We’ve all been there. It starts with an unfamiliar symptom. Maybe it feels too minor to call your doctor. So you do an innocent search for possible diagnoses. Before you know it, you’re down the rabbit hole, with a window full of open tabs about alternative treatment options. The trouble is a common-sense sentiment you’ve probably told yourself and others countless times before. You can’t trust everything you read online.
Don’t Stop Your Meds
Fake news may only have come to the political forefront this election cycle, but it’s been a medical concern since the early days of the internet. While many nutritional supplements may have limited health benefits and taking vitamins is widely encouraged as part of a healthy lifestyle, these remedies cannot replace medication that has been prescribed by your physician to treat GI problems. Supplements are meant to supplement your diet and wellness plan, not replace it. Patients who discontinue their pills without medical supervision usually experience a recurrence of symptoms, poor blood work or a suboptimal exam at their next doctor’s visit.
Don’t Treat Yourself
No matter how trustworthy the source, digital information cannot equip you to self-treat a life-threatening or long-term illness, and the internet cannot perform complex GI procedures. Remember, fake news is either heavily biased or fictitious. Publications and marketing materials about alternative treatment options do not have to pass the FDA. The traditional medicine standard for evaluation and approval is much higher. Physicians care about and for their patients, but appointments are limited, and dispelling falsehoods can mismanage valuable time. The best thing to do is ask your doctor’s recommendation for supplemental remedies and reputable resources.
It’s important to be cognizant of what you read and, especially, what you put in your body. Beware of websites that make extreme claims or dispense medical advice in addition to selling a product. Make an appointment with the digestive disease specialists at GI Associates to explore the most up-to-date treatment options.