Digestive disorders can bring discomfort or be downright disruptive to your life. More importantly, they can be indicators of more serious health problems – even conditions that don’t seem related to your gut.
Over the past decade, tons of research supports the idea that your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is your second brain – you’ve probably heard this. The good news is, you can completely restore your gut health and consequently restore your overall health.
The Gut-Wrenching Truths
Your digestive tract, also known as your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, consists of your esophagus, liver, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, gallbladder and pancreas.
The State of Our Gut Health
One 2018 study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30315778/)reported more than 54.4 million ambulatory visits with a primary diagnosis for a GI disease per year in the U.S., along with 3 million hospital admissions. Another survey reported that 74 percent of Americans live with digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain – half of which did not discuss those symptoms with their doctors
Plus, how many people deal with digestive issues and don’t report them at all?
Gut Health Impact
Meanwhile, an unhealthy GI tract, commonly referred to as an unhealthy gut (or poor gut health), can impact all areas of your health including your:
Mental health and mood
In fact, 80-95% of your immune function relies on the healthy function of your GI tract.
In fact, health conditions that don’t seem related to your gut are related to your gut, such as autoimmune diseases and thyroid disease. Even diabetes and cancer can be reversed or improved when you tend to your gut health and incorporate other lifestyle changes.
You’ll find hundreds of books about gut health. One of the most-read and reputable books is The Mind-Gut Connection by Dr. Emeran Mayer (https://emeranmayer.com/book/), if you want to read deeper into this topic.
So why are we experiencing so many digestive disorders?
Several factors impact your gut health but here are a few:
Stress: when your body is in constant “fight or flight” mode, it does not have time to rest and restore. Busyness and lack of self care (eg.meditation, prayer, journaling) add to your stress level. This self care gives your parasympathetic system a chance to restore your body from all the time you’ve spent in fight or flight mode.
Exercise: though your body needs ample rest, it also needs activity. Regular exercise helps alleviate stress and stimulates hormones and your lymphatic system, which are critical to your good health.
Sleep: lack of quality sleep can disrupt healthy function of all your body’s systems. It can also trigger unhealthy food cravings and make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight (and GI tract).
Diet: poor nutrition can disrupt your gut microbiome (the good and bad bacteria), impacting how well all of your bodily systems function. Your second brain needs to be well nurtured!
As you might imagine, when you don’t take proper care of your gut – your “engine” that drives your mental health, immune health, ability to sleep and more – you aren’t likely to feel your best. You could experience chronic nagging symptoms, debilitating symptoms or even fatal diseases.
On the other hand, when you do address your gut health, you can reverse many symptoms and disorders while getting off medications that can do long-term damage.
Why Acupuncture Makes an Ideal Treatment for Digestive Disorders
Acupuncture helps balance your gut-brain axis which reduces stress.
Acupuncture helps reduce inflammation in your GI tract (liver, stomach, intestines, etc.) which helps promote stomach acid.
Acupuncture can help speed up your metabolism, reduce gastric acid and restore your stomach bile or acidity to normal levels.
Acupuncture can help restore regular, healthy bowel movements (1-2 times daily ideally).
All of these benefits are essential for proper digestion, which will help you avoid or reduce digestive disorders.
Types of Digestive Disorders Acupuncture Can Help
Acupuncture can help alleviate and eliminate many digestive disorders. This is not a complete list, but is meant to show you the range of disorders we can address. It’s also worth acknowledging that these disorders are really symptoms of poor GI health – and the poor GI health is more likely the root cause of your poor overall health.
Acid Reflux – when some of the acid content of the stomach flows backward up into your esophagus. Heartburn is the burning feeling a person gets when they have acid reflux. Frequent acid reflux may mean a person has GERD.
Celiac Disease – an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects your small intestine, and in which you develop an intolerance to gluten. Some symptoms include chronic diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, bloating fatigue, anxiety or depressin and ADHD.
Crohn’s Disease – an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that most commonly affects the part connection between the end of your small intestine and the beginning of your colon. Common symptoms include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, abdominal pain and sudden bowel movements.
Heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) – a burning sensation and symptom of acid reflux.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – when acid reflux occurs more than twice a week for several weeks at a time.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – symptoms vary day to day from having watery stools to having hard, dry, stools or bloating.
Leaky Gut Syndrome – gaps in the intestinal walls allow bacteria and other toxins to pass into the bloodstream. A few symptoms include chronic diarrhea, constipation, or bloating, nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, skin issues or difficulty concentrating. Leaky gut can cause other digesting disorders or health issues, too.
Ulcerative Colitis – a variation of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affecting your large intestine or colon. Symptoms can be similar to Crohn’s disease symptoms, but may also include malnutrition, joint pain and eye inflammation. Sores and ulcers can develop in the lining of your colon, causing blood in your stool, pain with diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
A Client Testimony
Client Pam S recently shared, “I’ve been receiving treatment from Heather for over a year now. I started seeing her when my acid reflux was flaring up and she helped me get off the PPIs and through acupuncture and supplements it is now under control. The sessions are relaxing and help keep my acid reflux at bay. I’ve recommended Wheeler Wellness to many friends and colleagues. The whole team at Wheeler Wellness is fabulous!"
Remember, symptoms of digestive disorders do not always surface in your stomach or gut. Your recurring or chronic headaches, skin issues, anxiety or depression, allergies, thyroid dysfunction, weight fluctuations and more could indicate poor gut health and risk for more serious complications if left unaddressed.
Don’t just “deal with” your symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications or other remedies. Get your gut microbiome back into balance so you can feel healthy, energetic and mentally sharp for your work, family and self! If you’d like to explore acupuncture for your digestive issues or chronic symptoms, book your consultation today https://wheelerwellness.intakeq.com/booking?categoryId=4b5a61cb-c78e-40a8-afb1-9ebd73480f2e).