Holistic Gastroenterology
July 22, 2014 2:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an awesome gastro doc (preferrably female) in the South Jersey/philadelphia area.

I have been having issues with my stomach and bowels for at least half of my life (I'm in my early 30s). I need to get to the bottom of these issues, as they greatly diminish my quality of life and cause me a great deal of anxiety. My recent visit with a new gastro doc left me less than impressed, so I'm looking to find another. I'm looking for someone (preferably female) who takes a holistic, mind/body approach to gastroenterology (though I'm not looking for any woo). I don't want to just be given pills and sent on my way (I'm not opposed to meds when needed, but I don't want that to be the only approach). I want someone who is interested in getting a full history (not just asking a couple questions about my guts). I want someone who will look at the big picture of my life and incorporate that information into the diagnosis/treatment plan. Basically, I'm looking for an ally in my search for digestive health. Does this doctor exist in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Robynne Chutkan is the doctor I would recommend if you were in MD. Honestly, you're not that far -- since it sounds like you're more looking for a diagnosis than necessarily ongoing care, if I were you I would just go. There aren't a lot of GIs in the world and a small percentage of them have the holistic approach that you're looking for.
posted by telegraph at 3:26 PM on July 22, 2014

Have you had an endoscopy?

Have you tried an elimination diet?

Have you had testing done by an allergist (by which I mean an MD who specializes in allergy and/or immune responses)?

At the very least, have your GP/PCP refer you to a GI specialist and talk to her about the problems you are experiencing. In my limited experience with such specialists, they will ask you about symptoms you haven't even mentioned yet, and they will talk about solutions.

Sometimes--as in my case, with GERD--giving pills and some dietary advice is really the solution. Since starting on proton pump inhibitors my stomach and bowels (and bum!) have been much happier places. Pharmaceuticals have their place, and there isn't any good reason to reject them out of hand as a solution--would you reject a cast to fix a broken bone? A lot of the time, drugs are the cast. They're good and will help you. Not always, sure, but sometimes it really is the case that taking some pills and no further action necessary is the best way to go.

See a GI specialist. Ask what they suggest for your issues. These people are highly trained for a reason; because they know what they're doing. 99.9% of the time 'holistic' means woo.

Trite but true: alternative medicine that works is called medicine. Listen to the specialists before you start casting your net wider.

Best of luck from a fellow GI-problematic person.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:44 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah the "big picture" people that you seek are not the same as the people who take pictures by sticking cameras up your bum. You probably need the little pictures to go with the big picture.

I would look at a team approach by getting an osteopath or nutritionist to supplement a traditional gastroenterologist associated with an excellent colorectal surgical practice. The osteopath or nutritionist will actually talk to you and the GI guys will take the photos and cut you open.

You actually want the GI guys that have zero time to talk to you because that means they are busy diagnosing people and cutting people open all day and they'll do a damn good job of that when the time comes.
posted by crazycanuck at 6:06 PM on July 22, 2014

I'm a nurse who worked for many (>20 years) with Dr. Brenda Horwitz at Temple in Philadelphia. She specializes in working with female patients and is wonderfully collaborative with them. She has a sensible medically-based practice, but she is reasonable and accepting (and has a very warm and open manner), and I think she would follow your lead regarding treatment options, once she is able to give you a good diagnosis.

I recently left Temple, but Dr. Horwitz is one of the best gastroenterologists I know. I recommend her without reservation, which I don't do often. She sees patients in the city at hospital campus and in the Fort Washington suburban location.
posted by citygirl at 6:59 PM on July 22, 2014

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