Diagnosing and Treating the Root Cause of GI Disorders

NUNM’s Steven Sandberg-Lewis, ND (’78), DHANP, believes that the best way for practitioners to heal gastrointestinal issues in their patients is to address the root cause. In an interview with Emerson Ecologics, he spoke about functional bowel disorders and the importance of whole-body treatment: “We can only be effective in helping people quell the symptoms of bowel discomfort if we assess and address underlying factors and organic changes involved.”

Dr. Sandberg-Lewis discusses symptoms with a patient.

Dr. Sandberg-Lewis has taught at NUNM since 1996 and has practiced naturopathic gastroenterology for more than 40 years. His approach of diagnosing and treating root causes aligns with one of the six principles of naturopathic medicine: identify and treat the causes. So, what does he recommend other practitioners use for GI diagnosis, and how can integrative therapies address irritable bowel? 

Discovering the source of bowel discomfort can encompass running tests for things like imbalances of bacteria, yeast or parasites, as well as asking detailed questions of patients. Additionally, it is crucial to consider the broad scope of systems affected by the gut for both diagnosis and treatment plans.

In the article, Dr. Sandberg-Lewis discussed dietary suggestions that support healthy guts, such as fiber, probiotic foods, and supplementation and herbs. But beyond a dietary approach, he suggests considering three other treatments that get at the root cause: counseling, toning the vagal nerve, and abdominal visceral manipulation.

Read the full interview that details Dr. Sandberg-Lewis’ recommendations here.