I don’t know about you, but I tend to spend so much time focusing on my UC that I forget that I have whole other systems and body parts that also need a little attention! I think it’s easy to fall into that trap, because this disease is so difficult to ignore. It tends to hog the limelight and all the other niggles or discomforts are left to sulk in the corner.
Yesterday I went for my annual gynae check up. I’ve been doing it since I was 20, and it amazes me how many women don’t bother with this essential health check-up. Opinions differ as to how often you should have a pap smear – anywhere from yearly (if you’re at higher risk of cervical cancer) to every three years. You also need a pelvic exam and just a general once-over by someone who can immediately pick up if anything is wrong.
When I saw my doctor yesterday, it was the first time since my UC diagnosis, and I was thrilled to discover that not only does he know a lot about the disease, but he’s in complete agreement with me about diet. He actually said in his super chilled-out way, ‘Ja, but it’s obvious‘ when I mentioned having to make dietary changes despite my physician thinking it unnecessary. He said I look very healthy and that the diet is fine for me to be on.
Interestingly, he also said that supplements (excluding probiotics) are a waste of time and money and he wouldn’t bother. His point was that if your body isn’t absorbing certain things from your food, it’s not going to absorb it from a pill either. That really does make complete sense.
So anyway, I feel great after seeing him, but it did make me think about how we tend to neglect other aspects of our health when we’re so focused on our gastrointestinal system.
I’ve discovered that IBD patients may be at increased risk of infection, especially when flaring. I know how easy it is to brush aside an irritating cough or a runny nose because I’ve dealt with much worse, but ignoring the small niggles can lead to bigger problems – and when your immune system is compromised, there’s always a higher risk of flares.
As with most other aspects of this disease, we seldom have all the answers, and most of us are just trying to create our own, customised road-maps to the holy grail of better health for longer periods of time. I am no doctor, but it seems logical to me that if your overall health is good, there’s a better chance of your GI health being good too – and that if your general health is bad, it’s going to have a knock-on effect that could negatively affect your GI tract.
Anyone have any thoughts on this?