Seeking new GI doctor!
September 5, 2010 7:52 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend me a gastroenterologist in Albuquerque, NM who takes BCBS to help me keep tabs on my celiac disease?

Necessary background: I'm 21 years old, female, living as a student in Albuquerque. I got seriously ill early this year and went home to Rhode Island to see my doctors, and was diagnosed with celiac disease by a wonderful gastroenterologist a few months ago. I've been on a gluten free diet since then, my health has vastly improved and I returned to Albuquerque to resume school in July. All seems well, except that (expectedly) I'm still having some complications related to my recovery -- occasional vomiting, nausea, fatigue, and weirdly enough, low blood sugar at least a few times a week -- and I think it'd be a good idea to have a doctor here to help me keep tabs on my recovery since I spend most of the year in NM, and my diagnosing doctor is in RI. I also figure it might be good to try and get a prescription for marinol, since home remedies of coke and ginger don't do a whole lot for when moderate to severe nausea/vomiting sets in.

I was recommended a gastroenterologist at Presbyterian by a friend of mine, but I have Blue Cross and Presbyterian doesn't take my insurance. I tried asking around my social network here some more, but got nowhere, and ended up just calling the Lovelace gastroenterology department for their location on Gibson. I saw the PA for the office and I did not have a great experience. I provided them with a release to get the records and diagnostic results from my GI doc in RI, and told them that I was confident as to why I was having these symptoms (I'm still very early in the gluten free diet and I know I've accidentally glutenized myself several times in getting used to it), but I wanted to keep tabs on my recovery and also possibly look into why I've been getting low blood sugar (I'm not diabetic and there is no history of diabetes in my family) and if it was related to the change in my diet. Unfortunately, he seemed to ignore almost everything I was saying and seemed convinced I've contracted one of the "weird New Mexico bacteria" and ordered tests for it -- and even ordered a celiac disease panel and things my previous doctor had already tested for when I provided him with all of the information he needed to get my diagnosis. He seems to think I was looking for a second opinion or something, which I wasn't; it was kind of a frustrating experience and not the kind I had with my previous GI doctor.

Is this a standard thing when seeking a new GI doctor for an existing condition? My experience in this area is limited, but I think I'd like to find a new doctor who won't prescribe a battery of what feels like unnecessary, unrelated tests. I know my BCBS makes my choices a bit limited here in Albuquerque, but can anyone recommend another doctor? Or should I just bite the bullet and put up with what the PA wants me to do and see if the actual doctor is more reasonable?
posted by runaway ballista to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to the GI docs but can tell you that it's not unusual for it to take quite a while for celiac symptoms to settle down. (my teenaged son was diagnosed ~ 2 years ago) - we learned that one's intestines can be inflamed enough to both not take in nutrition well for a long time. One can also be coping with "leaky gut" leading to more sensitivity to other foods. Lots of people with celiac become dairy sensitive at least early in their recovery. is a great resource for more information on that front. You may find you do better with a nutritionally oriented GP than a GI specialist. My son was advised to take a multivitamin and additional calcium+ vitamin D to counter the (presumed) several years of malabsorption before he was diagnosed. We found that the one thing that has consistently helped when he has been glutened is to take peppermint oil lozenges - we've used NOW brand with fennel and ginger and they've helped considerably and are over the counter and easy to find at natural food or supplement places. Good luck - living gluten free as a student is challenging especially when you're still getting used to managing the diet!
posted by leslies at 9:03 AM on September 5, 2010

Call Dr. Lee Sloan. Her office is in Presbyterian, but she has a private practice and does take BCBS. She is an endocrinologist and so would be an excellent stop for the low blood sugar question. I would also trust whatever her recommendation is for a GI doc. She has good relations around town and knows who takes BCBS and who will actually listen to you. As a bonus, she doesn't make you sit around half naked on exam tables, but has conversations at a table with you.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:38 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

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