Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My First Visit with A Naturopathic Doctor

On October 23rd I went to see Dr. Maggie... a Naturopathic Doctor. After years of trusting the western medical system with no answers other than a "we have no idea, guess you have to live with it", I threw up my hands and did a metaphorical "to hell with you" and promptly booked an appointment with Dr. Maggie.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I know I went in prepared to disbelieve almost every word she said and was prepared to stand strong against any "cleanses" or diet restrictions. My diet is restricted enough thank you and my health can't really take any harsh cleanses (I'm actually firmly opposed cleansing in the dietary manner, but that's for another discussion... maybe with a Dietician's input).

I was pleasantly surprised at the same time as not.

I sweated a lot during the 1hr45min interview. I was wildly uncomfortable, and I'm not sure why other than she must have had the heat turned WAY up in her office.

In any case, she actually listened to what I had to say, validated that it sucks ass to live this way, and made some interesting connections between the emergence of my Reflux/IBS and hormones. I'm a little sketchy on her explanation that should be stomach not be functioning properly that my hormones aren't being processed and filtered from there to my liver/kidneys (with a build up feedback loop back to my pituitary gland). But hey, everything is connected right? And I know more than most just how much stress can manifest physically in the weirdest ways (stomach pain, hives). So why not?

She agreed to not restricting my diet and EVEN conceded to my cheese needs. Our compromise, stop putting milk in my coffee (it was minimal anyway, and so now I just dump two tablespoons of organic fair trade chocolate powder instead), and go every other day without cheese. She also recommended I eat more cruciferous vegetables to stimulate... some sort of something (I'm eating brocoli, kale and cauliflower like it's the bee's knees). According to wikipedia they can be suppress the thyroid gland... so maybe I should stop eating them raw...

Did you know that Naturopathic Doctors are all about the supplements? I mean, I kinda knew, but in case it wasn't obvious here's what I've been prescribed:

1. YOGA- I totally went on a hiatus while I was feeling less than optimal. I think this is understandable, and tonight was my reintroduction. Regardless, I need yoga to keep my stress levels down and my IBS under control. Done and done.

2. 1 teaspoon of disgusting tasting vitamin complex tincture before bed. They have created at their clinic and I have no idea what is in it. I should ask at my next appointment. Check.

3. 1 Vitamin B6 at lunch time on a full stomach. Unlike Andrew, I am not motivated to take vitamins (or eat vegetables) that make my pee turn colour. It's creepy. Sadly, I can't remember why she recommended this, other than I think it goes along with the cruciferous vegetables... something to do with stimulating hormones or something. (I was completely exhausted by the end of the appointment, most wasn't fully processed).

4. Probiotics twice daily with meals. This I've been abismal at keeping. Mostly because they have to be refrigerated and I kept either forgetting them at home or at work. My new solution is to have split the B6 and probiotics into two stashes, one for home and one for work.

5. A potential hormone test that would cost another 250$ once my cycle evens out after stopping the pill. I'm still on the fence about this one, she seemed quite certain that conventional hormone testing weren't as sensitive as their clinic's tests would be (from a saliva sample). I'm thinking this is a question for my Gynecologist...

6. On day one of my new cycle, begin taking my temperature each morning before I even get out of bed. This is actually a lot trickier than it sounds, since I have a lot of "fake-out!!" when it comes to my cycle...

My current status? This is the first month in about a year where I went a full 17 days with zero symptoms. I was hoping for a full 21, but I'll take 17 over 8-10 any day! Whether it's placebo effect, or the tincture (I've been WAY to inconsistent for it to be B6 or probiotic), but really... do I care at this point?

Almost 2 hours after I first walked in her office and a good 275$ later (more than half of that will be covered by my medical plan), and just her plan made me feel better. I still have appointments with my Gynecologist and GP, but perhaps this is an important compliment to my journey.

Any thoughts on the Naturopathic process? Experiences, suggestions?

article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com


  1. I want to like naturopathy but it just doesn't work for me. I have tried several well respected and experienced ones. My brother swears by his (he's in the US). I have a fabulous herbalist instead:) I believe that vitamins and herbs and maybe other supplements can make a big difference to how one feels and to one's health. I'm still trying to figure it out on a personal basis.

    1. oh a herbalist, in halifax?? cool.... i'd love to know more about this- if you would= an email would be fantastic :D

  2. Love this and hearing about your experience. I very strongly believe in holistic medicine, as it's been around WAY longer than our Westernized version, although I see the pros of Western medicine as well. Ironically, I wanted to be a naturopath in high school....back when I lived in a small town where everyone had no clue what I was talking about. :) ....even more ironically the process of the divorce has increased my contemplation to fulfilling that original dream. (ONLY....six more years of school if I go that route---sigh...) You are the 5th person I've heard mention going to a naturopath in the last two months though----thinking that says something!

    1. Six years plus another 25-30yrs of doing what you LOVE or another 30-35 years doing something you kinda like...? you should TOTALLY go for it!!!

  3. Fantastic! The big thing to remember is that naturally healing your body takes time--we are so used to the "quick fix" that western medecine promises (even though it doesn't work alot of the time...). I take a tonne of supplements and likely a very similiar disgusting tasting vit/min tincture.

    Western medecine did nothing to help my health, naturopathy has made the world of difference for me--my ND listens and takes me seriously. Connection between that and health successes? Hmmmm. Coincidence, I think not.

    1. i agree, it was SO nice to actually be listened to and my entire health being taken into consideration.

  4. I wonder if she's trying to stimulate progesterone? B6 and kale are on my list for that very reason.

    1. YES! that was totally it. I knew you'd know the answer :D (I hope your journey is looking up!)

  5. I suspect she wants you to cut out dairy, from what I've read in lots of books, because its the culprit in a lot of auto-immune diseases like Crone's, Colitis, and IBS, etc. Your body recognizes that milk protein is foreign and attacks it. The problem is that your body's protein is very similar to milk protein and your body has a hard time distinguishing the difference between the proteins and ends up attacking your body's cells. It might be worth giving up dairy for 1 month just to see if you notice any difference in your symptoms. I used to love cheese too, but you lose the taste for it after you don't have it anymore. It has addictive properties to keep the baby cow coming back for more which makes it hard to want to give it up. Its made of mostly fat, a lot of it saturated fat, not good for that heart of yours. You can live without it if you just give it a try, it might help dramatically with your symptoms. Wouldn't that be worth at least trying?

    1. interestingly, my IBS is actually under control and is purely, 100%, stress related. When I'm stressed it doesn't matter what I eat or avoid, symptoms arise.
      It's a very common misconception that IBS equals dairy problems. Some people with IBS do struggle with dairy, but it's not a causal nor 100% relationship.

      If I were honest, it's vegetables that have the most effect after stress.

      And... since I've been dealing with IBS since I was 5 years old, I figure I know my triggers and symptoms pretty well :)

      I'm glad giving up dairy was a good choice for you, however.

  6. My sister has been diagnosed with rheumatoid last month, i don't trust the western medicine but we don't have naturopathic doctors in Egypt, the whole health system is a disaster :(
    About the probiotics, Kiki Flynn says sauerkraut and kimchi are the best, they also don'tneed a refrigeration hasle, check her out on youtube and may be ask on your next visit.
    Good luck :)

  7. I'm really excited about this progress! That sounds like a good sign! Can't wait to hear how the future goes!

  8. I used to see a naturopath back when I had a job with benefits. I always found it helpful and she didn't try to pile on too many supplements. She had good advice about diet and had time to spend with me that my doctor didn't.

  9. I have my first appointment next month with a naturopath as well. She specializes in women's issues and thyroid - I discovered that synthroid pills replace your normal thyroid hormone, not just supplement, so I really want to get off of it if at all possible - I don't like a drug that stops my body functioning and creates a dependency.

    The important thing is naturopaths, just like doctors or yoga teachers or what-not, come in many flavors so sometimes you have to try a couple til you get a good fit :) Great post!

  10. Before having children I went to a naturopathic doctor fairly regularly. I had reoccurring yeast infections (I think) in my gut and lots of stress related symptoms. I too was prescribed a B complex to deal with the stress, along with a bazillion other supplements that cost a fortune (work extended benefits covered the appointments but not the supplements). I had allergy testing and was told that I have food intolerances to dairy, sugar, corn (I already knew that one), chocolate (oh yes, chocolate), and caffeine. Along with being vegetarian at that point in my life, cutting our so many things meant I lost a tonne of weight (not my goal but I wasn't going to complain) and I felt really good, exercising, meditating and regular yoga.

    Thing is, while I still believe that everything the doctor did for me and suggested we're awesome, it just wasn't feasible to live long term this way for me. Throwing 3 kids into the equation complicates life and made me reasses how idealistic I needed to be for my happiness. I now eat all those things on the no-no list but my health hasn't gone south like it once did. When things get out of kilter for me I find that centering myself, regular exercise and a good sleep do wonders. I definitely have some lingering gut/digestion issues and for some other health issues I'd like a tune-up someday, but I know what works and I do 't need to buy out the health food store supplement shelves to do it. Having said that, I do like taking a B complex for energy (but a good run does the same thing for me and I sleep better so go figure).

    I love your blog and glad I found it!


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