By: Jena Ann
Our healthcare system is all about labeling illnesses based on symptoms. Once there is a label to go with the symptoms, then medicine can be prescribed. We are brainwashed to think that finding a label for a chronic illness is super important. For some it is a way of telling the world, “see I’m actually sick, I’m not making it up.” (which is a whole another problem, with society of course, not us). This is how modern medicine works, but it is not the way things have always worked. At a time when alternative medicine was the primary form of medicine, physicians looked for the root causes of symptoms and didn’t try to categorize illnesses.
Labels Still Don’t Matter with Alternative/Functional Medicine
Usually these labels have no meaning or no purpose for functional/alternative practitioners (such as naturopaths), who search for and treat the root of the problem. Yes, they are still interested in your symptoms, but do not use your symptoms to come up with a treatment. They search for the problem throughout your whole body and take into account physical and mental health, as well. Often the symptoms don’t point directly to the problem(s).
When are Labels Harmful? and Why?
Any label (disease diagnosis) that doesn’t have a real accurate medical test (a test that finds the actual problem) is often more harmful than helpful. A test that is a series of Q&A’s based on symptoms, or a process of elimination, is not an accurate medical test. Many labels are created in order to group a large number of symptoms together, to come up with a medicine (to make money), or I guess…satisfy the patient. But, they are not real diagnoses, a determining analysis of the cause or nature of a problem or situation. This doesn’t mean what you are experiencing isn’t real, it just means the problems with your body and the way it functions are different from anyone else’s, so it can’t be properly diagnosed and categorized. Often times people are misdiagnosed, told there is no cure based on the label they are given, and told medicine is the only solution. This is where the label becomes more harmful than helpful. For illnesses like IBS and Fibromyalgia, chronic illness labels are not real helpful.
The Problem with the Fibromyalgia Label
First, a lot of people labeled as having fibromyalgia are often misdiagnosed. Second, this label is very broad, it does not determine the root of the problem or offer any solutions. I’ve read a few stories of people who have been cured from their fibromyalgia symptoms, and the root problem was not the same for all of them. Actual root causes can be a mix of many different things for different people including gluten intolerances, hormone imbalances, candida overgrowth, thyroid issues, nutritional deficiencies, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, mycotoxins (toxic mold), mercury or other metal toxins, Glutathione Deficiency, or MTHFR Mutations (Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase). The biggest problem with labels like this one is the “no cure” stamp that comes with it. How can you make a medicine to cure something when everyone’s problems are different? The answer is you can’t. But, just because there is no medicine cure, it doesn’t mean there is no cure at all. Alternative medicine is the path toward actual healing.
The Problem with the IBS Label
The label IBS, is just a broad, absolutely bogus label, given to just about anyone with stomach or constipation related issues. IBS is the label doctors give when they have no more answers. Root problems can be anything from a food sensitivity, to bacteria, parasites, and fungus building up in the bodies tissues, or something else. But, a lot of people with minor symptoms will choose to either go on medicine or just live with the symptoms. Since a lot of people have IBS, it is not seen as a big deal for people with minor symptoms. However, if left ignored, the underlying problem with the symptoms could get worse over time.
Symptoms are Given Too Big of a Spotlight
All symptoms are the bodies way of expressing that something is not right, it’s telling us, “I want this fixed.” It is odd, because the symptoms that show up as a migraine for example, may not even be the source of the problem. The body is interconnected. The source could be the liver not functioning right, or bacteria in the body, or something else entirely. The body just expresses that something isn’t right, and it is our job to figure out what, or find someone who can. Most labels don’t define that.
The one thing labels do offer, is being able to find others with similar symptoms to relate to.
What do Practically All Chronic Illnesses Actually Have in Common?
All disease labels don’t address the major problem. The major problem is we live in a very toxic world, and have lifestyles that are not as healthy as we think they are. The world is constantly adding pesticides to our healthy fruits and veggies, chemicals are in just about all of our regular everyday products, toxins are added to the air, and our bodies were not designed to eat all this pre-packed junk. Toxins are multiplying every year and so is chronic illness. All these toxins are the reason for most chronic illnesses, and even preventing some injuries from being healed. These toxins even contribute to genetic diseases.
All chronic illnesses from cancer, to fibromyalgia, asthma, dementia, disabilities like autism, and hundreds more, are caused or influenced by what we put on our skin, breathe in, or consume. In addition, these illnesses are influenced by lifestyle choices, how often we exercise, the amount of sleep we get, the stress we handle, and so on.
A lot of times, we can heal from what’s broken. It is just a matter of realizing that the label put on our illness does not determine our fate. We can take control over our health! That “incurable” stamp is not the absolute truth.
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