Treating the symptom vs. root cause of your illness
In our society today, western medicine too readily treats the symptom and not the root cause. I will give you two common examples.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
You go to the doctor because you are experiencing acid reflux and heartburn. The doctor will diagnose you with suspected Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and you will leave with a prescription for a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) e.g. esomeprazole (Brand name:Nexium). Studies have shown that continued use of PPIs can negatively alter the gut microbiome, impair nutrient absorption and even increase the risk paritcular diseases. Read more here.
Birth Control Pill
You go to the doctor because your periods are irregular and you are experiencing bad PMS symptoms (e.g. acne, mood swings, aches and pains etc). The doctor will likely recommend some form of the birth control pill. Although these pills are an effective option for contraception, if you have true menstrual problems, the pill will simply mask them until you are say 30 years old, want to have a child and realise that you are infertile and should have addressed the underlying cause all those years ago. Read more here.
I have been to my fair share of traditional western doctors and was put on both Nexium (proton pump inhibitor) and Diane (birth control pill) to treat my symptoms. Neither of these treatments have worked for me, and if anything, it took me longer to reverse the damage they caused. The PPI was a contributing factor to my impaired gut and actually worsened my digestion as it blocked the production of hydrochloric acid and other gastric acids. The birth control pill was a contributing factor to the yeast overgrowth I developed, Candida.
“The cure is in the cause.
The cause will give you the cure”
- Charlotte Gerson
To start the blog, I thought I would share some insight into my own health journey. Below are the range of symptoms I have experienced over the past 7 years, followed by a list of the associated root causes. Some symptoms/root causes I no longer suffer from, whilst others I am still treating and addressing (and some I may be yet to uncover!).
Low immunity: always picking up colds and bugs
Headaches/migraines, foggy head, lack of concentration
Hair loss, itchy scalp, dry skin
Lack of energy, fatigued, adrenal crashes
Lightheadedness, dizziness and hypoglycemic episodes (shakey)
Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, irrational moods
Acne including facial cysts
Chronic sinus and mucus/phlegm congestion
Chronic sore throats, inflammation in the throat and mouth ulcers
Digestive disturbances: indigestion, heartburn, reflux, burping, gas, constipation, stomach pains, nausea, stitches
Hypothyroidism / underactive thyroid: slow metabolism, fatigued, sluggish digestion, cold hands and feet, lack of energy, constipation
Muscular and neurological pains
Tingling, numbness and pains in my hands and feet
Hormonal issues and PMS: insomnia, ovary pain, breast tenderness, back pain, uncontrollable crying, mood swings, food cravings, low sex drive
Dehydration, excessive thirst, cravings for salt
Chronic infection: reactivated Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and Human Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). Read more here.
Stress: study, work, high paced lifestyle
Food intolerances: gluten, dairy, yeast, fungi
Toxic burden: moulds, heavy metals
Genetic testing also showed up the following results for me:
I have Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genes that make me susceptible to developing coeliac disease and prevent my body from being able to properly eliminate biotoxins (e.g. fungi, yeasts, moulds, bacteria, endotoxins etc).
I am also a Lewis Non-Secretor which leaves me more susceptible to immune deficiency, coeliac disease, candida, bacteria urinary tract infections, helicobacter pylori, autoimmune disease and many more illnesses. My understanding is that non-secretors allow infections to “stick”, letting the invader in and requiring my immune system to kill it internally. On the other hand, lewis secretors don’t allow the invader to enter in the first place (smart, right?).
Note: I am working with my doctor to determine whether my very low IgG1 (immune deficiency) is genetic or simply a result of the chronic infections my body is currently burdened with.
The combination of these results mean that if i do not proactively avoid gluten, avoid biotoxins and engage in a lifestyle that optimises for immune function, my body will continue to pick up infections and amount chronic inflammatory responses. Read more here.
Look for the root cause
I hope the insight into my own health journey encourages you to look beyond the surface - look for genetics, causes and don’t just take the quick bandaid approach to health. It will not serve you in the long run. I recommend seeking out good integrative doctors and incorporating natural remedies into your healing protocols.
As a starting point, some common sources of chronic inflammation are:
Diet and food intolerances
Gastrointestinal pathologies e.g. SIBO, dysbiosis, parasites, fungal overgrowth, helicobacter pylori
Chronic infections e.g. reactivated Epstein Barr Virus, tick-borne illnesses e.g. Lyme
Toxic burden e.g. mold, heavy metals
Don't give up hope
Sometimes it can take years to get to the bottom of health problems and if you are still on your journey don’t give up hope. It has taken me 7 years to get to this point and who knows I may only be half way! What I can say is it starts getting better, I promise. Some of the symptoms start to improve. You begin to gain more knowledge. You become more empowered and more determined than ever to find the cure. You start appreciating the little things in life. You become more connected to yourself. Your mind starts to get stronger. Life in general starts to improve :)
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Sending lots of loving and positive energy out into the universe to all those healing.