When You Need More than a Prescription: Why Treating the Whole Person Matters

Woman sitting on couch with eyes closed, meditating.

You may be so excited to have your appointment with your doctor for what seems to be a very irritating case of irritable bowel syndrome.  After 10 minutes of inquiry by the doc, PA, or NP, you are given a prescription for a colonoscopy.  This may be intriguing because what if there is a demon in your gut making you a little cray-cray?  Or, perhaps the doc (NP or PA) gives you a prescription for an anti-spasmodic and tells you to call if you if you have any adverse effect to this medication.  Or, perhaps you go to your natural/holistic doc and they listen intently to your symptoms and past medical history for a full hour but at the end of the visit, they hand you a prescription for Rifaximin?  Now what?  You may also get recommendations for several tests such as SIBO and possibly a stool test (or more functional medicine testing from your holistic practitioner).  So this is it?  What about what you are eating?  What other supplements you may be taking?  How should you handle your current level of stress?  How should you quell the incessant belching and mal-digestion after dinner?  

Does it now just come down to a few prescriptions and being told that you should meditate to get rid of that nasty stress you may be suffering from? Oh but wait, it gets better, if your GI problems come back once your prescription is done, you can’t take it again.  New studies support this practice (1) and in fact, you can take it every day, every week or every month.  You can be on a lifetime dose of an antibiotic and it could take years before any research shows the malfeasance of this practice.  

What’s missing from these scenarios?  You – and that is not a what, but a who!  What made you get into this situation?  Did you know that part of the real healing process from IBS/SIBO is a restoration of natural hydrochloric production?  This simply does not mean taking a HCL pill.  This means retraining your body with natural food compounds to produce it’s own HCL.  Once you restore hydrochloric acid, you can bump up your nutritional status because HCL is responsible for helping you absorb important nutrients like iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B12 (2). 

You may also feel that your whole system is down from your adrenals to your immune system and most likely it is!  You may be given an adrenal test and one or more adrenal supplements however the nutritional education piece of this scenario may also be faulty.  Eat every 4-5 hours so your peristaltic movements can gain traction?  No!  Eat more often, your adrenals will thank you and this too, will be longer conversation.  How to support your immune system?  Think vitamin C and minerals.  Things will your body will rapidly use when under attack but rarely addressed.  Minerals are much needed by both your immune system and the adrenal glands.  

Also speaking of nutrition, were you handed a guide for eating consisting of green, yellow and red columns? If yes, your diet has now been reduced to meat, broth, fats and zucchini – oh wait, add in some cooked carrots and string beans.  Moving on to what YOU as whole person needs…. Are you dreaming of vegetables, juices, smoothies and fruits?  Does this food guide represent what your body truly needs at this time?  Well, let’s go ask one of the most important organs in our body that has to deal the most with what you eat – your liver.  Eating fat and meats all day will further burden your liver -which is already most likely overwhelmed dealing with any environmental toxicity, prescription medicines, pathogen waste and food additives.  

Pathogen waste you say?  Who are those invaders?  Most likely some bad bacteria if you have IBS.  Good bacteria in the wrong place?  Maybe that’s what you’ve heard but then why do antibiotics make people feel better?  Because the real culprits are some bad bugs that you may have picked up throughout the course of your life.  You doc or healthcare provider may go on nutty rampage of testing to see what squatters are inhabiting your pipes and if they are found, look out for the nukes.  Many anti-microbial regimens are full of strong artillery that will also cast out good bugs.  Remember that our own populations of good bacteria in our “microbiome” have been dwindling over the last few decades -which makes people more vulnerable to illness.  

The point is that, you are a diverse system and it took a multitude of events to get you in the unhappy place you may be now.  A prescription won’t cut it.  Your hard work and the right information – a comprehensive plan from a qualified professional can be the right combination to put you in a better place.   Feeling better will take a while if done right but it is you’re right to be honored at all levels. 



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