IBS Treatment Center

Seattle, WA

Get out of the bathroom and get back to your life!

“I Was Beginning to Feel Like I Was Falling Apart”

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(creativecommons)

From a recent patient of the IBS Treatment Center.

I always had a nervous stomach my whole life, but it was nothing serious until part-way through college when I started having some major digestive problems.

I was beginning to feel like I was falling apart, and my anxiety worsened as my symptoms worsened. But most of the time I thought the anxiety was causing the symptoms and I was just trying to live with it.

I always had an escape route to the nearest bathroom scouted out. I saw several conventional doctors [who couldn't help me], so I decided to see a gastroenterologist. He told me that there’s not much that can be done about it. He told me to reduce my stress, and gave me a list of foods to eat that are rich in fiber. I tried these things, but it hardly made any difference.

So I turned to alternative medicine and tried homeopathy, supplements, acupuncture, and an elimination diet…but none of those worked either. I did some more research and found the IBS Treatment Center online. I decided to take the chance, and I am so glad I did.

I’ve been telling people that it was the best money I’ve ever spent! I was so impressed with the whole operation.

-Amanda McLean

Learn more about the IBS Treatment Center here.

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Parents Seeking Help for Daughter’s Abdominal Pain Finally Find Help

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(photo: commons.wikimedia)

(photo: commons.wikimedia)

We see cases like this all the time. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there is an answer to your digestive problems!

From a recent patient’s father…

My 18 year old daughter suffered for approximately 2 years with severe abdominal pain. After countless trips to emergency rooms and doctors appointments we finally discovered Dr. Wangen and the IBS Treatment Center.

The worry and the stress caused by an unidentifiable and debilitating pain is unimaginable especially to a young woman who is trying to live the best years of her life! We saw a minimum of some 20 doctors both naturopathic and traditional, sought consultation from very well known clinics all of which came up short.

We heard everything from “there is nothing here and its psychological” to “she may be intolerant to something she is eating but nothing will change that” to surgical solutions. When we arrived at the IBS Treatment Center I literally had to carry her in as she was unable to even walk. Her pain was so severe she kept passing out.

Our daughter has NONE of the symptoms that she was previously living with. Our thanks and appreciation for the kind care and concern provided by all of the staff cannot be measured. This course of treatment should not be overlooked if you are experiencing digestive problems. Thanks to them, our daughter has her life back. We can’t thank you enough!

-Brad

Learn more about IBS here.

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Patient Finds IBS Relief After 50 Years of Suffering!

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IBS Treatment CenterWe receive a lot of great letters and emails from our patients. Here’s a sweet one from Susan Weir.

In the third grade I remember complaining constantly about having stomach aches and was actually put on anti-anxiety medication.

I have struggled with this throughout my 52 years. Things really got bad about 6 years ago when I started having severe stomach aches along with bloating and large, really smelly bowel movements.

After having every test known to man, with no serious problems found, I was diagnosed with IBS. I started feeling depressed, withdrawn, tired and sick ALL THE TIME.

A friend told me I should go to the IBS Treatment Center. I called the next day and made an appointment. One of the best decisions I have ever made! Thank you, I LOVE YOU!!!!

-Susan Weir

See more testimonials from recent patients at the IBS Treatment Center here.

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“I Was Poisoning My Body Every Day Without Realizing It!

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(img via commons.wikimedia)

(img via commons.wikimedia)

From a recent patient at the IBS Treatment Center.

I am a 43 year old female and I have been having stomach/digestive trouble since I was a baby. My mother used to say I had a “nervous stomach.”

Well, things reached a peak when I was 39. I got to the point where I couldn’t eat or drink anything (even water) after 2:00 in the afternoon or I would be very nauseous and throw up. I spent a year going to the doctors. First my primary care doctor, then a gastroenterologist. They ran repeated tests and only determined that I had GERD.

After a year of throwing up 4 or 5 days out of every week (I lost 65 pounds), the gastroenterologist finally said, “I can’t do anything more for you. This is just what you have to live with.” Well, no way was I going to put up with that answer!!!

I made an appointment with the IBS Treatment Center. Within 2 weeks I stopped being nauseous!!! I was poisoning my body every day without realizing it!

It has been 3 years and I am so much better! No more Tums! No more Pepsid! No more drugs!!!!

I really feel that the IBS Treatment Center has saved my life; I no longer have to cancel vacations or invitations from friends because I am not feeling up to it. (You should have seen me on my honeymoon; I know every bathroom at Disneyland!)

I would (and do!) recommend them to anyone who is tired of having their MD just prescribe drugs to fix a symptom instead of trying to find out what is behind the symptom and treating the cause.

Sincerely,

Terri Coon

Read more patient testimonials here.

photo: commons.wikimedia

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Celiac Disease vs Gluten Sensitivity: The Sensitive Side of the Story

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(photo: commons.wikimedia)

(photo: commons.wikimedia)

Most people who react to gluten do not have celiac disease. This is not a new problem, although it is only now beginning to be acknowledged by the general medical community.

Fifteen years ago most doctors didn’t understand the importance of celiac disease. We are now at that same place with gluten sensitivity.

What symptoms do these non-celiac gluten intolerant (often called gluten sensitive) people have? Well, we know what they don’t have: villous atrophy. (For more on this, see the previous newsletter.)

However, you may be shocked to learn that villous atrophy is about the only difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

Careful now. I know you’re thinking that this article has truly gone off the rails. That there is no way this could be correct. But let’s examine the facts, just like in CSI. (Actually, I prefer Sherlock.) Continue reading →

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What Causes IBS?

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Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

The cause of IBS varies from person to person, which is what makes irritable bowel syndrome and the symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and chronic abdominal pain so difficult for most doctors to treat.

However, through proper testing you will be able to identify the exact cause or causes of your symptoms and live a life free of digestive problems.

There are several hundred potential causes of IBS, but most cases result from issues that fit into two major categories:

  • Food Allergies and Intolerances
  • Microbial Issues  – including infections, bacterial imbalances, yeast, and parasites

There are other issues as well and since every patient is different it is essential to understand what is causing the IBS symptoms if you want to find an appropriate and ultimately successful treatment.  Use the links at left to learn more about IBS causes and some of the testing for those causes.

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Report: How Your Health Insurance Company Can Still Take Advantage of You, Despite Obamacare

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Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

For corporations, healthcare is a business, and their mission is to make money.
That is not patient-centered care. The point is to focus on what the patient needs to get better.

Consider this recent article from the Huffington Post.

Excerpt:

To save money, insurance companies will be stricter about approving and paying for medical treatments, said Carmen Balber, executive director of the nonprofit organization Consumer Watchdog. “I have no doubt that claims denials or delays will be the new discriminatory tactic of the industry,” she said.

It continues:

[Dr.]Wang returned to the clinic after Memorial Day weekend and attempted to follow up on a request she’d made to refer a patient to a specialist. The insurance company said her request already had been rejected because she hadn’t called back quickly enough.

“Their clock started ticking on Sunday. Monday was a national holiday, and so when 48 hours went by, they denied,” said Wang. “A conspiracy theorist would wonder.”

The gist of the article is that insurance companies are using a lot of various tactics to avoid paying on claims. One of the big advantages of the IBS Treatment Center vs. other doctors, even in-network doctors, is our transparent prices.

Patients are only obligated to pay for doctor consultation time they actually use and for tests they ask for. Prices are explained by the doctor before the patient pays and there is never a surprise bill in the mail months later. The patient controls what they pay and when.

The IBS Treatment Center patients submit their claim to the insurance company and get reimbursed so costs can only go down.  Go to a doctor who accepts insurance and you never know how much you will pay until you get the bill – usually months later.  Even obviously necessary care could be rejected by the insurance company, leaving you with the bill.

We all pay for medical insurance, even if our employer is paying the premium with money that could have been in our paycheck.  Don’t let your insurance company get away with denying valid claims.  We recommend appealing all denials and making sure your insurance covers all licensed providers, in- or out-of-network.

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What is a Food Allergy?

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(photo: commons.wikimedia)

(photo: commons.wikimedia)

Let’s start with the word allergy. When people hear the words food allergy, some people think that they have a pretty good idea about what that means. The first thought is often of anaphylaxis, which is swelling of the tongue or throat that could be life threatening. This is typically the assumption when we are discussing, for example, a peanut allergy.

Of course there are other foods that can trigger an anaphylactic reaction, such as other nuts, shellfish, strawberries, milk, and eggs. And just about any other food has the potential to trigger an anaphylactic reaction. But thankfully, anaphylactic reactions to most foods are relatively rare, so you don’t often hear about them.

Based on this information, you might assume that food allergies are always severe or life-threatening. But then you might remember that sometimes a food allergy merely causes hives. Hives are irritating, itchy, and unsightly, but they aren’t life-threatening. Lots of different foods can cause hives, including peanuts.

So a food allergy doesn’t have to be life-threatening, nor does an allergy to one particular food, such as peanuts, lead to the same symptoms in everyone.

Confused yet? If not, we’re just getting started.

Other people believe that food allergies are defined by the mechanism underlying the reaction. Different parts of the immune system can cause inflammation and thus symptoms. With most food allergies, it is assumed that an IgE antibody reaction is involved. IgE antibodies are produced by the immune system and can lead to histamine release, which causes inflammation.

However, just because you have elevated IgE antibodies to a food does not mean that you will automatically have an obvious allergic reaction. Also, elevated IgE antibodies do not represent the only pathway that causes anaphylaxis or hives.

So what is an allergy?

It depends on who’s doing the talking and on the context of the story. Take, for example, your typical newspaper or magazine article. When they use the word allergy, they are defining it by symptoms. This is the same thing that your traditional allergist does.

Allergists define food allergy by a very limited set of symptoms that they can see with their own eyes.

These symptoms are: anaphylaxis, hives, asthma, and eczema. That’s it. If you don’t have one of those four symptoms, then you don’t have a food allergy. Period. End of story. At least according to people who have defined allergy by only four symptoms.

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Symptoms of Food Allergies (Part 2)

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(commons.wikimedia

(commons.wikimedia

As discussed in part one, food allergies can cause many more problems than you or your doctor probably realize. After having worked with thousands of patients with food allergies, we know this to be true.

Symptoms list continued from Part 1:

Acne

Yes, acne really does have a lot do with your diet. If you suffer from acne then you need to consider food allergies as a cause.

Heartburn

Heartburn isn’t just about spicy food. And it isn’t about overproducing stomach acid. Heartburn is about inflammation. Many of our patients tell us that their heartburn has resolved after having worked with us. You could be the next.

Reflux in infants

Infants reflux and throw up food because their little bodies are rejecting something, and they are rejecting it for a good reason. We can help you understand that reason and find the diet appropriate for your infant that will help your little one thrive.

Colic

Babies cry incessantly and fail to sleep because they are uncomfortable. And of course, they are uncomfortable for a reason. Let us help you figure out why. The results will speak volumes, and you’ll both sleep much better.
Continue reading →

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Symptoms of Food Allergies (Part 1)

Posted on by IBSTC

(img thanks to commons.wikimedia.org)

(img thanks to commons.wikimedia.org)

Food allergies can cause a lot more problems than you or your doctor probably realize. After having worked with thousands of patients with food allergies, we know this to be true.

Although there is plenty of published research on the symptoms of food allergies, there is also a lot of misunderstanding due to conflicting definitions of allergies; some testing methods that are scientifically invalid; and the length of time between exposure to a food and the reaction.

Headaches, including Migraines

Headaches are about inflammation. And food allergies are also about inflammation. It is not at all unusual for our patients to report that their headaches have disappeared once they know how to stop triggering them with their diet.

Ear Infections

If your child suffers from more than just the very infrequent ear infection, then they probably have a food allergy. Kids should not get ear infections. Proper testing can reveal whether a child has a food allergy that is contributing to their susceptibility to ear infections.

Sinusitis

As with kids and ear infections, adults often get chronic sinus infections. Don’t think that it must be caused by bacteria or
an environmental allergy. We regularly see chronic sinus problems that are caused by food allergies come to an end when the patient is properly diagnosed and treated.

Eczema and Hives

Whether in infants, kids, or adults, eczema and hives are often triggered by food allergies. Even if an allergist has told you that you don’t have a food allergy, you could still have one. Standard tests, including skin prick testing and RAST testing
cannot measure allergies mediated by certain types of antibodies.


(photo via wikimedia commons)

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Washington Post: Backlash Has Begun Against Gluten-Free Dieters

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(photo: commons.wikimedia)

(photo: commons.wikimedia)

You have heard the criticism: gluten free is a fad.

While it is true that some people choosing to eat gluten free are doing so for reasons other than real medical problems, that shouldn’t cause us to stop supporting those who really do have medical reasons for avoiding gluten.

Excerpt from The Washington Post:

People who have celiac disease are often misdiagnosed before the cause of their health issues — which can include digestive problems, rashes, fatigue, headaches and joint pain — is pinpointed. The only treatment for the disease is to give up gluten.

There has been a concerted effort to raise awareness of celiac disease, so that those living without a proper diagnosis can see an end to their suffering. But some people believe that the push has caused new gluten-free converts to believe that they have a disease they don’t have.

Celiac patients face backlash from critics of gluten-free trend.

As more Americans adopt gluten-free diets, some are facing criticism that gluten-free is a fad promoted by food companies to make money. Late-night TV hosts have derided the trend toward gluten-free dieting, and some celiac disease patients say they are frequently mocked. “I’m embarrassed when I say that I’m allergic to gluten, because I feel like people are rolling their eyes: ‘Just another one, part of the fad,’ ” said Glutie Foodie blog author Shira Kraft, who has celiac disease.

(photo: commons.wikimedia)

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IBS and Gall Bladder Issues

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Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea or abdominal pain often wonder if they have a problem with their gallbladder.

Problems with the gallbladder can indeed cause IBS symptoms. However, many people find that having their gallbladder removed did little or nothing to help their IBS, or even made it worse.

What Does the Gallbladder Do?


The gallbladder does exactly what its name describes; it is a small bladder that stores gall. Gall is more commonly known as bile. Bile is produced by the liver and piped over to the gallbladder via the bile duct.

What is Bile?


Bile is a highly concentrated yellow green fluid that contains bile acids. Bile acids are important for digesting fats. When you eat, your gallbladder contracts and secretes bile into the small intestine to help you digest your food. If your gallbladder has been removed then it will be more difficult for you to digest fats. In such cases, eating too much fat may cause loose stools.

When Does That Gallbladder Need to be Removed?


In some people, stones develop inside of the gallbladder. These stones, when small, can become lodged in the bile duct, which can cause severe pain and be very dangerous if they also clog the pancreatic duct. Larger stones are not able to pass into the bile duct, but their presence can cause severe pain. Sometimes this is worse when the gallbladder is contracting. In either case, removing the gallbladder usually relieves the pain and you feel much better.

When is it Questionable to Remove the Gallbladder?


It is often tempting for physicians to blame the gallbladder for abdominal pain and digestive problems even when there is little or no evidence that the gallbladder is the culprit. It’s a relatively simple procedure, and most people don’t miss it too much. If stones are present, then the decision is easy to make.

However, in some cases physicians recommended that the gallbladder be removed even when stones are not apparent on any exams. The recommendation is based primarily on symptoms and a lack of any other visible problem. Gallbladder function tests also may indicate that the gallbladder is not functioning at 100%. However, that does not mean that it is the cause of the problem. If the gallbladder is functioning at a below normal level, removing it will only guarantee that it will not function at all.

Studies have shown that patients with IBS symptoms and/or abdominal pain are more likely than others to have gall bladder removal surgery (cholecycstectomy) when they do not have gall stones. This exposes the patient to the increased (though small) risks of surgery and to further digestive problems caused by the abscence of a gall bladder. Testing for food allergies and other causes of IBS symptoms, and treating those conditions can enable patients to avoid unnecessary surgery and achieve good digestive health.

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What Makes the IBS Treatment Center Different?

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IBS Treatment CenterThe IBS Treatment Center is the world leader in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. At the IBS Treatment Center, we don’t just diagnose digestive problems: we solve them. These include irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and other related disorders.

Since 2005 the IBS Treatment Center has successfully treated thousands of patients of all ages, from infants to seniors. We understand the discomfort, frustration and embarrassment you have experienced. We are here to help you.

Patients have come to the IBS Treatment Center from all over. They have visited our clinics in Seattle, WA and Santa Monica, CA from 49 states and from every continent on the planet. Some of these patients had even spent a considerable amount of time at the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, UCLA, and other major medical centers to no avail. We have treated many doctors, nurses, even faculty from some famous medical schools.

We won’t blame stress, tell you to eat more fiber, or drink more water. We won’t repeat the same tests that you’ve already had and tell you that everything is ok. We’re listening, and we know that you’re not ok.  Please let us help you!

We are currently running a research study on IBS. Participation in this study is now closed, but we plan to do more studies in the future. If you are interested in participating, please visit our CONTACT PAGE.

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Patient Success Story: Reaction to Food Does Not Always Mean Food Allergy

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Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Laura is a 35-year-old mother of two who had been experiencing fatigue, headaches, bouts of constipation and diarrhea, and obnoxious bloating. At times she looked and felt six months pregnant due to the bloating.

When Laura first came to see us, she was certain she must have a food allergy or intolerance. She knew she reacted to food, so she assumed food caused the problem, although she couldn’t put her finger on which food or foods were the trigger. In fact, she told us it didn’t matter what she ate—everything she ate caused problems and she never really felt good. She further noted that fatty foods, sugary foods and raw foods seemed especially problematic, and with those she would feel even worse.

Laura was very frustrated. She wasn’t able to do the things that she wanted. Her job was being affected because she couldn’t attend meetings as needed. And her social life was just as compromised, because everywhere she went she had to know where the bathroom was located.

Laura said that we were her last hope. She had seen lots doctors, had many tests done, and even had two different colonoscopies, but nothing had helped.

She was told that she would just have to live with her symptoms. Laura found this unacceptable. She knew that there had to be a cause for her symptoms and she was determined to find out what it was.

When we met with Laura, we agreed that there had to be a cause. First we had to narrow down the possibilities.
Continue reading →

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The Ecosystem in the Digestive Tract & Your Stomach Issues

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Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Inside the digestive tube is a vast ecosystem where some 100 trillion bacteria live. This should not alarm you. We have been conditioned to think of bacteria as something bad, and the thought that we have 100 trillion “bugs” inhabiting our body can make us feel slightly queasy. Although some bacteria are bad, others are very good. In fact, if you don’t have them you feel very bad, because they are critical for proper digestion.

These bacteria have several important jobs: they help to break down food, they actually create some vitamins, they work directly with the immune system surrounding the digestive tract to protect us, and they independently protect us against invading organisms. Our relationship with the 100 trillion bacteria in our digestive tract has developed over hundreds of thousands of years. There should be no doubt about the importance of this ecosystem to good health.

Recent advances in DNA analysis have enabled us to determine the different kinds of organisms living in the intestines.  In just the last few years tests that analyze the DNA of these organisms and enable the determination of which healthy microbes and which pathogenic microbes are present and in what relative numbers have been created.  This dramatic advance is have been available to physicians, though they are mostly used in research facilities.

The IBS Treatment Center is proud to be among those with both the training and the expertise to use such testing for our patients.

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Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Sensitivity: Defining Celiac Disease

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celiacHow many times have you read that celiac disease is the worst form of gluten intolerance? Or perhaps you’ve heard that celiac disease is the potential end-stage of gluten intolerance?

Certainly you’ve probably read that gluten sensitivity isn’t nearly as severe as celiac disease. These statements are often repeated, and they sound fairly logical.

But are they?

To get an accurate handle on what these statements mean we need to clarify the differences between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. And in order to clarify these differences the first thing that we need to do is to revisit the definition of celiac disease.

To be diagnosed with celiac disease you need one thing, and only one thing. That one thing is called villous atrophy. To explain simply, villous atrophy is a very specific kind of damage that can occur in the small intestine.

If you don’t have villous atrophy, then you don’t have celiac disease. Period. There are various ways to test for celiac disease, but they are all designed to measure one thing–villous atrophy.

A diagnosis of celiac disease is not based on how sick you feel or on how many symptoms you have. It’s not even defined by the type of symptoms that you have, or on how long you’ve had symptoms. The only thing that identifies whether or not you have celiac disease is the presence of villous atrophy. That’s it. Continue reading →

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Painkillers Can Cause High Blood Pressure & Stomach Damage

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(img from commons.wikimedia.org)

(img from commons.wikimedia.org)

Americans consume an estimated $2 billion per year in over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol, Advil and Motrin.

The most common reason for taking these drugs is for arthritis. However, these drugs are not without side-effects. It also doesn’t take as much as you might think to cause damage. And the variety of side effects includes high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, and other problems.

A study of more than 80,000 women found that women who used acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, for 22 days or more a month had the greatest risk of high blood pressure, estimated at twice that of non-users. And even those who used the drug as little as one to four days a month had a 22% greater risk of having high blood pressure than non-users.

The risk for those taking NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), including ibuprofen products such as Advil and Motrin and naproxen drugs such as Aleve, was similar. Heavy users had a risk of high blood pressure 86% higher than those who didn’t use the drug. Light users carried a 17% higher risk. Journal Hypertension November 2002 20(11):2301-2307

Significantly, researchers report that patients with pre-existing kidney disease who took these painkillers at least twice a week for 2 months were two to three times more likely to have the beginning stages of chronic kidney failure, compared with individuals who did not use these painkillers on a regular basis. The New England Journal of Medicine December 20, 2001;345:1801-1808

If you think that you should be taking aspirin to thin your blood, think again. A recent study that investigated the effects of taking low-dose aspirin daily for close to four years found that only participants with compromised kidney function benefited significantly. And another study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), showed that fish oils have a blood-thinning effect similar to aspirin. JAMA. 2001 Jan 17;285(3):304-12

And it may affect your colon, too. A questionnaire of over 35,615 male health professionals showed that regular and consistent use of NSAIDs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, Advil and other prescription anti-inflammatory drugs was associated with diverticular disease, a serious type of colon damage. Arch Fam Med. May 1998;7:255-260

Finally, it is also well known that aspirin and NSAIDS are tied to stomach pain and bleeding ulcers. Yet nearly 30,000 people a year die from using these medications. Many of these deaths are due to bleeding ulcers.

If you have pain, whether it be arthritis or otherwise, you should know that there are a variety of healthy and effective alternatives for reducing inflammation and pain that will put you on the road to better health, not temporarily alleviate your symptoms while causing other problems.

Please CONTACT US for more information.

(img from commons.wikimedia.org)

 

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USA Spends Most on Healthcare and Has the Least Healthy Population

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(photo: commons.wikimedia)

(photo: commons.wikimedia)

From CBS News

There are many lessons to learn from this news but probably the most important is this:

Insurance driven healthcare choices are not resulting in the best healthcare.  The countries with the best health have systems that incorporate more than just drugs into their treatment options.

Excerpt:

Overall, the U.K. and Switzerland were rated highest for factors that included quality, access, efficiency and equity of health care. The U.S., Canada and France overall ranked lowest. The U.S. was found to perform worst in areas concerning cost of care, efficiency, equity and overall health of its citizens, even though health care expenditures were highest per capita compared with the other 10 countries in the report.

The IBS Treatment Center remains completely dedicated to getting results.  Our mission is to improve the health of our patients, not just provide standard care.

(photo: commons.wikimedia)

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Your Diet Can Trigger Headaches

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(img via commons.wikimedia)

(img via commons.wikimedia)

Many people with chronic headaches suffer from them for years with no permanent relief. Whether or not you have migraine headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches, or an undetermined form of headache, it is very possible that you are suffering from food allergy-induced inflammation.

Recent research on migraines indicates that food allergies mediated by IgG-type antibodies are specifically to blame.

A headache is really a symptom of something else. It is obviously pain in the head, but the common factor is that headaches of all types usually involve inflammation. If the immune system reacts to one or more of the foods that you eat, then an inflammatory reaction is taking place that can potentially affect your head. Such reactions are far more common than many people realize.

The inflammation and thus the headache will resolve once the triggering food or foods are removed from the diet. Sometimes this is easier said than done, because the foods that we eat are often complicated combinations of numerous base foods. But once the problem is understood, the results can be dramatic.

Click here to read the complete article at CenterforFoodAllergies.com.

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What Causes Sinusitis and Runny Nose?

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(img thanks to openclipart)

(img thanks to openclipart)

Sinus infection (sinusitis) and runny nose are inflammatory conditions that result in mucous production and congestion. This leads to the resulting problems of sinus pressure headaches, a runny nose, or stuffy ears.

Then What Causes Inflammation?

Inflammation is caused by anything that can activate the immune system. It can be caused by a bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, or by environmental or food allergies. 
Bacterial and fungal infections are readily treated by antibiotics, and viral infections generally resolve on their own. Food allergies are the most under-rated cause of inflammation and congestion, and frequently exacerbate known environmental allergies.

How Do Food Allergies Trigger Sinusitis or a Runny Nose? 

An allergy is an immune response, resulting in inflammation and in this case mucous production. Such a response to food can be exhibited in any part of the body, because nutrients are digested, absorbed and circulated throughout the body. This is why food allergies can cause a wide range of problems, including sinusitis and runny noses. 
There are many other conditions that can be caused by food allergies.

What Foods Trigger Sinusitis and Allergic Rhinitis?

Any food that can trigger the immune system via an allergic reaction is capable of causing sinusitis or allergic rhinitis. And the fact is, any food is equally capable of triggering an allergic reaction. 
There is no one-to-one correlation between foods and symptoms or diseases. Food allergies result in inflammation, which then leads to problems such as sinusitis. 
Therefore proper blood testing must be done in order to determine one’s food allergies.

Why Is It So Difficult to Recognize One’s Own Food Allergy? 

This is problematic because of the often delayed nature of food allergies. Allergy symptoms may show up hours or even a day later, after a food is well absorbed into your system. 
This difficulty is compounded by the fact that certain foods, such as dairy and wheat, are so prevalent in our diet that many people eat them nearly every day. Therefore connecting your symptoms with your eating habits often nearly impossible.

What Causes a Food Allergy? 

It is most likely that food allergies are genetically predetermined. In the big picture, humans have only recently introduced many current day foods into the diet, so it’s not surprising that the immune system doesn’t recognize every food as a friendly substance. 
Undoubtedly we do not understand everything there is to know about food or food allergies.

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Bacteria That’s Bad for Your Gut

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(photo: creativecommons)

(photo: creativecommons)

What makes a bad bacteria bad?

The worst bacteria (the ugly) either directly destroy tissue by feeding upon it or produce a toxin that destroys tissue. Other bacteria (the bad) react negatively to food, or are poor fermenters of food, creating IBS symptoms like gas and diarrhea. And some species of yeast and bacteria are bad simply because they take up space, thereby crowding out the good bacteria and depriving your body of all the health-giving benefits that friendly bacteria provide, resulting in the poor digestion of food and the poor absorption of nutrients.

The ugly bacteria are never regarded as normal flora within the body. They are not usually considered to be causes of IBS, but they do cause severe, often life-threatening, conditions. Ugly bacteria include Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Vibrio cholerae, Campylobacter, and certain strains of E. coli. Just a tiny amount of the most virulent strains of bacteria in a person’s body is enough to begin the process of infestation. The symptoms of these bacterial infections usually include severe watery diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some cause vomiting, muscular cramps, dehydration, and permanent intestinal damage. If untreated, they may even cause death. In short, they are nothing to fool around with. Luckily, the medical community is generally good at identifying and treating these kinds of bacterial infestations.
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What Really Causes Acne?

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(img thanks to commons.wikimedia.org)

A majority of acne cases, as well as many other skin blemishes, are caused by food allergies. Hormone imbalances may also play a role, but are largely over-rated. Fortunately both are treatable.

How Do Food Allergies Cause Acne?

Food allergies are the number one cause of acne, and the worse the acne the more likely food allergies are involved. Eating a food to which the body is allergic leads to a continuous toxic reaction. In such a case the immune system fights the food as if it were an invading organism. This can cause inflammation in the skin (and many other conditions), as well as the need to eliminate the toxin.

What Foods Cause Acne?

There isn’t just one food that causes acne. Any food allergy is capable of causing acne. However, the most common cause of acne that I see in my practice is dairy products.

Why Is It So Difficult to Recognize One’s Own Food Allergy?

This is problematic because of the often delayed nature of food allergies. Allergy symptoms may show up hours or even a day later, after a food is well absorbed into your system. And acne generally doesn’t come and go quickly enough to be associated with food.

This difficulty is compounded by the fact that certain foods, such as dairy and wheat, are so prevalent in our diet that many people eat them nearly every day. Therefore connecting your symptoms with your eating habits is often nearly impossible.

What Causes a Food Allergy?

It is most likely that food allergies are genetically predetermined. In the big picture, humans have only recently introduced many current day foods into the diet, so it’s not surprising that the immune system doesn’t recognize every food as a friendly substance.
However, we undoubtedly do not understand everything there is to know about food or food allergies.

How Do I Determine if I Have a Food Allergy?

The only sure way to determine if you have a food allergy is to have your blood tested for antibodies to a variety of foods. This is done with an ELISA Food Allergy Panel, which measures your immune response to approximately 100 different foods.
If you experience acne CONTACT US to schedule an appointment.

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Quick Questions on Gluten

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(photo: commons.wikimedia)

QUESTION:
What Are the Results of Avoiding Gluten?

ANSWER:
If you are allergic to gluten, then the result of removing gluten from your diet is generally a reversal of your health problems. Symptoms very often resolve, some faster than others, and you gain a new definition of optimal health.
Even celiac disease is reversed, usually resulting in complete recovery of the damage to the small intestine.

QUESTION:
What if Someone with a Gluten Allergy Chooses Not to Avoid Gluten?

ANSWER:
Of course, they continue to suffer the symptoms that their gluten allergy is causing. However, the long term consequences are much more severe. People with celiac disease are known to be at higher risk for many conditions, including cancer of the digestive tract, thyroid problems, anemia, osteoporosis, and many autoimmune conditions. If you or someone you know suffers from any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to be screened for food allergies via blood testing.

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Probiotics – What You Need to Know

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You may have heard that probiotics might help with your IBS symptoms. But do you need them?

Which ones? How many?

Probiotics, or supplements containing strains of good bacteria that normally live in the intestinal tract, are frequently taken by individuals suffering from digestive upset in an attempt to improve their symptoms. In our practice, it is common to hear from patients who have tried probiotics that the supplements offered no improvement or even made them feel worse.

The following points should help to explain why a negative reaction to probiotics is not necessarily surprising:

1. Many brands of probiotics contain low numbers of organisms, which essentially translates to a low dose of good bacteria.

Prescription probiotics can have numbers as low as 1 billion organisms per dose (which sounds like an awful lot, but is actually far less than what research finds to be a therapeutic dose). We commonly find that for some patients, doses as high as 25-50 billion organisms per day can effectively address the causes of IBS.

2. Most probiotics are grown on dairy, which can be very problematic for patients who suffer from a dairy allergy, a common cause of IBS symptoms.

In treating IBS, it is essential to identify any underlying food allergies and intolerances prior to starting treatment with probiotics, as taking a supplement that contains foods that your system reacts to negatively can cause more harm than good. Unique and specialized food allergy testing helps our physicians identify negative reactions to specific foods in patients suffering from IBS.

3. The strains of good bacteria found in the supplements may not match the strains that your intestines need to reach healthy and appropriate levels.

By identifying the microbial ratios in the gut via a DNA stool analysis test, specific levels of different strains of good bacteria can be measured and identified as deficient. By replacing specific bacterial strains (instead of guessing), healthy levels of good gut bugs can be replenished to maintain a
healthier intestinal environment.

4. Some strains of probiotics are much more anti-inflammatory than others.

These strains help to reduce distress in your intestinal immune system, while others may have a potentially pro-inflammatory effect or no effect at all.

Research shows that certain strains of good intestinal bacteria are exceptionally strong regulators of intestinal inflammation. Having high enough levels of these bacteria can help to moderate immune reactions that can cause symptoms of IBS.

Effectively utilizing probiotics is key to properly treating IBS. This is a science.

Please contact our clinic if you have questions about probiotics or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.

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Common Causes of Heartburn

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(photo: creativecommons)

In order to cure acid reflux disease, you must remove the cause of the problem and promote the healing process.

The following are the most common causes:

Food allergies: In my practice I have found that a majority of cases of heartburn are caused by food allergies. Food allergies often cause a host of other problems and can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.

Foods: certain foods cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, thus leading to heartburn. These include peppermint, coffee, alcohol and chocolate.

Hiatal hernia: This is a physical condition where part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm. It can generally be reduced without surgery, though even when present it is not necessarily the sole cause of heartburn

Low Acid Production: Ironically, low stomach acid levels can result in heartburn. This is much more common than increased acid. This problem can be assessed clinically and is readily treatable.

Medications: Many medications cause heartburn as a side-effect, including, several acid blockers. These include:

  • Acid Blockers: Prevacid, Prilosec, Zantac, etc.
  • Asthma inhalers (beclamethasone, flovent, etc).
  • Corticosteroids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
  • Antianxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan).
  • Osteoporosis drugs such as alendronate (Fosamax).

Overeating: Of course. The stomach is only so big, even if the eyes and the mouth are bigger.

Pregnancy & Obesity: These are related in that both put pressure on the stomach, decreasing it’s volume and forcing food back from whence it came.


Stress: Stress is a small word with big health consequences. Stress can be the sole cause of heartburn, but often it is exacerbating other causes. Regardless, there are nutrients, herbs and therapies that will help you deal with your stress.

Smoking: Smoking also causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, leading to heartburn.

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Common Causes of IBS: Yeast (Candida)

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Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Yeast infections, or yeast overgrowth, are a common result of antibiotic use. Yeast is also considered normal flora at low populations, since it is often found in the digestive tract.

However, remember that normal does not necessarily mean good. Yeast, especially the most common type called Candida, invades tissue and is a general irritant. Its growth inhibits the growth of good bacteria, and its life cycle produces the toxic effects of IBS symptoms in its host – you. Candida will take advantage of every opportunity it has to flourish.

If your system has been wiped clean of friendly bacteria due to antibiotics (which do not kill yeast), Candida will likely pounce, either in your digestive tract or elsewhere in your body. Once it gets hold, it can be difficult to get rid of.

Candida can cause a huge variety of symptoms, including but not limited to all the symptoms of IBS, making it one of the most frustrating and confusing conditions to describe, not to mention endure. The average Candida sufferer reports about twenty different symptoms. Many sufferers give up trying to find out what is wrong with them because their symptoms seem unrelated.

Diet can affect Candida symptoms too. Since yeast feeds upon sugars, a diet high in sweets, alcohol, starches, and refined carbohydrates may increase its growth. As a result, some health practitioners recommend special Candida diets that are low in sugar and refined carbohydrates.

If you think you may be suffering from a Candida infestation, it is very important that you undergo proper testing as soon as possible, as it can become a chronic condition if the fungus is allowed to take hold. If your tests are positive, you will be treated with the correct antifungal agents.
The best way to treat a yeast overgrowth is, of course, by preventing it in the first place.

Make sure your friendly bacteria are well established, so that Candida has no chance to grow and spread. After using antibiotics, you should always replenish the intestines with good bacteria.

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Science News Report: Separating Wheat From Chaff in Gluten Sensitivity

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(photo: commons.wikimedia)

(photo: commons.wikimedia)

A recent article from ScienceNews.org provides a better overview of the challenges related to gluten sensitivity.

Excerpt from ScienceNews.org:

There are two well-established conditions that require people to avoid gluten. Celiac disease, an immune response to gluten that produces severe inflammation of the small intestine, afflicts about 0.75 percent of the population.  A wheat allergy, sometimes called baker’s asthma, affects about 0.4 percent of the population and is usually characterized by symptoms like breathing problems and a runny nose.

But gluten sensitivity in people who don’t have celiac disease or a wheat allergy is fuzzier. Some websites suggest that 18 million people are sensitive to gluten. Most patients complain of stomach problems and gas. Some add in fatigue, brain fog and depressed mood. There are no confirmed tests for the condition. Many people who say they are gluten sensitive never receive a test for celiac disease, wheat allergy or other sensitivities. They cut out gluten and they feel better. This is often the case for people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, a condition characterized by stomach pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea or constipation.

Also worth noting:

But Reiner Ullrich, an immunologist at Charite University Medicine in Berlin, Germany, says that Gibson lab studies are useful “as pilot studies in need of confirmation. We should consider FODMAP content when examining the gluten-free diet.” But he is also concerned that the studies tested the diets for only a few weeks (at most) at a time. Ullrich would like to see the diets tested for at least eight weeks. “I fear there is no shortcut to establish dietary or drug effect in IBS,” he notes.

and

“People with IBS are a very heterogeneous population,” he [Peter Green] explains. “It’s a complex issue, and this study adds to the confusion.”

Read the complete article at ScienceNews.org.

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Food Allergies As Triggers for Ear Infections and Other Upper Respiratory Problems

Posted on by IBSTC

(img thanks to commons.wikimedia.org)

(img thanks to commons.wikimedia.org)

Here at the IBS Treatment Center, we are experts at diagnosing food allergies and sensitivities associated with digestive symptoms. But did you know that these same food allergies can also be the cause of symptoms that occur in your ears, nose, and throat?

What does ‘upper respiratory’ include?

The phrase ‘upper respiratory’ refers to the parts of your breathing system that reside in your head and neck (as opposed to the parts that are in your chest, like your lungs). Ear symptoms, such as plugged ears, ringing in the ears, and—most commonly—recurrent ear infections, are complaints suffered by many patients. Nose symptoms can include chronic sinusitis, recurrent sinus infections, stuffy nose, and the development of nasal polyps; these symptoms, when caused by food allergies, frequently do not resolve with surgery or other treatments.

Other upper respiratory symptoms include tonsillitis, chronic swollen lymph nodes, seasonal allergies, and frequent throat clearing. All of these symptoms can have strong associations with food allergies and can often be successfully treated with appropriate elimination of allergenic foods from the diet.

How do food allergies cause upper respiratory symptoms?

Food allergies cause inflammation. And where is the first place that food touches your body? In your mouth. Since the back of your mouth is directly connected to your ears and your upper respiratory tract, consuming allergenic foods can cause inflammation in the Eustachian tubes (which are located at the back of your throat, and help to drain the ears into the throat) and nasal passages.

This type of inflammation is similar to the digestive distress experienced by many patients when they ingest foods to which they are allergic or sensitive. Reducing this inflammation through strict allergen avoidance can help to eliminate or greatly reduce the severity of associated upper respiratory symptoms.
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