Friday, April 4, 2008

What's a Naturopath?

This is a long blathering post about me going to see a naturopath and some of my hormone issues; if that sounds boring to you, then you may not care to read it. But I am hopeful that this course of action will get me to a state of wellness and normalcy, and I suspect a lot of people have similar sorts of issues, which could potentially be treated by more natural medicine.

So to follow up with my last post (six weeks is half the time of the last interval - I'm getting better!) I cancelled my appointment with the endocrinologist and went to see the Naturopathic Physician in early March. If you don't know (I didn't) they go to naturopathic medical school (for four years, and learn everything MDs learn, plus using more natural cures - not just drugs to treat symptoms) and become on ND or NMD. She is amazing! The most help I've gotten in the past (for my hormone or fertility issues and such) has been to be put on the pill, or something along those lines. That's certainly not going to help me get pregnant at this point, for which we are always trying. The gap between Hunter and Kyler is three years; Kyler is 2 and a half now. So she put me on an anti-inflammatory diet and gave me homeopathic hormones to be taken with the phases of the moon. Dean, of course, thinks it is all a bunch of hocus pocus. She gave me a saliva test kit to do at home and send to a lab. It tests for things that blood tests aren't sensitive to catch (like TPO, a thyroid value).

So she had the test results at my appointment today, and sure enough, my thyroid T3, T4, TSH are all normal just as they have been with blood tests in MDs offices. So why am I symptomatic for hypothyroid??? Because MDs, generally speaking, don't test for TPO (thyroid peroxidase antibodies), or will only do blood tests that aren't sensitive enough. Mine was off the chart with the saliva tests, which indicates that I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune response where my body is attacking my thyroid, negating the normal thyroid hormones I otherwise make. She diagnoses many people with this, because many MDs won't test for it (don't ask me why!) If an MD was to diagnose it, they would likely want to give thyroid hormone, whereas a Naturopath wants to find the underlying problem that is causing my body to do this, and cure it, so that my body will stop attacking my thyroid. Unfortunately for me (loving all sorts of yummy foods), the thinking is that it is diet related - hence the anti-inflammatory diet. So right now we are trying to determine what foods I might be sensitive to. The diet is challenging, so I may pay the $175 to have a food sensitivity test done by her colleague. That's another thing, it has been a bit spendy to go to her since my insurance won't cover her, but I had a $500 deductible anyway, so I figure there's no difference having to pay her or someone on the approved provider list who would cost more than she does, and whose lab tests would cost more. My DHEAs were also off the chart, and my cortisol drops dramatically by lunch time, which explains why I drag around in the morning and just would like to go back to bed. And, my progesterone is too low to support a cycle, or a pregnancy, so it's no wonder I am not getting pregnant.

So, she has "prescribed" for me a few things to try as "bandaids" (her word) as we determine what is causing my issues.

In other health concerns, I also took Hunter to the ENT doctor again today, as he has been deaf as a post, and can't seem to get over the sinus infection that is likely contributing to the fluid in his ears. A few weeks ago the ENT gave him a RX for amoxicillin, which didn't do anything for his sinuses troubles. So today he gave him a prescription for augmentin, and says he needs tubes again, and probably his tonsils and adenoids out. Dean says augmentin is so similar to amoxicillin that there isn't much point in using it since the amox. did nothing for his infection. Hmmm. Maybe it's time to take him to the Naturopath? But then his hearing loss (which an audiologist checked, along with the pressures in his ears today) is significant right now so we are in a quandry. If you have any wisdom please share it! I musn't leave out Kyler. He was a holy terror the whole time, 90 minutes, at the ENT's office. I'm glad that's over!


Dawna Greer said...

Hopefully you are finding answers to your concerns with this naturopath. Its certainly worth a try when other doctors haven't helped. It can be very frustrating trying everything you know and still not getting the results you want.

Amongst The Oaks said...

I too have Hashimotos disease and you're right, most MDs don't test properly for it. It took me a while to find someone, but I now have a great GP who works with me to get my thyroid stabilized. My mother had it too, so I guess I was doomed from the start although I did have two children without any problem before I even knew.
I think you're doing the right thing by changing your diet; the typical American diet is full of chemicals and additives. I firmly believe that if we would go back to preparing fresh foods simply we'd all be loads healthier. Nothing processed, fortified, enhanced or made "low calorie" because that's when they really start throwing in the bad stuff.
My husband and I once stayed in Astoria a while, sort of looking for a house to buy...but we didn't and we are still here in hot, dirty Stockton, California.
Stop by sometime and say hi.