The Gastrointestinal (or GI) tract actually begins in the mouth and travels all the way down through the body to the anus, running between 25 – 32 feet in length in adults. The GI tract includes the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. From the point at which food is swallowed, it is helped on its passage by a series of muscles which continuously contract, helping the food pass to the stomach and then into the colon.
If the muscles are working too quickly, diarrhea can occur and if they move too slowly then constipation may result. If the muscles go into any kind of spasm then pain will occur, often in the form of cramps. When these symptoms persist, many people consult a Gastroenterologist for an exam and possible testing, to determine the type of gastrointestinal disorder they may have. At Lifeworks Wellness Center we offer safe, all natural gastrointestinal treatment for a variety of disorders.
List of Common Gastrointestinal Disorders
Gastrointestinal treatment is always tailored to the specific disorder diagnosed. The most common gastrointestinal disorders include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – occurs when the lining of the bowel becomes inflamed or damaged, causing diarrhea, abdominal pain and sometimes bleeding. Also known as spastic colon, IBS seems to be linked with food allergies, bacterial or yeast overgrowth, or nutritional deficiencies.
- Crohn’s disease – widely believed to be an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system is literally attacking itself, in this case the GI tract. Cells invade the intestines and produce inflammation which results in ulceration and thickening of the intestinal wall, which in turn leads to painful cramps.
- Ulcerative colitis – like Crohn’s, this is identified as an autoimmune disease in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. This can lead to cramps and diarrhea.
- GERD – is the popular name for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This is often caused by the action of a spiral-shaped bacterium called Helicohacter Pylori which uses its whip-like tail to burrow into the stomach or intestinal walls, causing discomfort. However, there are other additional common causes of GERD.
- Celiac disease – is another autoimmune disease which can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) leads to damage in the small intestine and means that nutrients cannot be properly absorbed.
- Leaky gut - (also known as Increased Intestinal Permeability) When the intestinal lining becomes inflamed due to over-use of antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, the structure of the lining can become damaged and gaps appear between the cells. This allows large particles and toxins to pass through the intestinal wall and escape into the body.
- Diverticulitis - often caused by a low-fiber diet. Without fiber, the colon has to work harder than normal to push the stool forward which can cause pouches to form in weak spots along the colon. Diverticulitis happens when feces get trapped in the pouches, leading to inflammation or infection.
The gastrointestinal treatment plan is different for each separate condition and is put into action after proper testing and a confirmed diagnosis.
Common Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Before a gastrointestinal treatment program is recommended, a doctor will review with you the symptoms you have been having, your medical history and will perform any tests needed. Below you will find many of the common conditions and their associated symptoms.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms
IBS is defined as abdominal pain or discomfort, along with a changed bowel habit (such as diarrhea or constipation), for 3 months or more. The abdomen is the same as the “stomach area.”
The symptoms may be different from person to person and can include:
- Sharp stomach pain and cramps
- Stomach gas and bloating
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Mucus in the stool
- Feeling of nausea after eating
Crohn's Disease Symptoms
The most common areas affected by Crohn's disease are the last part of the small intestine called the ileum and the colon. Crohn's disease symptoms can range from mild to severe and may develop gradually or come on suddenly, without warning, and may include:
- Diarrhea, due to excess fluid secreted by the intestine
- Abdominal pain and cramping due to portions of the intestinal wall swelling and thickening with scar tissue
- Blood in the stool caused by food passing through inflamed portions of the bowel
- Ulcers which can grow through the intestinal walls and can cause severe pain
- Reduced appetite and weight loss can be caused by severe cramping which can also prevent digestion and absorption of food
Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms
This condition only affects the lining of the colon and no other part of the GI tract, but this does not make the symptoms any less severe than other gastrointestinal disorders. Common symptoms can include:
- Loose bowel movements which may become increasingly urgent
- Abdominal pain and blood in the stool
- Bad cramps and rectal pain
- An inability to move the bowel despite the urge to do so
The symptoms of GERD are classic stomach ulcer symptoms including:
- A strong burning sensation
- Intense pain in the mid-upper abdomen
- Difficulty staying asleep in the early morning
- Abnormal hunger
Celiac Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of celiac disease are more varied than those of other gastrointestinal disorders and can affect many parts of the body. They include:
- Bone or joint pain
- Depression or anxiety
- Disruption of the menstrual cycle
- Itchy skin rash
Leaky Gut Symptoms
As with celiac disease symptoms, leaky gut can affect many areas of the body and symptoms may include:
- Stomach gas and bloating
- Seasonal allergies or asthma
- Hormone imbalances
- Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease
- Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Anxiety or depression
- Skin issues
- Diagnosis of candida
- Food allergies
- And many more
Diverticulitis symptoms may last from a few hours to several days and may include:
- Stomach pain, usually in the left lower side
- Bloating and stomach gas
- Fever and chills
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of appetite
Causes of Gastrointestinal Disorders
Gastrointestinal disorders are particularly common in the western world and can, in part, be attributed to the poor diet which millions of people follow eg., heavy in meat, dairy, wheat, starch, sugar, preservatives and additives, and low in fiber. A poor diet can lead to irritation and inflammation which are precursors to gastrointestinal disorders.
Overuse of antibiotics can allow bad bacteria to grow in the intestine which can lead to dysfunction, as can toxins in foods, heavy metals or a heavy reliance on laxatives, which taken over time, can cause the bowel muscles to weaken.
Autoimmune disease has been show to directly contribute to Crohn’s disease and Colitisand any kind of immune system dysfunction can leave the GI tract vulnerable to parasites, toxins and antigens which can disrupt its normal functioning.
Making a Gastrointestinal Diagnosis
Most conventional methods of gastrointestinal diagnoses are invasive and can be somewhat traumatic for the patient as they may involve a lighted scope being inserted into either the patient’s rectum or down their throat. Other gastrointestinal diagnosis procedures may involve a fine needle aspiration or biopsy needle being inserted into the patient. These procedures include colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, upper GI endoscopy, ERCP, endoscopic ultrasound and liver biopsy.
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, the gastrointestinal diagnosis approach is different. Firstly, the symptoms that the patient is presenting with will be evaluated, and not just the obvious ones such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea and cramps but also the less obvious signs of gastrointestinal disorders such as fatigue, allergies, candida and so on.
Then a functional evaluation will be performed to assess the functioning of each organ that may be potentially contributing to the symptoms. This is important since the dysfunction of an organ can be as symptomatic as a disease of one. The patient will then be evaluated to see what kind of nutritional supplementation will be required to bring the organ function back into alignment. A functional stool test may also be ordered to evaluate the physiology of the gastrointestinal tract, eg. Is there inflammation in gut, what is the enzyme activity in the pancreas, is bacterial overgrowth or parasites present and what is the immune status in the gut?
Natural Gastrointestinal Treatment
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, once the diagnosis described above has been made, natural gastrointestinal treatment program will then be offered. This will be tailored specifically to each individual patient and will involve testing to see which nutritional supplements they will respond best to, in order to rebalance the gastrointestinal tract. There may be multifactorial issues which may be setting off a “chain reaction” throughout the body and so it is important to handle all components of these multiple issues, to ensure the body begins to heal properly.
Stomach & Digestive Issue Doctors
Lifeworks Wellness Center is long recognized as one of the foremost natural health clinics in the US. At our Florida alternative medicine office, we have been offering gastrointestinal treatment for a long time and many of our patients have benefitted from it. Our patients fly in from all over the world because they simply can’t find clinics offering solutions to their gastrointestinal disorders and natural medicine for gastrointestinal disorders where they live.
We have helped many patients with their health concerns through an all-natural and effective gastrointestinal treatment program and we would love to help you, too. To become a patient, or for more information, feel free to call our New Patient Coordinator at (727) 466-6789 or simply submit an online web form with your request.
Common Gastrointestinal Ailments & Treatments
Indigestion is rarely a solitary condition but more usually a sign or symptom of another condition, such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) ulcers, or gallbladder disease. When indigestion is not linked to another condition...
Heartburn is a burning chest pain, just behind the breastbone. Occasional heartburn is a fairly common digestive complaint which often accompanies indigestion, and 20% of Americans report heartburn as a weekly occurrence. Also known as acid reflux...
Bowel movement frequency varies a lot from person to person. Some people have bowel movements three times a day while for others, three times a week is normal. Constipation occurs when the movements...
Most people are familiar with the signs of diarrhea – they include bowel movements (often very frequent) with stools which are loose and watery. Diarrhea is fairly common and usually harmless, only lasting a couple of days at most and not requiring any treatment...
Stomach pain is very common and almost everyone will experience some form of stomach pain in their lifetime. Stomach pain can vary from mild to severe and may be present for a number of different reasons. Stomach pain may be...
Food allergies or food intolerances affect a huge percentage of the population but most people manage the symptoms of their food allergy by avoiding the food(s) in question, once they have identified which foods they are...
Gastrointestinal Disease & Treatment
Leaky gut (also known as Increased Intestinal Permeability) is a term used to describe the condition of the intestines when its lining becomes damaged and gaps appear between the cells. This allows large particles...
Many patients have been suffering the very unpleasant symptoms of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth for years, without being correctly diagnosed. Many of them have been prescribed lots of antibiotics in the past for various health issues have had their gut flora changed drastically as a result. What is SIBO? Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)...
Crohn’s is a disease of the immune system, and is classified medically as an autoimmune disorder, which means the body is producing antibodies that work against itself...
IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and together with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) is a non-specific diagnostic term for conditions which cannot be categorized as either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis...
Colitis, sometimes referred to as ulcerative colitis, is identified as an autoimmune disease in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. This can lead to cramps and diarrhea...
Diverticulitis is often caused by a low-fiber diet. Without fiber, the colon has to work harder than normal to push the stool forward which can cause pouches to form in weak spots along the colon...
GERD is the popular name for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or heartburn. This is often caused by the action of a spiral-shaped bacterium called Helicobacter Pylori which uses its whip-like tail to burrow into the stomach or intestinal walls, causing discomfort...
Gastrointestinal Disease Patient Testimonials
Doctors' Videos on Gastrointestinal Disease
Gastrointestinal Related Conditions
As we in the West eat an increasingly more refined, over-processed diet and take less and less exercise, we pay the price with our health. There are many ailments brought on by poor diet, but one of the most common and often the first indication that our diet is inadequate is constipation. It is the ...
Unless specifically investigated, Leaky Gut Syndrome (otherwise known as Increased Intestinal Permeability) often goes unrecognized, yet this is quite a common health problem...
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is recognized by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as a defined clinical condition. CFS usually manifests as extreme tiredness or fatigue which cannot be remedied with sleep. Symptoms often intensify after physical exertion and a person with CFS is usually very inhibited in the activities they can undertake.
As the main gateway into our body, the gastro-intestinal system, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach and 26ft of intestine, is susceptible to a range of problems. Problems can result in the common symptoms of nausea, stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. Bacteria infection in the stomach or lower intestine can lead to a sudden flare-up...
Acid Reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. In a healthy person, the valve between the esophagus and the stomach only closes when there is enough acid in the stomach. As people age, or if they are on medication that reduces the amount of stomach acid that they have, they...
Classic stomach ulcer symptoms include burning, intense pain in the mid-upper abdomen, and waking in the early morning, often with a sensation of abnormal hunger. About 80 percent of cases are caused by the action of a spiral-shaped bacterium called Helicobacter Pylori which uses its whip-like tail to burrow into the stomach or intestinal walls...
*Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary based on a patient's medical history and other factors.