Why Not Pharmaceuticals?
There's a time for pharmaceuticals, and that time should mostly be surrounding emergencies. If I'm in a car accident, please take me to the ER, get some painkillers flowing and an antibiotic so that I don't get infections from my open wound. Oh yes, I prefer some anesthesia with my emergency surgeries as well.
Pharmaceuticals save lives, no doubt about it. The problem is, people feel they're a big fat 'EASY' button for any ailment. Rather than take responsibility for their health, their food choices, their actions, they know they can go get a prescription to "fix it." They also carry a massive list of real side effects, you know the ones, you hear them in triple speed at the end of commercials.
Okay, so what's wrong with an easy button, you ask? That's a great question, and I'm glad you asked! The answer is simple, but quite profound. Are you sure you're ready to swallow the red pill? (a Matrix analogy, not a real pharmaceutical :P) The answer is, pharmaceuticals don't cure root causes. They suppress symptoms to get you going again without complaining to your doctor anymore. Everybody wins, right! ... Right?
Let's look at a few examples:
- Take a pain killer to relieve that headache
- Rub some numbing cream on your back
- Slather steroid cream on your babies head
- Every kid needs antibiotics for their ear infection
- Over 45? You should be on a statin, just in case
- Heartburn, you say? Here's your PPI
So what's wrong with those?
- Headaches have multiple causes, none of which are a deficiency of pain killers. No root cause fix means they will just come back.
- Numbing cream will not fix the root cause of back pain. Anything from musculoskeletal, posture to stressed kidneys can be causes to consider.
- Steroid cream? It may help short term but will cause more issues later. Instead, take dairy and gluten out of the diet and check for an unbalanced microbiome if you want to fix the root cause.
- Antibiotics in kids destroy their gut, and guess where 75% of our immune systems are rooted? The gut. That's why ER's are full of kids who "just finished their antibiotics two weeks ago, and now it's back again!".
- Statin? That should be a four-letter word. That means your doctor has no idea why your cholesterol is high or how to lower it naturally and safely.
- According to the Washington Post, nearly 20% of the US population, has heartburn. What's prescribed for that? Antacids and PPI's (proton pump inhibitors). The reality is that the cause is almost always the opposite, low stomach acid, and using these pills will only make it worse and guarantee a life long customer.
There's symptom treatment, and then there's real healthcare. Caring for someone's health means finding the root cause of the issue and guiding them through the changes they need to fix it for good. Pharmaceuticals are a means to an end (no side-effect pun intended), but they don't resolve the real issue causing the symptoms. They miss the cause and delay and worsen the patient in the long run.
I love real-world stories in healthcare, and who better to use as an example than myself...
I had severe digestive problems for about 20 years. I had constant constipation and severe abdominal pain during some bowel movements (sorry if TMI). It would get so bad I would have to dump out the bathroom garbage can to vomit in while going number 2 (sorry again). I had no idea back then what was going on or what to do, so I would go back to my GP.
My GP had sent me to different doctors and specialists who snapped on latex gloves to check 'locally' while asking me about my kids (that does not make it any less awful). Nope, no large unexpected objects found, so what on earth could it be then?
I was sent for years of colonoscopies, and even though they found polyps (not okay), they told me everything was perfect.
The answer I was given is that everything was just fine and that I should be taking laxatives, Metamucil and drink lots of water.
Yup, that was it. I could now put on my happy face and go home to tell my wife that all would be well now; I'm finally going to be cured with laxatives, fiber and water!
What did I learn? I learned that these people had no idea what they were doing. I also knew that if I didn't fix myself, I would have to take their advice and eat laxatives and fiber every day of my life. This wasn't an option for me.
You may already know my story, but this was the turning point for me. I found a fantastic Naturopathic doctor in Florida that I learned so much from. He taught how food affects the body and how to support my system with herbs. The journey to Wellville was underway (spoiler alert: I healed my gut), and my future in detoxification and functional medicine was waiting to be revealed.
What did I learn exactly?
- Doctors tend to point you towards pharmaceuticals and not find root causes.
- I would have needed those pills and fiber every single day with no end in sight.
- There is a world of labs and natural (and safe) treatment options that MDs don't utilize.
- Food matters.
- Not to give up.
Pharmaceuticals are often the first go-to when you see a medical doctor, but they usually don't fix a root cause. Without a root cause fix your issue will never be resolved. Find someone who can help you get to the root cause and utilize herbs and supplements that have added benefits as side effects, not nausea, blindness and death.
Functional medicine practitioner