GI Support


Support Gallbladder Conditions


Find Relief from Heartburn


Receive Holistic Care for GI Issues

Gallbladder Conditions

Gallbladder conditions have become increasingly prevalent in recent years. In fact, about 700,000 people per year undergo gallbladder removal due to gallbladder diseases and conditions! That’s actually around 500,000 more per year since laparoscopic procedures became an alternative to open gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy) several years ago. Once this procedure is performed, you are also required to follow a specific gallbladder diet to avoid further digestive problems from the operation. While there are certainly dire circumstances where these gallbladder removals may become necessary, there are absolutely things that can be done in many cases to resolve gallbladder problems before reaching this point.


What is Heartburn?

Heartburn: This is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest, most commonly after eating, but it can be a scheming little nuisance that sneaks up at anytime. The pain can worsen when lying down or bending over. Some individuals can even feel that they may be having an issue with their heart. Scary feeling right?! And how could they possibly feel the same? Well, the stomach acid that raises up the esophagus during heartburn, can then radiate pain into the neck, jaw, or throat. In fact, an article on states that according to the Mayo Clinic, there are about 300,000 cases of non-cardiac chest pain diagnosed annually.

However, if you suspect that something may be wrong with your heart please seek medical care right away, but if everything else checks out ok then you may be suffering from heartburn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Gallbladder Symptoms?

Symptoms related to this issue are typically gas or bloating with fatty foods, indigestion, cramping in the upper right abdomen, and nausea to name a few. One major area that individuals with gallbladder problems can feel pain or discomfort is a deep ache under the shoulder blade. I have helped many people with “a shoulder problem” when the cause of the pain was the gallbladder. The referred pain diagram below demonstrates areas in which you may experience referred pain due to organ issues such as with the gallbladder.

The best way to tell the difference is to ask the question: when does the pain feel better? If the answer is it never feels better no matter if I am moving or resting, then more than likely you are having a gallbladder issue that needs to be addressed.

What are heartburn symptoms?

The first, and most evident, heartburn symptom is that burning in your chest. Some other signs that you may be dealing with heartburn or acid reflux are: a burning in the back of your throat, fluids in the back of your throat taste hot, sour, acidic, or salty, and/or you’re suffering from a chronic cough, sore throat, or hoarseness.

Stomach issue or gallbladder problem?

It is important to make the distinction between having problems with the stomach, and gallbladder problems, because treatments are immensely different. However, you can have a gallbladder problem because the stomach is not working properly. This occurs when the stomach does not produce enough acid. It is due to the release of acid (low pH) out of the stomach into the upper small intestine that requires the release of the bile in the gallbladder (high in pH). This combination of high and low pH will balance near a pH of 7 (based on the individual and their diet).

Now, if the stomach does not produce the acid needed, then the body does not need to release much or any bile. This is opposite of what people tend to think. People tend to believe too much acid is the problem, and they try to remedy the situation by taking antacids; which actually just amplifies the situation. It is this lack of release that can cause bile to become thick and sludge-like. If this is the case, then the stomach needs to be fixed first.

What are the causes of heartburn?

Heartburn can be caused by many different things. Most commonly I see that the stomach is not working well and is damaged, or I see hiatal hernias. Let’s start with the latter of the two. A hiatal hernia is when the cardiac sphincter does not align with the diaphragm. Imagine you have your back against a wall and you are pushing forward on an object, you can apply a good amount of force because the wall prevents you from moving backwards. Now let’s imagine you are pressing on the same object but the wall is not there, you will not be able to apply the same amount of force. This is what happens when the sphincter does not line up with the diaphragm, and this can lead to stomach acid finding its way out of the stomach to the esophagus causing the heartburn symptoms.

The most common reason for heartburn that I see and treat, is the stomach is not working well and may be damaged. For some reason as a medical community we are ok with other organs not working at 100%: gallbladder, liver, thyroid, etc., but the stomach and digestive tract will always work. That is not the case, and if these problems go untreated a person’s overall health will suffer greatly. Most patients that come into my office with this issue take antacids which only cover up the symptoms. Think about it. What happens when you stop taking the antacids? Exactly, if you stop taking them at any time the problem comes right back. So, not much of a heartburn remedy. The same is true with heartburn medications.

So how do you fix the stomach problem?

That is accomplished by using enzyme therapy to help heal the lining of the stomach. Furthermore, it is paramount that you find a provider proficient in enzyme therapy procedures, such as 1st Step Family Wellness in St. Louis.

What needs to be done if the stomach is working well and you still have a gallbladder issue?

You need to examine the cause of the gallbladder’s issue. If you suspect that the bile has become thick and sludge-like, then you can easily thin the bile. There are several good protocols for that. The two that I enjoy using are beet juice and enzyme therapy. I have had great results bringing back the function of the gallbladder with these two procedures. Now, if you suspect gallstones could be your issue, DO NOT TRY TO THIN THE BILE, please seek medical treatment for this issue. The primary reason behind this is if you stimulated the flow of bile and there is a blockage you can make the pain much worse and surgery may be needed. This is not the case most times, but you need to be aware of what might happen if these procedures are done without the supervision of a proficient provider.


How to treat heartburn?

One of the best ways to recover from this issue is specific enzyme therapy. This works very well because the enzymes will allow the stomach to work less and repair. Supplements cannot deliver the same results because only enzymes can do their own work. What I mean by that is if you are having trouble digesting, and you add supplements, you have just given your body more work to do. Adding enzymes, however, can help with the digestion of your food and allow you to absorb and use more nutrients; which in turn allows the organs to heal faster.

So if you suspect that you may be suffering from this issue and would like to have a practitioner look for the cause and stop treating just the symptoms please contact us at our St. Louis office.

Meet Our GI Support Providers

Dr. Ryan Sandheinrich, D.C.

Dr. Ryan Sandheinrich, D.C.

Co-Founder, Chiropractor

What People Are Saying

The only place who was willing to treat pediatric lyme patients. Absolutely amazing care for the whole family. Incredibly knowledgeable and humble. They know how to heal people and are willing to respect the patient knows their own body and needs as well. The staff feel like family. Their chronic infection care is worth every penny. The large scope of care is amazing too. Hard to find any other a place with so many options for true healing.

Tara C.

I can not say enough good things about the doctors and staff. My kids have been going there for the last 2.5 years and we are working with Dr. Jeanne and Dr Michelle to clear hidden infections. When we started there my oldest had severe anxiety, OCD symptoms and rage. Within months of starting treatment my son was returning back to his old self. His tics, rage and anxiety were much lesser and he was enjoying trying new things (something he wouldn’t do before) Since then I have had each of my children tested and we are working on their health. Not only are they knowledgeable but they are so supportive and loving. I recommend them to everyone that I can.

Tiffany K.

Dr. Michelle is the best! We went to her, to help our son with PANDAS, and she has been AMAZING!!! we are finally getting our sweet boy back! There have been a few adjustments, where he was very aggressive and out of control of himself, she adjusted him, and he was right back to his normal, happy self! We will continue to see her, and will now be bringing our daughter to her!

Katie R.

GI Support in St. Louis

Pricing for GI Support

We are committed to offering affordable care to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to prioritize their wellness. For more information on our chronic infection testing and support and to inquire about pricing, please contact our team.