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Remembering To Take Certain Medical Opinions With a Grain of Salt: Part 1

Over the course of my journey with ulcerative colitis, I have come across a lot of people in the medical world who had a lot of unsolicited opinions and advice about my care. While I was generally interested to hear what those people who actually knew me had to say, I found it detrimental when my loved ones or I had comments made about my medication regimen from people who knew nothing about me. As I have gotten older, I have also seen loved ones question their own health plan because of what some random physician said.

This has led me to want to open up about my feelings on this with you and hopefully get some of your thoughts on it as well.

I am sure a lot of you reading this have had to visit an urgent care and/or emergency room at some point. When we visit any type of medical facility, it is common for them to ask for a list of current medications. In fact, if you are going to be receiving any pharmaceuticals and the prescriber does not know what other medications are currently in your system, I highly recommend asking about drug interactions before any are administered. This suggestion is, of course, assuming treatment can wait.

Numerous doctors are involved in the treatment of IBD

In addition to being sometimes frequent visitors of medical facilities such as urgent cares, emergency room departments, and hospitals, I know that those of us with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis have had to see numerous doctors over the course of our journey. I would venture to guess that the majority of IBD patients have had to see at least two gastroenterologists, one primary care physician, and at least one additional specialist. This list also doesn’t include a gynecologist for women, dermatologists, the dentist, and eye doctors which are all pretty standard physicians that even the healthiest people see. I am also not including the mountains of doctors, nurses, etc who a patient might see while being inpatient.

The role of pharmacists in IBD care

Last but not least, pharmacists are heavily involved in the care of someone with a chronic illness. As most of us know, living with a lifelong disease can bring about other issues including mental health challenges. Oftentimes, medication is needed for that which is of course, filled by a pharmacist. After surgery, pain medication is sometimes required and who is in charge of making sure you have that medication in your hand? Yep, the pharmacist.

We trust healthcare providers

If you are a healthcare provider, please understand that most of us take your words very seriously. We trust you and often hang on every word you say. If you admittedly don’t know a patient well or their medical history is more complex than anything you’ve come across, please say nothing. You never know the impact your words might have on someone.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I go into specific examples of how the unsolicited opinions of people in the medical field have really hurt a patient. Remember, most patients trust doctors and pharmacists. ANY doctor or pharmacist. When the reality is, those of us who suffer from Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis often have very complicated lives and bodies. Not everyone in the medical field is equipped to understand you and your unique needs.

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


  • Candu
    1 month ago

    I have only had one problem with a physician who truly did not understand my particular issues related to UC/Crohn’s (I am one of the “lucky ones” who has been diagnosed with both). I have strictures in my intestines that has led to blockages and hospitalizations. I am allergic to most narcotic pain medications and can only use one particular pain med when I have a blockage and that medication (which I have rarely ever used) is on my list of medications to “take as needed”. When I went to an ER after complications from a colonoscopy (high fever, chills, and feelings of malaise), the ER doctor was sure I was there to get narcotics and after making me wait for 5 hours, he gave me a lecture on my “narcotics abuse”. I have never been so angry or so humiliated! I don’t even use over the counter pain meds so this really infuriated me that a doctor I had never met before thought I was there to get drugs.

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    5 months ago

    This is so true. I mean at the end of the day, we are all human, and sometimes the medical professionals just get it wrong. It’s so important we always advocate for ourselves. Thanks for sharing!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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