WHAT IS DIGESTIVE HEALTH?
Our digestive system is vitally important to our overall health. The digestive system is not only responsible for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste, but its condition can also impact our immune system, musculoskeletal system, mental health, hormones, and more. To ensure that your digestive health is where it needs to be, our team at Integrative Pain and Wellness Center can perform comprehensive blood and stool tests to look for any issues you may have. We will also ask about any symptoms you may be experiencing to narrow down the issue. Osteopathic physicians Dr. Matthew Barker and Dr. Melanie Gray believe that feeling great starts from within so we work hard to ensure that every facet of your health is in great shape. Call our office in Southlake, TX and the surrounding areas of Midland, and Odessa, TX to schedule your appointment today!
"We have had a great experience with Dr. Barker! Our newborn had a tongue and lip tie revised, and Dr. Barker worked with her to relieve restrictions. In three sessions, she has gone from a poor sleeper in constant discomfort to a happy, relaxed baby. He helped loosen up her tongue restrictions and she is nursing much better (and my pain is gone)! I highly recommend Dr. Barker."- K.P. / Google / Jun 24, 2020
"Dr. Barker has helped me turn my health around without the use of harmful medications. I was diagnosed with RA and didn't want to take the meds with horrible side effects. He has helped get my RA under control, I am off my cholesterol and blood pressure meds. He has helped with hormone treatment which has improved my life tremendously. And at the young age of 60 I feel fabulous thanks to Dr. Barker."- C.F. / Google / Feb 05, 2020
"Dr. Barker is a very friendly, thorough, and talented provider. I’m very satisfied with the pain relief I’ve experienced from his treatments."- L.C. / Google / Jan 05, 2020
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what are the SYMPTOMS OF POOR GUT HEALTH?
The most common sign of inflammation in the digestive tract is abdominal bloating. Two frequent causes of inflammation in the digestive tract include infections and food sensitivities. Inflammation that originates in the digestive tract does not stay there; instead, it travels through the rest of the body. A highly inflammatory state of the body can make conditions, like arthritis or gout, worse and contribute to musculoskeletal pain.
Some signs and symptoms that the digestive system is not working properly include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Abdominal pain
What Are the Risk Factors for Poor Gut Health?
Everyone’s gut microbiome is different, and one-size-fits-all solutions aren’t always the best for improving gut health. However, myriad factors can put gut health at risk, several of which are controllable. Some of the biggest risk factors for poor gut health include:
- Diets high in sugars and carbs
- Regular consumption of highly processed foods
- Low fiber intake
- Chronic stress
- A lack of sleep or low-quality sleep
- Overuse of antibiotics
- Immune diseases
- Chronic infections
- Being overweight or obese
- Unbalanced hormone levels
- Poor nutrient absorption
HOW are DIGESTIVE ISSUES treated?
Before we proceed with any treatment, Dr. Barker and Dr. Gray will first work to understand the origin of your issue and how it is affecting your body. It's essential to determine the root cause of your digestive system so that we do more than just mask your symptoms; we want to improve your health at the source of the issue. To diagnose any conditions, we utilize both stool and blood testing to scan for bacterial infections, yeast overgrowth, parasites, inflammation, malabsorption, dysbiosis of the microbiome, and food sensitivities. As soon as we have determined the cause of your pain and other symptoms, we can address the problem at its source with diet modifications, supplements, or medications. The treatment you receive for your digestive health will depend on your unique situation, as well as your diagnosis.
How Are Gut Health Issues Diagnosed?
Integrative Pain and Wellness Center uses a comprehensive approach to diagnose gut health issues. Typically, Dr. Matthew Barker or Dr. Melanie Gray will go over your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and run additional diagnostic tests. We may also ask about your diet, lifestyle, and stress levels. Diagnostic tests may include blood tests to assess inflammation markers and stool tests to evaluate for infections or imbalances in gut bacteria. Imaging tests, such as x-rays, ultrasounds, or CT scans, may need to be used to look at your digestive tract to see exactly what is going on. After making an accurate diagnosis, we will be able to develop an appropriate treatment plan to help improve your gut health.
Gut Health FAQ
What foods might be recommended to improve my gut health?
Your recommended diet or foods to consume more of will depend on what the Integrative Pain and Wellness Center team discovers about your unique digestive system symptoms and results. However, in general, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, seeds, and healthy fats such as olive oils or omega-3s are good dietary staples for most individuals.
What supplements should I take?
The exact supplements our Southlake, TX practitioners may suggest will again depend on your individual gut health, symptoms, and test results. For many, though, probiotics and prebiotics are excellent options because they contain lots of healthy bacteria for better gut health.
Will poor gut health have an effect on my ability to fight illness?
Yes, absolutely. Studies have shown that the body’s systems are interconnected and that those with an inflamed digestive tract and harmful gut microbiota will be less likely to have a strong immune system. This may result in increased vulnerability to common colds, the flu, and other illness.
How can I maintain good digestive health?
Maintaining good digestive health involves eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, staying hydrated, managing stress, getting regular exercise, and avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
Can digestive disorders affect mental health?
Yes, there is a strong connection between the gut and the brain, often referred to as the gut-brain axis. Disorders like IBS have been associated with anxiety and depression, and improving digestive health can sometimes lead to improvements in mental well-being.
When should I see a doctor for digestive issues?
It's advisable to see a member of our team at Integrative Pain and Wellness Center if you experience persistent or severe digestive symptoms, such as chronic abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, blood in stool, or changes in bowel habits.
Keep your gut healthy and happy
At Integrative Pain and Wellness Center, we take every precaution necessary to ensure that your overall health is in excellent condition. When it comes to your digestive health, we especially take the time to ensure that everything is functioning as it needs to. However, if you notice certain signs or symptoms, like abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or heartburn, then it's crucial to have these issues looked at. Reach out to Dr. Barker or Dr. Gray at our Southlake, TX office to arrange your one-on-one appointment, and get to the bottom of your gut concerns.
How Does Gut Health Impact Overall Well-Being?
Gut health involves the health and balance of the gut microbiome, and influences digestion, mental well-being, immunity, and overall health.Read
What are the Signs of Poor Gut Health?
Bad gut health can lead to bloating, discomfort, poor immunity, compromised mental health, lower energy levels, and hormonal imbalances.Read