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What could cause issues with digesting carbs?

gerd ibs dysbiosis bacterial imbalance carbohydrates intolerance allergies

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#1 LMCBoston


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Posted 09 November 2012 - 05:11 PM

For the last six months, I've had terrible heartburn. Terrible. I haven't had a day of relief from the irritation in my throat. After months of this, my primary care doctor sent me to a food allergy/sensitivity specialist who did a microbial lab test (urine). The results showed two things thought to be the primary issue at hand: 1. high levels of "candida albicans" 2. low levels of good bacteria

I've learned candida is a controversial diagnosis. If I should be skeptical about it, what are other possible reasons for having upper AND lower GI issues? When I follow a low carb diet, my lower GI issues are gone but still have heartburn and GERD regularly, which I am told may go away if I treat both of the above with antifungals and probiotics. This week I had wheat as part of an allergy test, as well as white rice noodles just because, and I've been feeling awful for days.

Any thoughts on what else to ask for in terms of tests? Anyone had a diagnosis of "dysbiosis", bacteria imbalance? I'm at a loss here since I've never met anyone with similar issues. This has made me a terribly unreliable person and extremely frustrated, sometimes angry, at the lack of answer.

#2 Kathleen M.

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:54 PM

Well, it does seem a lot of the Candida and Dysbiosis diagnosis methodology doesn't always really align with science, and/or hasn't been proven to really test for what they test for.

That being said, carbs can be hard on the system because they can be fermented into gases (why bread rises, beer gets gassy) by a pretty wide variety of micro-organisms. Even the ones that every healthy human has in the guts. That is why the fart frequency for healthy normal people averages about 14 farts a day.

The problem is in IBS when you aren't regulating the gut very well, even normal levels of gas from a usual diet can be more gas than you can handle well.

Probiotic micro-organisms do not generate gas (but it isn't normal to have 100% probiotic bacteria in there either, most people have a mix) because they stop the metabolism of carbs to gas part-way through the process. So no gas. This is why yogurt isn't foamy like beer.

Lots of IBSers find they do much better on a low carb diet. (even a few clinical trials in people with IBS-D and the low fodmap diet that is getting a lot of press these days greatly limits all the possible carbs that can lead to gas production).

So I don't think you are really as alone in this as you think.

It is also common for people to have both upper and lower GI issues. Not that clear why, but what makes one part of the gut control (nerves) prone to going bad may make you more likely to have problems in other parts of the GI tract as well.

One thing to make sure is you get a real medical test for celiac disease (not some alt med version) as if you have celiac you really need to be much more careful about wheat than if you just have gas issues from it.

As to why you can't digest 100% of all carbs and all fibers so you absorb every last bit of it and not one bit gets to the colon, well that is because you are human and no human digests all carbs. Some people have problems with carbs that some people can handle well (like lactose and fructose) but no one digests all the fermentable carbs in the fiber, resistant starch, various sugar alcohols and many other things in food, even natural/organic, etc. It is part of the food chain. Now in IBS you may not tolerate the gas, but everyone makes it. No one digests all the carbs.
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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: gerd, ibs, dysbiosis, bacterial imbalance, carbohydrates, intolerance, allergies


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