There are five basic symptoms indicating a GI tract problem. These symptoms are generally associated with dietary problems or specific food allergies. It is critical that anyone suffering from serious GI tract problems work closely with a physician to test for more developed and serious GI tract diseases. The physician should also be experienced in working with dietary factors and food allergies.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can vary from an unsettled feeling in the stomach to the violent action of immediate vomiting. Patients with nausea and vomiting symptoms should assume the ingestion of a reactive food (i.e., food containing toxins) or poisoning with a pathogen such as salmonella. Vomiting immediately after eating is usually proceeded by excessive watery salivation. Some chronic low-intensity nausea can occur for a protracted time due to sustained low-level food allergies or problems with food combinations. Patients with low-level nausea usually have their symptoms disappear with dietary change(s). Nausea and vomiting are also linked with migraines caused by food allergies (see the Migraine protocol).
Bloating can result from excessive gas in the digestive system, failure of the digestive tract to sustain youthful peristaltic contractions, or a lack of sufficient quantities of digestive enzymes and bile acids to rapidly break down food. Intestinal gas results from food fermentation and swallowing air while eating. The bloating from intestinal gas is different from that which occurs in the colon.
Constipation is the decreased frequency or slowing of peristalsis, resulting in harder stools. When the GI tract is slowed down, feces can accumulate in the colon with attending pain and toxic reactions. A spastic colon results when the colon contracts out of rhythm in painful spasms blocking movement of the stool. Some patients experience painful days of constipation followed by forceful diarrhea and watery stool, often accompanied by abdominal cramps.
Diarrhea is the increased frequency of bowel movements, which are also loose or watery. If diarrhea increases, the possibility of celiac disease is considered. Celiac disease is a serious disease that allows certain macromolecules to pass through the intestinal wall. If blood appears in the stool, ulcerative colitis is likely. Protracted bouts of diarrhea can result in nutritional deficiencies due to poor absorption of essential nutrients.
Abdominal pain appears in different patterns and with varying intensities. Cramping occurs because of muscle spasms in abdominal organs. Severe cramping pain, often called colic, usually occurs from problems with strong allergic response to food. Abdominal cramping near the navel is typically from the small intestine, and near the sides, top, and bottom of the lower abdomen, the pain is associated with the colon.
Diseases associated with central GI tract disorders include depression, migraine, asthma, sinusitis, and fibromyalgia. These diseases have been diagnosed with specific patterns of food allergy response. All of these diseases also have links to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (see the IBS protocol). (IBS is more accurately referred to as reactive bowel syndrome or RBS).