Tuesday, February 1, 2011

herbal remedies

So if you have known me very well for the past five years, you will know of a couple times that I have been in the hospital. The first hospitalization was definitely the most severe. In the summer of 2008 I noticed a "lump" in my abdomen. Yes I ignored that lump too, because it did not hurt, because I naively throught it would just go away, and because I was uninsured. I will come back to the "lump" story later.

The second time I visited the hospital was just this past October for a week long migraine which eventually healed on its own, although not before racking up an $1800 hospital bill.

So the reason these two hospital instances are on my mind are because I have an idea on what caused both illnesses, although both times the doctors involved thought nothing of what I considered to be the potential cause. I mentioned what I thought they should know in each case and was told that my concern was not related.

So here goes my idea (however crazy it might be): I think both sicknesses were caused by an over the counter herb.

Sickness number one "The Lump": So after a couple yeast infections, a friend told me about Acidophilus, an herb that prevents yeast infection. I researched and she was right; Acidophilus is frequently prescribed to balance good and bad bacteria and prevent yeast infections in women. Guys if you dont know what a yeast infection is, look it up :) Usually you take 1 pill a day to balance the bacteria. So I went to the store, either walgreens or walmart, and bought a bottle of Acidophilus. I read all the info on the bottle, and noticed it said it was intended to balance the intestinal bacteria of the elderly. I looked for any other bottle more specifically geared for women, and it was the only bottle that specifically said Acidophilus, so I took a pill a day for a month. Within that month, I experienced the most painful abdominal gas ever, which for me was really my first experience with abdominal gas. When I linked the gas to the Acidophilus, I immediately stopped taking the pills, and the gas cleared up within a week. whew!!

So two months pass where my tummy hurts from time to time unnoticably, then the lump appears, and less than thirty days later they cut out the "lump." The surgeon is perplexed; I have either Crohns disease or a rare form of appendicitis. He goes with Crohns disease, although I never had symptoms of Crohns and it is genetically linked to Nobody in my family history. hmmpf. Since the surgery I have had no significant problems,

The other medical instance - weeklong migraine: This story is not as crazy, or funny even, but I will explain. During last summer I was very depressed and opened up to a good friend. She told me about 5htp, an over the counter herb that helps boost mood and fight mild depression. I researched and noticed 5htp is used in European antidepressants, but is more flexible and available here in the U.S. It works like all other antidepressants by increasing the amount of seratonin in the brain. I started with a very low dose (half dose) for a couple weeks and felt better. I took a regular dose for another 4 weeks probably, then reduced again to the half dose for 2 weeks, then stopped because I was no longer depressed. All in all, I took 5htp for no more than 8 weeks. My headache began during the 8th week, and became severe during the week after 5htp. Once again, I brought the bottle when I spoke with the doctor and he viewed it as unimportant. He had a couple other ideas of the possible cause, but as the week progressed the migraine peaked and then went away. And believe me, this migraine was serious: the migraine shot at the ER only weakened it for 2 hours.

So, am I making connections out of nothing? I dont think so, although the doctors might disagree. My conclusion is to stay away from anything over the counter except for cough drops :)

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