Most people consume three meals a day and a range of foods at that! A meal out with your friends with alcohol, a special
birthday sweet with your children or even a big weekend breakfast with different options than normal are just three examples of potential
meals that may cause changes in the microbiome.
Your digestive system is constantly digesting food and absorbing and distributing nutrients around the body. It’s normal to experience
the occasional digestive change now and again or digestive symptom, but ongoing or severe symptoms may indicate something more
serious which needs to be investigated further.
What Are Common Digestive Issues?
Dysbiosis is a term that describes changes in the microbiome balance.
These changes can occur in the small intestine (AKA Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)), large bowel or even mouth.
Dysbiosis is caused from a combination of antibiotic use, stress, changes in bowel motility, poor fibre intake or medication use.
Ulcers can occur in the stomach or duodenum as a result of damage to the mucous membrane lining of the digestive tract. If
the erosion continues, it can result in significant blood loss, pain as well as potential cancer development.
Subtle symptoms can include nausea, feelings of fullness or gnawing, burning or even vomiting.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder (GORD)
GORD is a digestive disorder caused by the reflux (backward flow) of food and stomach secretions into the oesophagus and
sometimes mouth. This can cause throat burning, pain, coughing or even erosion of teeth.
Normally doctors will prescribe antacids such as Nexium or pariet whereas naturopathic practitioners will focus on increasing bowel motility
and build the microbiome health by removing unwanted opportunistic organisms which promote fermentation.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Recurrent gut pain from bloating, gas or fullness is often given the label of IBS . Symptoms also include altered bowel
habits (diarrhoea, constipation or both), flatulence or vague uncomfortable digestive system.
Diverticulitis occurs when small particles of food matter become stuck in bulging pouches form in the lining of the colon. These
pouches can become inflamed or infected, resulting in diverticulitis symptoms which can require hospitalisation if it becomes chronic.
Dietary factors such as low fibre intake, dehydration, constipation or low beneficial probiotic numbers are contributing factors to the
development of diverticulitis.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD is a chronic, recurring condition caused by an abnormal immune response that triggers an autoimmune response in the
digestive system. The autoimmune reaction results in inflammation to the gastrointestinal lining and damage to the cells of the
affected area. Ulcerative colitis, which affects the large intestine and the rectum, and Crohn’s disease, which can affect any part of the
GI tract, are two types of IBD.
A variety of triggers for the development of IBD including digestive infections, pharmaceutical use and emotional stress initiate
an autoimmune reaction.
Coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity
Coeliac disease occurs in people with an underlying genetic susceptibility and it is an autoimmune disease, whereas a gluten
sensitivity is not a disease but a allergy sensitivity reaction to the wheat.
Both result in inflammation in the digestive tract, malabsorption and often symptoms such as IBS, bloating or even skin rashes.
Other symptoms can occur such as unexplained weight loss, anaemia, fatigue, muscle cramps and reduced bone density.
If you are experiencing digestive issues and are wondering why, please investigate further now. Functional medicine microbiome tests
are excellent investigative tests to give you more data on what is happening in your digestive system.