Ditch the Drugs: Functional Medicine for Allergies is a More Effective Approach
Spring is the sneezing-est time of the year for over 50 million people throughout the United States. If you’re one of them, you are trapped inside, windows closed, tissues in hand, spending hundreds of dollars on over-the-counter medications that leave you foggy and tired. There is a better way: try functional medicine for allergies.
Why Do Some People Develop Allergies While Others Don’t?
Call it the luck of the draw, but some people are genetically predisposed to developing allergies while others aren’t. Science isn’t entirely sure why some people have allergies, but experts suspect it has to do with a genetic tendency known as “atopy.” Being atopic doesn’t always mean you or your children will develop allergies, but it increases the odds. If you’re allergic to nuts, your child is far more likely to have this allergy as well.
Environmental factors play a significant role in developing allergies too. Your chances of developing an allergy increase with exposure to the allergen, but exposure to certain environmental factors decreases your risk. For example, people on farms tend to have lower rates of allergies because of a specific molecule found in cow manure.
Since the approach of functional medicine for allergies involves genetic and environmental lab work, your practitioner will understand exactly how and why you’ve developed your allergies. This allows them to create an effective treatment plan for your unique needs.
Seasonal Sneezes or Something More?
You associate your allergy symptoms with spring pollen, but other things may be at play. Many people suffer from allergies all year.
Different seasons bring different allergens, and highly sensitive people seldom find relief when the seasons change. Those in the mountains may be exposed to cedar trees, releasing pollen in the winter, while those trapped indoors during cold weather are more exposed to dust and mold.
For those suffering year-long allergies, mold, pet dander, and dust ensure there’s no relief in sight. Those in the mountains may be exposed to cedar trees, which release pollen in the winter. It’s essential to be tested for sensitivities to foods, animals, dust, mold, and other allergens that may affect you, even if you aren’t aware of them.
When using functional medicine for allergies, practitioners combine medical and family history, environmental risk factor evaluation, and in-depth lab testing to uncover both evident and hidden allergies and reactions.
Surprising Allergy Symptoms
Some allergy symptoms are well-known, especially to those who suffer from them. Itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose are common allergy symptoms, but others are far more subtle. Allergies can also cause the following:
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
In addition, skin allergies cause hives, rashes, and eczema, while food sensitivities cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Some believe that allergies can cause a fever, but allergic reactions don’t involve an elevated temperature. If you have a fever, your functional medicine provider will perform additional tests to uncover the source.
Late to the Game: Developing Allergies in Adulthood
Some believe that if they never had allergies in the past, they will never develop them today. But the truth is that allergies can be acquired at any stage in your life and may come on quite suddenly. This is bad news for pet lovers, foodies, and outdoor enthusiasts. Why does this happen?
As we age, our immune systems change. In addition, we are constantly exposed to new allergens. Even things such as using antibiotics or moving from one geographical location to a new one play a part in developing allergies later in life.
To complicate things even more, you may be allergic to one specific thing within a family of allergens. For instance, while you aren’t allergic to all dogs, you may react to some breeds or just one particular dog. Another example is the outdoor lover who has never experienced a reaction to pollen but is exposed to an invasive plant or weed.
If you experience any symptoms, keep a log to help your provider understand how to approach your unique case through functional medicine for allergies.
The Benefits of Functional Medicine for Allergies
Over-the-counter allergy products temporarily suppress your body’s reaction to an allergen. Once you stop taking the medication, your symptoms return. These medications are designed to mask your body’s response to allergens, not reverse it. Over time and continued use, the drugs become less effective, and you frequently change brands to find relief.
Even worse, these medications have side effects such as exhaustion, nausea, and brain fog.
That’s why more people are turning to functional medicine for allergies. Functional medicine doesn’t just treat the symptoms of allergies; it uncovers their root causes. Once a root cause is discovered and addressed, allergy symptoms resolve naturally.
Some common but surprising causes of allergies include the following:
- Poor gut health
- Stress and overburdened adrenal glands
- Toxin overload
- Imbalances in the immune system
Functional Medicine for Allergies: A Natural Approach
While you consider allergies as stand-alone conditions, they are a form of chronic illness in the same family as diabetes, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and other conditions. Your allergies may complicate other conditions that you have, and vice versa.
The approach of functional medicine for allergies is holistic. These providers understand the entire body is a collection of interconnected systems. Each system relies on the other to maintain the body’s health and balance. A slight imbalance affects the whole network and causes symptoms.
The brain of the operation is not, in fact, the brain at all. Most conditions develop because of poor gut health. Poor gut health contributes to many illnesses and symptoms, including pain and inflammation, autoimmune diseases, mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, and many more, including allergies.
The first step of functional medicine for allergies is discovering what triggers the responses. This is done through a comprehensive medical background evaluation, physical exam, and laboratory testing.
Based on these findings, a wellness plan is created to help your body heal itself. This can include nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle adjustments to restore balance. Supplements, herbal medicines, and vitamins and minerals are added to the wellness plan if necessary, as well as prescription medications in some cases. Other therapies, such as IV therapy and infrared sauna sessions, can help speed healing.
Vital Health Solutions: Functional Medicine for Allergies in and around Conroe, Texas
For many people in and around Conroe, Texas, functional medicine for allergies is a holistic, comprehensive approach to relieve your symptoms and uncover the underlying causes. Dr. Cheryl Winter and her team at Vital Health Solutions have the experience to restore your balance and health naturally, safely, and effectively.
Get started on your journey to health by attending our free educational webinar Stress, Hormones, and Health, or contact us for more information.