Holistic Gastroenterologist – Naturopathic Doctor for Gut & Digestive Health
Patient Testimonials and Reviews
Parasitic, Bacterial and Yeast-Related Digestive Disorders
Intestinal Parasitic Infections
More common than one would imagine, digestive infections such as intestinal parasite infestations are a significant cause of GI problems. When people think of intestinal parasites, they sometimes think of severe diarrhea, malabsorption, and weight loss. But this is often not the clinical picture. Parasites can cause constipation, diarrhea, and often some combination. They can cause intestinal bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, and 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 can be hard to detect on stool testing, especially once they have become chronic, 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 of the bacterial digestive infections we see is H. pylori, which 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 have never caused problems in the past. It does this by attacking the cells that produce stomach acid, thereby compromising your 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 internal flora, but possible underlying triggers of the imbalance such as parasites and gluten intolerance must be evaluated too.
Digestive Yeast Overgrowth
Candida Albicans is a digestive yeast that makes up a normal part of the internal flora, but again, can get out of balance if other stressors exist, such as parasites or inflammation from food intolerances. This opportunistic fungus is the cause of many undesirable symptoms, ranging from fatigue and weight gain to joint pain and gas. These microorganisms thrive on sugar and carbohydrates, and reproduce millions and billions of times.
When the Candida Albicans population starts increasing, it can weaken the intestinal wall and migrate from the digestive system into the bloodstream, releasing its toxic byproducts throughout the body. Ordinarily, the Candida Albicans population is kept under control by the friendly bacteria in our digestive system. However, when there is a major imbalance in our diet, such as during a favorite candy-eating holiday, the fungi start to multiply and can quickly take over.
The overgrowth of Candida Albicans produces toxins that your body’s immune system can struggle to cope with. The uncomfortable side effects of this battle range from headaches and fatigue to abdominal pain and depression, aka the “Sugar Blues.” Patients that have suffered symptoms of increased Candida Albicans production report a diminution of both their sweet tooth and the overwhelming craving once their intestinal health has been balanced through specific naturopathic and medicinal corrections.
*Results may vary from person to person.