Have you ever been told: “There’s nothing wrong with you.”, “It’s all in your head.” or “All of your tests have come back normal so there is nothing to do.”?
As a family doctor, when I reached dead ends with patients, I could sense their frustration. I felt frustrated too. I believed them. I wanted to help them but when I exhausted my resources, I didn’t know where to turn.
A common scenario I’d encounter is a patient with gut issues.
The patient could present with a variety of symptoms ranging from diarrhea to constipation to heartburn, bloating, or abdominal pain. But the scenario played out something like this: I’d try a band-aid solution to suppress the symptom. Sometimes it worked. Often it didn’t.
After a few band-aids, we’d try to do some testing – likely some imaging like an x-ray or abdominal CT scan and stool testing looking for bacteria. The tests were almost always unrevealing.
Next step–specialist. The patient would end up having more invasive testing done like a colonoscopy or EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy). The most common outcome was that everything looked fine or we didn’t find anything that related to their symptoms.
So after all of that, the patient is back to square 1. They now have lots of information about what it isn’t, but no help for what it actually is or even what to do next.
Nothing except medical bills and the oh-so-helpful advice to live with it. You are fine.
Here are two things I know for sure:
- The body is designed to feel amazing and when it doesn’t there is a reason.
- Patients have better things to spend their time and money on than doctors’ appointments so if they are going with symptoms they are real.
There are LOTS of problems with the medical system today. One with the focus to mostly rule out things that could potentially kill you. This is CYB medicine (cover your butt). Thank you, lawyers.
It is important to rule out life-threatening diseases but once they are ruled out, conventional medicine has no solutions. Even if the IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) medication worked, why do you have IBS in the first place? Even if the laxative makes your bowels move, why aren’t they moving on their own to begin with?
No one asks these questions. There’s no time for that. You aren’t dying, so you are fine.
I believe there is a huge gap between dying and fine. What about living to your fullest potential and feeling great? That’s what I want for my life and for my clients.
How do we get there?
Well, I agree with conventional medicine about this one point. It’s important to rule out the really bad stuff first. But then, if that is normal, let’s drop the band-aid approach and dig deeper to find the why. For gut-related symptoms, the why is often found by looking at who is living in the gut.
There are trillions of bacteria living in the gut. Some good. Some are not so good. Who is living in your gut can have a dramatic impact on how you feel.
In my 15 years as a family practitioner, I only found one positive stool test. ONE.
That is because in conventional medicine, only a few pathogens are being looked for in the standard testing that insurance companies pay for and is available at most labs. The commonly ordered test looks for 5 bacteria: Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Campylobacter, and E. Coli.
In addition to only looking for a limited number of potential pathogens, the testing methods themselves are not ideal. To evaluate the sample, the patient collects a slide prepared by a lab tech and then it is examined under the microscope. Even with the best tech and optimal training, there is so much that can be missed. So the test results come back normal and the patient is told they are fine.
Guess what? If you are having gut-related symptoms, there is almost certainly an infection in your gut that is playing a role. There are so many tests that I didn’t know about as a conventionally trained MD and now I do. As I’ve broadened my training to include holistic and functional training, my tool belt is much bigger and so is my ability to find solutions for clients.
I now perform a DNA PCR test on a stool sample of my clients. It is like a crime scene investigation of the stool. We aren’t relying on a lab tech to hopefully stumble upon the answer. Instead, we are looking for the DNA of dozens of bacteria. I’ve performed hundreds of these tests and I’ve never found a perfect one yet.
The first test like this I ever performed was on me. I wasn’t even having gut symptoms but I was curious. I found lots to be fixed and as I worked on fixing it, my energy increased, my achiness decreased and I just felt generally better.
So if you are having gut-related symptoms or even if you aren’t but want to live the happiest, healthiest life possible the first step is identifying the problem: who is living in your gut and are they helping you or hurting you? Then developing a focused plan to fix it leads to amazing results.
My conventional training led me to believe there isn’t likely an infection in your gut. But now I no longer believe that lie. If you are having any gut-related symptoms or not feeling your absolute best, there likely is something that can be fixed in your gut.
Don’t settle for okay. You are designed for so much more.