When GPs get it wrong

Before I begin, I do feel that I should declare my love for the NHS as a UK resident! Yes, it is a very stretched system, so things don’t always happen as fast as I’d like. I have had surgery dates canceled and referrals take forever and I have experienced negligence, but, I have had wonderful nurses, very expensive treatments and tests, etc, and my life saved more than once, and I am not sat here with a huge amount of debt...

Dismissed and not taken seriously by doctors

Moving on. I find myself incredibly annoyed, angry and often upset when I visit a GP and I am not taken seriously. I haven’t had a regular GP for a very long time, so I always see someone I have never seen before, who knows nothing about me or my disease history.

They seem to assume I am just some whiney patient. Probably because I look young and well, but as we know, that means nothing! I think a GP should be well aware of this too... Not only am I often not taken seriously, but I’ve had so many sweeping (and incorrect) statements directed at me. If I were someone else, I may just go away and believe what I have been told, which is simply not good enough.

My diagnosis was fairly quick due to surgery

I was diagnosed with IBS on the spot back in 2007 without as much as examination and sent packing with some antispasmodics. Obviously, it turned out I had ulcerative colitis, but fortunately for me, that diagnosis came just one week later because my disease had progressed so quickly. A week after that, my colon was gone and that was the start of my UC journey. Many people have waited years for a diagnosis, often because a GP hasn’t taken them seriously.

I asked the community for their input, and a few of them shared their before diagnosis stories with me.

Diagnosis stories from the IBD community

"I was told I had norovirus before IBD diagnosis. I had had diarrhea for a month. No sickness and only person in the house ill. I was losing weight but didn't have much bleeding at that point." ~ Kay

"In the week before I got my stoma, I was turned away from the docs three times because I just had a bug and it would go away on its own ... Been having 2 weeks of diarrhea. I went to the walk-in center and got sent straight to the hospital." ~ Jennie

"You should be happy loads of girls wish to be as skinny as you are... Before I was diagnosed and was very unwell and concerned I couldn't put any weight on 🙄🙄" ~ Louise

"When I first had symptoms of my IBD, I was 5 months pregnant and 23. I went to the doctors repeatedly because of bleeding and weight loss and was told I was probably constipated which I told my GP I wasn’t and also that I was “too young” for it to be anything serious! With regards to my weight loss, I was asked if I had an eating disorder even though I repeatedly told the doctor I didn’t and I weighed less after the birth of my son than before I was pregnant, this carried on until my son was 5 months old and eventually I changed GPs and had lost so much blood and weight I was immediately sent to the hospital, where I had to have two blood transfusions and a colonoscopy finally revealed I had UC!" ~ Kelly

"Before I was diagnosed, I was told by a GP that I was faking my pain because I just didn't want to go to school. My parents knew that was bullsh*t because school was my safe place." ~ Stephie

"With my Crohn’s when several GPs were trying to diagnose the pain, weight loss, bloody diarrhea, frequency, etc., one actually said, 'it’s all in your head, there’s nothing I can find medically wrong'” 🤦🏼‍♂️ ~ Vernon

"You can’t possibly have Crohn’s, you are too young." ~ Alannah-Jayne

"I was told I was too fat to have Crohn’s." ~ Katy

It’s far too regular of an occurrence for my liking. I just wish someone would tell GPs to be more mindful of their comments and not to judge a book by its cover!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.