Gut-Brain Disorders Specialist

Center For Digestive Healing

Lourdes Bahamonde, DO

Gastroenterology & Internal Medicine located in Cudahy, CA & Pasadena, CA

Your gut and brain share a special connection. Suffering anxiety and other emotional problems can trigger continuous upset in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. At Center For Digestive Healing, skilled gastroenterologist, Lourdes G. Bahamonde, DO, can help you manage and improve your gut-brain connection through medical treatments and dietary changes. Dr. Bahamonde offers customized care for all types of gut-brain disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), at her office in Cudahy, California. Call Center For Digestive Healing today to schedule a diagnostic evaluation of gut-brain disorders, or book an appointment online.

Gut-Brain Disorders Q & A

What are brain-gut disorders?

Brain-gut disorders are gastrointestinal issues that develop due to dysfunction in your enteric nervous system (ENS).

The enteric nervous system is made up of over 100 million nerve cells. These cells line your gastrointestinal tract, from your esophagus to your rectum. Your ENS communicates with your brain and is responsible for controlling digestion. The ENS releases enzymes that break down the foods you eat. The ENS also controls the blood flow that helps you absorb nutrients.

Your ENS is also called a “second brain” in your gut. These nerves can cause emotional shifts that lead to disorders like anxiety and depression. In turn, these conditions can trigger enteric nerves into sending signals to the brain and cause GI upset and chronic GI conditions.

What are common gut-brain disorders?

A simple way to understand the gut-brain connection is to consider how your emotions affect your gut. For instance, when you’re nervous, you can feel a flutter in your stomach; if you’re upset, your stomach might hurt.

Several types of gastrointestinal disorders can develop due to the gut-brain connection. Some common examples of a gut-brain disorder include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Persistent heartburn
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome C (IBS with constipation)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome D (IBS with diarrhea)

Dr. Bahamonde can also diagnose and treat dyspepsia (indigestion) that causes persistent discomfort or pain in your upper abdomen.

How are brain-gut disorders treated?

Your treatment plan for gut-brain disorders can involve taking medications to reduce stomach acids, relieve constipation or diarrhea, and treat gastrointestinal discomfort and pain.

Dr. Bahamonde can also recommend dietary changes that can prevent additional GI symptoms and balance essential bacteria in your gut necessary for digestion. She might recommend including certain foods that benefit your brain-gut connection, like those that contain:

  • Fiber
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Polyphenol (micronutrients found in plant-based foods)
  • Tryptophan (an essential amino acid)

Fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt can also improve your gut-brain connection.

In addition to dietary changes, Dr. Bahamonde can also refer you for cognitive or behavioral therapy to anxiety and depression occurring together and other emotional disorders.

To find out more about the available options for managing your brain-gut connection, call Center For Digestive Healing today, or book an appointment online.