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Here’s What Your Body is Trying to Tell You With These Common Issues

In a perfect world, you’d notice an unusual physical symptom – like waking up in the middle of the night, or uncomfortable gas – and be able to immediately go to your doctor and get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, it’s not usually that cut and dry. In fact, you might spend several frustrating weeks or months trying to investigate exactly what’s causing you to feel this way.

Precision medicine is one highly efficient way to get to the bottom of seemingly unrelated physical symptoms. But while you wait for your first consultation, explore these common physical issues and what they might stem from (the answers might surprise you!).

If you’re experiencing frequent gas…

We get it: gas and bloating can be pretty embarrassing to talk about. Luckily, many of the most common causes of excessive gas can be identified and remedied right at home, with no medical intervention necessary. Upper intestinal gas (as evidenced by bloating and burping) is most often caused by swallowed air, which contains nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. If you eat or drink too fast, chew gum constantly, or drink through a straw, you might swallow excess air.

For lower intestinal gas in your digestive system, the culprit is more likely related to something you ate or drank that’s going undigested. Beans tend to get the worst rap among foods that cause gas, but other common causes of flatulence include starches (like potatoes, corn, and pasta), apples, onions, asparagus, and certain spicy, fried, or fatty foods.

If all else fails, frequent gas might be caused by stomach and intestinal problems. Ask your precision care doctor about gastritis, lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance and celiac disease, gut dysbiosis and irritable bowel syndrome. They’ll be able to offer diet and lifestyle interventions as well as order the right tests if needed. .

If you’re extremely fatigued…

Wondering exactly why you’re so tired, despite sleeping a solid eight hours a night? Aside from food intolerances and stress (which we cover more in-depth here), an undiagnosed thyroid problem might be making you feel exhausted, especially if you’re also noticing weight gain.

Your thyroid is a gland that helps regulate your metabolism rate – the rate at which your body uses energy. If your thyroid is underactive (also known as hypothyroidism), it won’t produce enough hormones, and that will disrupt your metabolism. The result: many of your body’s functions slow down, and you feel extremely fatigued.

Women are at a much higher risk for hypothyroidism, and since the condition develops slowly, you might not notice the symptoms for several months. Ask your precision care doctor about laboratory testing for thyroid dysfunction to help direct a diagnosis.

If you find yourself waking up at 3 a.m…

It might seem like there’s no rhyme or reason to these middle-of-the-night wakeups. But one of the most common causes of insomnia is stress. If you’re feeling anxious about work, relationships, finances, or family, your cortisol levels may spike during the day and affect your ability to fall and stay asleep.

In the moments when you’re lying awake, try breathwork, a body scan meditation, or reading a slow-paced book (and opting for a physical copy rather than an e-reader if it’s possible). And resist the urge to sleep in or take a nap the next day; instead, try to get back on track with your usual bedtime and sleep routine. Your precision care doctor can also help you get to the root of your insomnia.

If you find yourself more irritable than normal…

It’s probably not simply from “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.” In fact, irritability and grumpiness can be related to many medical issues.

For example, mental health issues like stress, anxiety, or depression are often associated with irritability (especially when experienced in conjunction with sleep deprivation). Physically, you might be prone to feeling grumpy if your blood sugar is low. Acute pain (like ear infections or toothaches) can cause irritability too.

Hormonal changes are also known to impact mood. Menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes might affect your happiness and patience at any given time. Finally, irritability could be a side effect of medication you’re taking or, on the flip side, a side effect of withdrawal from nicotine, alcohol, or even caffeine.

If you have a toothache…

Outside of the usual oral health-related issues, toothaches can come from some surprising sources.

For example, did you know a sinus infection can cause tooth pain? That’s because during a sinus infection, the sinus area behind your cheekbones and on the sides of your nose is inflamed. That inflammation may radiate to your upper jaw and the roots of your top teeth. Good news though: once you’re over your sinus infection, your tooth pain will go away.

Here’s another unusual cause of tooth pain: excessive exercise, especially if you don’t make hydration a priority. Studies have found a link between high-level athletes and high levels of tooth decay, which they attributed to saliva. During exercise, your mouth produces less saliva, making your mouth drier; in addition, the alkalinity of saliva increases as you exercise, which weakens your teeth and makes them susceptible to plaque.

Your body is full of surprises, and sometimes the explanation for whatever physical symptoms you’re experiencing isn’t one you’d think of right away. Luckily, a precision medicine doctor is the perfect partner for getting to the root of your physical symptoms. With a wide array of testing available, a precision medicine expert can analyze your lab results in context with your lifestyle, your medical history, and more. Using that information, we’re able to help diagnose you with more accuracy and come up with a smart, actionable plan for hitting your health goals. Click here to learn more.