As a chronic illness patient, it took me a while to realise that going to the doctor and obtaining a prescription for pills was not the sole way to tackle a health issue. This realisation took me some time as by default, I was only really aware of Western Medicine as a treatment methodology. Why question the way things are?
In my desperation to treat my Interstitial Cystitis, I took to reading a shedload of published data and studies online on root causes, and was really surprised at what I found. There are numerous studies on the effects of various health problems on the bladder: hormone imbalance (caused by birth control, menopause, andropause, hormones in the food chain etc), Lyme disease, mycoplasma/ureaplasma, undetected infection, toxin exposure (mold, mercury, pesticides..), Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, Gut Permeability/”Leaky Gut”, bladder and gut microbiome imbalance, NSAID overuse, pelvic floor dysfunction, viral and parasitic infection – the list goes on.
I had suspected that hormone imbalance was my root cause for a while. It bothers me to this day that HRT use was never explained to me – I indicated to a consultant that I was afraid to take it after several major SNAFU’s with birth control (think suicidal tendencies). Unfortunately I was just met with a rolling of the eyes. In the end, HRT was what saved my bladder and had I not been so scared to take it, I don’t think I’d have developed Interstitial Cystitis to begin with.
So, here I can identify two big issues with Western Medicine – that it ignores root causes, and that it’s incredibly inflexible by treating everyone the same, when clearly we aren’t. That said, I do feel there is a role for Western Medicine in chronic illness, in helping to manage symptoms while root causes are investigated and lifestyle changes are being implemented – but I would never rely on Western Medicine on it’s own.
Our bodies react with symptoms of illness and disease for a reason, whether it’s nutrition, lifestyle, environment, genetics… In summary, let’s help our bodies along the way.