Constipation Treatment in Houston, TX
While talking about your bowels may not be a popular topic of conversation, at some point in our lives we will deal with issues such as constipation, a condition in which it’s difficult and sometimes uncomfortable to pass stools. Many people will experience this problem and many times it’s not due to any serious medical condition. However, we know that no one wants to deal with constipation and it’s our job to get your system working normally again.
Those with constipation may find themselves straining when using the bathroom. Bowel movements will also be less frequent, and some people may not pass stool for three days or more at a time. Constipation can also cause abdominal pain and swelling.
So, what’s causing your constipation? There are so many reasons why this digestive issue occurs including:
- Dietary changes
- Changes in your activity level (suddenly becoming less active)
- Not consuming enough fiber
- Not getting enough water in your diet
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Diets high in dairy
- Certain medications like iron pills or antidepressants
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
If you are dealing with bowel movement problems for more than two weeks then it’s time you contact Modern Functional Medicine Center for proper treatment. Our team of medical experts will talk to you about your symptoms, lifestyle, diet and habits, while also performing certain tests to detect the cause of your constipation. You may require a blood test, barium swallow or colonoscopy in order to reach a proper diagnosis. We will also discuss simple things you can do to avoid constipation in the future.
Functional Medicine Labs to Test for Root Cause of Functional Constipation
Functional medicine labs help practitioners personalize treatment options for their patients. Below are some of the most common labs ordered for patients with functional constipation.
Comprehensive Gut Assessment
Screening for intestinal dysbiosis, infections, and signs of leaky gut with a comprehensive stool analysis is often a functional medicine doctor's first step in working up functional constipation. This extensive assessment of GI health and function measures markers of digestion and absorption, intestinal inflammation, SCFAs, and a complete profiling of the microorganisms living in the large intestine.
Yeast overgrowth is just as likely to cause constipation as imbalances in gut bacteria. Most functional stool tests screen for large intestinal yeast overgrowth; however, they may not catch yeast overgrowing in the upper portions of the digestive tract. Some providers consider the organic acids test (OAT) the most accurate assessment for yeast overgrowth in the body by measuring the metabolic byproducts of yeast instead of relying on stool culture.
Food sensitivities can be diagnosed through a blood test that measures antibodies against specific food proteins. Identifying food sensitivities as a cause of leaky gut and constipation can be helpful, especially when personalizing nutritional therapies and elimination diets to alleviate constipation.
A comprehensive micronutrient panel screens for functional and overt nutrient imbalances that can contribute to constipation and other digestive symptoms. Similar to food sensitivities, these results help target nutritional and supplemental therapies to a patient's nutritional needs.
Chronic stress causes changes to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and cortisol levels. Elevated salivary cortisol and/or dysfunctional cortisol secretion patterns can reflect the predominance of the sympathetic nervous system and reduced GI function.
Chronic stress and elevated cortisol can directly influence the thyroid gland and the secretion of thyroid hormones. Constipation is a common manifestation of subclinical and overt hypothyroidism. Ordering TSH alone to screen for thyroid disease can miss cases of thyroid dysfunction, so ordering a complete thyroid panel is helpful for patients with chronic constipation.
Functional constipation is a chronic, debilitating gastrointestinal condition characterized by infrequent and difficult-to-pass bowel movements without an identifiable pathological underlying cause. Functional medicine doctors understand that functional gastrointestinal disorders are multifactorial in origin, typically associated with alterations in the healthy gut microbiota, intestinal infections, and neurological dysfunction. Using specialty testing to uncover contributing causes to digestive dysfunction and personalize treatment plans, it is possible to improve bowel function and quality of life for those living with chronic constipation without dependence on pharmacotherapy.