Trauma and Enemas: The Elephant in the Doc's Office
A personal story
I love alternative interventions and I'm sure I could love enemas too. I want to share this recent story with you. If it resonates, let me know.
It's time to talk about the elephant in the Doctor's office.
“Sofía, tell me why you’re here and how I can help you.” I had one hour to tell the Dr. what was up and fill her in on my medical history. Talking about my gut, I naturally shared with her that I had lived with Bulimia for years and had a feeling all of the stress placed on my mind and body during those years played a part in my current condition. She brushed it off and told me: “Oh, that doesn’t matter now”.
In the realm of Functional Medicine, everything matters, always. Working functionally means digging and digging until the roots or sources of one’s illness are discovered. Imagine trying to weed your garden by just pulling out the surface of the weeds. You’d go nuts! The weeds will grow back even faster. Now imagine having extra hands to help pull out the weeds one by one from the roots— this is Functional as it supports the soil in which the garden grows.
The Disturbing Silence Around Trauma
“That doesn’t matter now” ... “Here’s your protocol: Four enemas. Anal.”
“Dr. What’s the worst thing that can happen with these?”
“Oh, we have to go there don’t we.”
Yes. We had to go there. If she had listened to me and had asked a few more questions about how Bulimia impacted me physically and emotionally, my Dr. may have received valuable insight into what treatments may or may not help me. I would have loved to share with her that after years of forcing my body to purge in a non-natural, violent way, I decided that I would never again forcefully purge. She would have been aware, because of my trauma history, enemas were not the correct course of action.
It’s Nobody’s Fault
Let’s get something clear: It’s my Doctor’s fault that she doesn’t have a trauma-informed practice. Most don’t. This Dr. (like the many others I’ve seen) is not a bad person. They are trying to help folks like me get better. They too have their own unaddressed traumas that inform the way they practice.
Hope for the Future
“Vegetables, no, no, no—that is giving you diarrhea. Spicy? No. Magnesium? Absolutely not. Papaya, no. All fruits except apples and guayaba, no.”
You may be shaking your head but let’s face it, you’ve heard this from your own Doctors. No this. No that. Yes, this. No that. No coffee. Yes, green tea. Yes, coffee. No chocolate. This method is weeding the garden without pulling out the weeds: ineffective, frustrating, eternal.
If you are in the patient’s chair right now, here’s a reminder that your story matters. Every detail. If you are in the provider’s chair right now, here’s a reminder while it is not your fault you were trained a certain way, it is your responsibility to learn the basics of how trauma impacts each and every person that walks into your clinic or home.
And no, I did not do the enema therapy.
What's coming up on the Blog?
Early life trauma predicts health outcomes and we practitioners, health coaches, therapists, and doctors need to be informed about how trauma shows up in our own lives and our patients' lives.
“As the ACE study has shown, child abuse and neglect is the single most preventable cause of mental illness, the single most common cause of drug and alcohol abuse, and a significant contributor to leading causes of death such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and suicide.” ― Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Sofia is your go-to Functional Nutrition expert. She uses functional nutrition to help you get to the roots of your illness. She meets you where you are and works with you as the whole and complex individual you are in order to dismantle the underlying causes contributing to your illness. In her toolbox, she may draw upon diet changes, lifestyle adjustments, functional fitness, and sound healing to treat you in the most gentle, non-invasive way possible. Sofía has a trauma-integrated practice and is dedicated to supporting other health practitioners in becoming more trauma-informed.