Our Philosophy on Integrative Digestive Care
Have you ever had acid reflux, nausea, or constipation and thought it was a normal part of life? Perhaps you have recently been diagnosed with IBS, Celiac, Crohn’s, or Ulcerative Colitis and don’t quite know how to find relief. Like most of us, you have probably stopped by the drug store to pick up some anti-acid or stool softener and tried to get on with the rest of your day as quickly as possible. Digestive issues are uncomfortable, distracting and sometimes life altering when persistent. Thankfully, with integrative digestive care, you can work with your provider to find treatment plans that work and help get you back to having a happy tummy.
At Northwest Integrative Medicine we see your body’s symptoms as helpful clues to show us the larger picture of your health. Integrative digestive care means looking beyond the primary symptoms like diarrhea, or nausea and finding the root cause of the problem. Digestion is interrelated to many systems in the body, and often times the root cause of your system isn’t in your belly at all but a larger problem the body is manifesting as a “tummy ache.”
One of the most common systems affecting digestion is the nervous system, especially in the case of patients with high stress lives or history of anxiety. Stress and anxiety greatly impair digestion by reducing stomach acid release which is essential to breaking down your food. In this case, finding a solution requires a treatment approach that also address the underlying issue of stress and anxiety, whether that be through counseling, craniosacral therapy, or supplements and medications.
Practicing integrative care also means co-creating treatment plans with our patients. No guilt trips or bullying- we want to build a plan that you can implement in real life. In an ideal world, we would all eat the perfect diet, have the perfect job and never feel stressed and the perfect balance between work and family life, but this just isn’t reality. Everyone is starting from a different place and when deciding what treatments are best for you, we want you to be a part of the decision. Our goal is to set you up for success by matching you with treatments that will give you relief and not create additional stress because it’s a financial burden or impossible to manage as a full-time parent. Our body is a whole and integrated system and we believe health care should be too.
GERD or Acid Reflux is often related to the foods we eat or structural issues with your digestive tract. Antacid treatments, including Prilosec and tums, can lower your stomach acid levels to the point that they no longer help to break down your food, causing secondary issues such as gas/bloating or constipation/diarrhea. Our physicians work evaluate the specific triggers and causes of your heartburn and can help you implement both symptom relieving and restorative therapies for your digestive tract.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional digestive disorder which usually has abdominal pain and altered bowel habits (constipation and/or diarrhea). There is no obvious pathology in IBS, which can make diagnosis and even treatment very difficult. The physicians at NWIM are well educated about IBS evaluation, including testing for dysbiosis or occult infections and have treated many cases successfully, including commonly associated conditions such as fatigue and fibromyalgia.
Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) includes two inflammatory conditions of the digestive system – Ulcerative Colitis (commonly called “colitis” or UC) and Crohn’s disease. Common symptoms include diarrhea, bloody stools, abdominal pain and weight loss. Over time without proper treatment, these conditions can damage other organs such as the liver, eyes, skin and vascular system. At NWIM, treatment commonly consists of dietary or stool testing, supportive nutrients for the digestive system and immune system. We coordinate with specialists to find the approach that helps your body to thrive.