My lifetime digestive struggle has brought a profound understanding of just how important digestion is for one’s health.
My earliest memory of digestive pain was around 8 years of age. Summertime. After a morning swim team practice stomach cramps came in piercing waves. I couldn’t ride my bike home, so I walked my bike UP the hill to our house on the cul-de-sac and collapsed on our family room couch.
My mom, an emergency room nurse, decided I needed to go to the emergency room (the very one she worked at). A battery of tests followed that determined my pain was from intussusception, one part of my intestine was telescoping or sliding into an adjacent part of my intestine. This is a big problem because it blocks solids and liquids from moving through the digestive tract. Ouch! A simple (but painFULL) x-ray procedure pushed my intestines back into place. Relief. Intussusception never recurred, but digestive distress has followed me throughout life. I’ll spare you the bowel details and instead summarize: it’s been a pain in my a**.
I knew my gut was messed up in highschool and so did my friends. Maybe trying to iron out my gas bubbles before a night out on spring break was their first clue! Med school upped the stress ante and my digestive tract paid the price. After continuous requests, I went to my doctor, was labeled with IBS, and sent home with meds to take when symptoms were bad. I’m not the most compliant patient. Medical residency brought more digestive pain and an appendectomy.
I craved what I lacked which was rest from stress.
Digestion and rest go together like bread and butter. You need to rest to digest your food and absorb nutrition into your cells. Rest restores balance between your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These automatically control your breathing, heart rate and digestion without you having to think about it. Ideally the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are balanced, but in med school and residency I was stuck in sympathetic overdrive – too busy living my rat-race life. Who has time for rest?
Life continued to stress my gut, but it wasn’t until my digestive tract went on complete strike after delivering our youngest that I decided to do something about it. After I resurfaced from two years of breastfeeding, diaper changes, and sleepless nights, I was ready to take action. I changed my diet and took gut healing supplements. Nothing happened overnight. Faith kept me moving forward. I could feel I was on the right path, even though my digestive symptoms didn’t ease until three years later after implementing weekly cleanse days.
Peek inside Issue08 and learn how to repair your gut through simple diet and lifestyle changes. How to you calm yourself down to rest and digest? Post a comment and share. Your words heal.
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Want to learn how to I implement weekly cleanse days? Bring yourself and a friend to Transformation Thursday and learn how I incorporate weekly cleanse days using a simple nutritional system.
Bringing Spirit Back to Medicine.
Sue McCreadie, MD
Board Certified Pediatrician
Founding President of the 501(c)3 nonprofit getREALforkids.com
P.S. Who do you know who needs some digestive help? Forward this post to them — you never know, it could spark their next step for health.