serious complications of low iron

The Serious Health Complications Of Low Iron

In the last couple of weeks I have been talking about the serious complications of people not having their health managed properly. It seems to be a big issue and with my latest post, the issue of unmanaged, or undiagnosed low iron is also becoming a very serious issue indeed. So for this post I will be talking about the serious health complications of low iron.

Two thirds of body iron is present in circulating red blood cells known as haemoglobin. Each gram of haemoglobin contains about 4gms of iron and each ml of blood lost from the body results in a loss of about half a milligram of iron.

Bleeding is the most common cause of iron deficiency.  This could be from either a diagnosed, or undiagnosed gynaecological issues (endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids, polyps, other) or it could be from a parasite infection. It could also be from bleeding as part of a gastrointestinal issue, or part of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBS, Crohn’s Coeliac disease).

There could be other reasons for blood loss in the body, or reduction of iron and many of these conditions, and the conditions above, can go unrecognised and then cause iron deficiency anaemia. Some of these issues can be very serious, or even fatal.

Excessive menstrual losses are often overlooked with many women. This is something that should not happen and should be part of the questioning with any low iron status. The problem is, unless the menstrual flow changes, patients typically do not seek medical attention for heavy menstrual bleeding. Sometimes when a healthcare practitioner asks, these patients generally report that their menses are normal. It may be normal to them, but we need to educate women that heavy blood loss is not normal and can lead to anaemia.

Because of the marked differences among women with regard to menstrual blood loss (10-250 mL per menses), patients meed to be asked about their menstrual history and about a specific history of bleeding, blood flow, abnormal bleeding in between cycles,  clots, cramps, and the use of multiple tampons and pads. These are very important questions to ask and sadly many women are not being asked these questions, or having further questioning about their menstrual, or overall health, including dietary intake etc.

What is iron deficiency anemia?

Anaemia occurs when you have a decreased level of haemoglobin in your red blood cells (RBCs). Haemoglobin is the protein in your red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen to your tissues.

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia that women present with, and it occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron. Your body needs iron to make haemoglobin. When there isn’t enough iron in your blood stream, the rest of your body can’t get the amount of oxygen it needs. Today in a recent post I talked about iron being like trucks, or the transporters of oxygen around the body.

While iron deficiency may be common, many people don’t know they have iron deficiency anemia. It’s possible to experience the symptoms for years without ever having it diagnosed, or the cause of the iron deficiency diagnosed either. It is a very serious issue that needs some serious attention.

In women of childbearing age, the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia is a loss of iron in the blood due to heavy menstruation or pregnancy. A poor diet or certain intestinal diseases that affect how the body absorbs iron can also cause iron deficiency anemia. Women who adopt a vegan diet will also be prone to being iron deficient and vitamin B12 deficient.

Disruption to the microbiome and leaky gut syndrome can also cause iron deficient anaemia too.

One of the best ways to treat the condition is through iron infusion, and also with iron supplements, or changes to diet. We also need to make sure the cause of the iron deficiency is addressed as well.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia

The symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia can be mild at first, and some people may not even notice them. Many people are completely unaware that they may be low in iron, or are actually iron deficient.

The symptoms of moderate to severe iron deficiency anaemia include:

  • general fatigue
  • weakness
  • pale skin
  • Bruising easy
  • shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • dizziness
  • Strange cravings to eat items that aren’t food, such as dirt, ice, or clay
  • Tingling or crawling feeling in the legs
  • Tongue swelling or soreness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tachycardia
  • Brittle nails
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sore joints
  • Brain fog and lack of concentration.

The serious complications of unmanaged iron deficiency.

Undiagnosed, or unmanaged iron-deficiency may cause the following severe complications:

  • Heart problems.If you do not have enough hemoglobin-carrying red blood cells, your heart has to work harder to move oxygen-rich blood through your body. When your heart has to work harder, this can lead to several conditions: irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias, a heart murmur, an enlarged heart, or even heart failure.
    Severe anemia due to any cause may produce hypoxemia and enhance the occurrence of coronary insufficiency and myocardial ischemia.
  • Increased risk of infections- Research has shown that iron deficiency anaemia can affect your immune system (the body’s natural defence system), making you more susceptible to illness and infection.
  • Motor or cognitivedevelopment delays- This mainly occurs in children. Children deficient in iron may exhibit behavioral disturbances.
  • Behaviour issues and mood disorders- Behavioral disturbances may manifest as an attention deficit disorder, or mood disorder such as : Depression Unipolar depressive disorder, Bipolar disorder, Anxiety disorder, Autism spectrum disorder, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Tic disorder, Delayed development and other some other psychiatric issues.
  • Pregnancy complications- Iron deficiency can lead to preterm delivery or giving birth to a baby with low birth weight.
    The neurologic damage to an iron-deficient foetus results in permanent neurologic injury and typically does not resolve on its own, or by supplementation.
  • Chronic Health Conditions worsened- In people with chronic conditions, iron-deficiency anaemia can make their condition worse or result in treatments not working as well.
  • Dysphagia (Difficulty swallowing)- This may occur with foods due to abnormal muscle and nerve control. This could result in choking. It can also lead to throat cancers.
  • Atrophic gastritis – This occurs in iron deficiency with progressive loss of acid secretion, and causes inflammation of the gastric mucosa with loss of the gastric glandular cells and replacement by intestinal-type epithelium, and fibrous tissue
  • Tiredness- As iron deficiency anaemia can leave you tired and lethargic (lacking in energy), you may be less productive and active at work. Your ability to stay awake and focus can be reduced, and you may not feel able to exercise regularly.
  • Fainting– Low iron can cause fainting and this could be dangerous in many situations, especially at work places, or working on machinery, or driving a car.
  • Cold Intolerance– Cold intolerance develops in one fifth of patients with chronic iron deficiency anaemia and is manifested by neurologic pain, vasomotor disturbances, or numbness and tingling.
  • Issues with Brain and Optic Nerve– Rarely, severe iron deficiency anaemia is associated with papilledema (optic disc swelling), increased intracranial pressure, and the clinical picture of pseudotumor cerebri. These manifestations are all corrected with iron therapy.
  • Migraines– Research has now shown that there are certain types of migraines caused by iron deficiency
  • Death – Caused by some of the issues mentioned above

The importance of proper management

Hopefully now everyone can see why iron is so important and that people with iron deficiency need to see their healthcare practitioner for proper help and proper management .  Iron deficiency anemia isn’t something to self-diagnose or treat. It needs to be diagnosed, treated and managed properly. In many cases an iron infusion is the best and quickest way to get iron levels back up. Have a read of my post about iron infusions. Click here

Iron infusions are the quickest way of getting iron levels back up

In the case of low, or severely low iron, supplements just are not enough. They take too long to get levels up and the damage to your body in waiting too long can also be serious.  Always see your healthcare practitioner, or specialist, for a diagnosis rather than trying to manage low iron on your own, or just taking iron supplements on your own. Overloading the body with too much iron can be dangerous too, because excess iron accumulation can damage your liver and cause other complications.

Final Word

This is why everyone needs to be managed by a properly trained healthcare professional with any health issue, especially low iron. If your practitioner is not able to assist you, please make sure you get a second or third opinion. Some practitioners may not be well versed in the serious complications of low iron, or know much about iron infusions etc.

If you do need help with managing the symptoms of low iron, you can call my friendly staff and find out how I can assist you. For more information please call +61 07 38328369 or email info@drandreworr.com.au

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicince

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

 

 

microbiome for weight loss

Let’s Talk About Prebiotics & Probiotics & Their Role in Health & Weight Loss

In my latest post I thought it was important to talk about Prebiotics and Probiotics and their role in health and weight loss. With the upcoming new years resolutions of weight loss and overall health, I thought it was important to discuss this topic. Strain specific probiotics and prebiotics not only assist with weight loss, but they assist with the mind, the gut, reducing inflammation and overall health. Of course, to lose weight, you also need to cut refined carbohydrates, increase good protein sources and also exercise. Just to be clear on that. But, we also need to acknowledge the role of beneficial bacteria in this process as well.

I’ve talked about the importance of a proper microbiome restore before (click here), but I thought I would explain it in person, rather than just in word form, so that people understand this topic better. Before you start any weight loss challenge, you need to listen to my latest video post first.

If you do need assistance in losing weight, maintaining health and doing a proper microbiome restore, please give my staff a call and find out how I may be able to assist you.

Screen Shot 2020 01 10 at 4.53.57 pm

Follow up to my post about making healthy foods and also making excuses

Recently I did a post on how to make good food and doing it in bulk. I talked about how making good food is not hard and it is not expensive.

I also talked about the excuses people make around foods, around exercise and all the things I hear from people about why they cannot do something. So I did a post to call them on it.
But when I call people on something, it is not meant in a bad way. It is meant in a caring way, but firm, and with healthy boundaries. I do it because I care and I want the best for people and their health.

Most people were agreeing with me, but as with any post, you also get the people who misinterpret whatever one says and there are also the naysayers.

I have done a video as a response to my last post so people understand where I am coming from and why I have chosen to do this post.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate.

Bloating

Could Your Bloating Be Caused By Stress, Anxiety, or Your Busy Life?

Many people suffer from bloating very regularly and some suffer it daily as well. While the cause of bloating if often dietary or food related, many are unaware that stress, anxiety and their busy life can actually be causing their bloating too. In many cases, when food and dietary triggers have been ruled out, a big part of peoples bloating is actually stress and anxiety, or even being overly busy. For the sake of this post, I am going to put ‘busyness’ as the same category and stress and anxiety.

Stress, Anxiety and Busyness affects the whole body

Stress, anxiety and constant ‘busyness’ changes the body, not just the mind. Intense stress or anxiety can trigger stomach discomfort, including bloating. Some people may not realise that our mind and gut are linked. So with our busy, on-the-go lives, emotions we experience throughout the day, like stress, can affect our digestive system. As mentioned in a previous post, stress and anxiety can also cause and exacerbate pain in the entire body. (click here to read)

Stomach pain and bloating are more common in people who have stress as well as an underlying condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or other inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions such Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Bloating and abdominal pain is very common in women with endometriosis and is known as “Endo Belly”. This is very commonly exacerbated by stress and anxiety and also disruption to the microbiome.

While abdominal bloating is a widespread complaint, with many possible causes, unless the pain is intense or accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, it is usually safe to see if symptoms disappear on their own. But if you are ever worried, always consult with your healthcare practitioner as constant bloating can be a sign of serious health issues too.

How does stress and anxiety cause bloating?

There is now plenty of research and evidence that the brain and the gut communicate with each other via numerous systems (neural, hormonal and immunological) and do not function independently. Because of this interconnected relationship it means that if one system is ‘disturbed’, or ‘distressed ’it will result in the other system being ‘disturbed’ or ‘distressed also. In simplest terms if you have a busy day at work and it is stressful then mental stress at work = tummy upset. It really is that simple

When someone is feeling stressed and anxious, it may induce a variety of digestive issues and discomfort. Stress and anxiety produce an alteration in the contractility of the gut. This may then cause cramps or pain (increased contractility) and may influence bowel habits, which then causes constipation due to reduced GI contractions. This may then lead to someone being bloated. This could also lead to people also having loose bowels, or alternating bowel movements too.

Additionally bloating may occur without constipation and you could also experience increased heartburn as a result of your stress and anxiety. Decreased stomach emptying accompanied by increased oesophageal contractions may cause acid reflux. This increase stomach acid can then cause bloating and pain. It can also then lead to increase gut permeability and then further lead to leaky gut syndrome.

Reducing the effects of anxiety and stress on the gut

Thankfully, there are several things you can do to reduce the effects of anxiety and stress on your gut.  As I have often talked about, there is a direct link between our microbiota and our stress hormone system. Any alterations in our gut microbiota may lead to a heightened or suppressed hormonal response to stressful situations. I’ve talked about the effects of dysbiotic bacteria and bloating before. You can read one of my previous posts on this (click here)

This is why it is so important to do a proper microbiome restore, to not only to help with bloating and gastrointestinal issues, but to help with inflammation, the immune system and our emotions as well. Of course one still needs to look at their diet and what they are putting in their mouths too. Let’s not forget the impact of alcohol on our gut and digestive system too. I have done a post about this and to find out more (click here).

Identifying triggers

Besides a proper microbiome restore, the best approach would be to identify the ‘stress trigger’ or ‘anxiety trigger’ and try to remove it, or alter its impact, from your daily life, where possible. This can often be hard and will require the help of a qualified counsellor, or psychologist. It is important that people identify this and are real about needing help from a trained healthcare professional.

Use mindfulness and meditation practices

There are things people can do on their own to reduce stress and anxiety too. Mindfulness and meditation exercises can help to alleviate stress and anxiety and something people should practice daily.

Some examples could be the following. If you may get stressed by not being prepared for some activity at work like giving a presentation, just make sure that you allow plenty of time to adequately prepare and rehearse to prevent or reduce anxiety.

Another example could be that you might get stressed by travelling to work in overcrowded public transport. You could ride sharing to work, or give cycling to work a try.

If you feel yourself getting stressed out with any task make sure you take some time out from the activity. Go and sit quietly and just breathe and reassure yourself that everything is ok. You could make yourself a cup of tea, or listen to some soothing music. All these things can help but at the same time, may not always be applicable to all stressful scenario, or where you are anxious.

Final Word

There is more and more evidence now to suggest that many gut issues are affected by stress and anxiety. But, troubles with the gut can also cause stress and anxiety too. The gut-brain axis works both ways and we need for more people to know this.

This is why it is so important to look after our gut health more. We need to be managing our diets better, cut out inflammatory and refined foods, increasing pre and probiotics, managing allergies and intolerances, cutting back alcohol, managing stress and anxiety better, and avoiding foods that we know aggravate stomach issues and cause bloating and pain.

It is also important for people that experience bloating to realise that not all bloating issues are related to food, or their health condition. For many people, their daily bloating and pain is actually coming from either being overly busy, or from their high stress levels, or anxiety. It could be coming from all of these things combined too. If you do not know how to manage your bloating and stress and anxiety levels, it is best to book in a see a healthcare professional who can assist you deal with it properly.

If you do need assistance with bloating and abdominal pain, please call my friendly staff and find out how I may be able to assist you. You can also check out my posts on restoring the microbiome properly too. Something that could be very beneficial for all, especially after the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women and Men’s Health Expert

 

New Years Resolutions

Let’s be real and talk about your “New Year” resolutions

It is just about to be the end of a year, and also an end of a decade. With that comes a lot of memes about walking into the new year and new decade. Let’s face it, the last year was a bit of a shocker and many will be glad to see the end of it. But, is last year just the same as other years, and do we say the same thing every year?

Regardless of how the year ended and how the new decade is seen in, many are vowing to do better, or are wanting better for the year ahead.

But, in order for something to change, something needs to change, and that something is actually one’s self. If we want something to change, we need to change something. But are people really prepared to make the necessary changes, or are those posts and memes just empty words …. just like every other year?

If you are wanting change, and I mean true change, then what are you going to do to make those changes?

Let’s not make those posts and memes empty words. Let’s turn them into action and benefits from those words and actions for better health and a better life moving forward.

Have a listen to my video blog on this very topic

Regards

Andrew Orr

Microbiome Restore Protocol

Dr Andrew Orr’s Microbiome Restore Protocol

The Purpose Of The Microbiome Restore

Many inflammatory health conditions can be linked to compromised microbiome and poor gut health. There is now good research and evidence to show the importance of microbiome restore.

Within these poor health states, there is often an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria within your gut. This is a crucial part of treatment for these ailments to restore the microbiome and replenish the “good” bacteria. Ressearch has also linked poor gut health to many mental health conditions.

There are many things that impact the microbiome. Refined food commonly found in the typical Western diet, stress, alcohol, drugs, medications, hormones and many other things fosters the growth of this “bad” bacteria, causing inflammation and what we know as ‘dysbiosis’.

Dr Orr’s Microbiome Restore Protocol aims to reduce the intake of these refined foods and others things that impact the microbiome, and and instead foster the growth of “good” bacteria.

The Eating Plan

This eating plan is based on Dr Andrew Orr’s Primal Ancestral Clean Eating (PACE) diet.  It does allow quite a range of foods, so you shouldn’t have any trouble eating at home, or out anywhere. It is important to note that this is not a “diet.” This is simply the way we are supposed to eat.

2 Phase Microbiome Restore Protocol

Prior to starting the microbiome restore will also need to complete some health questionnaires and have a half hour consultation with Dr Andrew. The health questionnaire need to be fully completed and sent back prior to your consultation. All the relevant information will be supplied to you when you enquire, or book your consultation.

Alongside the PACE diet, this Microbiome Restore Protocol also involves supplementation that is set out in two phases. Both phases need to be completed in order to achieve working results.

Please note that the supplements prescribed as part of the microbiome restore protocol are practitioner only prescribed supplements which will require a consultation before they can be prescribed.

Phase 1 – Removal of Bad Bacteria & Gut Lining Repair

The first phase aims to restore the gut lining, remove bad bacteria and microbials, and create an environment in which good bacteria can thrive. Phase 1 will not need to be repeated (unless you wish you repeat the process in the future). It lasts for approximately 4 weeks, or until all of the products are finished. After that, you move on to phase 2 which then is also the maintenance phase.

Phase 2 – Replenishing the Microbiome & Good Gut Bacteria

After removing the bad bacteria, repairing the gut lining, and laying down a foundation for the good bacteria to grow, you will need to recolonise your gut with good bacteria. Strain specific bacteria are used and it will depending on the individual which probiotic strains are used.

Phase 2 aims to replenish the good gut bacteria through the use of Pre and Probiotics. This phase will be ongoing and used as maintenance for your condition. It is extremely important to continue your intake of Pre and Probiotics to ensure proper colonisation of good bacteria and restore on the microbiome.

Important Things To Note

It is important to note that the results of doing the microbiome restore could take months to come into effect and for there to be adequate good bacteria colonisation. It is likely that if you have been recommended to take part in this protocol, that your microbiome is quite compromised due to years of consistent damage. Because of this, it will likely take quite a while to properly restore the microbiome back to equilibrium. This is done by way of continuing with your prebiotics and strain specific healthy bacteria,  to get back on track and eventually feel healthier.

As mentioned previously, many things can impact gut bacteria including stress, alcohol, diet, etc. so it is important to be mindful of this and what you expose your body to on your pathway to recovery.

A good way to think of a damaged microbiome is like any other damaged organ or bone in the body. A broken bone, torn ligament, or damaged internal organ is not likely to heal overnight. It can take months or even years of recovery, rehabilitation or medicinal therapies to get on top of it. The same applies for your digestive tract. It is no exception to the rule in regards to healing time within your body. The best results come when people are consistent in sticking to their treatment plan, and are realistic about time frames and outcomes.

Next Step Is Book Your Consultation

If you need help with restoring your microbiome for better health, then please give my clinic staff a call and find out how my Microbiome Restore Protocol may be able to assist you on the pathway to better health. There are options for online, or in person consultations. Conditions may apply to online consultations.

For further information please call +61 07 38328369, or email info@drandreworr.com.au

References

  1. Walker A, et al. Phylogeny, culturing, and metagenomics of the human gut microbiota. Trends Microbiol. 2014;22:267–74.
  2. Collado MC, et al. Role of commercial probiotic strains against human pathogen adhesion to intestinal mucus. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2007;45(4):454-60.
  3. Leahy SC, et al. Getting better with bifidobacteria. J Appl Microbiol. 2005;98(6):1303-15.
  4. McFarland LV. Systematic review and meta-analysis of Saccharomyces boulardii in adult patients. World J Gastroenterol. 2010;16(18):2202-22.
  5. Jahn HU, et al. Immunological and trophical effects of Saccharomyces boulardii on the small intestine in healthy human volunteers. Digestion. 1996;57(2):95-104.
  6. Jahn HU, et al. Immunological and trophical effects of Saccharomyces boulardii on the small intestine in healthy human volunteers. Digestion. 1996;57(2):95-104.
  7. Dahan S, et al. Saccharomyces boulardii interferes with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli induced signaling pathways in T84 cells. Infect Immun. 2003;71:766-773.
  8. Hsieh H. Versalovic J. The human microbiome and probiotics: Implications for pediatrics. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2008;38(10):309–327.
  9. Lam EK, et al. Enhancement of gastric mucosal integrity by Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. Life Sci. 2007;80(23):2128-36.
  10. Seth A, et al. Probiotics ameliorate the hydrogen peroxide-induced epithelial barrier disruption by a PKC- and MAP kinase-dependent mechanism. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2008;294(4):G1060-9.
  11. Gibson GR. Roberford M. Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: introducing the concept of prebiotics. J Nutr. 1995;125:1401-1412.
  12. Fastinger ND, et al. A novel resistant maltodextrin alters gastrointestinal tolerance factors, fecal characteristics, and fecal microbiota in healthy adult humans. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008;27(2):356-66.
  13. Raninen K, et al. Dietary fiber type reflects physiological functionality: comparison of grain fiber, inulin, and polydextrose. Nutr Rev. 2011;69(1):9-21.
  14. Robison LE. Reeves S. EpiCor® and its immune effects on gut health. Embria Health Sciences, LLC. [Online]. No date. Available from: http://www.embriahealth.com/upload/pdf/EpiCor%20Science%20%20EpiCor%20and%20its%20Immune%20Effects%20on%20Gut%20Health_FINAL.pdf [Cited 16/02/13].
  15. Jensen GS, et al. Antioxidant bioavailability and rapid immune-modulating effects after consumption of a single acute dose of a high-metabolite yeast immunogen: results of a placebo-controlled double-blinded crossover pilot study. J Med Food. 2011 Sep;14(9):1002-10.
  16. Bartoli, C., Frachon, L., Barret, M., Huard-Chauveau, C., Mayjonade, B., Zanchetta, C., … & Roux, F. (2018, May 30). In situ relationships between microbiota and potential pathobiota in Arabidopsis thaliana. The ISME Journal. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41396-018-0152-7#article-info
  17. Berg, R. D. (1996). The indigenous gastrointestinal microflora. Trends in Microbiology, 4(11), 430-435. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0966842X96100573
  18. Carpenter, S. (2012, September). That gut feeling. Monitor on Psychology, 43(8), 50. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx
  19. Clapp, M., Aurora, N., Herrera, L., Bhatia, M., Wilen, E., & Wakefield, S. (2017, September 15). Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. Clinics and Practice, 7(4), 987. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5641835/
  20. NIH Human Microbiome Project. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://hmpdacc.org/
  21. Shepherd, E. S., DeLoache, W. C., Pruss, K. M., Whitaker, W. R., & Sonnenburg, J. L. (2018, May 9). An exclusive metabolic niche enables strain engraftment in the gut microbiota [abstract]. Nature, 557, 434-438. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0092-4
  22. The Human Microbiome Project Consortium. (2012, 14 June). Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome. Nature, 486, 207-214. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/nature11234
  23. Ursell, L. K., Metcalf, L., K., Wegener Parfry, L., Knight, R. (2012, August). Defining the human microbiome. Nutrition Reviews, 70(Suppl 1), S38-S44. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426293/
IBS

Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a problem that affects a staggering 3million people, or more, in Australia and about 20% of people world-wide. It is a condition that has baffled doctors for years. There is no single cause, no specific treatment and, as yet, no cure.

But first let’s look at some general information on IBS.

IBS is more common in women than in men and occurs more often in younger people. IBS is usually ongoing, and there are some times when symptoms are worse than other times. Having IBS does not mean you are more likely to develop colon cancer later in life.

Symptoms of IBS

Some people with IBS mainly have constipation, others have diarrhoea. Many people with IBS alternate between periods of constipation and diarrhoea.

Symptoms include:

  • Cramps and bloating in your lower abdomen, which usually get better after having a bowel motion or passing wind
  • Pain that can be a sharp or dull feeling
  • Constipation: feeling that you have not managed to empty your bowels completely, having bowel motions less often, straining to pass a motion or passing small, hard stools
  • Diarrhoea: having bowel motions too often and passing loose stools
  • Flatulence, or wind, and/or rumbling noises from your abdomen
  • Needing to rush to the toilet
  • Headaches
  • Mucus in your stools

Some of these symptoms can also be from other inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which sometimes get categories as IBS.

But some of the symptoms above can also be part of having endometriosis and many women who are diagnosis with IBS, in fact have endometriosis. They then have all the testing for IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis etc (colonoscopy etc) as these don’t find anything and then these women are often told by doctors they are at a loss to what is happening. This is why endometriosis often takes up to 12 years for definitive diagnosis, which is terrible.

IBS triggers

The cause of IBS is not known, but certain things can trigger its symptoms, including:

  • Stress
  • Depressed mood
  • Food poisoning
  • Tummy bug
  • Virus
  • Certain foods and drinks
  • Some medication
  • Some people find avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine can reduce their IBS symptoms

As said before some women suffer more acutely from symptoms of IBS just before, or during, their menstrual cycle. IBS symptoms can also mean that they have a condition called Endometriosis. Many times these conditions can be overlooked and they can be present at the same time, along with bladder issues as well.

Lactose and wheat intolerance and wheat may be a cause and needs to be assessed before permanent changes to diet are made. Wheat grains are inflammatory to the bowel anyway and they should be removed if anyone does have inflammatory bowel issues.

Treatments

There are a few medical treatments available but results can be varying. Many people with severe IBS end up on steroids to settle inflammation in the bowel. There are also other medications to slow bowel motility and reduce inflammation as well.

Dietary and lifestyle changes may assist with the management of endometriosis.

There are also other complementary therapies and treatments that may be assistance and combined with medical interventions, or other interventions..

Studies have shown that strain specific probiotic bacteria may assist with inflammatory bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis and IBS. But, this needs consultation with a qualified healthcare professional to treat disease properly. Self-prescribing is not an option for this disease that affects over 3 million people here in Australia alone.

With any disease state such as IBS, there needs to be an individualised approach, not a one treatment fix all approach, because everyone is uniquely difference in their symptoms they experience and what their triggers are. There also needs to be a multimodality approach because many times IBS overlaps with conditions such as endometriosis for women, and other inflammatory conditions in men.

If you have IBS or inflammatory bowel disease and need help and assistance in managing your symptoms better, please give my friendly staff a call and they will explain how I may be able to assist you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

modified 1744952 1920

Food additives and emulsifiers may increase inflammation and anxiety

A wide range of foods contain ingredients that we call emulsifiers. A new study has shown that these compounds can produce both physiological and behavioural changes.

Bread and many other common foods we eat daily contain emulsifiers and other additives.

Food additives have always generated a great deal of attention as they can lead to exacerbating many health conditions, or even be the cause of some health issues as well. Recently, emulsifiers have been drawing fire and rightfully so.

Manufacturers have been using these chemicals to alter food’s texture and extend its shelf life for years and they are not good for our health. These emulsifiers are found in many foods such as bread, chocolate, margarine, processed meats, and more.

Earlier studies have shown that emulsifiers can alter the microbiome of mice, causing low-grade inflammation and increasing the risk of obesity and metabolic disorders. But now a study in humans concluded that gut bacteria “can be directly impacted by these commonly used food additives, and these additives also subsequently drives intestinal inflammation.”

Recently, researchers from Georgia State University in Atlanta set out to see if these emulsifiers also influenced mental wellbeing. The focussed on two commonly used emulsifiers — carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and polysorbate-80 (P80).

The Microbiome and Psychological health

In many recent studies scientists have already described a clear pathway between the gut and the brain. These studies have shown that our gut health and the health of our gut bacteria can have a substantial influence on our mental well-being. Most of the studies concluded that lack of good bacteria in the gut and overuse of antibiotics could significantly alter the microbiome, anxiety levels, and social behaviour over the long-term.

This most recent study investigated whether P80 and CMC might alter our mental state. The team added CMC and P80 to the drinking water of recipients for 12 weeks. They then measured the changes in the microbiome, behaviour and other physiological changes as well. The results showed that these emulsifiers caused general systemic inflammation, which extended to the brain and to behavioural changes. The researchers published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.

The impact of emulsifiers

The scientists showed that the emulsifiers did impact good gut bacteria, but in different ways for male and females. They also showed that the changes in behaviour were different between the sexes. Males tended to have an increase in anxiety, where the females tended to have a reduction in social behaviour.

While it is not known how these emulsifiers affect behaviour, it is speculated that the inflammation they produce affects signalling pathways in body tissue and parts of the brain. The gut also contains branches of the vagus nerve, which has a direct link to the brain. The researchers said that more research is needed into this very important area of medicine.

In recent years there have been increase levels of anxiety and mood disorders in our western society. While there are many other factors to the increase of anxiety and mood disorders, such as stress and lifestyle changes, the researchers have questioned if these additives may also be playing a part in this as well.

For now, the researchers recommend that we should really look at how these food additives impact our microbiome and gut bacteria and increase systemic inflammation in the body. It is great to see that science has now showing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the microbiome plays a significant role in our overall health. Not just our physical health, but our mental and emotional health as well.

This is why I always recommend health diet and lifestyle changes for every condition I help with. This is also why I promote the use of healthy beneficial bacteria (probiotics) daily in our diet as well. Good health always starts with good diet. Good health always starts with a healthy gut/microbiome as well.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

-No Stone Left Unturned

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New Year’s Microbiome Reboot & Restore

Most people often need lose the Christmas and New Years Cheer put on through all the goodies we all consume. This also means our gut and Microbiome and Gut health is out of balance and needs to be rebalanced and restored with beneficial bacteria.

Weed, Repair and Restore

This needs to be done properly and involves weeding out the bad bacteria, repairing the gut mucosa and then restoring the gut and microbiome with beneficial bacteria. These good bacteria also need the right food sources to grow and this is all part of repairing and restoring the microbiome/gut.

Microbiome Reboot and Restore Program

We are offering a Microbiome Reboot and Restore to help you with weight management, help your immune system and also get your gut and digestive system working properly again. It will also help reduce inflammation in those with chronic disease states and help with moods and healthy brain function too. The program also incorporates healthy eating principles.

Let’s start the New Year right by getting your gut health right too.

Please give the clinic staff a call for more details and pricing.

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women and Men’s Health Advocate