Friday, March 27, 2009

Gluten-free Diet is Called "Ridiculous" by a Patient's GI Doctor!

A patient whom we’ve been seeing for a short time related an experience that she had with her gastroenterologist.

Historically she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 25 years ago after spending 1 week in the hospital subsequent to getting extremely ill, whereupon she was vomiting every time she ate. After many tests the diagnosis was made: ulcers in her intestines subsequent to a severe lactose intolerance – Crohn’s Disease.

Upon removing the lactose from her diet she improved but she still had chronic digestive problems. These problems had worsened over the past year to include a lot of pain. Whenever she ate her stomach would bulge and get very “hard” and she could literally feel the weight of her intestines – she was extremely uncomfortable. She tried to figure out if there was a specific food triggering the reaction but it didn’t seem to matter what she ate.

A year ago she started seeing a gastroenterologist who prescribed a medication for the symptoms and monitored her through endoscopy and colonoscopy. Her blood results were consistent with Crohn’s disease but the ulcers had visually improved in her intestine and her gastroenterologist had no more suggestions regarding treatment. He told her that things were stable and she was fine.

The only problem was that she still had her symptoms of severe pain, which were worsening, and the medication she was given only made the symptoms worse.

Her daughter started care here at HealthNOW and when we recommended a hypoallergenic diet for her daughter, she decided to accompany her. Within several days she started to feel better and now, a few weeks later, she has had no pain nor discomfort for 2 weeks. All the symptoms that were bothering her are gone and her abdomen has decreased such that she’s lost two pant sizes!

It was time to see her gastroenterologist for a follow-up and she was excited to relate to him the good changes she was experiencing. He initially recommended the same drug that she had experienced such bad side effects with. When she reminded him that the drug hadn’t worked, he suggested another one. At that moment she relayed the positive experience she had been having of no symptoms for the past 2 weeks - it was the first time in 25 years that she had gotten relief.

Her doctor looked at her and said: “That’s ridiculous.” – referring to the concept that what she was eating could have anything to do with how her intestines were functioning. He stated that there was absolutely no reason to change her diet and she should resume her regular diet immediately.

It certainly is ridiculous – the concept that the organ responsible for the digestion of food could not be irritated by food is truly incomprehensible.

I bring up this story not to speak ill of anyone, but rather to point out how far we need to increase our awareness on the importance of diet and lifestyle. We see the effect everyday here at the clinic so of course we’re “convinced”. How long would it take the gastroenterologist to be convinced if he resided here at the clinic? I don’t know. Sometimes people only see what they want to see.

But take heart, the scientific community is confirming more and more the effects of diet on health, even to the degree of altering gene function. The future is truly very exciting.

I’ll keep you updated on how this patient progresses. We’ve only just begun her program, but she’s already well on her way to regaining True Health.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of The Gluten Effect
www.healthnowmedical.com

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