Five Things Your Doctor Tells You That Needs Clarifying

Happy Saturday! Its a wet and windy one here on the Gold Coast which means its a great weekend to spend some time cooking up the next week's healthy treats, quick freezer meals with your own ingredients and allowing yourself some reading or movie watching time.  If you are finding yourself flat and uninspired - how about creating a vision board and letting your creative brain take over the controls for a while?

I often hear from patients that their doctor has more or less ended their options when it comes to their health recovery, stating that nothing else can be done (based on the fact that the research they have read says so).  In most cases, a patient will take that information as final and cease searching for solutions outside the box, of which there are often many.  If you are lucky enough to have a doctor that understands the importance of nutrition, herbal medicine and the relationship between gut care and health - you are in very good hands.

When I am having this conversation with a patient, it is usually because someone or something has prompted them to consider integrative medicine approaches to find another possible solution- of which there are many.  Even if the initial results are not impacting directly on the issue at hand, for some a small improvement in health and vitality offers a glimpse that their body is responsive in one area, and therefore may be in others.

Here are the top 5 health statements I find need further clarification based on integrative research that your doctor may not have considered:

  1. There is nothing that can be done for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.  In fact, there is loads of research and even basic science that states that fatigue can be influenced by a deficiency in nutrients like Iron, Magnesium, B Vitamins, Co Enzyme Q 10 and trace minerals.  Even recommending more water intake by your GP could be a solution.  Other factors influencing fatigue syndromes include past or present viral infections, adrenal hormone exhaustion and underlying infections from parasites like Lyme Disease from tick and flea bites and bacterial imbalances.
  2. Viruses can be treated with antibiotics, otherwise there is nothing to do but get bed rest.  Although bed rest is helpful when suffering viral infections, there is much more that can help your body recover faster and more comfortably. Antibiotic therapy will not impact a virus other than to enhance its take on the body.  They will however address a secondary bacterial infection if also present however also reduces your immune functions by way of altering your probiotic (immune balancing bacteria), allowing the virus to keep on taking over and replicating itself.  There are numerous nutrients, herbs and even homeopathic remedies taken in frequent doses that can help alleviate symptoms giving rise to an immune response - for now and for later possible infections.
  3. The medication I've prescribed is the only way proven to help your condition. Whilst in part and in some cases this may be true, rarely is this the ONLY way to help your condition.  For example, an inflammatory condition in autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease for example, is not only responsive to corticosteroid therapy alone.  In fact, steroids can deplete and break down other systems over time and are not meant for long time use, as are proton pump inhibitors (gastric acid suppressants) - which were only ever meant for 12-13 week prescribing.  Adjunct therapies addressing nutrient depletion caused by the disease and then also often by the medication, supporting healthy mucus membrane integrity and improving the stress response can all aid in reducing inflammatory markers.
  4. Panadol is helpful during pain caused by infection.  Research is available to show that paracetamol found in medications like Panadol delay the immune response to infections and are therefore not the most effective pain relief medication under these circumstances.  This is particularly important when treating a child's pain during an infection - other non paracetamol medications and preparations could be more effective.  Many herbs contain active ingredients for pain relief.  An example of this is Willow Bark - a plant high in salicylic acid which is the active ingredient in Aspirin.  Other herbs are useful in pain such as Wintergreen (muscle pain and sprains), Devil's Claw (arthritis), Cramp Bark (arthritis and period pain), Californian Poppy (general pain relief), Fennel (griping gut pain), Feverfew (headache).  D- Ribose is a useful nutrient in muscle pain and fatigue as is good old magnesium. There are numerous homeopathic remedies I use for various presentations of pain, and when matched to the patient well, work fast and safely without loading the liver and kidneys.
  5. Hormones are only able to be tested by drawing blood.  Incorrect.  The fact is that urinary salivary hormonal testing has been around for some time and is often a more accurate representation of what is actually happening inside by reflecting what your body is metabolizing (or not) effectively.  These results also commonly matches well to the presentation of the patient whereas the blood tests often do not.  When you are turned away still feeling the effect of your hormones, and after your doctor has seen a 'normal' blood test, maybe consider an alternative test option to show your true hormonal changes.  Thyroid hormones do need to be tested by bloods however, but a simple TSH test is not enough information to go by to warrant a prescription of long term thyroid medication.

Remember - if you feel as though you are not getting the full picture on your health, ask more questions until you feel clear.  It is your body, your right to vitality and you are also an expert on what is good for you!