The path that led me to naturopathic medicine was unfortunately long and frustrating. Due to stress from my work life, I began to have recurrent infections, specifically urinary tract infections and yeast infections. I also caught colds very easily and found myself devoid of energy. My GP treated me for each urinary tract infection, usually with one of three antibiotics. I would complete the course of antibiotics and end up with a yeast infection. Shortly thereafter, usually a sore throat and cold. Then the cycle began again. I was getting on average of 6-8 UTIs per year.
I was referred to a urologist whom I waited four months to see. The appointment was very discouraging. He wrote me a prescription for medication that I was meant to take for three straight months. The side effects from the medication were headache, nausea and fatigue. Three months later I returned, was given another prescription and told that many women regularly suffer from UTIs and that I ought to continue to take these daily antibiotics. The UTIs continued to return. I was 30 years old and felt like I was in some never-ending circle of illness.
One day, a woman who worked in my office suggested I find myself a Naturopath. I was honest and replied that I knew absolutely nothing of naturopathic medicine but quickly replied that I was feeling so terrible for so much of the time that I felt I had absolutely nothing to lose. I realized that I had always been encouraged to follow traditional Western medicine and that I was about as ignorant about naturopathic remedies as they came. Nevertheless, I booked an appointment and attended with an open mind. I felt that since I gave two appointments and six months to a urologist, surely I could dedicate the same to naturopathic care and assess the result.
I remember at my first visit when I was told that although I may not be able to change some of the stressors in my life, I could at least change the way my body reacted to the stressors. It was a phrase that I carry with me to this day. At that first visit we talked a lot about my energy levels and feelings. All along I thought there was some physiological reason why I would get these recurrent infections and never gave one moment’s thought that perhaps it was my immune system breaking down due to chronic stress and that if I could transform that experience, the infections would disappear. I embraced the idea that the stress over time had disoriented many facets of my body but under naturopathic care, there was a way to slowly correct the deficiencies.
I have people ask me what happens in a regular appointment but I rarely describe the sessions. Nothing painful or scary, just different from what the average person would expect out of a traditional doctor visit. For anyone considering this alternative, I would simply ask, how badly do you truly want to feel better? If you are in a place to seek change, then perhaps you are ready to embrace naturopathic medicine with a clear and open mind. Those who do not come with judgment will leave with answers.
My friends who followed my lead are all in far better mental and physical health than before they began. After a few years even my husband suggested that perhaps my Naturopath could help him with his allergies and energy levels. We brought our infant daughter for treatment of acid reflux and constipation.
The take home message is that I went years without a urinary tract infection or yeast infection. I had postpartum depression with my first child when I was not under the care of a Naturopath but did not have any post partum depression with my second child when I was. Under naturopathic care, my postpartum recovery was smooth. I did not suffer for months with irregular and heavy menstruation like I had before. I later underwent major work changes and managed to keep my energy levels intact and sleep well. Today, I would describe my body as being in harmony. And when it falls out of harmony, my Naturopath seems to have something to correct it. With absolutely no side effects and no contraindications.
Until our health care system is modified to include naturopathic medicine, people will have to accept that there is a price to feel good and feel healthy. There will be supplements to take and lifestyle changes to make. For me personally, in comparison to how I had been feeling both physically and emotionally, it is money well spent.