"Just constant discomfort:" What's being done to treat Gastrointestinal Disorders and Syndromes

NOW: “Just constant discomfort:“ What’s being done to treat Gastrointestinal Disorders and Syndromes

It's a problem that affects millions across the United States. Gastrointestinal Disorders and Syndromes.

The question is what's being done about it?

"I had a lot of different symptoms kind of since my early 20's."

75% of Americans surveyed say they suffer from digestive disorders.

Amanda Kunz is among half of them who say they ignored their symptoms for too long.

"Just constant discomfort in my stomach and feeling bloated for years, for years. Even when I went to see the doctor for the pain, I was told right away here is your medication," Kunz said.

An option Kunz didn't want. Instead, she ate organic foods and took natural supplements for six years.

It helped with energy and after a few months, she had her first child. She still didn't feel 100%. 

"After every meal, I would say oh I don't feel good. And it became this thing after we would eat I would say I just don't feel good."

It's a common complaint Dr. Daniel Stein sees as the Director of The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

"There are numerous theories as to why this is more common is the westernized diets. Issues of antibiotics, is it a cleanliness thing? The fact that we are a lot more sterile here than developing countries," Dr. Stein said.

Medical professionals tell CBS 58 News that 90% of health problems start in your gut especially autoimmune issues. Depending on the disease, that road can lead to colon cancer. 

In recent years, there's been a debate about what is the right away to treat GI problems: naturally or with prescription drugs?

Medical doctors, chiropractors, and more agree your diet and stress levels are the biggest factors.

"The GI tract we know is called the second brain. The brain can tell the gut what to do but the gut can tell the brain what to do," said Dr. Andrew McGuire.

Dr. Andrew McGuire runs the Wellnes Way in Mequon and says his office is typically a last resort.

"I get from a lot of patients is their doctor is kind of throwing their hands up in the air saying, I don't know what to do."

While doctors develop new technology and focus on medical treatment, McGuire says longer office visits and unique testing allow patients to get the answers they need to start solving the problem.

"We do a lot of stool tests. We need to see what's going in and what's coming out."

"We will get results back, food intolerances, food allergies."

Amanda Kunz found out food allergies caused bloating in her gut.

"One of the things that we found on the x-ray is that I had a giant air pocket in my stomach. It was taking over half of my stomach and causing a lot of bloating."

An issue she now knows, she shouldn't have waited to treat.

The message here is that GI issues aren't something you should ignore no matter what route you ultimately choose. 

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