Find the Root Cause

Posted by Wendy Neal Monday, March 15, 2010 Bookmark and Share

Got a New Doc!

I have been very lucky to recently find a naturopathic doctor in my area, only about 20 minutes from where I live. I decided to go see him because I had another serious episode with anxiety, panic attacks, and digestive problems in the fall of 2009, and it was much worse than any I'd had before.

It started out with what I thought was a normal stomach bug: I had abdominal cramps and nausea for a day or so and wasn't able to eat much. But then the nausea and cramps kept getting worse, and the nausea was horrible shortly after eating. I began to lose a lot of weight, of course because I wasn't eating much (and those who know me personally know that I’m a pretty small person to begin with). Not only was I losing weight but I began to feel severely malnourished, lethargic, had dark bags under my eyes, pale skin, and just felt plain awful and was in a lot of pain. My anxiety levels were skyrocketing and I was having severe panic attacks that were physically debilitating. I ended up missing 13 days of work in the span of about 6 weeks.

I went to see my normal medical doctor probably 6 times over the course of this, and she did not run one single test on me - she just prescribed me an acid reducer for my stomach, and an anti-anxiety medicine and some antidepressants. She said that all my problems were caused by my anxiety (since I had a history of it I guess). I'd been down that route before with the prescription drugs and didn't really like the idea, but I was absolutely desperate and would do anything to feel better. I honestly felt like I was slowly dying and was in so much pain from the abdominal cramps, it was unbearable. So I was also popping Ibuprofen like it was candy for those first two weeks because of all the pain.

Trust Your Instincts

I strongly believe and even then I thought that anxiety and stress could not possibly cause that much pain and suffering, and that my anxiety and panic attacks were a secondary factor in something more serious. But my doctor wouldn't buy it. Each time I was in her office, I was in and out of there in less than 15 minutes, and it just ended with her telling me that all my symptoms were just in my head and caused by my anxiety.

Well whatever was wrong with my insides took about 6 weeks to heal to the point where I could walk more than a couple blocks without doubling over in pain and sheer exhaustion (it was actually much, much worse than the recovery after I had my 10-pound baby years earlier!) And it was another few weeks before I felt 95% like myself physically.

It was then that I made an appointment with Dr. Jason Bradley to try to find the root cause of my anxiety and panic attacks. I made the appointment and was pleasantly surprised to receive a huge packet of information and a several-page questionnaire about my past medical history and all my symptoms.

At my first appointment I could not believe that I actually got to sit face-to-face with Dr. Bradley for an entire hour while we went over my symptoms. He was very attentive and really listened to me and took notes the entire time. He also did a physical exam and after we were done talking, he told me he had some ideas about what was causing my issues and ordered some lab work to be done.

Finally, A Root Cause Diagnosis!

It was at my second visit that we reviewed my lab results. I wasn't at all surprised at part of the outcome - I was severely allergic to milk, cheese, yogurt, basically all cow's milk dairy (goat's milk was ok). The reason I wasn't surprised is because I had read on several natural health websites that the food you most crave is what you are usually allergic to. And cheese was my absolute favorite food in the world! I would seriously have either cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, or sour cream every day. I was also consuming a milk shake with whey protein almost every day for breakfast up until that point. No wonder I felt SO sick all the time!

I also found out that I had an allergy to egg whites, with moderate allergies to psyllium, alfalfa, mushrooms, and turmeric (ok pretty random and weird to say the least). For the latter four it just means that I can consume them, but not every day. As for dairy, it's probably going to be off limits forever. He did say that we MIGHT be able to reintroduce egg whites at some point, but for now they are off limits as well.

Although I'm not allergic to gluten (a protein found in wheat), he has me following a gluten-free diet as well, as I could be intolerant and that won't show up on any food allergy tests.

There were a few other things he found with my labs that I'll write in more detail about on my next blog post. They include: vitamin D3, B12, and iodine deficiencies; very high aldosterone levels and low cortisol levels; and my fasting insulin was a little high. I'll also tell you how the new diet is going and improvements that I've seen since eliminating all my food allergens.

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