Cara is a fantastic app that helps people correlate digestive symptoms with foods, menstrual cycles, sleep, water intake, pain, stress and physical activity. When I heard about this app I thought “finally, my dream app exists” because I have been wanting a way for people to track multiple factors that relate to digestion that includes different ways to look at the data. This app was designed by doctors and has reliable ways to track subjective symptoms. I found that this app is easy to use and after around one to two weeks of using it, I found that the [...]
You may be surprised by how many people take laxatives or stool softeners every day. Many of these products were prescribed by a medical provider. When people who have chronic constipation come to our office, we ask questions to determine the cause of their constipation so that we can treat their constipation without the side effects associated with laxatives.
No Single Cause of Constipation
There is no single cause of constipation and often people will have more than one of the root causes on this list.
Inadequate water intake – This is a very common cause of constipation especially [...]
I often prescribe diet changes to patients for treatment of conditions, weight loss or for general overall health. Diet changes are challenging because often people have trouble finding new foods that they like to prepare and eat. Here are some meal planning resources that can support diet changes for long-term success.
Making Meal Planning Easier
The Fresh 20
This is an easy-to-use meal planning service that helps you increase your intake of vegetables and whole foods and/or avoid dairy or gluten. For $1.50-2.00 per week, you get a shopping list with 20 items and recipes for a week’s worth [...]
I am surprised by how many people receive a diagnosis of IBS-D (diarrhea type) without ever getting dietary counseling about elimination diets or avoidance of dairy products. People with IBS-D are often prescribed antidiarrheals like Immodium. When people with IBS come to see me, I ask them questions about their diet and the age of onset of their symptoms as well as any known triggers.
I have had two cases of long-term undiagnosed Giardia infections that caused intermittent diarrhea but the vast majority of the patients I see for IBS have great improvements with diet changes or digestive support.
A recent article in the New York Times brought my attention to a study that is currently in process about adult-onset food allergies. I have seen many patients who develop allergic symptoms later in life. When I suggest that the symptoms may be related to a food, people often respond with “but I have eaten this all my life.”
I am glad to see that researchers are looking into the question of how and why food allergies develop because I often see patients with severe and life-altering symptoms from immune reactions to foods. There is a significant difference between food [...]
I see many women who have heavy, irregular, or painful periods and do not mention PMS because they assume that PMS is “normal.” Premenstrual syndrome symptoms such as migraines, irritability, fatigue, and depression indicate that there is an underlying hormonal imbalance and there are many natural therapies that correct hormonal imbalances.
Short-Term Treatments for Premenstrual Syndrome
In conventional medicine, PMS is treated with birth control pills or antidepressants and these work well for many people. I think of these treatments as short-term treatments because if estrogen and progesterone remain out of balance, the woman will someday experience heavy periods, [...]