What is Your Body Telling You?

What is Your Body Telling You?

Our physical body takes a hit when we experience stress. Even if that stress is not especially negative or traumatic, our body takes the wear.

And if the stress involves danger or trauma, or continues over a significant period of time, our body may just “shut down” in some way.

It has been estimated that 75% or more of the time a patient visits a primary care physician the true reason is stress, psychological difficulty, or something related. In other words, most of the time the problem did not BEGIN with a physical problem or body dysfunction.

That doesn’t mean the physical symptoms aren’t real. It means that our entire being is connected together, and what affects one part affects all the others as well.

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When Only Tears Will Do

When Only Tears Will Do

Last weekend I was around plenty of tears. This time they were not mine, but those of other women sharing their stories.

I had been invited to be part of a conference on domestic violence, addressing the emotional, physical, legal, and spiritual aspects of this terrible reality. During the final session the participants were invited to say whatever they wished, and they started sharing their stories.

And they cried!

Some of these brave women had experienced physical and sexual child abuse and had grown up to believe that was the only thing they deserved. Some had watched their mothers be abused, had experienced it themselves, and now were struggling with their own children’s experience of trauma. Men were there too, and told of their own victimization.

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Faster, Higher, Stronger: Your Gold-Medal Run

Faster, Higher, Stronger: Your Gold-Medal Run

The 2012 Olympic Games in London have just come to an end. For these two weeks every two years I spend more time watching sports on TV than probably the entire two years between them. I love watching a gold-medal run.

Names like Michael Phelps, Usian Bolt, Gabby Douglas, Missy Franklin, Oscar Pistorius, and others are now household words around the world. There’s something about the Olympic Games that draws us in.

There is such drama packed into those two weeks that little else can rival – the exhilaration of winning, the agony of defeat, and the sometimes heroic achievement of some athletes just to make it to London.

I love the intensity of the Olympic Games. I love seeing people who have pushed themselves to the limit, overcome great obstacles, and kept going even through periods of “failure” to reach their dream.

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Doctor, Doctor, Tell Me

Doctor, Doctor, Tell Me

I do it almost every day. Someone doesn’t feel well. They come to see me as a doctor and talk about their symptoms. I ask questions, do an exam, order tests, and prescribe treatment. For some “simple” medical problems, that is enough.

But more often than not there are so many more issues beyond just the physical symptoms. If I ignore these other factors, the patient may or may not get better. And I have done the patient poor service.

It has been estimated that perhaps 75% of the time a patient goes to see a primary care physician the primary problem is not physical. Instead, the problem is primarily psychological. That doesn’t mean symptoms are “all in your head.” It means problems such as anxiety, depression, and stress are extremely common, and they have strong effects on our physical bodies.

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The Bad (or Good) News about STDs

The Bad (or Good) News about STDs

There’s one part of my job as an OB-Gyn physician that I dread. And I’ve had to do it several times in the last two weeks.

I dread telling a woman she has just been diagnosed with an STD.

Within just the past few days I’ve had to address HIV, HPV, herpes, and chlamydia. There’s just no easy way to tell someone that kind of news. The tears, the physical distress, the fear, often the shame, in a woman’s face just tears at my heart.

“I never thought this would happen to me.” “I thought I was being careful.” “Will this stop me from having children in the future?” “How am I going to tell my partner?”

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