metabolism), and the amount of exposure.  These are some of the main reasons affecting the body’s response to solanine. Additionally, it is unclear how long one will need to avoid ingesting solanine before their symptoms abate. It may be quite “difficult” to avoid eating nightshades, however, it will be well worth your while if something so simple can stop debilitating or annoying symptoms.

When I find this problem with patients, I also use supplement(s) to help clear the solanine from the system, to provide faster symptom relief. And with the in-office procedures I use, it is simple to tell “on the spot” if solanine may be causing you problems. My patients appreciate this because it prevents them from unnecessarily avoiding some of their favorite foods. This problem can be both a blessing and a curse. See you soon.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

I’ll never forget when a patient told me that as a child, her doctor had “diagnosed” her with a “nervous stomach”.  She had been struggling with digestive complaints since she was 6 or 7 years old.  The symptoms included abdominal pain, indigestion, bloating, and alternating constipation and diarrhea.  After many years, she decided she wanted a second opinion on what was wrong.  Good for her.  She consulted with another doctor over a decade later and that doctor stated (according to the patient) “you don’t have a nervous stomach, you have an irritable bowel”.  Phew, problem solved.  “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” was the new finding.  OK, now what?  (I honestly don’t know, because she moved out of town very shortly after she came to see me.)  OK, so what does a doctor (and patient) do now that the sun is shining on what the problem “really” is?

My point here is that changing the diagnosis from “nervous stomach” to “irritable bowel syndrome” (IBS) does very little to help.  Please don’t get me wrong, I am not against the use of diagnosing conditions.  It can be (and often is) quite necessary to name a condition.  For example: stroke, appendicitis, aneurysm, myocardial infarction (heart attack), pneumonia, Lyme disease, and many, many others.  That’s because they need emergency medical help or have specific necessary treatments at the onset.  The problem arises when we lump symptoms together and don’t attempt to figure out the process.  Why don’t we diagnose the process and NOT the symptoms.  Even by definition, medical physicians call IBS a “functional digestive disorder”.  So why not thoroughly evaluate their digestive function with what we know (and are even taught in medical textbooks) about digestion.  You’ll soon see that we will be much better off by thinking in those terms.  I’m not a big fan of the approach that says: let’s name it; then we can have a tailored treatment regimen or medication for it.  If you really want to name it, that’s fine, but it’s time to stop treating symptoms (and this goes for much more than IBS).

Before I go further, I’d like to make it cleat that I do NOT diagnose “irritable bowel syndrome”.  For one, I don’t find it of any help, and two, my license does not allow me to.  However, I find I’m better off that way.  Because I’m more concerned with the question of “Why?”, than “What?”.  The symptoms are a good guide, but you can’t stop there by simply throwing a name at them.  Especially in a condition like IBS, where very often the patients have similar symptoms with a different cause.

Again, I do NOT treat IBS, nor do I treat bowels, and I especially don’t treat irritable bowels!  I treat PEOPLE!  And people have debilitating symptoms that can be helped when you start with the questions: “Why are the symptoms there?”, and “How do we get rid of them?”.  That is: “What processes are malfunctioning, and how can we return them to balance in the most efficient way possible?”

Let’s move forward.  I won’t bore with the technical diagnostic criteria.  They are called the Rome III criteria, and can be found on the the foundation’s website by clicking here if you are interested.

OK, let’s talk about some of the symptoms of IBS to start off.  Essentially, they include abdominal pain, bloating and discomfort (not necessarily outright pain).  Additionally, some people have constipation, diarrhea, or alternate between the two.  These symptoms may subside for a few months, or they may worsen over time.

Researcher have not pinned down a specific cause for IBS.  Remember, a syndrome is simply a grouping together of objective signs and subjective symptoms.

Let’s move on to the conventional treatments.  By the way, some of the above information was derived from The National Digestive Disease Information Clearing House (NDDIC).  The NDDIC has this to say about treating IBS: “Medications are an important part of relieving symptoms. Your doctor may suggest fiber supplements or laxatives for constipation or medicines to decrease diarrhea, such as Lomotil or loperamide (Imodium). An antispasmodic is commonly prescribed, which helps to control colon muscle spasms and reduce abdominal pain. Antidepressants may relieve some symptoms. However, both antispasmodics and antidepressants can worsen constipation, so some doctors will also prescribe medications that relax muscles in the bladder and intestines, such as Donnapine and Librax. These medications contain a mild sedative, which can be habit forming, so they need to be used under the guidance of a physician.”

“A medication available specifically to treat IBS is alosetron hydrochloride (Lotronex). Lotronex has been reapproved with significant restrictions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for women with severe IBS who have not responded to conventional therapy and whose primary symptom is diarrhea. However, even in these patients, Lotronex should be used with great caution because it can have serious side effects such as severe constipation or decreased blood flow to the colon.”

“With any medication, even over-the-counter medications such as laxatives and fiber supplements, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions. Some people report a worsening in abdominal bloating and gas from increased fiber intake, and laxatives can be habit forming if they are used too frequently.”

“Medications affect people differently, and no one medication or combination of medications will work for everyone with IBS. You will need to work with your doctor to find the best combination of medicine, diet, counseling, and support to control your symptoms.”

They also speak a lot about how changing one’s diet and stress management can have help relieve the symptoms, which I think is of prime importance.  Please see their site by clicking on the link above, if you are interested in more of what they have to say.

untitled-31OK, here is my approach with patients who complain of symptoms that are similar to IBS. Again, I do NOT treat IBS, I treat people.

First things first! I always start with a thorough history from the patient.  And from there, I will check all of the following.

1 – I’ll check for cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic, extremity, rib, cranial, and TMJ “misalignments”.  Remember, your nervous system function determines your involuntary functions (along with your endocrine/hormonal system).  If we can get the joints functioning and moving properly, we can help get the nervous system to function properly.

2 – Then I look to where digestion begins (in the mouth), by checking the pH (acid or alkalinity) of the saliva.  Digestion really begins when you think about and look at the food you are going to eat – let’s leave that aside.

3- I look to stomach function for an excessive or decreased (most common) amount of “stomach” (or hydrochloric) acid.

4 – Next, we move on to the small and large intestines (I don’t combine them, but for simplicity I will right now).  A problem in these organs typically results from lack of digestive enzymes (could really a pancreas or stomach problem), malabsorption; an overgrowth of yeast, fungus, mold, bacteria, viruses, pollens, parasites, and/or protozoa; chemicals (environmental, food additives, etc.) and toxic metals.  Keep in mind that any of the above can reside anywhere in the digestive tract.

5 – Food intolerances

6 – Eating habits

7 – Stress and/or emotional factors

8 – Additionally the liver, gallbladder, thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, and other organs and glands can play a role – (anything can cause anything).  Typically I will assess these through the correlations between muscles and organs/glands, the acupuncture system, and laboratory analysis – i.e.: blood, urine, saliva, etc..

9 – Also, I’ll look to identify nutritional deficiencies related to the above issues.

I hope this helps to get you thinking!

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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