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
"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!
What type of IBD have you been diagnosed with?