An autoimmune disease is when your immune system malfunctions and attacks your body. If your immune system attacks your joints, you may have rheumatoid arthritis. If your immune system attack your thyroid, you may have Hashimoto's thyroiditis. If your immune system attacks your nervous system, you may have multiple sclerosis. There are over 80 known autoimmune diseases.
But figuring out you have an autoimmune disease can be frustrating, stressful, and difficult. And once you do figure out you have an autoimmune disease, you may feel even worse. You may feel like there is no hope. You may feel like your only option is to take powerful drugs that have many side effects for the rest of your life.
But you do have other treatment options and you can heal your autoimmune disease. You may not be able to completely reverse the damage that has already been done, but many people are at least able to halt the progress of their autoimmune disease and live with less pain and suffering.
A solid approach to begin healing any autoimmune disease is to address two systems: the gastrointestinal tract and the lymphatic system. Both of these systems are highly integrated with the immune system and it is theorized that many immune dysfunctions may originate in these two systems.
Heal the Gut
Your gut is a place where the outside world interacts with your body. And where ever you are exposed to the outside world, you can bet that your immune system will be there defending against foreign invaders. In fact, we estimate that 80% of normal immune activity occurs in the gut on a daily basis. This means that if something goes wrong in the gut, it will definitely impact the immune system. Here are some examples of gut issues that impact immune function:
- food sensitivities
- imbalances in gut bacteria
- leaky gut
Often, these issues tie into each other creating a vicious cycle. For example, leaky gut is often caused by or exacerbated by inflammatory molecules from "bad" microbes in the gut. Leaky gut can then lead to multiple food sensitivities, which will exacerbate the inflammation in the gut.
To heal the gut, naturopathic doctors will assess and target all 3 of these issues. Treatment may involve dietary modifications, herbal antibiotic therapy to eliminate bacteria, probiotic therapy to replenish healthy populations of gut bacteria, and herbs and nutrients to repair the lining of the gut.
Improve Lymphatic Function
The lymphatic system is an often overlooked system in the body. It is basically the clean up crew of the body. It bathes cells in lymphatic fluid to remove waste produced by the cell and toxins that have accumulated around cells. It carries this garbage to the blood to be processed by the liver and eliminated by the kidneys, bowels, lungs, or skin. The lymphatic system also includes lymph nodes where many of our immune cells are made. So if the lymphatic system isn't working well, this means we have garbage and toxins building up around our cells and our immune system. This often results in cellular dysfunction that causes impaired organ function. It is also possible that accumulated toxins may trigger the immune system to malfunction.
Improving lymphatic function may involve lymphatic massage, herbal therapy, home hydrotherapy treatments, exercise therapy, and homeopathy.
When it comes to healing autoimmune disease, these two approaches are just the tip of the iceberg. Healing these two systems can create a solid foundation for a healthier immune system, but many other therapies will be needed to heal the specific tissues that have been damaged by the immune system. Naturopathic doctors excel at helping people heal from their autoimmune disease so they don't have to be dependent on powerful pharmaceuticals.
Schedule a 20 minute Introductory Consultation (for less than the cost of most copays) to figure out if we can work together to heal your autoimmune disease.
I'm Dr. Carly and my mission is to create a health revolution. I believe that another prescription is not the answer. I believe in using natural therapies that go beyond the symptoms. And I believe that doctors should spend way more than 7 minutes with a patient