There are a few underlying factors that can be present when gut health is compromised. One of the things we evaluate for at RestorMedicine is various infections that affect the gut. These can be parasitic, bacterial or yeast-related.
More common that one would imagine, intestinal parasites are a major cause of GI problems. When people think of intestinal parasites, sometimes they think of severe diarrhea coupled with malabsorption and weight loss. But this is often not the clinical picture. Parasites can cause constipation or diarrhea, and often some combination of the two. They can cause intestinal bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, irregular bowel movements, and can fuel either weight loss or weight gain. Some examples of parasites are Cryptosporidium parvum, Entamoeba histolytica, Dientamoeba fragilis Giardia lambia and Blastocystis hominis.
Because parasitic infections, especially once they have become chronic, can be hard to detect on stool testing, it is important to use highly specialized and sensitive testing to uncover them. Once the infection is identified, either anti-parasitic herbs or medications can be prescribed to rid the body of the infection.
By far the most common bacterial infection we see is H. pylori. It is a bacteria that affects the stomach. Typical symptoms are burping/ belching, heartburn or reflux, feeling like food just sits heavily in the stomach, and intolerances to foods that never caused problems in the past. It does this but attaching the cells that produce stomach acid, so it compromises ones ability to digest properly, especially proteins.
Once again standard medical testing often misses the detection of H. pylori, so specialized testing is advised for an accurate diagnosis. H. pylori can be treated either with a 14 day course of medication, or herbs and nutrients to counter the infection and heal the digestive tract.
Because other kinds of bacteria are a normal part of the intestinal flora, we sometimes see imbalances in this part of the GI tract too. Usually a regimen of herbs and good quality probiotics will rebalance the gut flora, but possible underlying triggers of the imbalance such as parasites and gluten intolerance must be evaluated too.
Candida is a normal part of the gut flora, but again, can get out of balance if other stressors exist, such as parasites or inflammation from food intolerances. For more information on Candida, please click here.