I was just in the hospital for what I thought was an unrelated GI issue. I was having severe chest pain and trouble breathing. They eventually diagnosed it down to either pneumomediastinum or a small tear in my esophagus.
Both of these usually will repair themselves, and that is what ended up happening. However, due to the issues and my past history with Ulcerative Colitis, they had me consult with yet another GI. And to my surprise, I finally got a completely honest GI to tell me to my face, the truth that most of them will never say.
A while back I wrote a post about why food matters, and what Gastroenterologists don’t want to hear. I have seen dozens of GI’s over the years, and the answer is always the same. They subscribe pills and tell me that I can keep eating at Taco Bell. I am always mind-boggled by this, especially now that I have been off medications for two years thanks to my diet and going gluten-free. And just so you know, that doesn’t include Taco Bell! While medication may be needed for some, they don’t even offer up another solution.
Many of the medications that GIs prescribe have horrible side effects. Take a look at some of the patient reported side effects from Lialda. (according to Ask a Patient)
In my opinion, there are many steps that should be taken and tried before going on medication like that. Here are some of them:
- Get Your Blood Tested
- Get a Vitamin Deficiency Test
- Get a Food Panel/Allergy Test
- See Natural Path Doctor or Nutritionist
- Go Gluten-Free
- Create a Food Journal
- Food Exclusion Diet
- Find Healthier Alternatives to Your Cravings
- Exercise More
- Relax More
- Drink Lots of Water
- Get More Fiber
- Last Resort: See a Gastroenterologist (for possible medication or colon removal)
See a more in-depth post which goes deeper into each of the above steps and recommendations.
Honest Truth From GI (Gastroenterologist)
While I was having a consult with this new GI in the hospital, I flat out asked her why they never recommend diet, when it comes to GI symptoms, and that I had been off medication for over 2 years. Here was her response:
Unfortunately there are a lot of things we don’t know yet in the GI community. We are medically trained, and unfortunately that can’t account for diet and all the different recommendations that go along with that. We are just now beginning to understand the importance of maintaining a good and healthy microbial balance, and the relationship that has with food, along with probiotics. When it comes to UC or Crohn’s, it is your body, and only you can tell how it reacts to different foods or treatments.
For the first time ever, a GI has been flat out honest with me! I was completely blown away by her response and thanked her for her honesty. She actually referred me to GIs on the Crohn’s And Colitis website, as the providers on there are generally more open to the idea that food can affect your UC or Crohn’s.
So not only was she completely honest with me, but she also referred me to another source for GI providers, in which she had no relation. I wish there were more GIs out there that were this honest. She did tell me about their success with fecal matter transplants and how they have a great success rate with C. diff patients. I wasn’t looking for advice, but was rather curious about what her response would be to my question. I have never had a GI be honest with me, and I have a seen a lot of them!
I wrote this post, just to encourage those out there that are just getting diagnosed, that there are other options. Of course, you should see a medical provider, but don’t let them simply push pills on you because they are medically trained for that. As you can see from the GI’s response above, the digestive system still has a lot of unknowns when it comes to medical science. UC and Crohn’s isn’t like a broken arm in which there is a definitive fix. Do your research! It’s your body, and you only have one.