The human body is an amazing thing. Mine has carried two healthy babies, ran countless miles, endured yo-yo dieting, overindulgence in alcohol and other self inflicted abuses. I've been depressed, suffered chronic bronchitis and asthma, had cat scans, electrocardiograms and ultrasounds. But luckily, I'm generally a pretty healthy person. Whatever I've done to myself or whatever has been done to me has had no visible lasting effects. I believe the body has an inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. But, as of late, there have been a couple of issues that have interrupted my otherwise healthy life.
Caution: The following may be TMI (too much information) for you, but I think it's important to share in order to get the big picture. Don't worry. It's not that bad!
I have suffered chronic Urinary Tract Infections for almost 10 years. Every 3 to 5 months, I'm at the doctor's office peeing in a cup and begging for antibiotics to make it go away. After the first couple of years, I began to ask why was getting the infections in the first place. They told me that some women were just "prone to that sort of thing," told me to drink lots of water, gave me my prescription and sent me on my way.
Flash forward eight years and it's STILL happening. About two months ago I awoke to that horrible pain in my pelvis and the feeling that I was constantly on the verge of wetting myself. I got an appointment, peed in my cup and got the prescription. Since I get them so often, I was up to a seven day course of antibiotics. The day after finishing the course, I got those familiar feelings and was back for another round. Only after 14 DAYS of antibiotics did the infection abate. I wondered, if it take 14 days this time, how many days will it take next time? Am I building an immunity to the drugs?
Needless to say, I was completely frustrated with the traditional process of diagnosis. NOT ONCE did someone try to figure out why I got infections so often. I would wait upwards of an hour to spend five minutes with a physician's assistant who would write out a prescription, pat my head and shove me out the door.
It was at this point that I started researching Naturopathic Medicine. For those of you who aren't familiar with this type of medicine, naturopathic doctors facilitate and augment the healing process by identifying the root cause of the problem you are experiencing. By not simply treating symptoms, they support your body's natural healing process. They educate you on how to continue making improvements in your diet and lifestyle to maximize your health and cure what ails you. As my doctor explained to me, symptoms are like puzzle pieces. You add them up and figure out what's really wrong. Symptoms aren't the problem; they are an expression of the problem.
Not to sound corny but this was the BEST medical experience of my life. I spent and hour and half with the doctor. Literally in her presence, talking to her. We sat in an office and went over, point by point, all my concerns. She took four pages (front and back) of notes and asked thoughtful, relevant questions. While the UTI's were my main concern, I had some other inconsequential things that had been bothering me for some time. Headaches, fatigue, increased anxiety, acne, cracking at the corners of my mouth, flaky skin....would you ever guess all these "little things" add up to one big something? Neither did I. But apparently, overgrowth of yeast causes ALL of these things!
I know. You're thinking yeast, like "lady yeast," right? I thought so too. But yeast grows naturally in our gastrointestinal tracts and is usually benign. But years of antibiotic treatment killed off my good bacteria and let the yeast flourish in my system causing an imbalance.
Whoda thunk it? It makes a lot of sense to me. She suggested I get on a heavy dose of probiotics to repopulate my body with "good" bacteria, a month long course of a pill containing high dose of garlic, cinnamon bark, calcium and magnesium to kill the yeast, and a powder that makes the wall of my bladder "slippery" so that any remaining bacteria will not be able to stick to the walls. Cranberry does the same thing, but this is like a power dose of cranberry. I also got a list of dietary restrictions that she suggested I follow as closely as possible for the next month before we reassess. No cheese (oh no!) no yeast (what about my English muffins?) no sugar (I think I'm going to faint) and no soda (that's it, I'm done!)
I feel so empowered. Instead of being thrown a bottle of pills, I'm trying to naturally fix the imbalance in my body that is causing the symptoms. As I've said before, modern medicines have their place but I think this way of doing things is much simpler and much safer. I'm so excited. I can't wait to see it start working. Not only was the doctor caring, attentive, genuinely concerned and committed, the solutions she provided were logical, tangible and completely doable. EVERYONE should have access to care like this. With Dr. Freeze's help, I'm going to be the healthiest I can be. Naturally.