Primary Care Physicians: Why are They Important?
Last updated: June 2018
Recognizing the importance of having a primary care physician can be challenging for some, especially if you have had a poor experience or two. One bad visit can cause negative feelings and perceptions, or even prevent further medical workup and treatment. I’ve been there!
Before I began my occupation as a nurse, I ignored a lot of my symptoms. I remember going to the doctor several times as a child with terrible stomach pains and my parents were told “she just needs to take fiber”, without any further workup. It was also pushed to the side by another physician while I was in college, which caused me to believe I just had to live with the symptoms I had: constant bloating, stomach pains, constipation, nausea, and diarrhea. I was miserable! It wasn’t until I graduated nursing school and began working with a primary care physician that I realized how prevalent IBS really is. I couldn’t believe the amount of patients we were seeing with the same symptoms I had been experiencing for so long! I knew then I was not alone.
The importance of a compassionate primary care physician
The primary care physician I worked alongside did a multitude of tests on patients that included lab work, ultrasounds, and other radiological exams, along with trying different medications for IBS-C and IBS-D. Every patient is different and does not respond the same way to certain treatments, so if one medication didn’t work, he was persistent until he found one that did or exhausted all efforts otherwise. A referral to a gastroenterologist was typically then initiated. Based on my personal and nursing experiences, if you have a compassionate primary care physician, they will refer you to a specialist with the same demeanor. This is why it is so important to start in the right place with the right physician. Don’t settle!
I know how difficult it is not to “throw in the towel” when suffering with a condition that can be so debilitating and nothing seems to be helping. It is even more challenging when you do not have the support of a physician who is supposed to be there to help and have your best interest at heart, but I want to encourage you to keep looking. A primary care physician that is kind, attentive, persistent, and most importantly an advocate for you and your health is out there, and they are so important to your well-being. Reach out to friends and family members and read physician reviews for suggestions on who to see. Don’t give up on finding the right one!
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?