The most vital goal of the body is to maintain health and life. As the world buckles under the weight of countless life-threatening diseases, many people now seek functional medicine, wondering if it can help them. Functional medicine aims to help the body recover from chronic health issues and maintain health at the highest level possible.
The style of medicine that functional medicine goes for is looking at the underlying causes of disease by performing detailed and personalized testing. In particular, it’s a style of practice, not a treatment. Although functional medicine is nothing particularly unique, it’s highly targeted and personalized if done correctly.
How Does Functional Medicine Work?
What functional medicine focuses on is finding and understanding the fundamental cellular processes, environmental influences, and genetic predisposition that influence health and the disease. It searches and checks “behind the curtain.” Hence, its final interventions focus on treating the problem’s cause, not covering up its symptoms.
This way, it manages and handles the causes of many diseases, such as severe chronic, metabolic, and autoimmune diseases, not just their symptoms. It uses specialized treatment protocols and regimens. Also, it examines the functional imbalances at the molecular level and acts on the cell’s biochemical level.
What Benefits Does Functional Medicine Offer?
Functional medicine should be professionally applied, with patients abiding by the doctor’s instructions to progressively bounce back to a healthy life. This form of treatment offers many benefits, which include:
- Longer appointments. To get the root cause of the disease, functional medicine doctors will spend more time with their patients. It can immensely contribute to an accurate diagnosis since the patient has ample time to share how they feel.
- Exposure to alternative treatments. Unlike most treatment methods, functional medicine is open to many treatment approaches, such as acupuncture and herbal remedies. These options can succeed where other drugs have failed to yield results.
- More personalized experience. The doctors of functional medicine will always design a treatment plan based on the patient’s unique condition. This way, it helps inadequately deal with the condition that the patient might be suffering from.
What Conditions Can Be Treated By Functional Medicine?
There is no hesitation that this approach is advantageous based on the patient’s testaments who have been subjected to the functional medicine approach. Indeed, functional medicine’s various programs are the way to go, as indicated by many people who have restored their health. That said, here are the common conditions that functional medicine helps address:
These are diseases or conditions where the body starts mistakenly attacking healthy cells. Below are some of the autoimmune diseases, which include:
- Alopecia. When the body starts attacking hair follicles, it forms the autoimmune disorder called alopecia.
- Crohn’s disease. This disease occurs in the bowel and can cause severe complications.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland can cause this.
- Psoriasis. A condition on the skin that causes scaly, itchy, and red patches on the body.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Joints are the target of this inflammatory disorder.
- Ulcerative colitis. The inflammatory reaction targets the colon and rectum.
- Vasculitis. This cuts the supply to vital organs, affecting blood vessels.
Chronic Pain, Inflammation, and Stress
Chronic pain, inflammation, and stress can last for years after the original illness or injury has resolved. The body gets used to operating as if something is wrong, so it continues to display potentially debilitating symptoms that can affect different body areas for an extended period. Typically, the traditional doctors prescribe pain medication, which lets the patient regain some normal function for short periods but doesn’t figure out how to treat the root causes of the pain, such as:
- Back pain. A medical condition that results in aching or stiffness.
- Arthritis. This mainly affects the joints and has different types.
- Headaches. Tension, pain, or pressure could indicate an underlying issue.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome. It is not attributed to exertion or a lack of sleep, but extreme fatigue is experienced. An underlying medical condition may have indicated it.
- Endometriosis. It signifies pain and fertility issues in women, which is a disorder when the uterine tissue grows outside the organ.
- Fibromyalgia. The generalized pain and stiffness are felt around the body.
- Nerve damage. Injury can make the nerves misfire, causing significant pain.
- Unexplained weight loss or gain. Hormonal imbalances may have been caused by stress or untreated inflammation rather than caloric intake.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). With swelling and pain in the bowel, they can significantly decrease the quality of life.
- Reflux. The stomach acids can cause heartburn when the esophagus stops working.
Hormones are the chemicals that tell the body what to do so it can function as it should. When the body starts producing too much or too little of the hormones it needs, it can throw things into chaos. Hormone imbalances can explain many seemingly unrelated symptoms, and the good news is that they can be treated using natural remedies in many cases.
The common hormonal imbalances can include:
- Type 2 diabetes. Typically, this occurs later in life for adult people when the body no longer uses insulin properly to fuel the cells.
- Hashimoto’s disease. Mainly related to hyperthyroidism when the thyroid gland is too active and speeds up all the normal bodily functions, resulting in the presence of thyroid antibodies. This indicates conditions like autoimmunity.
- Graves’ disease. Primarily related to hypothyroidism when the thyroid gland is underactive and unnecessarily slows the body down, resulting in the presence of thyroid antibodies and can indicate autoimmunity.
- Menopause. This occurs to all women when they stop menstruating, which is a major hormonal change and significantly disrupts the body.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Symptoms like irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and fertility issues are caused by PCOS.
- Low testosterone (Low T). Some men experience low testosterone, which causes erectile dysfunction, low libido, unexplained fatigue, and hair loss.
In addition, hormonal imbalances can cause bone density issues, sleep difficulties, weight gain or loss, mood disorders, etc. These are complex conditions that require a holistic approach.
Thyroid and Adrenal Disorders
Functional medicine can help those who are tired of taking medication and have seen multiple doctors without getting the answers they need. There are several reasons why scheduling an appointment with a functional medicine doctor, particularly if suspecting a thyroid and adrenal disorder. Most often, they fly under the radar and can cause symptoms that most people describe as generally not feeling well, including:
- Hashimoto’s disease (discussed above)
- Grave’s disease (also discussed above)
- Adrenal insufficiency. This can cause various well-being issues, including abdominal pain, chronic fatigue, weakness, and weight loss.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). This group of genetic disorders affects the adrenal gland and the energy levels.
- Sleep issues. A key part of the natural sleep cycle is hormones.
- Mood disorders. They can also explain issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, and more, which means they may not be a psychological issue at all.
- Stress. Stress triggers hormonal responses such as the release of cortisol, making the body works harder than it should, making a person feels unwell.
The Bottom Line
If you are searching for answers for yourself or a loved one about your health condition or symptoms, Waco Center For Functional Medicine, PLLC is here for you. Their functional medicine aims to equip, empower, and work with you in finding and treating the root cause of the diagnoses and symptoms for you to continue living a productive life.