Updated: Jun 12, 2019
Many patients with chronic illness have spent years looking for a diagnosis.
Often, symptoms have not been taken seriously or they have been covered up with 'band aid' solutions like painkillers. When testing comes back negative for obvious conditions, the patient is often left in a 'no mans land' with no treatment and no information on how to move forward.
My wife developed Raynaud's syndrome at 9 years old (an autoimmune reaction that causes vascular constriction). A doctor told her and her mother that her circulation was 'bad' and that they could probably perform a surgery to 'open up' the veins in her hands.
Her doctor did not recognize her condition. He failed to realize that the problem was not her veins and a surgery would have been pointless and destructive.
Stories like hers are common, especially in those who have unusual symptoms or have conditions that are rare or do not fit into diagnostic guidelines.
Functional Medicine Is Different
I practice functional medicine, my objective is to find out the root cause of your symptoms and conditions.
Rather than handing out medications that simply cover up symptoms, I employ natural methods to permanently resolve symptoms.
A diagnosis is just the starting point of my clinical inquiry - my goal is to heal your tissues and organs so that you can enjoy your life - not just 'manage' symptoms.
The 'Big Three' Of Diagnostic Testing
The three functional medicine tests below can give you powerful insights into what is keeping you sick and what needs to be treated for you to heal.
You may be thinking if these tests were so important, why wouldn't my doctor already order these tests? Most practitioners of conventional medicine are looking for a diagnosis, and for that they only need a limited range of confirmatory tests.
Here are a few tests that are particularly helpful in cases of idiopathic (without known cause), mysterious symptoms or chronic illness.
1. Comprehensive Stool Analysis
Few tests are as illuminating as a comprehensive stool analysis. All the trendy phrases you have been hearing lately - like "90% of your immune system is in your gut" and "your gut is your second brain" - are true, your gut is a near-miraculous collection of neurons and microbial environments that form the basis for your health.
With expert interpretation, a comprehensive stool analysis can test assess digestive function, gastrointestinal inflammation and nutrient absorption.
It can also assess the composition and health of your microbiome.
The common condition of excessive bacteria in the small intestine (called SIBO) can be investigated with this test.
Viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections are also detectable in a stool analysis.
Autoimmune Symptoms / Disease
'Migrating' or Non-Specific Pain
Food Allergies / Sensitivities
Viral, Bacterial or Fungal Infections
Nutrient Deficiencies, including Chronic Deficiencies
Skin Conditions (Eczema, Psoriasis, Rashes, Hives)
Functional Medicine Application
If we find in your stool analysis that you have a bacterial infection and high inflammation - the solution will not be as simple as popping a probiotic or cutting out grains once in a while.
Based on the kind of bacteria present or condition found we will choose a multifaceted treatment that is intended to fix your problem once and for all - not just keep it at bay.
You will likely be given specific foods to include in your diet. Herbal supplementations are also frequently used to kill off unwanted bacterial overgrowth while protecting other beneficial bacteria.