Functional Medicine

What is the difference between Conventional and Functional Medicine?

Conventional Medicine, is also known as Traditional or Western Medicine, and the primary focus is looking at each system separately. The approach is based off of protocols to treat symptoms and disorders through medications, procedures, and surgeries. There are practitioners that look at lifestyle, but unfortunately their time and knowledge is limited with each person.

In Functional Medicine, we look at the body as a whole and how all the systems are integrated to find the root cause. The primary focus is lifestyle and prevention. Because our bodies are so unique, not only do we look at lifestyle but we factor in physiology and genetics.

So for example, if someone has IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), migraines, and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), in Conventional Medicine, you’ll go to your primary provider who most likely will refer you to a specialist to manage each condition. So for IBS you’ll go to a gastroenterologist, migraines a neurologist, and PCOS the gynecologist. Most of the time you’ll be prescribed medications to treat each condition.

In Functional Medicine, we know that all three of these systems are integrated and that the root cause is intestinal inflammation. Inflammation in the intestines definitely contributes to PCOS, migraines, and IBS. In fact there is a study that shows the link between gastrointestinal disorders, like IBS, and migraines. With PCOS it’s not really just a hormonal disorder but more of metabolic disorder from the inflammation, which contributes to insulin resistance and hormonal imbalance. So the approach to treatment would be to decrease inflammation in the intestines, at lifestyle factors and how they could be contributing, and then maybe supplementation with some herbs or nutrients to optimize the body.

I hope this gives you a little bit more clarity about the difference between Functional and Conventional Medicine. And if someone doesn’t know about Functional Medicine or is looking for more information please definitely share.

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“[Dis]ease is not an entity, but a fluctuating condition of the patient’s body, a battle between the substance of disease and the natural self-healing tendency of the body.”

– Hippocrates