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What May be Causing A Flip-Flopping Colon and Gastroparesis?

Today we answer questions from a couple of site visitors in regard to a flip-flopping colon and gastroparesis, and what may be the underlying contributing factors.

Q. Cynthia,

I have a friend who is in the hospital to have about a foot of his colon removed tomorrow. He said the Dr. told him this surgery was necessary because his colon is flip flopping and it could flip and not flip back to the proper position. Then he would be in some serious trouble. He has complained of pain for quite some time in the gut area. My question; what can be causing his colon to react that way? I will appreciate if you would share your expertise on this. Fran

A. Hi Fran,

I would suggest your friend get a doctor that practices functional medicine so they could look for the underlying cause of this flip-flopping, rather than cutting out body parts.

Of course, a colon that flips and flops is not normal or natural; there must be something causing it. The first thing that comes to my mind, and probably the most likely, is a parasite of some kind. Parasites are very common in the general population.

Other possibilities would include gluten intolerance, food sensitivities, Candida or bacterial overgrowth, insufficient healthy bacteria in the colon, heavy metal toxicity or some other toxin, or just a poor diet in general. A functional medicine doctor could help him sort this all out.

Q. Hi Cynthia, you’re blog is a great source of information and I only just came across it recently. I suffer from Gastroparesis, which is a paralyzed stomach and also an adrenal insufficiency (which may be worsening my symptoms). Symptoms are predominately nausea after eating. I’ve seen many doctors over the years from allopathic, to naturopath to Chinese herbalists. My most recent naturopath I saw had me on a vegan diet of basically fresh fruit and vegetable juices with nut butters, coconut oil and some grains that I could tolerate. It is very hard for me to digest anything not in liquid or pureed form. So fiber is hard on my stomach even when pureed. I’ve since stop seeing her as I seem to have gone down hill these last 5 months since seeing her. This last month however, I’ve seemed to have come a little better since starting back on the meat and dairy. The strange thing is that unpasteurized foods like raw milk and juices seem to bother me big time. My diet now mostly consists of salmon, eggs, white rice and bread, stewed fruits, pasteurized cows milk, butter and yogurt. As I said, I’m fairly restricted on what I can eat and have a fairly low fibre / residue diet. Can you think of any reason raw / fresh foods would cause me such troubles? Even taking probiotics seems to upset my sensitive gut. Sorry for the long message. Thanks! Daniel

A. Hi Daniel,

Thank you. I’m glad you find my blog helpful.

The important point to be aware of is that your symptoms must be caused by something. I would focus on looking at what those possible underlying factors might be, as I will suggest below.

A vegetarian diet would be the worse thing you could do. Lots of meat and fat would be important. No grains, bread, sugar, or legumes of any kind. Fruit and nuts should be minimized. I would also get rid of the cow’s milk. Yogurt should be minimized and butter is okay unless there is a dairy sensitivity. Yes, fiber will have to been minimized until the gut heals a bit. All foods should be cooked thoroughly to the point of softness.

I would say the most likely reason you’re having trouble with raw foods is that your gastrointestinal tract is inflamed and impaired, you are probably lacking in digestive enzymes and there is likely some kind of unfriendly organism or organisms present. Your focus needs to be on identifying those organisms and healing the gut. I would suggest you take a look at the Paleolithic Diet on the following page.  A good pancreatic based enzyme might be helpful.

I would also suggest you explore the possibility of H pylori, parasites, Candida overgrowth and/or bacterial overgrowth, which may be at the root of your gastroparesis, with emphasis on H pylori and SIBO. H pylori is a bacteria that lives in the stomach and duodenum and causes a variety of symptoms like pain and nausea.

Many people who have SIBO, (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) have problems with probiotics and a lot of your other symptoms are indicative of SIBO, so that may be in play as well. However, on the other hand, it isn’t uncommon for people with a lot of Candida in their gut, to feel worse on a probiotic for a period of time either from die off. If SIBO is present then foods in the FODMAPs category need to be restricted as well.

Yes, adrenal insufficiency would be worsening the gastroparesis, because adrenal insufficiency occurs when there is chronic stress, and digestion is shut down when we are under stress. Additionally, stomach contractions are controlled by the autonomic nervous system, and when there is adrenal fatigue the individual is experiencing excess sympathetic nervous system activity on a frequent basis. In order for stomach contractions to work effectively, the body must be in the parasympathetic mode. Chronic stress and adrenal problems also drain neurotransmitters, which are needed for stomach contraction as well.

There should be a lot of focus on restoring balance to the autonomic nervous system, the root of adrenal problems, which you can learn more about on the following page.

Best Regards,

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