My Daughter Had to Have Surgery and It Was Awful: How to Help Your Children Repair Their Gut and Heal After They've Been Sick
Happy Mother’s Day!
[DrCorinneWeaver.com] Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. I have many roles I play: Doctor, author, speaker, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and MOM. Out of all those roles, being a MOM is my top priority because my kids need me the most right now. It’s a time in my life where I need to be there for them and support them through this thing we call Life. So, last week, when the school called me to tell me my daughter was sick. I stopped everything and picked her up. My kids are hardly ever sick, so this was an unusual call. I brought her home and was by her side the whole time. Usually, if one of my kids get sick, it lasts a day or two and we are moving on. This time was different. I knew something was not right and, in my gut, I thought the worse -- appendicitis or a ruptured appendix. Because I am not a surgeon, I knew I had to go to the hospital. Going to the hospital brings back very bad memories of my childhood, so for me to go, my husband knew it had to be bad. (Photo Credit: Dr. Corinne Weaver)
I have always had a heart for people that are suffering with pain. My nature is to be a caregiver and give all I must to help the other person get better. Seeing my own child suffer so much brought me to my knees. I felt her pain and I knew she needed surgery to help her body heal because of all the leakage that was happening. The surgeon said her poor little appendix was awkward shaped in two pieces and was in a weird position. There was an abscess full of infection behind her colon. Praise God her body contained the infection in an abscess and was not all over her intestines like he thought! He was able to remove the two pieces and the abscess with laparoscopy. I am so thankful we moved forward when we did!
I believe that in our country we perform too many surgeries and take too many drugs. My kids have had no drugs or surgeries and I was hoping I could help them carry that out all their lives. But life is tough and sometimes accidents happen, so knowing when to use drugs or surgery to help your body heal is necessary. Please realize I am saying there are very few situations where drugs should be your solution. A life-threatening infection is one of them. But it is you who must help your body do the subsequent healing after all else has been done.
Due to my daughter’s surgery and need for antibiotics I am now focusing on helping her gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is an ecosystem of organisms including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and protozoan throughout the digestive tract. Far beyond just digestive health, the following organ systems are also closely related to gut health:
- Immune system
- Endocrine system
- Nervous system
- Circulatory system
- Integumentary system
- Respiratory system
- Reproductive system
A few key points to consider:
There are TEN TIMES the number of bacteria in our body than our own cells and most them are found within our digestive system. The gastrointestinal system contains 90% of the body’s “happy” hormone, serotonin, so to help my baby girl to be happy again, I will use all my knowledge to help her gut repair. Most importantly, approximately 70% of our immune system is housed in our gut! As you can tell, gut health doesn’t stop at digestion. The health of our gut affects nearly every system in our bodies! (Photo Credit: Flickr)
Do you have a good gut? Several factors have proved to negatively affect the gut’s integrity. The most prominent include:
- The standard American diet
- Exposure to chemicals
- Chronic infections
- Gluten and other grains
- Food allergies
- Excessive medications
- Poorly managed stress
Inflammation is a vital immune response and is the body’s attempt to defend itself against pathogens, heal from injury, and repair damaged tissue. Chronic inflammation, however, is not beneficial to our bodies in any way. In fact, it can worsen the body’s ability to recognize foreign invaders and puts the body in a state of stress for extended periods of time. This can cause lasting damage, increased food allergies, and eventually autoimmunity. This type of inflammation can be caused by several things, but largely seen as a result of leaky gut syndrome and poor dietary habits. If chronic inflammation goes untreated, leaky gut is worsened and the body ultimately loses its ability to repair from the damage.
Our gut has 5 critical elements, or defenses, that it truly needs for healthy gut function.
In order -- from the most outer layer of defense -- they include:
- Mucosal IgA
Otherwise known as immunoglobulin A, this antibody found in the mucus membranes is considered your gut’s first line of defense against toxins.
- Tight Junctions
These are small proteins that are responsible for holding the gut’s cells together. This is what is most directly affected with leaky gut syndrome.
- Gastro Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT)
This is the gut’s concentrated immune system and in fact, 70% of our immune system altogether. This the gut’s last and most powerful layer of defense.
The gut’s accessory defenses include:
- Friendly Bacteria
As I mentioned, we have more bacteria in our bodies than we do our own cells. These bacteria can communicate with the GALT warning it of potential danger.
- Stomach Acid
This is essential for the digestion, absorption of nutrients, and defense against infections.
If there is any dysfunction throughout your gut’s line of defense, these five primary barriers need to be evaluated to heal and be treated properly.
The first steps of healing are ruling out the fundamental causes of leaky gut. It’s important to recognize that there is rarely ONLY one cause, but rather a combination of several causing the damage.
You must first rule out, or begin to recognize, the following:
- Vitamin deficiencies by functional nutrition testing
- Infectious pathogens by blood and GI tract tests
- Heavy metal toxicity by urine or hair testing
- Gluten sensitivity through HLA-DQ genetic testing
- Environmental allergies via skin or blood tests
If any of these come back positive, you have your first step of instructions: address the deficiencies, implement dietary changes, limit exposure to allergens, and consider detoxification methods.
Once you have a better understanding of your body’s unique needs, you can begin the formal functional medicine protocol: The 4 R’s.
The 4 R program is administered to help you heal from digestive distress, reverse gut complications, and rebalance your gastrointestinal microbiome. It is an incredible tool to acknowledge and treat health issues, dysfunctions, imbalances, and personal health needs.
It is done in the following order:
Eliminate problem foods, toxins, low-grade infections, and oxidative stress.
Begin reintroducing a clean diet with essential nutrients your body needs.
Repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria to restore the proper balance of gut flora.
Replace digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and immune-boosting vitamins to promote a sustainable and healthy digestion.
Nutrients must be replaced for effective healing. While everyone’s needs are highly individualized, here are some common supplements that have been proven to be helpful in the gut healing process:
- Digestive Enzymes
However, a main take away from this is that you should not rely solely on supplements. They can be used to help your healing process, but the goal is to be able to sustain wellness with whole foods and healthy lifestyle choices long term without the need for piles of pills.
One of my favorite drinks is the NingXia Red Wolfberry juice. My daughter has not wanted to eat due to the fear of going to the bathroom so giving her this juice mixed with some other ingredients listed above has helped her not need any more pain meds. I know it is helping give her body the nutrients she needs as she heals. Also, I believe giving her upper cervical chiropractic care is very important to help vagus nerve stimulation for gut function. This nerve is responsible for stimulating smooth muscle contraction and glandular secretions in her gut. Proper nerve flow will speed up her healing process. I love having the tools in my pocket to help my kids achieve greater wellness.
The most difficult part of health is maintaining it.
Even if you build a strong foundation during the healing process, without the proper diet, lifestyle choices, and stress management long term, you can fall right back into the same gut-destroying patterns. Due to the stress I was under for a week and not sleeping well, I am also doing a gut healing regimen, so I too can be happy again because if mommy is not happy no one is happy!
If you have been having some health issues one of the ways to act on your health is to test. When someone is having gut issues I always test what foods are causing them inflammation. For your gut to heal you must remove the foods that are causing an immune system response. A good overall metabolic profile is the best way to determine if you’re following the correct diet, if you need to supplement your diet or make changes to your supplement regimen and to make sure there isn’t anything critical creeping up on you. Many diseases can be seen in the blood long before you have symptoms.
By knowing deficiencies and toxicities that make up one’s metabolic analysis, one can evaluate their lifestyle and make better choices to optimize their health. It’s not easy knowing where to start. Contact us for a professional assessment and laboratory analysis to detect your body’s biochemical and physiological state. Let us help you get on the road to better health … today! I love helping others achieve greater wellness within them!
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I hope my column speaks to you and you can wake up each morning with a purpose. What I do every day is a calling, and I give God the glory for allowing his gifts to work through me. I do believe in miracles, because I get to see them every day! For more information you can go to www.nomoremedsmovement.com and sign up for my closed Facebook group #NoMoreMeds-Community for more healthy tips.
Dr. Corinne Weaver
Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.
Dr. Weaver was recently named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds.
Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.