In the world of camera crazy selfies, the one picture that could be life saving is that selfie of the colon. Colon cancer screening is never something you should put off.
Ahhh yes, mentioning anything about that 5 foot luminous tube that weaves itself around the core of our essence makes us want to run in the opposite direction. Don’t!
The colon is VITAL to maintaining homeostasis and overall balance.
The colon absorbs essential vitamins, salts, nutrients, and water that gives us our good health. However any disruption is this function causes toxins to be absorbed back into the blood stream rather than expelling them. The reversal of this pathway leads to not only GI complaints, but also systemic symptoms. Examples include, fatigue, skin changes, hormonal imbalances, sleep issues, depression, hair loss, weight gain, weight loss, and headaches.
Over one hundred trillion microorganisms (bacteria) reside in the colon. There are more microorganisms in the colon than are contained within the skin, heart, bone, brain, and the rest of the body’s cells combined. A proper balance of healthy bacteria must be maintained inside the colon to avoid being constantly plagued with digestive ailments.
Since we live in a world where processed food is a staple, it is no surprise we are being plagued with continuous health ailments. The impurity of our diet has led to an epidemic of persistent illnesses. Also, the overuse of antibiotics has resulted in a paradigm shift of our normal gut flora. The overwhelming force of trauma of both of these habits has made it difficult for the colon to withstand any level of normalcy.
The sharp rise in obesity, ADHD, adult and children’s cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions, must leave us wondering, why? What are we doing wrong?
Once again, the answers lie in the lumen of our GI tract. This is exactly why you SHOULD NOT avoid your colon cancer screening.
Taking care of our gut health is not optional, it is vital.
How can we do that when we constantly feel like we are swimming against the current?
Here are a few simple ideas:
- Eliminate sugar. “On the high sugar diet mouth-to-anus transit time was significantly prolonged, despite a shortened mouth-to-cecum transit time. The fecal concentration of total bile acids and the fecal concentration of secondary bile acids increased significantly. Diet affected neither the serum bile acid pattern nor the concentration. Breath hydrogen tests showed significantly enhanced H2 production on the high sugar diet. We conclude that the quantity of refined sugar in the diet can significantly influence gut function and the composition of bowel contents”. (Gut. 1991 Apr; 32(4): 367–371.)
- Increase water intake. Water helps break down food and improves waste transit and elimination. It also enhances vitamin and nutrient absorption and helps maintain a balanced pH in the gut.
- Listen to your “Gut”. Whether the symptoms are of GI origin or systemic, it is important to have the gut evaluated in its entirety. A GI work up may include:
a). Evaluation for food allergies,
b.) Hydrogen breath test for bacterial overgrowth,
c.) Celiac disease,
d.) Stool sample for fungal or bacterial infection.
e.) Upper Endoscopy for reflux, hernias, erosions etc.
f.) Colonoscopy for polyps, cancer, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, generalized colitis etc.
This is by no means a complete list. It only outlines different ways of getting into the GI tract. It is imperative not to ignore the body’s communication with us.
- Probiotics. These are the “good” guys that have come to save the day. Packaged and labeled under many different disguises, it is hard to know which one is the right one. Before starting down the road of pill-popping, first find the cause of the symptoms. Once identified, then reach for these microbes.
Many of us ignore the warning signs because we may feel it is “gross” or “embarrassing.” Physicians and specialists are highly skilled and trained in the area of Gastroenterology. There is nothing there we have not seen or experienced before.
Health is #1 priority. By allowing toxins to continue to reside in the seat of our solar plexus, we continue to live in a toxic environment.
Would we let toxic individuals stay in our home? Then why are we doing it to our OWN self?
Dr. Raman’s Concierge Medical Practice is focused on holistic care and good health maintenance. For more information on healthy eating habits and achieving and maintaining OPTIMAL health, CONTACT our office today to schedule your appointment. You can also learn more by following Dr. Raman on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
With its painful cramping, accompanying gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation, is there possibly any good news about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Actually, the answer is yes. Although the condition usually requires long-term management, sufferers are not at an increased risk of colorectal cancer because IBS doesn’t cause bowel tissue changes. Additionally, IBS can usually be controlled by making healthy lifestyle adjustments.
What is IBS?
Affecting the large intestine/colon, IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder worldwide, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. However, because the majority of people who do suffer from IBS have only mild symptoms, they rarely realize they have the condition.
Importance of Gut Health
A small number of IBS patients experience severe symptoms that require medication and ongoing physician care, but most patients can control symptoms by improving their gut health. The gut is garnering a lot of attention lately and rightly so. Research continues to connect a healthy gut with overall good health.
Not just one specific body part, the “gut” refers to your overall digestive system that runs from your mouth to the end of your large intestine. When determining gut health, most doctors focus on gut flora and the gut barrier.
The gut is filled with 400 known varieties of bacteria and 100 trillion microorganisms in a system called the gut flora that regulates metabolism and gastrointestinal function and makes up most of our immune system. The healthiest gut is one where all the bacteria and microorganisms are in balance and there’s plenty of diversity.
A variety of common things can negatively affect gut health by disrupting gut flora diversity, including:
- Antibiotics, birth control pills and NSAIDs
- Diets high in processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar and wheat that has been stripped of its nutrients
- Chronic stress
The gut barrier is an optimally functioning gut that processes and delivers the products our body needs while moving along and disposing of the things that our body doesn’t need or which could harm it.
When the gut flora is out of balance, the gut can become inflamed which negatively affects the gut barrier. If this condition becomes chronic, it can present itself as irritable bowel syndrome.
Improve IBS Symptoms and Overall Gut Health
Now, back to the good news. It IS possible to not only keep IBS symptoms in check, but to also achieve optimal gut health.
- Toxins and Antibiotics: The most common recommendation for a healthy gut is to avoid the toxins listed above, particularly antibiotics. Before requesting or accepting an antibiotic, discuss your concerns about gut health with your doctor and determine if an antibiotic is truly needed. If it is, ask about ways to balance gut flora after completing the course of antibiotics.
- Diet and Stress: Eliminating processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar and wheat is quite possibly the best way to improve your gut health and control IBS. Most people experience a dramatic improvement in IBS symptoms and overall wellbeing within weeks of eliminating those foods from their diet. Similarly, people who learn and apply stress-reduction techniques experience positive results that provide motivation to continue efforts.
Work with a Trusted Physician
IBS, like many other conditions, affects each person differently and therefore requires a very personalized approach to care.
Dr. Raman’s Concierge Medical Practice is focused on caring for each person as a whole, not just a list of symptoms. Our office is committed to helping our patients stay well and maintain good health rather than treating patients only after they become ill.