Like many people, I have a regular internist I see for checkups every now and again. A couple of weeks ago, I went for my annual physical. I happened to be experiencing a small flare at the time — and by small, I mean I only needed 30 mg of prednisone and was not lying in bed wishing I was dead. I was uncomfortable, but I knew in a few days it would be over.
I told her about the flare-up, and we went over my regular stuff: Blood pressure. A need for a cholesterol screening. A bone density screening because I’m on so much prednisone. A mammogram. Your average physical, right?
But then she asked, “Do you notice that you get Crohn’s flare-ups when you’re anxious about something?”
I wanted to scream. I know I’ve told her before that anxiety is not the cause of Crohn’s disease and she should know this anyway. I get anxious WHEN I HAVE A FLARE-UP because I know how awful I feel and how long it will be until I get better. And I also get anxious about how I have no options left and how I need my current regimen to work. This happens DURING the flare. It doesn’t START the flare.
But instead, I just said, “No, I don’t get flare-ups when I’m anxious. Crohn’s disease is not about anxiety causing flare-ups.”
She nodded. “What about yoga?” she asked. “Yoga could help.”
Now I got really mad, but I remained calm. Oh yes, yoga, I thought sarcastically. Why hadn’t I realized before, that if I only did yoga, my Crohn’s disease would magically go away? I took a deep breath.
“I don’t think yoga would help,” I said.
“Why not?” she asked. “Studies show it’s good for anxiety and can help certain ailments. Even Crohn’s disease.”
Listen, I wanted to say to her, if all people with IBD needed to do was show up at yoga class a few times a week to cure us, don’t you think we would have already done it?
But what I did say, weakly, was “I’ll think about it.” It got her off my case and we moved on to something else.
I am usually more forceful than that when it comes to Crohn’s. I tell people with these outdated and inaccurate beliefs exactly how Crohn’s works and why I can’t control it. I am stern in my tone. But just then, with the flare-up and wanting to go home, I was weak. Now, a couple of weeks later, feeling better, I want to go back and tell her how off-putting her yoga suggestion was.
But I won’t. And in case you’re wondering, I will still go see this particular internist, because overall she’s very good, I like her, and decent internists are hard to find. (My last one was writing prescriptions for me without really having a discussion with me about whether they were the correct ones and after barely making an attempt at a physical exam.)
But really, doctors, can you please get yourself more educated so I don’t have to do it for you? I have too much other stuff to worry about.
Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.
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