How To Manage Crohn’s Disease and Optimize Gut Health - Dr. Michael Ruscio, DNM, DC

Does your gut need a reset?

Yes, I'm Ready

Do you want a second opinion?

Yes, I Need Help

Do you want to start feeling better?

Yes, Where Do I Start?

How To Manage Crohn’s Disease and Optimize Gut Health

How Kyle’s Pain Improved With Probiotics, Abdominal Massage, & More

Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that commonly causes digestive symptoms like abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and appetite loss.

For Kyle, his main symptom was abdominal pain with everything he ate. He also was experiencing constipation, bloating, low energy, headaches, and low back pain that traveled down his legs.

After trying different remedies on his own and seeing no improvement, he sought the help of Dr. Joe, the Clinical Director of the Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine.

Listen in as they discuss Kyle’s health journey and how triple therapy probiotics, abdominal massage, and the Gupta Program ultimately helped him feel better.

In This Episode

Intro … 00:08
Introducing Kyle and his symptoms … 00:45
Which changes hit the mark. And which didn’t … 03:28
Dr. Mather’s latest recommendation for Kyle … 10:29
How Kyle’s health journey changed his life and could help improve yours too … 12:44
What Kyle wants to tell his past-self—and you … 14:24

Subscribe for future episodes

  • Apple Podcast
  • Google Podcasts
  • Spotify

Download this Episode (right click link and ‘Save As’)


➕ Full Podcast Transcript

Intro:

Welcome to Dr. Ruscio radio, providing practical and science-based solutions to feeling your best. To stay up to date on the latest topics, as well as all of our prior episodes, make sure to subscribe in your podcast player. For weekly updates visit DrRuscio.com. That’s DRRUSCIO.com. The following discussion is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of this information without first speaking with your doctor. Now let’s head to the show.

Dr Joe Mather:

All right. Hello and welcome. This is Dr. Joe Mather, the medical director of the Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine. And I’m here with one of my favorite people in the whole world, Kyle Fitzgerald. Hello, Kyle.

Kyle Fitzgerald :

How you doing Dr. Joe? Good to see you.

Dr Joe Mather:

I am so happy to see your face and I have enjoyed working with you every step of the way. And it’s been a little bit of a journey for us. And I wanted you to come share your story because we’ve been through the trenches together to get you well. And your story is so much fun to share because of where you were when you started. And it took a while, but you are a completely new, vibrant, amazing person. And, I’m just so excited for you. And so I want other people to be able to see what can happen when you do good functional medicine and when you have an awesome, compliant patient who is willing to stick in there with the punches and do what it takes to get better. So, maybe to start, will you bring us back to when we first started working together—not quite two years ago, but maybe 20/21 months ago—what were you feeling like? What was going on in your life at that point?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yeah, so really just a lot of stomach pain. That was my main complaint. That was my main symptom. It was just stomach pain with everything I ate, even if it was something healthy like some chicken and vegetables. It was stomach pain before the meal, during the meal, right after the meal, everything. That was my main problem. And then also constipation—having trouble going to the bathroom, not going often, feeling backed-up/bloated. And then with that, when you’re constantly in pain you don’t want to do anything—so sitting there on the couch, watching TV, doing whatever, low energy. Sometimes headaches towards the back of the head. Just not doing well to say the least.

Dr Joe Mather:

Yeah. And the background is that you came into the clinic and you had a history of Crohn’s disease (of inflammatory bowel disease) and you previously had an abdominal surgery. [You were] still just struggling. I think you were on Remicade perhaps, but one of the biologics for inflammatory bowel disease. Still just not well. I remember seeing you in that first visit; you had a guitar in your background and you’re talking about how much you love guitar and you’re studying for accounting but you’re just not functioning well at all. So we started you through some treatment—and we’ll skip maybe a couple steps—but some things worked really well for you. Others didn’t work as well. Maybe we can start with the things that we’ve done over the past while that really hit the mark for you and really made a difference. You want to share that?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yeah, for sure. So right away—I think it was after the first time we met—I started all three different strains of the probiotics (the lacto-bifido bacterium, soil-based, and saccharomyces boulardii). So [I] started all three of those and then right away saw an improvement in digestion, going to the bathroom, a little less abdominal pain with meals and after meals. So that was one of the main things that we started where I saw a huge, huge improvement in my health.

Dr Joe Mather:

That’s right. And we didn’t pay Kyle to say that, this is just what we see all the time in the clinic is that the combination really makes a big difference. And particularly when their gut is inflamed, when there’s leaky gut, when there’s intestinal damage—like there was an inflammation with the bowel disease—it just makes a big difference. And from my perspective, that improvement led us to really then go the next step: “what else are we missing?” And early on—like a lot of my patients who have autoimmune disease—we did find mold toxins positive for you. And so we initiated treatment fairly early on with binders. Do you want to talk about that at all?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And just quickly going back to the probiotics, I wanted to say that I tried a bunch of different other probiotics too. I was familiar with probiotics. I knew what they were. But I hadn’t tried these specific ones yet. So I tried a bunch of other brands and strains, but obviously these—the combination of these three—were much more effective. But, yeah. So we did the binders initially and it didn’t go so well.

Dr Joe Mather:

Good. I’m glad you said that. You reacted. You did awful. We were inching our way, trying very small doses, and you felt worse. [Your] abdominal pain, I think got quite bad at one time.

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yeah. It was. It kind of felt like I went backwards and I was like, “oh no, this is terrible”. But then sure enough, we backed off the binders and we went towards the antihistamines I think it was—NAC, things like that.

Dr Joe Mather:

Yeah. We definitely gave you some mast cell and histamine support. From my read I remember that the Gupta program had helped you get over that hump and we did that for quite a while. You were really, really a good patient with that.

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yeah. I’d say if there was one thing out of everything that we’ve done and worked together, that Gupta program was one of the most important things that you told me about and that I did that was honestly life changing.

Dr Joe Mather:

I feel the same way. I was in a similar place. I’m sure I’ve shared with you this, is that I was at a point where just a couple drops of bentonite clay—that I was taking for my mold toxicity—made me into a crazy person—anxiety and agitation and pain. And you didn’t have quite that reaction. You had more severe abdominal pain. Thankfully, I never had to deal with that, but we both needed the Gupta program to really calm our nervous and immune systems down. And then we were able to get you to a place where we were able to just slowly and steadily watch you improve that. That was my recollection pretty much from (let’s see, go back to the timeline…we started July and I think that this was kind of by summer) last summer. You had been working through the Gupta program, continuing on the probiotics, gradually expanding the diet that you could tolerate and eat, beginning—I think at this point—to exercise bit more. Do I have all that, right?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yep. That’s all correct. Yep.

Dr Joe Mather:

Awesome. And we kind of got to the point in the summer where you were still having a little bit of ongoing symptoms. You want to catch everyone up to speed? What happened next?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yeah, it was kind of like I was seeing this improvement, I was doing better, doing the Gupta program, digestion was getting better, and then it got to a point where I kind of felt stuck. It was just at this point where I was feeling good but not great. I knew I could get better. And then I think at that point…I’m trying to think what we did…I’m not sure if we did maybe the low FODMAP diet at that point..?

Dr Joe Mather:

We tried low FODMAP. I have my cheat sheet here. (And by the way, patients, the nice thing about working in this clinic is that we have everything organized. So we can always look back and see what was done, so we don’t ask you to do the same thing twice or any other embarrassing things.) And we asked you to do a clean out. You actually had a colonoscopy for your regular screening and that opened things up. So we were like, “aha!” Maybe we’re missing some constipation, right?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yep, exactly. And then once we got things moving again, everything has kind of been improving since then. And it’s honestly still improving to this day, getting better and better in terms of my digestion and overall health. I had a lot of—also this was before the Gupta program—lower back pain too. [As well as] nerve pain down the back of the legs, kind of in the butt, down the legs, [in the] lower back. And with the Gupta program—with meditation and just being more present (I know it sounds kind of cliche, but it’s true)—I felt that pain level go way down over the course of a few months.

Dr Joe Mather:

Which is just so fun to see. And I love just seeing the energy and the vibrancy and the way you talk, your smile. You were not there before. And so just to see you talking about this in retrospect, it’s so clear to see the shift here. I almost wish we would’ve videotaped your first visit.

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yeah, I know. Right? It’s funny because when we had our last appointment a couple weeks ago and we were kind of going over everything I’ve done, everything I’ve tried [and] looking back I was like, “wow, I was in rough shape 20 months ago”. And to see how far we’ve come is awesome.

Sponsor:

Hi everyone. If you are in need of help, we have a number of resources for you. “Healthy Gut, Healthy You”, my book and your complete self-help guide to healing your gut. If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer there is the clinic—the Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine—and our growing clinical and supporting research team will be happy to help you. We do offer monthly support calls for our patients where I answer questions and help them along their path, health coaching support calls every other week, and also we offer health coaching independent of the clinic for those perhaps reading the book and/or looking for guidance with diet, supplementation, etc. There’s also the store that has our Elemental Diet line, our probiotics, and other gut health and health-supportive supplements. And for clinicians, there is our FFMR—the Future of Functional Medicine Review—database which contains case studies from our clinic, research reviews, and practice guidelines. Visit DrRuscio.com/resources to learn more.

Dr Joe Mather:

I want to go [over] one more medical thing and then I want you to share with everyone what you’ve done with your health journey because it’s just so awesome, inspiring, and I love it so much. But we’re not going to do that quite yet. We’re going to tease it. The last thing I had you do in February—we go to the point where you’re night and day better (most days you’re 75% better than where you were 18/21 months ago) and so clear, steady improvement, you’re living a better life, you’re more energetic, you’re doing better kind of across the board, but we still have some constipation—I had you do some abdominal massage. And this is something that I wasn’t recommending two years ago. Right? What’s been your response to the abdominal massage?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

It’s been great. So pretty much I think I’ve really been only been doing it for maybe a week and a half or so, just kind of an all around abdominal massage. But then really focusing on the area that I feel is more tender, kind of where I feel like things are getting backed up—really focusing on that area. And I’ve seen dramatic improvement in 1) bowel movements but also [2] just less pain. I’m already at a very low level of pain, if at all, but that [got] even better and just everything is just moving as it should be.

Dr Joe Mather:

You know, patients who’ve had abdominal surgery (particularly when they’ve had a colectomy) there’s a lot of scar tissue that happens when you cut the bowel in half and sew it back together. And things can get stuck. We can have adhesions, right? The scar tissue can prevent the normal flow through it and the colon. And so I suspect what’s happening is that you’re restoring some of that function needed by breaking up the adhesion or just triggering the bowel to just behave itself a little bit better in the presence of that scar. So that’s always so much fun, to have someone try something and then within a week see a shift. That tells us that it’s a sort of intervention that we want to stick with. If you hadn’t had that response then you could have yelled at me right now and we would stop doing it. Right? Tried something else.

Kyle Fitzgerald :

It was actually the first day I think. So it was almost instantly, which is awesome.

Dr Joe Mather:

It’s just awesome. That’s what we’re looking for. Simple, easy, and you’re better. Alright, so I want to highlight you for a minute. You quit your job and now you have a new job, Kyle. What kind of work do you do?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yeah, so—really quick background—in college I majored in accounting. I did a master’s of accounting program, I ended up getting my CPA study for all four of those tests, started my accounting job, and just wasn’t loving it. And here we are now—fast forward about a year since I first started a social media account called “Clean Kitchen Nutrition”. (You should go follow me if you don’t already.) But basically what I do is I take you all inside of the grocery store, going down the aisles of the grocery store, reading ingredient labels, teaching you what ingredients to look for, [and] what ingredients you do want to put in your body versus what ingredients you should be avoiding. [I do it] partly so you guys don’t have to go through what I went through; all these troubles and supplements and diets and all these different things. If you eat real food from the beginning, you’re going to most likely feel better. So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m doing that full time on Instagram, TikTok, and starting on YouTube here shortly. But yeah, it’s very exciting. I absolutely love it.

Dr Joe Mather:

It’s so cool that you’ve put what you’ve learned into a whole new career and you’re just at this completely different place. And now how many people do you get to help by just giving such great information? I love it. “Clean Kitchen Nutrition.”

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yep. It’s all fantastic.

Dr Joe Mather:

I love it. If you could go back in time to three-year-ago-Kyle, what would you tell him?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

I would say, “stop worrying.” I was such a worrier. Whether it’s worrying about something that happened in the past or worrying about something that’s about to happen in the future. I always just built up more anxiety and worry than I needed to. So I’d really say that’s the one thing. Take deep breaths. Everything’s going to be okay. Again, it sounds cliche, but it’s true. Everything’s going to be okay. Live in the present moment. Don’t worry about too much and just have fun. I mean, that’s why we’re here. We’re here to have fun. So yeah, that’s what I would say.

Dr Joe Mather:

And, Kyle, you’ve brought a lot of fun to my life because I just love seeing you get better. It’s been so inspiring. And so, if you are a patient and you are in a rough place—you’ve got Crohn’s disease and abdominal pain and bloating and food sensitivities and no energy—you can get better. Look at Kyle.

Kyle Fitzgerald :

There is hope. I promise.

Dr Joe Mather:

This is awesome. Is there anything else you want to share with a future patient who might be listening? Anything at all?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Not really. The only thing I would say is, before I even met Dr. Joe and joined Dr.Ruscio’s clinic, I had worked with a previous functional doctor and I had done a ton of research on my own, trying to figure it out by myself. But in the end—especially if you’re going through something serious like Crohn’s (or anything really)—it’s very important to hire a functional practitioner that knows what they’re doing. [Someone] that’s treated patients similar to what you’re going through. And I couldn’t recommend you or Dr. Ruscio or any anyone else in the clinic enough. And how helpful and inspiring and great you’ve been over the past two years. And honestly for the continuation, because I don’t see myself just stopping working with you.

Dr Joe Mather:

Well, you’ll have to put up with me a whole lot less because you’re so healthy. You can go enjoy your life, but I’m here when you need me. How does that sound?

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Exactly. I love that.

Dr Joe Mather:

Kyle, thank you. I know this won’t be the last time we speak. I’m so proud of the improvement and the growth I’ve seen. You’re just fantastic and people are going to be really inspired. Just hearing and seeing you is going to inspire a lot of people, I think, to make some good choices for their health. So thank you for doing this.

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Dr Joe Mather:

Awesome. Alright, bud. I will talk to you real soon and take care.

Kyle Fitzgerald :

Yep. Sounds good. Alright, bye.

Outro:

Thank you for listening to Dr. Ruscio Radio today. Check us out on iTunes and leave a review. Visit DrRuscio.com to ask a question for an upcoming podcast, post comments for today’s show, and sign up to receive weekly updates. That’s DRRUSCIO.com.

 

➕ Links & Resources

Need help or would like to learn more?
View Dr. Ruscio’s additional resources

Get Help

Discussion

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *