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Diarrhea/Constipation

Diarrhea and constipation are very common complaints that we see in our practice. People may suffer from just one, or they may fluctuate between the two. Although these may be common symptoms, these are NOT normal. There are many things that can cause diarrhea and constipation.

Symptoms may include (but not limited to):

  • Nausea
  • Belching
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Abdominal pain/discomfort
  • Abdominal distention
  • Foul smelling stools or gas
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Changes in color or consistency of stool
  • Undigested food in stool
  • Frequency: More than 4x/day, or Less than 1x/day. 

Causes May Include:

  • Underlying Infection – This can affect your body’s ability to produce appropriate levels of digestive enzymes and secretions. This can also affect your body’s ability to fight infection and can put you at an increased risk of developing other infections.
  • Lack of digestive enzymes—If your body isn’t breaking down foods appropriately, these foods can begin to ferment and create gas in the GI tract. This can lead to gas and bloating.
  • Food Sensitivities – Certain foods, specifically dairy and gluten, can cause excess gas and bloating.
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)—Overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine can cause gas and bloating, this may occur with or without eating meals. Bloating may be above the belly button, below the belly button, or both.
  • Sweeteners—Certain sweeteners, like sorbitol, aspartame, and xylitol can change your microbiome and can increase the amount of gas produced in the GI tract.
  • Antibiotics—Antibiotics can change the microbiome and can lead to yeast overgrowth or SIBO.
  • Thyroid Disorders—A common symptom of low functioning thyroid is constipation. This can cause you to feel more bloated.

Complications May Include:

  • Poor absorption of nutrients
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Increased food sensitivities
  • Weight gain/inability to lose weight
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Poor sleep/insomnia
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Irritable Bowel Disease (Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis)
  • Polyps
  • Ulcers
  • Leaky Gut

 

To make a diagnosis, your doctor may order extensive laboratory testing and perform a physical. Your doctor will use this information to create a treatment plan that is specific to YOU.

 

Treatment May Include:

 

  • Addressing Lifestyle Changes
    • Improving diet
    • Weight loss
    • Exercise recommendations
    • Stress management techniques

 

  • Addressing Underlying GI infections
    • Antimicrobials- To eliminate bacterial infections
    • Antivirals- To eliminated viral infections
    • Antifungals- To eliminated fungal infections
    • Antiparasitic- To eliminate parasitic infections

 

  • Improving Digestion
    • Digestive Enzymes—to help break down food more efficiently
    • Probiotics—To balance normal gut flora
    • Removing Food sensitivities—to reduce overall symptoms while healing the gut

 

Although diarrhea and constipation are common, it’s cause can vary from person to person. People may or may not have all of the symptoms listed above. That’s why it’s important to work with someone who can take a thorough approach to managing your case. It is NOT normal to have diarrhea or constipation regularly; you should move your bowels daily and they should be formed like a banana. Schedule a call with one of our doctors to discuss this further.