How To Tackle Your Gut Issues

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For the past 10 years I’ve been struggling with GI issues. A lot of you guys reading this probably have GI issues of your own. This is going to be like a PART 1 guide for how to find out what is really going on. I am not a dietician, I’m just a regular girl who is always bloated. But I am closer to figuring out why this is and what I can do about it. This is my personal journey, it will be different than yours. However, I hope some of the things I’ve tried along the way may help anyone who is not sure where to turn next. 🙂  

Try an Elimination Diet

One of the best ways to begin is to try an elimination diet to see if YOU can figure out if there are any foods you are sensitive to. The reason I suggest this first is that once you seek out a GI or nutritionist, this is often something they will have you try. So it’s nice to have the knowledge ahead of time.

I am a slave to the Clean Program, but many other programs are very similar. Cut out certain foods for 21 days and then add one back in at a time and see how your body reacts. You might try it and be like bingo, dairy and eggs are the culprit. Or you can be like me, where it will teach you a lot about clean eating but you can’t quite pinpoint one food that is causing the problem. So we march on.

Consult with a GI

From my experience, a GI can have its benefits and its faults. I’ve been to four GI’s in my life since college. Three diagnosed me with IBS, put me on Miralax or Metamucil, and sent me on my merry way. 

A few months ago I found a GI who was kind and patient and didn’t make me feel like my GI issues were not worth his time. Find someone like this. By this time we’ve had S4B for almost 4 years and I learned a lot about my diet and my body, so I had a ton of information to provide him. He suggested I get an MRI. The first person I’ve ever come across to think hm, maybe it’s not what you’re eating, maybe something is going on in your intestines that causing these symptoms.

Low and behold, I have a redundant colon. I won’t go into full depth on this because it’s my issue and not yours, but essentially I have a colon that’s too long with extra twists and loops. I googled the symptoms and I was like yep, that’s me. 

In a weird way I was so relived to hear this because it confirmed I wasn’t psycho (thought crossed my mind). But I was like great, now I know this but what do I do about it? Here’s where it gets tricky with the GI’s. He suggested a prescription medication that I was actually on a few years ago, and it made me really nauseous. I’d prefer not to go on a medication if I don’t have to, so that is currently on hold at the moment.  I’ve now moved onto my next professional.

Consult with a Nutritionist

Whether it’s an RD or a CNS (whatever you feel comfortable with) they are going to look at things a little differently. They are going to look deeper than just the “food” and really dig into the science behind food composition, your personal gut health, and how changing the foods we eat and supplements we take in the right manner can significantly improve the way we feel.

SO with the nutritionist I did a TRIAD test through Genova Diagnostics. This looked at my blood, stool, and urine and provided a very in-depth look at what’s going on in my bod. Although this was just a snapshot of a few given days, it provided a lot of information. 

MY RESULTS

♦ I have NO food allergies. Side-note: About four years ago I had bloodwork done by my PCP and came back with high levels of IgG which indicated I could be allergic to gluten. Had a endoscopy and tested negative for celiac, however the GI thought I most likely had a gluten intolerance. Yes but No. Keep reading. 🙂
♦ I have low amounts of lactobacillus and bifidobactria which are two of the most prominent beneficial types of bacteria in the GI TRACT.  According to my nutritionist, this is likely because I do not have enough of a certain protein called protein H, which helps the bacteria flourish in the GI tract.
♦ I have high inulin, which can occur when there is lectin sensitivity (gluten = high lectin)

Where Do I Go From Here?

Good question haha. In my case I’ve needed to combine two outlooks on what I have going on. 1. redundant colon 2. low amount of necessary good bacteria in my gut and high amount of inulin which means I might have a lectin sensitivity. I am working with my nutritionist at this point to cut out all high lectin foods, and introduce powerful prebiotics and probiotics to get my levels to where they should be. 

And remember, there is no problem that is too small if it’s affecting your overall quality of life. There is no magic answer to gut health. What works for one person, might not work for the next. And when you try something and it doesn’t work, try not to get discouraged! Stomach aches don’t have to be your new norm. Educate yourself, and find quality professionals who are willing to listen and trial different strategies until you find what works. 🙂 I hope this gave some of you who don’t know where to begin some guidance! Again, I am no expert and I am only speaking on my own experience, however if you have any questions please feel free to reach out! 

  

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  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I have also had stomach issues for years and it’s been really difficult for me to find the reason why too. I am going to take some of your suggestions!

  • hi Maria, this is very helpful, thanks for sharing! I too have major GI issues, but I am yet to find a good GI or even a Pcp to help me figure this out. I am also a fan of Clean program, and Through Clean I found out I can’t tolerate Dairy, nightshades and sugar. I was diagnosed with Gluten Intolerance and have major Pain when there is even a tiny cross contamination. I’m wondering how did you react to Gluten after the Cleanse?

    • Hi Diana! So it was interesting, sometimes I would react to gluten and other times I woudn’t. It was pretty inconsistent which was kind of annoying! Haha. I do stay gluten free for the most part, but now that I see there are a few other contributing factors that could be why!

  • Thank you for sharing. I’ve been though this for years, years ago, and incorrectly even DIAGNOSED with Celiac 12 years ago and lived like that not finding out for years. Finally took matters into my own hands more or less and learned a lot about how my body feels about many foods and some it doesn’t like so much. It’s different now dealing with these issues with my oldest and them trying to go right to IBs, putting her on meds, ect. It’s been a pretty rough learning process.

    • Hi Sarah, I am totally with you on this! I can’t believe you were INCORRECTLY diagnosed with celiac. I hope your oldest daughter finds something that works for her!

  • For some reason those around me just think I’m nuts when I say I need to try ELIMINATING a food. But every time it’s made clear to me what’s not working because my stomach feels better or my skin clears up.

    • Good question!? I am not sure if the IBS diagnosis would be removed at this point? I’ll check with my GI and let you know!

  • I had stomach issues my whole life. Then i had Lyme disease and the antibiotics destroyed my stomach leaving me unable to digest anything. i found a doctor who really changed my life. i started off having to slow cook food for a few months until my stomach healed. he put me on a food and supplement program based on my blood work which i followed for years. i haven’t had issues since. i have a post talking about this in more detail but his name is dr. terence dulin. he’s a biochemical nutritionist based in long island and can do everything via phone. 🙂

    • Hi Jen! I will absoluetly take a look at your post and save his info! I am currently pregnant and interestingly enough my normal gut symptoms have subsided for the most part. However I hear from other they come back after the baby is born. If so, I look him up. Glad you’re feeling better!

  • I had stomach issues my whole life. Then I had Lyme disease and the antibiotics destroyed my stomach leaving me unable to digest anything. I found a doctor who really changed my life. I started off having to slow cook food for a few months until my stomach healed. He put me on a food and supplement program based on my blood work that I followed for years. I haven’t had issues since. I have a post talking about this in more detail but his name is Dr. Terence Dulin. He’s a biochemical nutritionist based in long island and can do everything via phone.

    • HI Jen, I am so sorry I am just seeing this! My grandmother actually had Lyme disease a few years ago and is still having digestive issues from the antibiotics. Thanks so much for the info I am going to look into him for her!

  • HI MARIA,
    I JUST FINISHED READING ABOUT YOUR “JOURNEY”. MAKES ME THINK THAT THE ANTIBIOTICS I TOOK AS A CHILD FOR RECURRENT SWOLLEN GLANDS IN MY THROAT AND TONSILITIES MAY HAVE CAUSED ME TO HAVE IBS AT THAT AGE. I WONDER IF IT CAUSED AN IMBALALCE IN MY GUT BIOME. FUNNY, I USED TO THINK HAVING CRAMPS WHEN GOING THE BATHROOM WAS NORMAL SO I NEVER TOLD MOM. ANYWAY. I JUST ORDERED A PRODUCT WITH BOTH PRO AND PRE BIOTICS FROM VITACOST. AND I EAT RAW SAURKRAUT AND KEFIR CUPS FROM LIFEWAYS MFG WITH OVER 50 BILLION CRU’S PER SERVING. I AGREE WITH YOU ABOUR YOUR ELIM. DIET RECOMMENATIONS. START SOMEWHERE AND SEE WHAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. THANKS FOR YOUR INFO AND GOOD LUCK TO YOU!

    • Hi Joanna! It’s really such a process. I appreciate working with professionals who can guide me, but in the end we are the ones who know how we feel! Lots of trial and error but it seems like you are doing some great things and I hope they work for you!

  • HI, GREAT POST, THANKS FOR SHARING THIS!
    I USED A SIMILAR way to detect what I have problems with and now all that’s left to do is to eat as clean as I can and take certain supplements that help me, such as curcumin and dring herbal teas to calm my tummy 🙂

  • WHat have you been doing for your redundant colon? I just realized that runs in my family and i have a lot of gI issues…

    • Hi Anna, I would look into getting a scan. I do not want surgery, so I am just maintaining a diet of foods that are easy for me to digest/anti-inflammatory, and incorporating some lifestyle tips such a chewing longer, drinking more water, taking magnesium when needed, etc. However I do know someone who did have surgery for this and it really helped. Depends on the severity of the case and personal wishes!