It seems fairly obvious, but you must be your own advocate.

I get message upon message upon message from women (and now even men) who have IBS and IBD because they are tired, frustrated, and completely over the runaround. 

I get it. I was there, and that’s why I am now here today. It’s why I went to an Integrative School, and it’s why I continue to study every last thing I can today. Because I’m here with you; I hear you, see you, and understand you.

So let me share with you an exchange I had recently with a woman.

Fuel for my fire. 

Be Your Own Advocate

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Be Your Own Advocate

She reached out,

Hello! I’m so glad to see you have been settling in with your big move! I could use some guidance. I have IBS, have for many years. I just came home from the doctor where they prescribed me an anti-depressant, which I won’t take and an antispasmodic for bad episodes. When asked about diet changes etc. the doctor basically said to stay away from trigger foods, which I usually do. Lately, every food seems to be a trigger food. They are testing me for dairy and wheat allergies also. I read your blog quite a bit and realize your stomach issues aren’t the same as mine, but I’m hoping maybe you can lend me some guidance on ways to deal with this through diet. Would any of your blogs or books be helpful for my condition? I realize you consult for a living, so I’m happy to pay for your time. Not really sure how you work. ???? Thank you!

I responded short and brief,

Hi! So the first thing….you have been “diagnosed” with IBS? I’d continue getting an appropriate diagnosis. IBS is just a set of symptoms. I loathe when doctors do that.

To which she said,

It was years ago when I was young. They had done quite a bit of testing with nothing showing up to explain my symptoms, so the doctor asked me a ton of questions and he said he was pretty certain it was IBS. This was 20 plus years ago. It’s been relatively good for most years with a flare up only now and then. Now it’s bad. It shifts between constipation and diarrhea. Tons of pain and bloating. I’ve always eaten pretty healthy even when I was heavy. Now I eat super healthy, but I’m sure there are healthy things I’m eating that make it worse. So the doctor I saw yesterday said it sounded like it was my IBS, prescribed meds and sent me on my way. She’s not my normal doctor either. I prefer natural remedies to meds and I’m especially opposed to the anti-depressants. I’m not depressed. I have the usual life stresses everyone has and a bad stomach. Lol! So I asked for dietary help or other ways to help and she basically said to stay away from trigger foods, which I thought I was doing. But, lately it seems more foods are triggers because I’ve been dealing with this since October. They are running blood work for some allergies, milk and wheat basically.l, which I feel I need to cut out anyway. They do tend to upset the balance no matter what a test says. So, that’s the history. I’m thankful for modern medicine in so many ways, but doctors are so quick to prescribe a pill and I just don’t trust that methodology. So what you’re saying is basically it’s something else and the IBS are the symptoms of that something.

I told her, frankly,

Yes, that’s what I am saying, and doctors like that make me LIVID. Especially because your tests for allergies will likely come back negative so they will say ‘nothing is wrong.’ If you have IBS or IBD, you likely don’t have a food allergy. An allergy is anaphylactic. But you COULD have many INTOLERANCES, which leads to a leaky gut. Or you could have IBD. Or SIBO. Who knows? Like you said…”eating healthy” may be keeping you miserable. It’s one of the things most people find when they work with me….all that broccoli and salad, apples and fat-free things have kept them super miserable. I don’t know your story – what you eat and what you don’t, but what I do know, 1000% is that an anti-depressant is NOT the answer. IF you are depressed, then maybe, but if not, then no, no, no. My mission in life became to help women like you after I got the same runaround bullshit for years and years and years. I stayed undiagnosed and it was the demise of me. I pray you get your answers – real answers – asap. Find a new doctor, bring these things up. Get tested for Thyroid, all hormone things, SIBO, molds, heavy metals and I’d even say to get scoped – endoscopy and colonoscopy. Then, once you know what’s going on – schedule time with me. I’m not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be one. 

Health Coaching with Sarah Kay Hoffman sibo IBS IBD women

She ended with,

Thank you sooooo much!

I believe we get better as soon as we have real answers. This is the reason I rarely ever want to work with people until they know what’s wrong. If they only use me for a crutch, then it will delay their ultimate healing. That said, I also know that the reason they seek me first is because of that runaround she is currently dealing with. 

No other testing in 20 years? Simply an IBS diagnosis and an anti-depressant? Food won’t help or hurt you? 

Be Your Own Advocate #guhealth #healthyliving #healthylifestyle #healthyquote

This has got to be some sort of joke, but sadly, it is not.

The only way to get out of your own personal hell is to be your own advocate because there are doctors and providers (both Western and alternative) who will help you. 

Right now, with my dad, I have this gratitude for Western medicine so to think that I’m one sided is completely false. But what is being said about food and natural healing and/or just getting all the tests done to find real answers is absolutely ridiculous and horrifying to me.

If you find yourself today in any similar place to the reader who reached out to me, don’t give up. Do not lose hope. Be your own advocate. Keep searching for the right, real, and accurate diagnosis. It’s there to find.

Be Your Own Advocate hope despair ibs ibd leaky gut sibo


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