I’ve gotten asked this question a lot the past 6 months. Regarding my eczema. “Have you gone to the doctor? You should see a dermatologist.” Regarding my elimination diet. “Are you doing this with a doctor?”
No, I haven’t.
I’m not saying this is the best course of action for everyone. I thought about going to the doctor. I kept saying I would, but it just didn’t feel right. That ended up being the best course of action for me. And if all you are dealing with is a rash that steroids won’t clear up, maybe it is for you, too. That is a decision you have to make for yourself. But I’m here to share my experience and my rational for not going. Just something to think about.
I have already been diagnosed
I was diagnosed with eczema as a small child. Most childhood eczema clears up, so it wasn’t strange that I don’t really remember having issues other than sensitive skin and hands that would crack and bleed if I didn’t slather them in Eucerin every night during the winter. So when I had a huge break out this winter that didn’t clear up, I was fairly confident it was just an immune disorder. If I hadn’t been diagnosed before, I would have made sure to have gone to the doctor to make sure it wasn’t flesh-eating MRSA or something.
Steroids weren’t working
So, sick visits are outrageously expensive. I wasn’t going to go to the doctor for chronic dry skin unless I knew they could help me (UTIs, for example, are a different story. Then I’m like, “Get me to the doctor now the cranberry juice is not helping!”).
Anyway, I had over-the-counter hydrocortisone. Wasn’t working. My mom’s prescription steroid cream for her eczema. Working okay, but not really. Hydrocortisone formulated to be as non-irritating as possible for people with eczema? Now we’re getting somewhere, but even that combined with aloe and oatmeal lotion wasn’t doing the trick.
And, unfortunately, many doctors stop at just prescribing a prescription strength steroid cream. If three other types weren’t working, why would this one? I wasn’t going to spend money on a doctor’s visit and a cream that weren’t going to work.
Most importantly, steroids only treat the symptoms of eczema, not the cause. So my eczema may clear up with a topical treatment, but then once I’m exposed to a trigger (which it turns out I was eating every day), it will just come back. I don’t want to battle this for the rest of my life. I want to solve it.
I don’t trust dermatologists
This is my own personal bias, and probably unfair. But about 5-6 years ago, I was having issues with acne (not really, just basic teen stuff, but it was bothering me). My doctor prescribed me some topical treatments, which worked for the most part. A few months later, I went to a dermatologist. She prescribed some of the same stuff, as well as an antibiotic for me to take for the foreseeable future.
You read that right. I was prescribed an antibiotic to take continuously to treat being 16. The worst part was that no one told me how important it was to take it every day to prevent the bacteria from becoming resistant, so I would take it sporadically when I felt like it. I shudder to thing about what I could have done to my body. Thankfully, I was eating yogurt every day and stopped after two months. Now that my mom and I have more medical training and know better, we are both horrified that someone with a medical license would do that to me. Makes me not want to go back.
A better way
Like I have said, I knew there had to be a better way that steroids for the rest of my life. I don’t want to go there. I hate drugs. Yes, I’m aware of the irony, seeing that I want to be a pharmacist. And I pray that what I have learned through my diet will prevent future immune disorders so I can avoid drugs, steroids, and immune suppressants in the future as well. I am so thankful for the healthy living community I have found over the past year that has opened my eyes to a whole other world of natural healing, of healing the disease, not treating the symptom. There was a time where I would have just gone to the doctor and treated the symptom. I did it with my acne. I did it with my irregular periods.
But no more. I didn’t go to the doctor. I didn’t buy into what the pharmaceutical companies say. I learned that my body didn’t just need to be shut up. It needed to be listened to. It was trying to tell me something. It was trying to tell me that I was unknowingly making it sick, and I needed to do something about that.
So I did. I avoided the doctor. I healed (not treated) my eczema on my own. And I couldn’t be happier with the results.