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Can a Doctor do it all?

Will my Medical Doctor have all the answers I'm looking for? Is there more to consider than what medical training provides?

I'm Doctor Elizabeth Hart, as a Medical Doctor myself, when I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I was surprised and distressed to find that my training did not help me to treat myself. At the time I went to the University Medical Library and did a literature search and this is where my path of discovery led me........

Am I just treating symptoms, or have I got to the root causes of my condition?

With all of my research, I came up with ten or so articles with advice like ‘use low dose anti- depressants’, as if my condition was ‘all in my head’, a bit of a dumping ground when clinicians can’t find anything within their realm of expertise to treat.

Up until that point I had spent seven years in hospital medicine, treating very ill patients. I felt very competent in that environment, and my training had certainly prepared me well for it. Coincidentally, at the time I developed the fatigue, I had recently started in General Practice, and was starting to realise I did not have the skills to help many of my patients. They were not critically ill, but had conditions that were frustratingly difficult to diagnose, and even if I could diagnose them, the treatment options were very limited.

Serendipitously I eventually found a doctor who thought a bit differently. She had degrees in Medicine and Physiology, and was also a qualified Homeopath. What this meant was she thought out of the usual Medical ‘box’. She introduced me to gut health measures, and diet, supplement and lifestyle changes that helped me maintain some control over my fatigue so that I could start functioning again.

It was only many years later that I did the psychological work that freed me from fatigue permanently. Now I know her approach to be that of Functional Medicine, an approach that is a scientific, systems-based, whole-person approach. If you know where the body’s physiology has gone wrong, you can treat the root cause and not just the symptoms. This has informed my Medical Practice ever since.

So if you are reading this and wondering about your own health journey, ask yourself...

Has my doctor looked at all the factors that could have a bearing on my condition? Including things like stress, previous lifestyle events and gut health.

Am I just treating symptoms, or have I got to the root causes of my condition?

Can I take a more active role in managing or reversing my condition, instead of relying on a set of medications that may or may not be helping?

Here are 3 things you can do today:

1. Take responsibility for your own health

2. Discuss lifestyle factors and other interventions that may help with your doctor. If he/she can’t answer, he/she may be able to refer you to someone who can. Or look for a Functional

Medicine practitioner

3. Find a Health Coach, an ally who can help you implement the lifestyle and other habit changes

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