Frequently Asked Questions

Functional Medicine FAQs

What is functional medicine?

Functional medicine is an approach to health that considers lifestyle, environmental exposures, and genetic factors to evaluate and treat the whole person. This approach helps with disease prevention and treatment. The doctors at the Center are highly-skilled, functional medicine doctors and board-certified family medicine physicians who:

  • Address the root causes of your symptoms with specific nutritional ad lifestyle recommendations
  • Order and interpret advanced and conventional lab tests when needed
  • Prescribe supplements
  • Prescribe medications only if you need them

Family Medicine physicians, like Dr. Rowley and Dr. Grose, complete at least 7 years of medical training before functional medicine training, so you can trust the TCHH team with your care.

Who can benefit from functional medicine?

Everybody can benefit from functional medicine! If you’re well, a functional medicine approach can help with the optimization of your health and disease prevention. If you’re not well, then a functional medicine doctor can help restore your health. Common health problems functional medicine can effectively address include:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Gut health (including leaky gut, gut dysbiosis, GERD, and more)
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Eczema
  • Thyroid problems
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Chronic fatigue, and many more

Rather than treating a disease, Functional Medicine re-creates health. A disease is named based on a set of symptoms and Functional Medicine doctors focus on identifying and correcting the cause of those symptoms. The TCHH team offers a consultation and health assessment to assess triggers that contribute to undesirable symptoms.

What happens during my appointment?

Before appointments at The Center, patients fill out a Root Cause Analysis form to dive deep into your medical history and establish a starting point for your medical evaluation. This form reviews your family and personal medical history, symptoms, past diagnoses, toxic exposures, major life events, current lifestyle, supplements and medications. This is essential to effective treatment and helps prevent you from forgetting to tell the doctor something you wanted her to know. During the appointment, the doctor will give insights into how you arrived at your current state of health.

Dr. Grose and Dr. Rowley also complete a comprehensive physical exam during the first visit. She may recommend urine tests, blood tests, or other diagnostic tests as needed. She will never recommend costly tests that she does not think you need. Finally, you will get a customized treatment plan including recommendations for your diet and nutrition, exercise, stress-management, supplements, necessary detox protocols and more.

Which functional medicine treatment is for me?

Your personalized functional medicine treatment depends on your lifestyle, genetics, medical history, results from lab tests, levels of inflammation, food sensitivities, and chronic disease risk factors. Your functional medicine specialist might recommend:

  • Personalized therapeutic diets
  • Exercise and movement
  • Supplements
  • Stress-relieving strategies
  • Detox protocols
  • Bioidentical hormone therapy
  • Tips for improved sleep
  • Spiritual or mind-body techniques
  • Medications only when necessary

After treatment, your provider follows up with you in-person or via telemedicine, depending on your preference. They repeat diagnostic tests when necessary, discuss your symptoms and any challenges to implementing your program, and make sure your treatment is effective.

We adjust your treatment plan whenever necessary. If you need conventional medication to get your illness controlled, she can prescribe medication or can refer you to highly qualified specialists when needed.

Don’t let disease diminish your quality of life when effective, holistic treatments are available at TCHH. Schedule a consultation over the phone by speaking with a friendly team member today to request an appointment.

General FAQs

Do you prescribe bio-identical hormones for menopause?

Most of the women’s health problems we see at the Center are related to their hormones being out of balance. At various stages throughout sexual development, from adolescence to the reproductive years, to peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause, hormone imbalances often manifest with symptoms that get mislabeled. Many hormone imbalances get incorrectly diagnosed as polycystic ovaries syndrome, endometriosis, premenstrual tension syndrome, fibroids, infertility, and even depression. By seeing women for their well woman exams and working with hormone testing, we are able to put together a program using bio-identical hormones, nutriceuticals and lifestyle changes. We also take care of thyroid conditions that may be subtle and can be easily missed, such as hypothyroidism and adrenal stress and fatigue. We use natural therapies before resorting to synthetic medications.

What alternatives do you have for pain management?

For those of you seeking a non-medicinal approach to pain management, the Center offers an integrated approach through acupuncture, Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM), and nutriceuticals. With your collaboration, we can choose what works best for you. FSM is an FDA-approved non-invasive physical therapy method using frequencies and current in millionths of an amp to stimulate healing. Microcurrent frequencies resonate with biological tissues and, with the appropriate frequency, change the structure of the tissue. Your body is a complex structure of cells, glands, nerves, bones, muscles, organs, etc. Each tissue vibrates at specific frequencies. When there is injury or illness, the tissue takes on a different vibration characteristic. When we apply FSM to your body, we match the frequencies of the tissue disruptions with the frequencies we choose for your therapy. FSM is helpful in a variety of pain conditions, e.g., acute injuries, back pain, joint pain, sprain and strains.

Can you help with ADHD type disorders without drugs?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) involves a spectrum of disorders of attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. We feel that when various biochemical and physiological factors come together as in a puzzle for a genetically predisposed child, various ADHD symptoms show up. Such factors include excitotoxins, heavy metal toxicity, strep infection, viral infection, and allergies. We look for these factors and use natural remedies and nutriceuticals to correct the problems. We are less interested in the label of ADHD, preferring to address the root cause rather than to immediately prescribe current medications. To quote from a recent article in Johns Hopkins Advanced Studies in Medicine (Vol.6, No.1, January 2006), Benjamin Silverman, B.A., and Glenn Treisman, M.D., Ph.D., state that “[b]y prescribing stimulants to individuals who fit this broad-based description, physicians are practicing cosmetic psychopharmacology – offering treatments to patients as a form of enhancement rather than as correction of a disorder.”

Can acupuncture help infertility?

The benefits of acupuncture and herbs in treatment for the infertile couple can be found in early Chinese medical literature dating back to the AD. Not only do these techniques assist in regulating the menstrual cycle and invigorating the sperm, but they also serve to enhance the function of the whole body. In the past decade, clinical studies conducted in China have revealed that a large portion of cases of infertility due to both functional and organic disorders can be corrected using Chinese herbs. The usual duration of therapy is about three months, though persons with longer experience of infertility and older persons tend to require longer periods of therapy. 

Gut Health FAQs

What is the gut microbiome?

It is the colonies of various microbes that reside in your gut that are unique to you. They talk to your genes and are active in many biological functions, including the immune system, neurological and metabolic systems, detoxification and gut integrity.

How is it established?

A baby acquires the microbiota similar to its mother’s as it passes through her vaginal canal, but if the baby is born by C-section, it acquires the microbiota of its mother’s skin. Early life exposure to breast or formula feeding, antibiotics, physical environment, stress and use of probiotics all affect the diversity, abundance and balance of the microbiota. From childhood to advanced age, our diet, overuse of antibiotics and other drugs, stress and selective enrichment with pre- and probiotics play a big role in the balance. We often talk about “good” or “bad” bacteria, but the term is inaccurate because what is necessary is the proper balance of the beneficial bacteria.

What conditions are associated with an imbalanced microbiome?

This is a sampling but not an exhaustive list: At the gut level, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gastric cancer, lymphoma and recurrent C.Difficle infection. At a systemic level, autism, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, fatty liver, obesity and metabolic syndrome, mood disorders, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

How can you optimize your microbiome?

Lifestyle is the foundation for a healthy microbiota. Diet strongly influences your microbiota. What you eat and your stress level are key factors in maintaining a healthy microbiota.

1.Your diet strongly influences your microbiome. Include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, and soluble fiber in your meal plan. Avoid processed foods, high bad fats, and excessive sugars. Go to the Nutritional Corner on Page 6 for a list of prebiotic-rich foods.
2. Support with selective probiotics if your diet is less than ideal and especially during and after a course of antibiotics. Join us for the seminar to learn more about choosing probiotics.
3. Avoid unknowingly harming yourself by ingesting genetically engineered foods and animal meats that are fed low-dose antibiotics.
4. Avoid the indiscriminate use of chemicals such as antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors (the likes of Nexium and omeprazole), and NSAIDS that can create  imbalance in the microbiome.
5. Manage your stress.

What are the top causes of gut problems?

Your gut’s job is to allow in nutrients and keep everything else out, especially things that can harm you. Poor dietary choices, stress, infection, exposure to toxins and medications and so many other factors contribute to damaging your gut over time. After repeated trauma, the gut lining can become compromised and allow too many harmful things into your body. This is known as leaky gut and this is one of the biggest contributors to gut problems. In addition to leaky gut, an imbalanced microbiome causes poor gut health. The microbiome, is made up of microscopic organisms like bacteria, yeast, and viruses that lives along the wall of your gut. Certain bacteria are associated with good health, lower weight, and more energy. Others are associated with weight retention, fatigue, food cravings, gas, bloating, and other unpleasant symptoms. An overgrowth of these types of bacteria cause symptoms that if not controlled eventually lead to chronic disease.

How can you restore gut health?

FOODS

Depending on your unique needs, your Functional Medicine doctor may recommend including or excluding certain foods to restore your gut microbiome. In some cases, it makes sense to do an elimination diet for a few weeks to help reset your gut then slowly reintroduce foods to identify food sensitivities. Alternatively, blood testing can be done to reveal what foods you are sensitive to without the elimination diet. When your doctor helps narrow down what foods are best for your unique gut, then an entire meal plan can be prescribed with recipes and shopping lists to support you with implementing the changes.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Making lifestyle changes helps reduce many gastrointestinal problems. Your Functional Medicine specialist might suggest regular exercise, adjustments to your sleep regimen, dietary supplements (such as fiber, probiotics, or prebiotics), or stress management such as mind-body or spiritual practices. Your brain and your gut are connected through nerve pathways that run between the two, sharing information back and forth. This means that when your brain is calm and happy, usually your gut is too, and vice versa.

SUPPLEMENTS

Supplements can help build and protect your gut lining. 

MEDICATIONS

In some cases, medication is necessary. A Functional Medicine doctor can prescribe or maintain medications as needed. However, the goal will be to wean you off unnecessary medications or prevent you from having to take them as you optimize your health.

SURGICAL PROCEDURES

At times, surgical procedures are necessary for certain conditions. If a surgical procedure is right for you, we would refer you to a highly qualified specialist. Functional Medicine recommendations can help strengthen your gut health in preparation for the surgery and help support your recovery.

Stop the vicious cycle of poor gut health causing increased inflammation and poor brain function which eventually leads to chronic disease.

Autoimmune Disease FAQs

What are autoimmune diseases?

The job of your immune system is to survey your body for molecules that are not supposed to be there. With a healthy immune system, after these invasive molecules sneak into your body your immune system neutralizes them, usually before you even have symptoms. Triggering molecules in your food can either be part of the food such as gluten or sugar, or chemicals in the food that your body can’t recognize like dyes and preservatives. They can be microbes. Microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and yeasts cover all surfaces. You breathe these microbes, eat these microbes, have them on your skin, and on every surface around you. The immune system constantly surveys to determine if the molecules and microbes are friends or foes. When they find a foe, they wage an attack then repair any damage. When this process starts to attack your own cells instead of attacking enemies or has a response that is disorganized or too strong for the insult, this is an autoimmune disorder. Common autoimmune diseases include:

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Lupus
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Eczema
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, and many more

We evaluate your symptoms and develop a customized treatment plan considering your diet, lifestyle, genetics, and toxic exposures to uncover the root cause and help you get healthy again.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune diseases?

Symptoms of an autoimmune disease vary, depending on the condition. Signs and symptoms can range in severity from mild to severe and might include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain, stiffness or swelling
  • Digestive issues
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swollen glands

You might experience flare-ups or worsening symptoms cycled with remission when symptoms appear to get better. Your functional medicine specialist personalizes your autoimmune disease treatments to offer you lasting relief.

What are the risk factors for autoimmune diseases?

Anyone can develop autoimmune diseases as their cause isn’t entirely clear. However, certain factors can increase your risk, such as:

  • Diet high in processed foods
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Excess weight and obesity
  • Genetics
  • Family history of autoimmune diseases
  • Reactions to some medications
  • Smoking
  • Other unhealthy lifestyle habits

How are autoimmune diseases treated?

Substantive changes in diet and lifestyle (how you live, work, sleep, play and move) and supplements can help control autoimmune symptoms tremendously. In many cases symptoms can be stopped altogether. Based upon extensive testing and history, a Functional Medicine Prescription might include:

  • Nutrition counseling
  • Dietary supplements
  • Stress relieving strategies
  • Regular exercise
  • Medications when needed

To understand the cause and establish the right treatment for your autoimmune disease, talk to a professional at TCHH today. 

Thyroid Disorder FAQs

What are the risk factors for thyroid disorders?

Anybody can develop a thyroid disorder, but certain factors increase your risk of getting one. Examples include genetics and environmental factors that affect your gene expression, toxins, poor nutrition from processed nutrient-poor foods, infections, chronic stress and sleep deprivation. Being a woman also increases the risk.

What are the symptoms of thyroid disorders?

Symptoms of an autoimmune disease vary, depending on the condition. Signs and symptoms can range in severity from mild to severe and might include:

  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Lumps on the thyroid gland
  • Cold sensitivity (hypothyroidism) or heat sensitivity (hyperthyroidism)
  • Constipation (hypothyroidism) or diarrhea (hyperthyroidism)
  • Excessive unexplained weight gain (hypothyroidism) or weight loss (hyperthyroidism)
  • Excessively dry skin and thinning hair (not associated with male-pattern baldness)
  • Irregular periods in women

How are thyroid disorders diagnosed?

  • Thyroid disorders are determined by blood tests which measure your thyroid hormone levels and for some patients also blood tests to look for antibodies against thyroid hormone. To help uncover the root cause of your thyroid disorder, your Kale Functional Medicine specialist reviews your symptoms and your medical history, then develops a personalized treatment plan.

How are thyroid disorders treated?

Your customized thyroid disorder treatment depends on your specific condition and its severity. Your Functional Medicine MD might recommend:

  • Diet and other lifestyle changes
  • Stress reduction
  • Addressing toxic exposures
  • Dietary supplements
  • Conventional therapies such as medications, radioiodine therapy and thyroid surgery when needed

Office

230 Westcott, # 208, Houston, TX 77007

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