It can be frustrating wanting to see your physician /medical doctor for your IBS (or any condition for that matter), but then have to wait agggggges for an appointment.
Then when you eventually get an appointment, you sit in the waiting room for aggges because they’re running behind schedule.
Then eventually your physician calls you into the clinic room, where you get about 5 minutes with them to offload everything and them to do whatever they need to do before sending you on your way.
And perhaps you then have to wait for your new prescription.
Waiting and waiting at every stage can get rather irritating and build up extra stress on top of what you’re already going through, so by the time you speak with your physician perhaps you shoot from the hip?
Whilst in with the physician, it can sometimes seem like they’re not listening to you because they’re looking at their computer screen and trying to type notes as you go (to make them as accurate as possible and save them time later). Maybe you feel like they’re not listening because you’ve seen them numerous times in the past about the same problem and now you feel like they’re not bothered or not doing what you think they should? Maybe you feel they’re cold and uncaring? Or perhaps you don’t really like your physician for whatever reason and maybe this influences how you speak and act towards them (and vice-versa)?
During your appointment, you try to explain your symptoms and what you’ve been going through, and to you they appear to be looking at their screen the whole time, tap a few buttons and then tell you they’re going to prescribe X. You’ve got IBS and you want your doctor to do more than prescribe you some medications. You’ve tried medications in the past and they didn’t help (and maybe gave you other symptoms as well). And perhaps you don’t like taking medications either.
So you want them to tell you what to do and what to eat to help your symptoms. They maybe briefly tell you to “eat more fibre”, or “avoid caffeine”, or “follow the low FODMAP diet” and then send you on your way.
And then when you feel rushed out of the door, because your physician is only allocated an average of about 10 minutes per patient appointment, but it took you about 2 minutes to walk from the waiting room to their clinic room – leaving you with about 8 minutes with your physician, you can feel dismissed, a bit let down and fobbed off?
All of this can add to your stress and concerns about your IBS and for some people, make them dislike medical doctors …or even the whole healthcare service?
So you turn to alternative measures, such as:
- Googling an IBS diet
- Joining forums and groups and asking questions
- Using alternative therapies, remedies and supplements
- Using people such as Naturopathic practitioners, Homeopaths, diet therapists and holistic nutritionists
- Following “experts” on social media and signing up to their emails
- Reading books, blogs, articles and social media posts
- Altering your own dietary intake in an attempt to improve your symptoms
I can understand your frustrations, and on top of what you’re already going through.
So let me share my 5 key thoughts about this:
But first, let me quickly say that regarding my first 3 points, I’m not trying to make excuses for the way you may have been treated by your physician /medical doctor, but since many people outside of healthcare don’t realise or understand what physicians go through, I thought it might be helpful to share this here…
- I can appreciate you feel like you’ve been let down by your physician, but I feel they do care (otherwise why would they have become a doctor in the first place), however, they have limitations, such as the resources they can access, the amount of time per patient, their knowledge of nutrition…and… they are human like all of us!
- Physicians have a high level of responsibility, and the nature of their work is demanding. Their work is challenging, stressful, and they work very long hours with limited resources and under high expectations, so it’s no wonder many of them suffer with mental health problems, go on long-term sick leave (which can increase the pressure on their colleagues), they quit medicine altogether or commit suicide.
- Physicians don’t have very much training and experience in nutrition so unfortunately, they cannot help you with your diet – this is why we have Dietitians who are trained in this area! So, you need to see a Dietitian for your dietary concerns.
- Most complimentary and alternative therapies, remedies, supplements have no scientific evidence to support their use, and some haven’t undergone any research at all! And most social media influencers, supposed “experts”, and fellow sufferers of IBS do not use scientific evidence as a basis for their decisions and recommendations. So, in both cases if you use these, you’re taking a chance that they’re safe and that they work.
- Because I care about you, I’m also going to add that although you may be very intelligent, and I’m sure you are, that I’ve had medical doctors in my clinic so I can help them with their diet!! – They too are intelligent and have a wealth of science and medical knowledge and experience, but they don’t know everything about everything! It’s best to leave nutrition to the experts – a Dietitian. So, as mean as this might sound, I believe you aren’t the best person for the job to sort out your diet (unless you’re a Dietitian like me). And “DIY’ing” it takes you AWAYYYY from your goal of having your symptoms under control whilst also nourishing yourself for your health and wellbeing but also for your exercise and recovery.
(😀 By the way, I’ve labelled these all as number 1 because they are all important points!).
These are my own opinions and from my own experiences.
N.B. It is crucial to get your food and fluid intake right if you want to control your IBS symptoms and if you want train harder, go faster and recover quicker from training sessions and competitions. Dietary requirements are highly individualised and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Working with a Registered Clinical & Sports Dietitian to develop a bespoke plan based on your unique requirements will help to ensure the most appropriate strategy and best results are achieved for both your IBS and your sport.
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