When I was 18, I began to suffer from chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, fevers and weight loss. After months, I overcame my fear/denial and went to the doctor, who diagnosed me with Crohn’s Disease. Over the next 20 years, I tried every single medication that was available. Sometimes they would work for a short while, sometimes they wouldn’t. I quickly found that doctors knew very little about nutrition, or did not value its contribution to health. At the time, I lacked a road map to explain how some foods could hurt and some foods could heal; and no doctor of mine offered me any insight. It was this experience that fueled my passion for nutrition.
Over the next two decades, I was in and out of remission. After I gave birth to my second child, no medicine would keep my Crohn’s in remission, and I had to have surgery. The diseased part of my ileum was removed, and the intestines that remained were all healthy! Yay! But while I was in the hospital, I contracted C-diff. While the infection eventually cleared up, post-infectious IBS remained. The surgery and/or the infection left my intestines a mess. There was nothing ‘wrong’ with them (I was disease free), but I proceeded to deal with gluten sensitivity, leaky gut, lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance, IBS, and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
Between my extensive personal experience, as well as my professional training, I have so much knowledge now that really could have helped me back then. For years, I would be mistaken as pregnant due to stomach distention. When I desperately asked doctors why I was so distended, they would just reply “it happens with Crohn’s disease, we don’t know why.” Well, now I know exactly why, because of my gut bacteria! I had too much, the wrong kind, it was in the wrong place, and the food I was eating was making it worse.
Digestive health is a complex interaction of bacteria and food, which work together, for better or for worse.