A patient came to see me who recently had surgery for chronic fissures. She came to my office in desperation. Each bowel movement took at least an hour, with very little results–and each bowel experience led to 16 hours of excruciating pain. She described her rectal pain as “WORSE than giving birth.” Since she had given birth to five children, I had no need to question her analysis of the situation.
Ironically, she was late for her visit to me because she was seeking follow-up ‘advice’ from her surgeon. The ‘advice’ he gave probably won’t surprise you, but it might make you a little angry, like it did me. The poor woman came to his office in tears. She was absolutely horrified at the thought of having another bowel movement. What response did she get from her surgeon?
“The pain you are feeling is ‘NORMAL,’ and it will probably last for about 3 months. Drink more water.”
The patient responded in a panic with tears rolling down her face: “Three months???!!! Are you kidding me??!! You told me that I would be fine in a few days…” and then she broke down.
What did the doctor ask next? “Would you like me to write you a prescription for Xanex?” She got up and walked out.
Needless to say, this patient was in sad shape when she arrived at my office. Not only did her doctor have a horrible bedside manner, she was miserable because she had been purposely avoiding having a bowel movement for the last 3 days. Who could blame her, right?
She only had ONE question for me. “Can you help?” And, of course, my answer was “YES!”
The good news from this case study is threefold:
#1: Acupuncture was able to calm her emotions–including irritability, anxiety, fear, and anger.
#2: An AcuGraph analysis showed that there were underlying issues that needed to be addressed before I could jump into treating common TCM points for rectal problems.
#3: Just three hours after treatment, the patient sent me this message:
“Oh WOW! I just had a BM and it HARDLY hurt compared to the last week. I’m so happy! It’s back to the level before surgery, which is bearable for now. I do think I can heal. YAY! I’ve felt so much better since you treated me. I just had to tell you. Thank you soooooo much!”
I’d like to extend this discussion into one more blog.
- In a few days, I’ll send you the graph analysis with an explanation of how I treated this patient.
- After that I’d like to have a discussion on the differences between hemorrhoids, fissures, and fistulas–with suggestions on how to decide when to treat and when to refer out.
I know this is an uncomfortable subject to talk about, but I’ll guarantee you this: It’s much more uncomfortable for the patient than it is for the practitioner!
Talk to you soon!
Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.