How to Improve Gut Health Without Expensive Lab Tests - Dr. Michael Ruscio, DNM, DC

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How to Improve Gut Health Without Expensive Lab Tests

How valuing Shereen’s symptoms of bloating, hormone imbalances, and frequent, loose stools more than just her test results led to an effective treatment plan—and actual symptom relief.

Like many patients coming into our clinic, Shereen was used to working with functional medicine practitioners who ordered many expensive lab tests immediately to determine her treatment. But the continuous testing didn’t provide symptom relief, prompting her to look to our clinic for additional assistance. 

When she began working with Dr. Ruscio, she was surprised to find his recommendations for healing weren’t based on lab markers; they were instead based on her symptoms. Shereen implemented dietary and lifestyle changes recommended by Dr. Ruscio and ultimately found her gut health, workouts, female hormone imbalances, and food reactions improving. 

Listen in to hear how her health journey began and what got her feeling better.

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➕ Dr. Ruscio’s Notes

Shereen’s Experience with Previous Functional Medicine Doctors and Testing 

  • Previous functional medicine doctors relied heavily on issuing tests to determine the root cause of symptoms and the treatment plan. 
  • Shereen tested positive for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and felt frustrated when she followed a protocol that didn’t alleviate her symptoms and improve her lab markers. 
  • Continuous testing without much relief heightened Shereen’s stress levels, causing her to seek out the help of our clinic which focuses on treating a patient’s symptoms, not just lab values. 


Shereen’s Symptoms 

  • Bloating
  • Frequent, loose bowel movements
  • Gas 
  • Female hormone imbalances
  • Restricted diet, yet no symptom relief 


How Patience and Dr. Ruscio’s Protocol Helped Shereen 

  • Shereen was starting to feel better at the beginning of Dr. Ruscio’s protocol, but then  got hit with stomach bug-like symptoms for a month or so. 
    • Dr. Ruscio encouraged her to remain patient and continue following the protocol outlined. 
  • Staying with the protocol, Shereen focused on:  
    • Eating more carbs and calories to combat undereating and help with sleep and weightlifting.
    • Balancing her hormones with Estro-Harmony.
    • Incorporating stress management tactics and healthy sleep habits into her daily routine.


Where Shereen Is At Today In Her Gut-Healing Journey

  • She feels her gut health has dramatically improved. 
    • She is no longer having episodes of bloating and is able to eat a variety of foods. 
  • Her work outs have also improved, with her hitting new personal records (PRs) and accomplishing goals.
  • She’s still working on managing stress, sleep, and hormones. 
  • She offers advice to other people in her shoes, telling them to be patient and find the right doctor based on health goals.


Two Key Concepts When It Comes to Treating A Patient

  • We don’t need to be testing-centric. 
  • We need to have an appropriate level of scope. 
    • Being too zoomed in on a particular part of the case (Ex: SIBO), can mean other things like hormones imbalances and poor sleep get missed and don’t get the proper treatment they need.
➕ Resources & Links

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I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!

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