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School of Medicine
Women's Digestive Health Program
Digestive disorders often affect women differently than men. Due to a combination of biological and gender-related differences, you may experience gastrointestinal or liver problems more frequently or severely. Managing and treating these conditions often require a unique approach.
At the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine & Digestive Center, our specialists understand that your symptoms can be painful, inconvenient and even embarrassing, leading you to avoid social, work or home activities you typically enjoy. We understand how these symptoms affect you and we work with you to help improve your quality of life. Our Women’s Digestive Health program is designed specifically to meet your needs in the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic symptoms and conditions, such as:
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Constipation, diarrhea and loss of bowel control
- Gallbladder disease
- Gastroparesis (delayed emptying of the stomach)
- Heartburn and/or indigestion
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
You will meet individually with a board-certified gastroenterologist and nutritionist who will thoroughly answer your questions and engage you as an active participant in your health care. They will develop treatment plans tailored to your specific health needs and will also explain how your symptoms are affected by your unique physiology and diet. To improve your overall health and promote wellness, our best conventional approaches are complemented by a broad range of services provided by expert practitioners who are part of the Center.
Our classes in gastrointestinal physiology, nutrition and food preparation are designed to help you better understand the basis of your symptoms and how your eating can affect the way you feel. This knowledge will help you take an active role in achieving a sense of wellness.
Sometimes simple dietary changes can help improve bloating, gassiness, diarrhea and constipation. Our nutritionists, working with you one-on-one or if you prefer, in group classes, will review your diet and recommend how you and your family can make healthier food choices.
Our board-certified gastroenterologist will meet with you to discuss your symptoms and develop an individualized approach to improve these issues and promote your overall health. Some problems affect women more frequently, such as irritable bowel syndrome, loss of bowel control, chronic diarrhea, and gastroparesis, and our gastroenterologist can help you manage these effectively while identifying potential causes.
Acupuncture has been used for more than three thousand years to address digestive health concerns and it can also complement conventional medical treatments. Combining the best of both therapies is a powerful resource for women who struggle with gastrointestinal conditions.
Regular massage therapy can promote overall health, alleviate pain or stress and enhance your body’s natural restorative function. Our licensed practitioners specialize in many types of massage, including Swedish, deep-tissue, neuromuscular therapy and advanced therapeutic massage techniques. They will work with you to decide which type of massage therapy will best complement your individualized treatment plan.
You may feel anxious or depressed as a result of your digestive problems. Or stressful life events may aggravate your symptoms. Mind-body therapies, which can include guided imagery techniques, cognitive restructuring, meditation and relaxation training, can help strengthen your emotional resiliency and coping mechanisms, decrease depression and give you a sense of control.