Many of my clients come to me and say ‘I’ve been to the doctors so many times and every time they tell me there’s nothing wrong’ or ‘I’ve had blood tests and everything is fine but I still feel awful’ or ‘I have all these symptoms but they can’t be explained.’
They feel hopeless and confused and, guess what? We run at-home functional lab tests and it’s clear that everything isn’t ‘just fine.’ If you’re suffering from a list of uncomfortable or even debilitating symptoms and feel like a lost cause, I want you to know that these symptoms aren’t happening to you without any rhyme and reason. There are underlying root cause(s) that are making you feel this way. There is always a reason why.
Diagnoses Given For Medically Unexplained Symptoms
Did you know that about 1 in 4 people who visit a doctor struggle with ‘medically unexplained symptoms.’? That is a HUGE amount of people who are living with health issues and are, in many cases, having to accept that this is something they just need to manage or live with. This is because they don’t know there might be another way to overcome the way they are feeling – good health begins with education.
Don’t get me wrong, doctors are incredibly well educated and amazing at what they do, but their training is based around sick-care – if you are not showing a “diseased” state or a diagnosable illness, then that is as far as they can help you. If you are, they will effectively treat the symptoms, but not find and treat the root cause. Remember, their expertise is in pharmacology.
Here are some diagnoses that you may have been given if your symptoms were “unexplained”:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic Stress
Many people get told their symptoms, which are heavily affecting their everyday life, is probably down to their anxiety or weight. Or, they have CFS or IBS but the reason for this is “unknown”.
This may be true, you may be overweight, which is resulting in lots of health issues, and this absolutely needs to be addressed. So, just lose weight? Ok – but what if you are struggling with weight issues because of a hormonal imbalance, or poor gut health?
Anxiety and stress do result in a whole range of symptoms, but did you know that health issues such as gut dysbiosis can result in anxiety? Did you know that stress doesn’t need to originate from an external stressor like work or relationships and can actually be from internal stressors such as heavy metals , viruses and other toxicities? Did you know that if you are stressed or anxious, this will have a knock-on effect on your overall physical health and vice versa? If there is an imbalance in your body, it’s very likely that you will experience some mental health issues as well.
CFS & Fibromyalgia
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia are labels that doctors give patients that have a whole combination of uncomfortable symptoms and pain, which are ‘unexplained’, and not showing a ‘diseased’ state on blood tests.
The likelihood is there is an imbalance in the body, usually in the gut, which is causing inflammation and an overactive immune response, which results in their list of ailments.
Running your annual blood work is important but remember that just because your blood work is within range does not mean you are fine.
Don’t forget about the concept of homeostasis; the blood will always ensure that it stays within certain ranges (but at the expense of other bodily functions).
And let’s be honest, their “ranges” are very different to functional medicine ranges. For example, TSH is generally “fine” as long as it isn’t higher than 4.2 mU/L but we know than an optimal functioning thyroid should really be under a 2.5!
If you have been told your symptoms are likely the result of being overweight, but are eating healthy and exercising and not losing weight, then there must be something from within that is resulting in difficulty losing weight.
Being overweight does put a huge amount of strain and stress on your body and bodily systems, and therefore could be causing your symptoms, but to maintain a healthy weight you need your bodily systems to be working optimally – you need to rebalance your body.
Anxiety & Depression
The gut and brain are constantly sending messages to each other. Chemically, via neurotransmitters, and physically, via the nervous system. This connection allows the gut to influence the brain, and vice versa.
If the gut is not functioning properly, there will be a knock-on effect on the brain. If you are struggling with anxiety or mental stress, this will inhibit bodily functions from working optimally.
If you think anxiety or stress could be the cause of your symptoms, you need to break the vicious cycle of your mental symptoms inflaming your physical symptoms and your physical symptoms furthering your mental symptoms. Improving your gut health will do just that. Follow a gut wellness protocol to reset and then boost your intestinal flora – the GI Protocol has had incredible results with my clients.
See this post on Anxiety and Gut Health for more information.
Insomnia & Fibromyalgia
There can be many underlying root causes and contributing factors for insomnia or poor sleep hygiene, but the two main causes that I see repeatedly in my clinical practice, are low melatonin levels and blood sugar dysregulation. Both of these root causes will also result in other symptoms that you may be experiencing. Read more on this here.
Sleep dysregulation is also often associated with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. Are you tired because you were in pain all night, but in pain because you’re tired? Make sure you check out this post.
Did you know that histamine issues could be the reason for debilitating allergies, asthma, skin rashes and hay fever? Just saying ‘I have loads of allergies’ is so normalised, but people rarely think about why they’re occurring for you and not others.
Because of all the toxins that we’re now exposed to via pollution, pesticides, heavy metals, plastics, cosmetics and processed foods, our bodies become imbalanced which results in lower production of Diamine Oxidase Enzyme, which helps lower histamine levels.
If you suffer from brain fog, bloating, skin rashes, sneezing, swelling and/or fatigue, then it might be worth looking into whether you have histamine issues. Read more on this here.
If you go to a health professional with symptoms of pain and cramping, loose stools, constipation, gas, bloating, fatigue, anxiety, and depression, then it’s very likely that you’ll be diagnosed with IBS. It’s great to be diagnosed but you most likely already knew that you had irritable bowels and now you’re left thinking: ‘now what?’.
If a health professional has ruled out underlying illness or disease, then you need to look inward – WHY did you develop IBS in the first place? Was it low stomach acid? Gut dysbiosis? Pathogenic overgrowth? High stomach acid? Read more on IBS here.
Side Effects From Medication & Hormonal Birth Control
It is true, all medications will inevitably have side effects, visible or not. Unnatural intervention will disrupt your hormonal equilibrium and carefully balanced microbiome. I understand that serious diseases will need medication, but if you haven’t got that far yet and you just have unexplained symptoms then it’s worth considering looking deeper within your body for the underlying root cause, rather than covering its tracks with the ‘sticky plaster’ approach.
When starting medication, I first urge you to consider if it’s absolutely necessary. Could there be a root cause for how you are feeling? Is this treating a symptom and not the underlying issue (i.e. heavy/painful periods or hormonal acne)? Is there a more natural alternative root? When you ask yourself these questions, you can then make an informed decision.
For example, it’s becoming indisputable that hormonal birth control is damaging to your health, yet it’s still completely normalised. If you are on hormonal birth control or the copper coil, then it is worth looking at this post, as this may be the reason you are now struggling with unexplained health issues.
The Bottom Line
Experiencing lots of symptoms over an extended period of time is not ‘random’ and it’s definitely not normal – so why are we normalising living with just managing these unexplained issues?
The first thing I urge you to do is to run at-home functional lab tests to try and get an understanding of what is happening inside your body to make you feel the way you do. Blood work is not enough. If you’re not sure what test to get based on the symptoms you’re experiencing, don’t fret! You’re in luck, I’ve already written that blog post: WHAT FUNCTIONAL LAB TESTS SHOULD YOU GET BASED ON YOUR HEALTH ISSUES?
Once you have data to analyse, overcoming health issues becomes a lot easier.
Unravelling the Connection: Navigating Allergies, Digestive Challenges, and Weight Loss – A Case Study
Embarking on a Health & Wellness Journey: A Case Study on Dizziness, Weight Gain, Food Intolerances and Fungal Toenail