Archive | December 2014

Gut Update Part 1

It’s time for a long overdue gut update.  If you remember from my last post, I went to see a gastroenterologist about some IBS-D problems I’d been experiencing.

Blood Tests

The gastro send me in for blood tests for: CBC, Amylase, C.Diff, metabolic panel, Creatinine, Giardia, H. Pylori (IgG), Hepatitis, Lipase, and Sedimentation Rate.  No results found.  

Breath Tests

I spent 3 Fridays in the gastro’s office taking Hydrogen/Methane breath tests for lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).  No results found.

Breath_test breath_ingredients

I did learn some valuable lessons from this testing though.

Lesson 1: Fasting, Restricted Diet, and White Rice

I was only allowed to eat chicken, baked salmon, and white rice the day before the breath test.  This is quite a challenge with my work schedule, so basically I practiced some long fasts with large meals on these days.  Rice is also not a normal part of my diet.  A pre-testing day might look like:

8:00 am: wake and continue overnight fast

7:00 pm: chicken thighs cooked in chicken broth

9:00 pm: baked salmon and white rice (reheated from frozen)

This protocol alone helped improve my IBS-D symptoms! Why?  Perhaps the fast helped reset my GI system?  Perhaps the rice added some needed RS to my diet.

Lesson 2: Mindfullness

The second lesson I learned was to hone in on the feeling of my own digestion.  After I drank the test mixture for the breath test I started to notice some gurgling and burping.  I was of course observing my response closely with a mixture of hope that there would be more of a response.  Wouldn’t it be great to KNOW the source of the problem?  Even though I didn’t find the source, spending 9 hours this summer noticing this response to food was productive. Coupled with meditation and mindfulness exercises, I am slowly learning to better understand the signals my body is sending me.  Taking a few hours off work doesn’t hurt either.

Here are some studies that talk about the effects that meditation and other alternative mind-body interventions can have on IBS-D.  CBT and hypnotherapy are both recommended!

Stool Culture

I never even turned in the stool test.   After doing the full metametrix panel, I just didn’t feel like it was worth it.  Also my symptoms began to improve.

Colonoscopy / Upper GI Endoscopy

I also never went in for the invasive scoping.  After seeing my symptoms improve, I decided to hold off.  The gastro made it pretty clear that if I was feeling well, then the test might not show anything anyways.  I may still go in for these tests in early 2015.  I am still weighing the risk/reward.

Conclusions

Based on this battery of testing, it seems like the main problems with my gut are:

  • Stress
  • Yeast overgrowth (as indicated by Metametrix panel)
  • Diet (too low in fiber)

I’ll write some more in my next post about my improving symptoms.