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You Can Always Ask Questions About Your Health and Your Body

I want to share a story about when I was a teen, but I'll preface it by saying that this is purely my experience, and the the conclusions I draw are based on my perspective.

Something I want to highlight with this story is absolute respect and appreciation for medical and healthcare experts throughout my life. But I also want to remind us all that it's always okay to ask questions about the recommendations we are given, about the natural supplements or medication we are prescribed, and about anything else that has to do with our bodies. This is the story of my journey with the birth control pill. I was around 16 or 17 years old, I wasn't in a relationship, and I wasn't having sex. I was in my doctor's office for painful cramping I was having in my lower abdomen. My doctor did a physical exam with her hands, and then started asking some relevant questions:

"when do you notice the cramps"?

"are you currently in a relationship"?

"are you sexually active"?

"do you have regular periods"? Yes, my periods were regular, and really everything else was regular too.

Then she said "I think it would be a good idea for me to write you a prescription for oral birth control".

I was always a pretty inquisitive kid, and I was always particularly interested in health. But something just didn't add up in my mind with this recommendation. Obviously, I wasn't an expert in anything at that point(I was still in high school), but from what I knew about the birth control pill, it's synthetic hormones and one of it's main roles would be to prevent unwanted pregnancy for those who are currently in sexual partnerships. So I asked why she thought it would be a good idea for me.

She said "it's commonly used as a way to regulate periods. and even though you're not currently having sex, this way you'll already be prepared for when you are".

Again, my periods were regular, and I was not sexually active.

Her answer still didn't sit right with me. Isn't the birth control pill made up of synthetic hormones? Typically(even from a young age), I would rather first explore healing options that are natural(like food or nutrients). And if it's made up of synthetic hormones, how is that "regulating" or "balancing" anything? -I now know that it simply masks the symptoms of any imbalances to make it appear that our systems are running regularly, but in fact, it doesn't "regulate" or "balance" anything and it often takes years for women to rebalance their hormones after being on birth control.

After a few minutes of discussing my options and the pros and cons of birth control, the ending of this story is that I never took the prescription that day and I never took any oral contraceptives in my life.

The point of this story isn't that I did "the right thing" or that I didn't take the medication. I imagine there are many many other people who have sat in that office and taken the prescription the doctor recommended, and there's nothing wrong with that either. The point of this story is that I asked the questions, and if I hadn't, this story might have ended differently.

In my practice as a Nutritional Practitioner, I work with clients who take various types of prescribed medication including birth control, and many of them take various natural supplements too. But when I ask them to tell me why they're taking some of them, or what they're helping with, often times(more often than not), they don't know.

Our healthcare practitioners are extremely educated and considered experts in their fields. But they don't know everything - this includes me too. When they make recommendations, I hope it's because they looked at the body holistically(ie. at all the possible reasons why something might be happening), and recommended medication or a treatment plan that they think is the best possible option.

But what do YOU think? It's your body, and you should know about what's going on with your body, and you should know what's going into your body too.

It's not about only choosing natural options vs pharmaceuticals. And it's not about not trusting your healthcare practitioner (you should 100% trust them). But it's about caring for your body and contributing to your own health status.

I feel like we don't hear this often enough: You should be the expert on your own body!

Doctors and other practitioners are experts, but they don't know everything. It's always okay to ask questions, ask for more clarification, or just want to know more about what might be going on with your body.

Here Are 5 Tips I Want to Pass Along From My Experience:

1. Make sure that your healthcare practitioner or team of practitioners is made up of people who are in alignment with your beliefs and people you trust.

2. It's always okay to ask questions of your healthcare practitioner - and if they tell you it's not okay, then it's time to find yourself a new practitioner.

3. Be the expert on your own body. Your healthcare team is likely very educated and have studied for many years to become the experts in their field, but they will never know your body better than you do.

4. If a practitioner is using language you don't understand, it's okay to ask them to slow down, try explaining it in a different way, or clarify what they said.

5. You can always take time to review the recommendations and to think about any prescriptions you were given. Again, it's your body, so you want to feel good and informed about anything going into it.


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