Natural Solutions for Breast Health | Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I was inspired to write a quick article about some natural solutions for breast health. I think we’ve all been affected by breast cancer in some way, shape or form. We see celebrities who have struggled with it, like Olivia Newton John, Christina Applegate, Sheryl Crow, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Melissa Etheridge. My own mother had it, and a friend of mine too, who beat it twice (I will share more about them in this article).

It’s becoming an epidemic and so important that we are educated, aware and know how to prevent it as well as recognize the signs.

 My Breast Journey

I used to look at my breasts in the mirror, pulling one up and comparing it to the other.  I would wish so hard to have perky, stand-up-here breasts instead of pendulous, way down-there-puppies with sparkling, multicolored stretch marks. 

Weight changes and overnutrition in my youth never gave me the opportunity to have perky, perfect breasts.  Instead, I went from flat to fat and then stretched out to swinging and saggy.  

 

Breasts define our femininity in many ways, we feel sexy because of them and un-sexy in spite of them.

I recall getting intimate with my husband and being so ashamed to get naked in front of him.  I apologetically told him I needed to be honest with him and tell him that my tits sagged, instead of being heralds of fertility and proud of them with pomp and circumstance.  I felt deflated because of them just like they were deflated. 

Turns out he didn’t care. He actually knew, and had been staring down my top for a while and loved what he was seeing – without me knowing!  Sly dog. 

Why Are Breasts Such a Big Deal? 

Breast are bold, they stick out from our bodies.  They are the first thing that enters the room, the first thing in many cases that get noticed. 

Men obsess about them, maybe because they have mother and latching issues, or maybe because they just adore the difference between male and female bodies.

Whether you think your breasts are too large or too small, they are a source of shame for many.  It’s time to take this inappropriate thought pattern and shove it where the sun don’t shine.  It’s our time to be proud of all of our shapes and sizes and stretch marks.  Be proud of the pleasure they bring us, from foreplay to feeding our babies.

Breast Judgments 

My first encounter with the dangers of judgments made on breasts wasn’t my own, but actually my mother’s.  When she was a dashing young lady, she had gone to the doctor’s office to have her yearly check-up and breast exam. 

Upon taking off her shirt to be examined, the doctor gasped at how large her breasts were (super inappropriate FYI, in this day and age but this was back in the 60s).  My mother, being incredibly shy about her sexuality, was immediately embarrassed, turned red as a lobster and searched to get dressed immediately.  

 

 

So shocked was she by this judgment that she never had another breast exam again, until it was too late. 

Judgments can damage our psyche, we don’t know how our words will fall on the ears receiving them.  Judgments serve no purpose either, except pain.  After all, no one asks the doctor to comment on how large they are, but rather how healthy they are. 

My Mother’s Breast Cancer 

Forty years later, my mother waited until blood came out of her nipple and a mass so large it was hard to avoid, came cauli-flowering out of her breast.  With two doctors as daughters, we couldn’t believe that she had let the shame of an event that happened so long ago, impact her life now. 

The diagnosis – stage 4 breast cancer.  Devastating, with little to no time to act. 

Because of this experience, I got over my breast bullsh*t and got into owning one of the most beautiful, female, flourishing features of my health. 

Importance of Breast Exams 

For this reason alone, every single woman in my naturopathic practice gets a yearly breast exam, done by our skilled naturopath assessment hands. 

 

 

But some of us don’t have access to a doctor who is experienced or willing to do a breast exam, especially since now the recommendation is to avoid breast exams. 

In countries where breast cancer is diagnosed at advanced stages, it is valuable to have patients understand breast self-examination as well as to be examined1.

So this is extremely valuable.  My mother was fortunate, even though she was at the extreme case, she survived with a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy as well as naturopathic medicine.  Her cancer was so far advanced that it was an impossibility to only do the natural route. 

Self-Examination Is Invaluable 

The comment I get in clinic time and time again is that most women don’t know what normal feels like.  They feel that their breasts are lumpy and bumpy (a sign of estrogen dominance, or low iodine). 

But let me tell you, the first time I did a breast exam I thought exactly the same thing!  How was I going to identify anything going wrong if I can’t notice anything different? 

Do you know what changed it?  Practice, my friends, practice the mother of all skills. 

So I just love, love, love what my friend and colleague Dr. Véronique Desaulniers, two-time breast cancer survivor and preacher to the people, has done to make this easy. 

She has created “My Breast Friend”, a breast self-examination tool.  It’s basically a model of the breast so you can be your own best doctor. 

And what if you find lots of lumps and bumps?  Make your way to your doctor and get checked out.  It never hurts to be extra cautious. 

Prevention of Breast Cancer 

There are many things you can do at home now to help reduce cystic and lumpy breasts. Most of these strategies deal with reducing the amount of estrogen in your body. 

 

  1. Eat more broccoli family foods (cruciferous veggies)2 
  2. Reduce your alcohol intake3 
  3. Reduce your theophylline intake, in coffee, tea and chocolate 
  4. Wear a sleep mask to bed – they naturally increase melatonin which is a powerful anti-cancer hormone in the body4
  5. Of course, do your castor oil pack daily, because it helps with cleansing and detox5, microbiome balance8, inflammation9, and stress reduction10 11, which all impact your hormonal balance.

 

So get to know your boobies!  I know I’ve got saggy tits, and sometimes they really do look like sacks!  But I love them because they are me 100% and I get to know them regularly so I can keep them a part of me for the long haul.  They are my twins after all, and I can’t get another pair just like these (no judgment if you’ve had yours changed, just love!).

Do you know the difference between then and now?  Now I love my breasts, I treat them better every single day because I have learned that they are an important part of who I am.  They share my story. 

So get My Breast Friend today, to help you get to know your lovely lady lumps on your chest.

 

 

I also want to share a quick recipe with castor oil for boob and lymphatic health. Castor oil has a long history of use for breast cancer.  In fact, Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine was advocating it as a treatment in 460 BCE, as was another medicine man of the time, Galen in 200 BCE12.

Castor Oil for Breast Health and Lymphatic Health

  1. Mix organic castor oil from a GLASS bottle with baking soda until it becomes a paste
  2. Add 2-3 drops of organic rosemary essential oil 
  3. Rub into your armpits and over your breasts
  4. Leave on for an hour or more then rinse off

Disclaimer: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors. Neither Queen of the Thrones™ nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. This communication does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner. If you happen to purchase anything we promote, in this or any of our communications, it’s likely Queen of the Thrones™ will receive some kind of affiliate compensation. Still, we only promote content and products that we truly believe in and share with our friends, family and patients. If you ever have a concern with anything we share, please let us know at care@drmarisol.com. We want to make sure we are always serving Our Kingdom at the highest level.

 

1 rev Med. 2011 Sep;53(3):118-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.05.001. Epub 2011 May 8. The role of clinical breast examination and breast self-examination. Miller AB1, Baines CJ.

2 Kendra J. Royston, B.S.1 and Trygve O. Tollefsbol, D.O. Ph.D. The Epigenetic Impact of Cruciferous Vegetables on Cancer Prevention. Curr Pharmacol Rep. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 Feb 1. Published in final edited form as: Curr Pharmacol Rep. 2015 Feb 1; 1(1): 46–51. Published online 2015 Jan 25. doi: 10.1007/s40495-014-0003-9

3 Terryl J. Hartman,1 Julia S. Sisti,2,3 Susan E. Hankinson,2,3,4 Xia Xu,5 A. Heather Eliassen,2,3 and Regina Ziegler6 Alcohol Consumption and Urinary Estrogens and Estrogen Metabolites in Premenopausal Women. Horm Cancer. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2017 Feb 1. Published in final edited form as: Horm Cancer. 2016 Feb; 7(1): 65–74. Published online 2016 Jan 4. doi: 10.1007/s12672-015-0249-7

4 Giuseppe Di Bella,1,* Fabrizio Mascia,1 Luciano Gualano,2 and Luigi Di Bella Melatonin Anticancer Effects: Review Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Feb; 14(2): 2410–2430. Published online 2013 Jan 24. doi: 10.3390/ijms14022410

5 Holm TBrøgger-Jensen MRJohnson LKessel L.Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.

6 Andrade IM1, Andrade KM2, Pisani MX1, Silva-Lovato CH1, de Souza RF1, Paranhos Hde F1.Trial of an experimental castor oil solution for cleaning dentures. Braz Dent J. 2014 Jan-Feb;25(1):43-7.

7 Badaró MM, Salles MM, Leite VMF, Arruda CNF, Oliveira VC, Nascimento CD, Souza RF, Paranhos HFO, Silva-Lovato CH. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser.J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun; 25(3):324-334.

Salles MM, Badaró MM, Arruda CN, Leite VM, Silva CH, Watanabe E, Oliveira Vde C, Paranhos Hde F. Antimicrobial activity of complete denture cleanser solutions based on sodium hypochlorite and Ricinus communis – a randomized clinical study.J Appl Oral Sci. 2015 Nov-Dec; 23(6):637-42.

9 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8

10 Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

11 Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.

12 Lukong KE1. Understanding breast cancer – The long and winding road. BBA Clin. 2017 Jan 27;7:64-77. doi: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2017.01.001. eCollection 2017 Jun.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Microbiome | Part 2 | Dr. Marisol

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Last week in my blog post,  Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Microbiome | Part 1, we learned about the theories of Pasteur and Bernard, germ theory vs. terrain theory. And, contrary to popular belief in western medicine, it seems that the terrain is the most important aspect when managing the bug.

Probiotic Supplements – Do they Make Sense?

Let me put it in two clear examples for you. You’re told to take probiotics. One pill a day that has 50 billion bacteria. Does it really make sense that this is going to compensate for the 100 trillion bacteria that you have in your intestine? One pill. Wow, must be some kind of magical mystical pill.

What happens when you stop taking it or change your diet or lifestyle? You’re going to have to take way more probiotics if your lifestyle and environment becomes sicker, or way less if your lifestyle and environment becomes healthier. Capiche? Do you see why addressing the body as a whole makes way more sense?

Fecal Transplants – Do they Make Sense?

What about the big buzz word these days, fecal transplants. They are probably more of a buzz because of their inherent shock factor.

They make sense for the moment if you’re willing to be a candidate to put someone else’s poo into your body. In lab studies, transplanting an IBS patient’s stools into healthy mice actually gave the mice unhealthy metabolic profiles, different from the healthy stools1.

However, I caution… Again, you can transplant the stools, but if your lifestyle and environment, your millieu changes, due to stress or the other factors, what happens is your microbiome will change too. Back to the beginning, no further ahead, only a little bit more full of shit (LOL!).

It’s so simple it hurts my head. I hope it’s hurting yours (not because I want to inflict pain, but I want your eyes to open!)

IBS as a Functional Disorder

In addition to all of this, irritable bowel syndrome is a FUNCTIONAL disturbance of the digestive tract. Does it not then beg for treatment that is functional in form, hence a SYSTEMS biology approach, and not one that reduces it down simply to the microbiome2?

The point of this whole blog is this….

IT’S ABOUT LOOKING AT THE BIG AND THE SMALL, SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Because this is the natural logic in our living system. Some systems are grand and complex, like our hormonal regulatory system, and other are less complex and small, like a bacterium. But the reality is that because they all exist together, they must all work together.

The issue for Bernard was that his workings appreciated that we lived as a whole of our systems, and that physiological phenomena always seemed to find balance with highly defined set points. So now I’m encouraging you to think of the whole and not the parts in isolation when you’re considering what to do about your irritable bowel.

What would a systems/whole approach entail?

1. Get the Junk Out – Don’t Let It Pile Up

Terrain is, in effect, how we keep our bodies clean from the waste that perturbs its natural function. Think of it like this. If you kept the garbage piling up in your house, instead of packaging it and taking it to the curb, eventually you wouldn’t be able to get into your house to do the things that you need to. The body is no different. Whether the garbage comes from the byproducts of the microbiome, your own metabolism or the food that you eat, at the end of the day it’s all garbage.

Another analogy that I just love is thinking of the fish tank. A fish, in essence, swims in its own filth unless you clean out the tank. Think of the fish like one of your cells. It spits out, pisses and poops out what it doesn’t need into the water. If your body, or the fish tank, is never cleaned, you get scum build up. The scum that makes the glass cloudy and eventually makes it difficult for the fish, a.k.a. the cell, to survive. This is a good way to understand “le millieu liquide as Bernard understood it.

The focus has shifted from keeping up on housekeeping rather than having a war on the virus. The premise is a strong system that is free of debris. Its “vital force” is intact and it is able to keep the balance between the good and the bad3.

2. Nurture It Like you Would a Garden

I look at it as if our body is a garden. We must feed it, give it water and light, sing to it, make it joyous, reduce the stress, try to avoid natural disasters and natural prey.

As any farmer will tell you, and I have had this conversation with many of my patients that are farmers… “You reap what you sow. If you put in good, you get out good, and more importantly, good takes time.”

We are not looking at dropping a nuke and killing off all the bugs, rather we are willing to put in the time day to day, to get good results. Farmers very much resonate with natural medicine and systems biology because they live it on a daily basis in their work, so it’s so very easy to extend it into their lives.

Our #1 Product to Help with Understanding what our Body is Saying

To help you figure out what the problem is, you fortunately have something very close at your disposable, a totally free assessment. Your stools are one of the best ways to understand what is going on inside your body.

Poop is classically known in our language as #2, but I firmly believe that it was mislabeled and should be called #1, as it is the most important product we produce. It gives us real-time knowledge about what is going on in our bodies. As long as we learn to poop, peek and then assess, we’ve got it all covered.

Start the journey to learn about your poo here

Our stools are the window into our digestion, absorption, and elimination. They show vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormonal, immune, and nervous system problems. They suggest inflammation, food sensitivities, excess mucus in the body. They are basically the owner’s manual to your health… If you know how to read them. 

Dr. Marisol - Digestive Detective

Poo comes in all shapes and forms and sizes, and that is exactly how we like it because that’s how it is used as a guide to your body’s health. Whether it’s a cow plop or an Oktoberfest sausage… whether it sinks or floats… whether or not it smells like rotten eggs… They’re all key indications to the state of our health.

Download my free guide now and learn how to read your body

Environments Have Timing, so Does your Poo

Another majorly important factor is timing. All systems have timing. With your stools, it’s incredibly important for them to work well and for you to track how often and when you go. The ideal is a 24-hour cycle. A longer stool timing is linked to increased allergy and food sensitivity4, as one example, but there is much more it is linked to.

Timing is everything. Even your microbiome is doing different things depending on the clues in your environment5, following the day and night cycle, or circadian rhythm. So it makes sense that when you’re working on your systems, or your terrain, to start with the most important cycle to optimize.

Change your Terrain – Fix your Irritable Bowel

So now, what are you thinking? Do you still want to target the microbiome? I doubt it! I think now you understand that you must fix the environment and the rest will follow (there are a few exceptions to this rule, so always make sure that you check with your health care provider for what is right for you).

Night Practice for Irritable Bowel Terrain Treatment

My most important medicines for the terrain are the oldest therapies of them all. Likely because they had their roots long ago when people were in tune with these vitalistic principles.

Nightly Restorative Sleep Practice

Sleep is the most important part of our day. So like I do with all of my patients, we start here. We do the majority of our house-work while we’re sleeping, unbeknownst to you… As long as you get a deep and regenerative sleep. Even the microbiome potentially follows the natural day and night cycles6!

If you were like me, when I was in the stormy season of my irritable bowel, I couldn’t sleep for the life of me. Because of this, I was a mess emotionally and my WHOLE life felt like a mess, a hot mess. One of the top complaints made by irritable bowel syndrome sufferers is fatigue. And this is no surprise because if your body is confused with its hormones, nutrient deficiencies and microbiome mayhem, how can you get a good night sleep?

These are the most important tips:

  • Cool your room 
  • Complete darkness
  • Your bed is for sex and sleep only – try having sex before sleep that’ll help you doze off into never, never land
  • Don’t eat for at least 2 hours before bed 
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages past 3 pm (coffee, tea, green tea, pop, energy drinks) 
  • Alcohol – don’t over do it, it’ll wake you 
  • Create a routine every night, the same thing 
  • Journal for one page, write down what you need to do tomorrow and 3 things that you are grateful for
  • Wear an eye mask – this helps to naturally promote melatonin7 which does wonders for your sleep. Get your Beauty Sleep Kit Here
  • Use your castor oil pack, see below:

Castor Oil Packs – A Legendary Terrain Treatment

Castor oil packs deserve special mention. So many of us go to bed stressed out and worried about the next day. So we tumble, toss and turn, and do nothing but hyper worry about the day we just had and what’s to come.

When you place a castor oil pack on your body it immediately switches your system into the relaxed state. Ah, zen time for me. So you can sleep and heal and reap the benefits.

On top of it, there are so many wonderful actions of the pack that help your body to do the clean up during the night. They help to:

  1. Reduce inflammation and improve the alkalinity of your body8 9
  2. Enhance antioxidants like glutathione that help your body to cleanse10
  3. Move the bowels – typically the next morning you’re happy to let go of a load!11 12 
  4. Breakdown biofilm – a barrier created by the bad bugs of the microbiome. Getting rid of this gunk allows you to heal your gut 13 14
  5. Don’t forget they help you to relax15 16 so you can sleep!

Your sleep will be regenerative, healthy, fulfilling, and satisfying. You’ll be ready to take on your day. Most importantly, you will have done the important step of helping to reset your terrain while you sleep.

NEXT STEPS

My hope is that you start by looking at what your poo is saying about you and that you begin to address the ever-important sleep function of your body. I love the saying, “cleanliness is next to godliness”, and starting these practices are the very first steps to getting your body in a better, healthier, and cleaner state. 

DISCLAIMER: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors, and not Queen of the Thrones™. Neither Queen of the Thrones™ nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. Furthermore, Queen of the Thrones™neither endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy and reliability of any opinion, advice, or statement made on any of the sites. This communication does not create a doctor and patient relationship.  Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner.  Before proceeding with any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed please consult your health care practitioner.

1 De Palma G1, Lynch MD2, Lu J1, Dang VT3, Deng Y1, Jury J1, Umeh G1, Miranda PM1, Pigrau Pastor M1, Sidani S1, Pinto-Sanchez MI1, Philip V1, McLean PG4, Hagelsieb MG5, Surette MG1, Bergonzelli GE4, Verdu EF1, Britz-McKibbin P3, Neufeld JD2, Collins SM1, Bercik P6. Transplantation of fecal microbiota from patients with irritable bowel syndrome alters gut function and behavior in recipient mice. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Mar 1;9(379). pii: eaaf6397. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf6397.

2 Şimşek I1. Irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2011 Aug;45 Suppl:S86-8. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e31821fbd6f.

3 Normandin S1. Claude Bernard and an introduction to the study of experimental medicine: “physical vitalism,” dialectic, and epistemology.  J Hist Med Allied Sci. 2007 Oct;62(4):495-528. Epub 2007 Jun 18.

4 Pali-Schöll I1,2, Untersmayr E3, Klems M4, Jensen-Jarolim E5,6. The Effect of Digestion and Digestibility on Allergenicity of Food. Nutrients. 2018 Aug 21;10(9). pii: E1129. doi: 10.3390/nu10091129.

5 Nobs SP1, Tuganbaev T1, Elinav E2,3. Microbiome diurnal rhythmicity and its impact on host physiology and disease risk.EMBO Rep. 2019 Mar 15. pii: e47129. doi: 10.15252/embr.201847129. [Epub ahead of print]

6 Liang X1, FitzGerald GA2. Timing the Microbes: The Circadian Rhythm of the Gut Microbiome. J Biol Rhythms. 2017 Dec;32(6):505-515. doi: 10.1177/0748730417729066. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

7 Hu RF1, Jiang XY, Chen J, Zeng Z, Chen XY, Li Y, Huining X, Evans DJ. Non-pharmacological interventions for sleep promotion in the intensive care unit. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Oct 6;(10):CD008808. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008808.pub2.

8 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8.

9  Grady H. Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Volume 7 Jan 1 1998; 7(1): 84-9

10  Holm T1, Brøgger-Jensen MR, Johnson L, Kessel L. Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.

11  Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.

12  Sorin Tunaru,a Till F. Althoff,a Rolf M. Nüsing,b Martin Diener,c and Stefan Offermannsa,d,1 Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptorsProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5; 109(23): 9179–9184.Published online 2012 May 21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109PMID: 22615395

13  Andrade IM1, Andrade KM2, Pisani MX1, Silva-Lovato CH1, de Souza RF1, Paranhos Hde F1. Trial of an experimental castor oil solution for cleaning dentures. Braz Dent J. 2014 Jan-Feb;25(1):43-7.

14  Badaró MM, Salles MM, Leite VMF, Arruda CNF, Oliveira VC, Nascimento CD, Souza RF, Paranhos HFO, Silva-Lovato CH. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser.J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun; 25(3):324-334.

15  Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

16  Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17. ( Dopamine release, Limbic System of brain- Fatty Meal Satisfaction) 

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Best Lab Tests to Help Treat Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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So you’ve been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Now what?? As someone who has IBS, I’ve experienced first hand how debilitating it can be, and how confusing the diagnostic process is. I want to share with you some things that I wish I would have known back when I got my diagnosis, that would have saved me years of excruciating pain and suffering. I have now seen thousands of patients who also have this diagnosis live a legendary life.

In this article I will mention a U.S. lab that I use and trust, click here to learn more.

Why is Irritable Bowel Syndrome a Functional Bowel Movement Disorder?

Irritable bowel syndrome is classified as a chronic functional bowel movement disorder because it is diagnosed by the symptoms that you are experiencing. These are typically abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and changes in bowel movements, often diarrhea or constipation1. Other digestive diseases that can be seen by colonoscopy or confirmed by lab tests are often excluded before IBS is diagnosed.

Why Can’t Labs Tell Me That I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The labs that most conventional doctors use at this moment in time don’t give a definitive diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. This is because it is a complex interplay of all the processes in our body. It is most often a reaction to stress in the body, whether emotional or physical, that creates an imbalance in the immune, nervous and hormonal systems. This compounds and affects the natural digestive processes of the gut, causing inflammation, irritation, dysbiosis and lack of digestive factors that all contribute to and aggravate our symptoms2.

The big point here is that it is NOT just one thing causing IBS, and to treat it you need to have a MULTIFACTORIAL approach or it just won’t work.

Functional Disorders Involve the ENTIRE Environment of the Body 

As a Naturopathic Doctor, we look at the body as a complete environment, an ecosystem. I have expertise in digestive disorders, specifically irritable bowel syndrome. I am also extremely well versed in hormonal problems such as hypothyroid, estrogen dominance, nervous system conditions like anxiety and depression, and immune system problems like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease, cancer, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and I have treated all successfully.

If I only knew about the gut and digestive system, I wouldn’t be able to treat a FUNCTIONAL digestive system disorder because functional means that the whole entire body is involved. The ecosystem needs rebalancing.

Are There Functional Tests for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Yes, there are things that can be tested, but again, it is a whole body approach. So as a Naturopathic Doctor I can see that there are imbalances in the whole body.

What Is the Point of Testing in Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

First off, it’s important to do tests to rule out other conditions. When the diagnosis is clear, I test irritable bowel patients in order to track improvements and direct and guide treatment.

For my health as well, I have noticed that it is vital to have this tracking system over time in order to gain a good understanding of what is going on inside your system, year to year.

Since irritable bowel is a chronic, long term disease, being proactive in this way helps to stay on top of things and avoid the frustration and suffering of living with uncomfortable symptoms.

Stress Hormone Testing Cortisol and ACTH 

Research demonstrates that people with irritable bowel syndrome, mainly women, with onset at a younger age3, will have it for the greater part of their lives. They typically also have an imbalance in their nervous system and stress response.

Stress markers of cortisol in the blood can be tested and show a difference between men and women as well as between healthy and unhealthy subjects4. However, this is a costly test and is not common protocol for irritable bowel syndrome.

Salivary or urine cortisol markers can also be used to measure this, and they are my markers of choice. Research demonstrates that there is a significant difference in cortisol (stress hormone) markers in the morning and evening, and in general there was a higher spike in the a.m. and lower in the evening. The pattern of circadian rhythm night and day curve was still maintained5.

These tests can be purchased on YourLabWork.com.

Sleep is often something that is a complaint for women with IBS and there seems to be a difference between the type, whether it be IBS-D (diarrhea predominant) or IBS-C (constipation predominant)6. Sleep is something that normally balances our regulatory systems as it helps to reset the immune, nervous and hormonal systems.

I recommend wearing an eye mask to bed at night to help support natural melatonin production, without having to take a supplement. I’ve created a Beauty Sleep Kit that uses castor oil applied around the eyes, eyelashes and eyebrows, covered by a sleep mask. This has a relaxing effect on the system and improves natural melatonin levels, helping you to get a good night’s sleep. You will note over time, visible differences in sleep quality with using a mask7.

GET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP KIT HERE!

Inflammation Testing in IBS 

Inflammation is a key component in IBS. Inflammation may be sourced from food sensitivities, allergies and intolerances, or choices of food, such as fermented foods that have high levels of histamine and act as an irritant to the gut. Inflammation is a root cause of all diseases and when there is imbalance in any system there is always inflammation.

Ferritin, the storage molecule for iron can also be a key indicator of acute inflammation. It is important to test in combination with a complete blood count (CBC) as well as an iron panel to make sure you rule out any other reasons for an elevated level of Ferritin.

In my practice there are certain key markers that I have noted are indicative inflammation. Firstly, high sensitivity C reactive protein (HS-CRP). This marker is not often tested, however, levels have been noted to be higher in those with irritable bowel syndrome as compared to the healthy population8.

Cholesterol has also been one of the markers of inflammation that I use to track progress in patients. It is linked to inflammatory processes in the body and I have seen clear indications post therapeutic cleansing interventions with my patients, where even if cholesterol is only moderately higher, it always decreases from the pre-testing phase9. I always test these levels in my IBS patients because I want to see how they are adapting to their protocols and where they are at the present state in time.

A complete blood count (CBC) is always important to do as well, because it demonstrates a variety of markers. With regards to inflammation, eosinophils are a marker of allergy and when they are elevated it’s an indicator that there is elevated histamines in the body10. It’s most commonly correlated to parasite infection, which is something to be considered in irritable bowel syndrome, since the onset of IBS can be due to a gastrointestinal infection11.

In my opinion, food sensitivity testing is in a class of its own. It can demonstrate inflammatory processes in the gut as well as immune reactivity. When aiming to fix an irritable bowel, it’s important to understand that there are so many things that can be irritating it.

Food is the biggest irritator and since we eat food every day, it’s very important to address this to reduce inflammation.

Here is a link to an excellent lab where you can test your food sensitivities to help you on your way – Click here!

Can You Test for Dysbiosis and The Microbiome?

You absolutely can, and uric acid (a key indicator of gout) is an excellent marker to use for dysbiosis or an unhealthy microbiome12. Uric acid is a good indicator of microbiome health because it shows improper metabolism of protein, typically due to unhealthy gut bugs.

Another one of my favourite tests is the Organic Acids Test (OAT), which I find invaluable to manage and keep an eye on dysbiosis. It tracks overgrowth of yeasts as well as possible clostridium infections. It’s an excellent tool that I find very helpful for patients with IBS.

There are also recent novel tests that will actually classify the types of healthy v.s. pathogenic microbes in your microbiome. This research is in its infancy.

What Should You Test? My Dream List

Here is my dream list, which is basically a full workup of a patient to rule out other sources of pain in the intestine:

  • CBC
  • Serum Electrolytes
  • Liver Enzymes, ALT, AST, ALP GGT
  • Urobilinogen, direct and indirect
  • Blood Lipids/Cholesterol
  • Albumin
  • eGFR and Creatinine
  • HS-CRP
  • Uric acid and urea
  • Iron panel including Ferritin
  • TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Antibodies for Thyroid
  • Dutch Hormone Test
  • Food Sensitivity Testing
  • OAT TestVisit YourLabWork.com.

What to Do While You’re Waiting to Get Your Tests Done? 

Start working on a solution!

My two first protocols for all patients is to start a castor oil pack, which immediately begins to work on the stress component of their condition. It will reduce inflammation, help the body to cleanse, get the bowels moving and significantly reduce pain in the gut (I’ve used it more times than I can count for acute pain in my situation and it hasn’t failed). It will also help you get a great night’s sleep.

In addition, I get patients to wear an eye mask to bed. As mentioned before, this will help to increase the body’s natural melatonin production, improving quality of sleep.

Starting with these strategies is super safe. This is the basic prescription for all my patients from the get go, because if we can start to reduce the stress, address the inflammation, cleanse, poop and sleep (these are common problems that every single person who walks into my practice shares) I can actually start getting a clearer picture of what is going on.

Peek After You Poo

The other pièce de résistance is that I ask my patients to start peeking at their poo. I want a detailed account moving forward. Because let’s face it, lab tests start to get quite expensive. For the full panel above you could be looking at anywhere between $1500-$2500 per shot, so why not learn what your poo is saying about you? It is an easy daily at-home test, totally free!

Every visit, with every single patient, we have this discussion and you would be shocked at how much it guides treatment. So much so, that I’ve compiled my personal experience, clinical experience and research so that you have access to the same tools as my patients.

Download 50 Shades of Poo – the first steps to understanding what your poo says about you. Click here.

Buy Your Very Own Castor Oil Pack Here and Your Beauty Sleep Kit, Here

Start today! Don’t wait for tomorrow to do what you can do today. This is your health, your life, your body and it’s time for you to know and understand what is going on.

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DISCLAIMER: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors, and not Queen of the Thrones™. Neither Queen of the Thrones™ nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. Furthermore, Queen of the Thrones™neither endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy and reliability of any opinion, advice, or statement made on any of the sites. This communication does not create a doctor and patient relationship.  Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner.  Before proceeding with any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed please consult your health care practitioner.

References:

1 Bandar Mohammed Bardisi,1 Abdulaziz Kamal H. Halawani,1 Hassan Kamal H. Halawani,1 Aseel Hassan Alharbi,1 Nesma Saleh Turkostany,1 Taraji Saeed Alrehaili,1 Aisha Ahmad Radin,1 and Nasser Moqbil Alkhuzea1 Efficiency of diet change in irritable bowel syndrome. J Family Med Prim Care. 2018 Sep-Oct; 7(5): 946–951.PMID: 30598938

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6 Robert L. Burr, MSEE, PhD, Research Professor,a Monica E. Jarrett, PhD, Professor,a Kevin C. Cain, PhD, Research Scientist,b Sang-Eun Jun, MS, Doctoral Candidate,a and Margaret M. Heitkemper, PhD, Professora. Catecholamine and Cortisol Levels during Sleep in Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2009 Nov; 21(11): 1148–1e97.PMID: 19573081

7 Rong-fang Hu,1 Xiao-ying Jiang,1 Yi-ming Zeng,2 Xiao-yang Chen,2 and You-hua Zhang3 Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment. Crit Care. 2010; 14(2): R66.PMID: 20398302

8 Keren Hod, MSc,1,2 Tamar Ringel-Kulka, MD MPH,3 Christopher F. Martin, MSPH,2 Nitsan Maharshak, MD,4 and Yehuda Ringel, MD*,2 High Sensitive C – Reactive Protein as a Marker for Inflammation in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.J Clin Gastroenterol. 2016 Mar; 50(3): 227–232.PMID: 25930973

9 Tall AR1, Yvan-Charvet L2. Cholesterol, inflammation and innate immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 Feb;15(2):104-16. doi: 10.1038/nri3793.

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11 Wouters MM1, Van Wanrooy S1, Nguyen A2, Dooley J2, Aguilera-Lizarraga J1, Van Brabant W1, Garcia-Perez JE2, Van Oudenhove L1, Van Ranst M3, Verhaegen J4, Liston A2, Boeckxstaens G1 Psychological comorbidity increases the risk for postinfectious IBS partly by enhanced susceptibility to develop infectious gastroenteritis. Gut. 2016 Aug;65(8):1279-88. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309460. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

12 Zhuang Guo,1,* Jiachao Zhang,1,* Zhanli Wang,3,* Kay Ying Ang,2,* Shi Huang,4 Qiangchuan Hou,1 Xiaoquan Su,4 Jianmin Qiao,1 Yi Zheng,1 Lifeng Wang,1 Eileen Koh,2 Ho Danliang,2 Jian Xu,4 Yuan Kun Lee,a,2 and Heping Zhangb,1 Intestinal Microbiota Distinguish Gout Patients from Healthy Humans Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 20602.PMID: 26852926 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757479/