I CONSIDER MYSELF a very healthy person.
I eat a healthy and balanced diet most of the time (I follow an 80:20 rule), exercise regularly, get sunshine and fresh air everyday, practice mindfulness and sleep at least 7 hours a night.
However, being healthy doesn’t mean I am immune to disease or illnesses.
- I still get the annual cold or flu
- When I eat contaminated foods I am still susceptible to parasite infections
- I get sprains, strains and muscle soreness from working out or getting injured in sports
- And I definitely get the occasional tummy ache or diarrhea episode
Being “healthy” doesn’t mean you are invincible, but it will often help you get over an illness quicker and make you more resilient to chronic conditions.
Every once in a while I get these horrible stomach pains.
It’s only happened a handful of times, but twice a year or so I get this painful gripping pain around the lower ribs, which makes it impossible to sleep.
Of course I did my research trying to figure out what the cause is, and although I have lots of hypotheses, no lab work or imaging can pin point exactly what is the cause.
- H. pylori overgrowth
- Stomach or duodenal ulcer
- Liver disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Spasm of the small intestine
And the most frustrating part is that there doesn’t seem to be a pattern. I often feel a fullness in my stomach later in the afternoon and if I’m not aware of it, eating too much or certain triggering foods (ie. citrus, acids, chocolate, sugar) will bring it on.
And the pain lasts all night.
It feels like there is a belt wrapped tightly around my lower ribs, making it difficult to breath, digest or expand my chest. My back aches, the muscles between my ribs hurt and there is a sharp pain over my liver.
There’s a nauseous sensation but no diarrhea. Only some gas and the rare vomiting.
It’s the feeling of when you’ve eaten one too many servings of dinner, and then you go for 3 servings of dessert. You are uncomfortably full with some heart burn, but you know it will go away in an hour or so, but it doesn’t.
It’s frustrating to know something is wrong but not be able to fix it.
Sometimes I see patients who are just as frustrated as I am.
Many times lab work ups and imaging doesn’t turn up any answers and you are left feeling helpless. But with Naturopathic medicine, there is always a new way to approach your symptoms and strategies to get to the bottom of a challenging case.
I won’t give up.
Recently, I went to a Naturopathic doctor and was prescribed a botanical tincture for parasites and amoebas that I have been carrying since my trip to Thailand a few years ago. I contribute the pain I experienced last night to some of these bugs. Of course I can’t be 100% positive, but the timing of the flare up in stomach pain has me suspicious.
So, I will continue to take my botanical tincture… hoping to have woken up some dormant parasites that will hopefully be eradicated in a few more days and eating a very clean diet – low in sugar and carbs (which can feed those bugs) and watching the quantity of food I ingest (so that I don’t have that uncomfortable feeling).
I believe medicine is about supporting your body to heal itself. There are some life-threatening occasions where major intervention is needed and should be sought. But for day-to-day issues, I think it’s best to strengthen the body and give it the best change possible at building resilience.