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.
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.
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.
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!
- “The effects of relaxation response meditation on the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome: results of a controlled treatment study”
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.
Based on this battery of testing, it seems like the main problems with my gut are:
- 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.