November 26th 2012 archive

Why I Decided to See a Nutritionist

Digestive problems are uncomfortable to talk about. If you suffer from headaches or have a low immune system, you have full reign to complain and share all you want, because most people are fine hearing about pounding headaches or terrible sore throats. But digestive problems? The symptoms of an upset stomach are not so pleasant to speak about. Just google it if you’re curious what I’m referring to. ;)

Well, I started having a few digestive problems a couple of years ago. My symptoms have never required any major medical attention, but it’s been a general discomfort that would come and go randomly after I ate. I noticed my stomach hurt more when I would travel or my routine was off, but otherwise my symptoms were inconsistent. So I just figured I had a sensitive stomach and would pop the Pepto Bismal pills when needed.

I once told my primary doctor about the issue and she told me she could prescribe me some medicine to help. I declined, since over-the-counter stuff was working fine, but was frustrated that there wasn’t a resolve to the issue, just a suggestion to mask the symptoms. I then thought about going to see a nutritionist, but hesitated because I thought they a) cost a lot of money, b) would tell me to take a ton of supplements and not really fix the problem or c) worse, would immediately diagnose me with a food allergy that would cramp into my “c’est la vie” lifestyle of eating.

When I got my new job, I noticed my health insurance included up to 6 visits a year with a nutritionist at the cost of a normal in-network copay. So I thought, Well why not? Maybe they can help me feel a little bit better and I can lose a little weight in the process? 

My first visit was a pretty standard — she asked me all of my symptoms, what I eat on a regular basis, if I feel any of the symptoms after certain foods, etc. We talked about sleeping, exercising, stress, and everything in between. After describing my inconsistent symptoms to her, she gave me a few suggestions and homework to do until we saw each other next.

I loved it and am so happy that I decided to start seeing a nutritionist.

My nutritionist is, first of all, really nice. That’s pretty important when things get a little personal and you share how many times you go to the bathroom in a day. Second of all, I don’t feel like I’m being sold a lot of things. I thought they would try to sell me supplements right on the spot, but she gave me a list of things I can shop for on Amazon or elsewhere to get a better deal. And finally, I really feel like I am listened to and she is tailoring everything for me. It is so nice to share what I am feeling and hear her say, “That’s not normal, we can try some things to make you feel better.” Anyone who’s been sick — that’s all you’re looking for your doctor to say.

I will share a little more in another post what she came back with to help remedy the problem, but for today I just wanted to share my journey finding a nutritionist.

Has anyone been to a nutritionist before? Do you find them helpful? Do you have any food sensitivities or aversions? 

PS – If you’re in the Raleigh-Durham area and want a reference to my nutritionist, feel free to send me an email.

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