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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:49 am 
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I think if you're not a health/medical professional with all the person's information in front of you, any speculation or second-guessing of their story is useless at best and mean at worst.

The blogger had one experience that she shared, knowing she'd get tons of "why not just eat the meat?" Comments, but generously chose to share her story, because she hoped to help others. I think that was pretty brave of her. Its a lot easier to write a "sausage made me cream tang in my mouth" post.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:12 am 
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I don't understand. It's not like she put the MD's head on a pike on her blog or went on for paragraphs about how western medicine is the devil. There's really no reason to assume that she's just recalling her doctor's visits through whatever the opposite of rose colored glasses is.

I hope we can all agree that 'SORRY NOT SORRY' was the best part, another reason I was grateful for this post is i'm really tired of the 'low fat vegan diets can and will cure cancer/herpes/allergies/gingers/gangrene/mental illness/cystic acne/everything in the world'.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:56 am 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
I hope we can all agree that 'SORRY NOT SORRY' was the best part, another reason I was grateful for this post is i'm really tired of the 'low fat vegan diets can and will cure cancer/herpes/allergies/gingers/gangrene/mental illness/cystic acne/everything in the world'.


yes! i loved that part. hahahhaaa

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:08 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
mrsbadmouth wrote:
I hope we can all agree that 'SORRY NOT SORRY' was the best part, another reason I was grateful for this post is i'm really tired of the 'low fat vegan diets can and will cure cancer/herpes/allergies/gingers/gangrene/mental illness/cystic acne/everything in the world'.


yes! i loved that part. hahahhaaa


This was one of my favorite parts of Sayward's post. The deeper message I got from her blog is that vegans do get sick, we struggle with health problems, and we're not doing anyone a favor by keeping silent about it. And as MBM reiterated, the no oils/no fats dogma that we see perpetuated by many big name vegan voices is not the one-size-fits-all solution for every vegan.
I'm very fortunate that I've never had a doctor tell me to start eating meat. I'm sad for Sayward's experience of having her concerns ignored in a time of her life that we'd want to be so joyful for her- being a new mom. It's a great reminder to advocate for yourself in the doctor's office- don't be afraid to demand that tests be run, and if your MD is not supportive, find another one. I think doctors are a bit like therapists, you may have to try a few on to find one you mesh with. And I'm glad she's feeling better after finding a naturopath. It's not the route I'd have gone, but the end result was the same- someone listened to her, ran tests, prescribed a treatment, and she got better.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:12 pm 
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I can totally relate to doctors brushing you off when you have kids and are vegan, both things seem t trigger an automatic shut off response in the passive, rushed types of doctors. I have RA and fibromyalgia and it took years to get diagnosed. I have had SO many doctors instantly write it off as "you're a mom, you're just exhausted, it's normal", but I've also found a few amazing drs and a nurse practiitioner that really listened and wanted to get to the root of the problem. I think it's like anything else. Some people are willing to put in the work and some aren't.

I think it was amazing of Sayward to write that blog. It's a good reminder to us all to take our own health into our own hands. No one cares more about our recovery than we should.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:40 pm 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
I don't understand. It's not like she put the MD's head on a pike on her blog or went on for paragraphs about how western medicine is the devil. There's really no reason to assume that she's just recalling her doctor's visits through whatever the opposite of rose colored glasses is.

Just to reiterate, what I meant about recall bias was not any sort of personal dig or attack on her credibility. If the outcome is one way, we will all remember things leading up to that outcome slightly differently than if the outcome had been different. It happens to everyone, myself included. An example is pregnancy -- if something is wrong with your child, you are much more likely to remember random and seemingly inconsequential things that happened during your pregnancy and wonder if they were the cause -- colds, food poisoning, that time you stood next to someone smoking at the train station. If everything is fine with the baby, you generally won't think of those things if someone asked you if anything unusual happened during the pregnancy.

I am concerned that so many seem to have had similar health issues, and I posted my criticisms only with the hope that anyone else in a similar situation would not give up so easily on science-based healthcare.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:16 pm 
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The thing about Western Medicine is that it tends to suck for chronic and (House aside) mystery ailments. And when your health gets bad enough and MDs keep shrugging and saying they don't know, you get to a point where you will try absolutely anything. I am skeptical beyond skeptical and I got to that point. It wasn't the right avenue in my case, but I feel nothing but happiness for someone who found something who works for her.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:52 pm 
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Of course, what's bizarre is that her issues were diagnosed with the kinds of routine blood work that I get every single year as part of my well visits to my MD (lipid panel, CBC). I'm just glad she got lucky in finding an ND who decided to do those tests instead of just pushing herbs (and seeds) and homeopathy.

Hypocholesterol has been written about over and over and over again in the medical literature as a major risk factor for stroke and severe depression. Low calorie/low fat diets are well-known to cause fatigue and amennorhea. We're not even talking about mysterious (or even chronic) disease here, although perhaps most doctors in moderately well-off communities are not looking first for signs of malnutrition (although, again, a lipid panel and CBC, really, so simple, so routine, so potentially appeasing to a patient who is annoying you who you think nothing's wrong with).

I kept getting distracted from being inspired by the idea of a pregnant or nursing woman eating a high raw, low fat diet, that really is kind of alarming and evidence of how we're doing a terrible job as a vegan community of promoting the most nutritious diets to the people most at risk for nutritional deficiency.

But I do appreciate the message of "I'm in it for the animals, not for my health," which is something I have to say all the damn time.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:43 pm 
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I loved this article and thought the author was so brave for writing it. She made a lot of points that really needed to be said. It was well written and thoughtful. I agree that the point of the article is not to promote or reject any sort of medicine, but just to tell her story. To let everyone know you don't have to be ashamed to admit that your diet does not meet your needs, or that you're sick and vegan, but also to know that you can get healthy again and still be vegan. I have always said that I would rather be sick than stop being vegan, if I had some sort of food-related illness. Her story tells me that it is possible to have your ethical beliefs and be able to stick to them and still get better.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:00 pm 
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The midwife said that it sounded like typical new mom stuff. That I should come back if it hadn’t cleared up in a few months. It felt like the brush off.


I thought this was interesting. Her midwife didn't take her symptoms seriously either.

Quote:
She was alarmed to hear that I wasn’t menstruating, something I hadn’t paid much attention to. I assumed that since I was still nursing I was just experiencing lactation-induced amenorrhea. Also, I hadn’t had regular periods in years, since way before getting pregnant (and since before going vegan, in case you wondered). I wasn’t actually menstruating when I got pregnant with Waits.

I thought this was really alarming and I hope that other people take this story to heart. Amenorrhea is something that should always be checked out by a doctor.

Adding fat and protein to her diet seemed to help a lot. If you haven't read Vegan for Lifeyet, you should.
The comments on her blog are a crazy collection of view points.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:26 am 
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To be fair, fatigue, amenorrhea, and mild depression are actually normal early motherhood things. It doesn't sound like she followed up with her midwife who said to follow up.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:55 am 
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But I mean, even going to a doctor/naturopath/whatever is really hard for some people. I know it is for me. I had amenorrhea for years, and yes I know how serious that is, but I felt like I was too scared/busy/poor to see a doctor regularly. I can only imagine how hard it is to put yourself first when you are a new mother. The point is that she did, and she is doing a lot better. To health!

PS...adding more fat to my diet helped SO much, and so quickly. Avocados all the time. Nut butters. Olive oil!


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:42 am 
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Vantine wrote:
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The midwife said that it sounded like typical new mom stuff. That I should come back if it hadn’t cleared up in a few months. It felt like the brush off.


I thought this was interesting. Her midwife didn't take her symptoms seriously either.



What do you mean by this?


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:33 pm 
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vijita wrote:
But I mean, even going to a doctor/naturopath/whatever is really hard for some people. I know it is for me. I had amenorrhea for years, and yes I know how serious that is, but I felt like I was too scared/busy/poor to see a doctor regularly. I can only imagine how hard it is to put yourself first when you are a new mother. The point is that she did, and she is doing a lot better. To health!

PS...adding more fat to my diet helped SO much, and so quickly. Avocados all the time. Nut butters. Olive oil!


I have been there. I am a newish mother. It is almost impossible for me to get to a doctor. And similarly when I didn't have insurance and got pneumonia and went to the free clinic, but had to borrow $5 from each of my friends to buy a pack of antibiotics. I get the hurdles. I do not deny the difficulty of the situation.

But it is a shame that the world of vegan nutrition experts is not sufficiently transparent for even a seasoned vegan blogger to be able to google, "no period in five years vegan" or something and come up with that kind of simple answer quickly without having to go through the rigamarole of the annoying Chinese medicine dad and the not being able to connect to her doctor and the feeling that someone telling you your symptoms sound a lot like you're just super normal, come back in a couple months when they wouldn't be normal anymore is "brushing you off."

It's just a shame that any of that happened when it so didn't need to. Jack Norris has written several times on his blog about people who come to him with vegan-induced failure to thrive and their problem is almost always something like low B12 or low D and it's just like, come on people! Tell the new vegans up front you gotta take some supplements! And in the same way, tell the people up front you gotta eat some beans and fat!


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:39 pm 
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JimXVX wrote:
matwinser wrote:
JimXVX wrote:
You'd think that someone who bangs on & on about how important veganism is to them would at some point have taken the time to make sure their diet wasn't completely atrocious.


I just love your contributions.

Mat.


Well you know what they about sarcasm.

Some folk may like this article & find it empowering; in which case great, you're very welcome to say so. I just found it a little attention-seeking & self-indulgent.
As opposed to posting snarky comments in a forum where they're almost guaranteed to garner negative feedback, which is totally different.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:06 pm 
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Hey guys, author of the article here. Interesting discussion and I don't mean to butt in - seriously, I haven't been offended by anything said (okay, well maybe a little) and I really don't want to get into it, so I'm not trying to start up anything.

There's just one thing I want to clear up, since it seems like people are focused on it and it's leading to some confusion/misunderstanding. I actually never ate a low fat diet. I tried low fat for all of 1 month and it sucked and I never did it again. When I got sick I was already eating plenty of fat, but getting better for me included focusing on more saturated fat. I mentioned low fat because I've heard a lot from other vegans who got sick eating that way. But it wasn't something that I was doing.

Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. I'm backing out now, I hope I haven't made anyone uncomfortable and feel free to carry on as though I was never here. =)


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:37 pm 
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Sayward wrote:
Hey guys, author of the article here. Interesting discussion and I don't mean to butt in - seriously, I haven't been offended by anything said (okay, well maybe a little) and I really don't want to get into it, so I'm not trying to start up anything.

There's just one thing I want to clear up, since it seems like people are focused on it and it's leading to some confusion/misunderstanding. I actually never ate a low fat diet. I tried low fat for all of 1 month and it sucked and I never did it again. When I got sick I was already eating plenty of fat, but getting better for me included focusing on more saturated fat. I mentioned low fat because I've heard a lot from other vegans who got sick eating that way. But it wasn't something that I was doing.

Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. I'm backing out now, I hope I haven't made anyone uncomfortable and feel free to carry on as though I was never here. =)
Hi, Sayward, and welcome! I originally posted the link to your article, and I'd just like to reiterate my statement from somewhere way back in this thread: I think it's important for people who follow a vegan diet to have "permission" to talk about health issues that may arise without being immediately brushed off with "oh, well, it's because you need to eat animal products" or - even worse - being afraid of stigmatization by their own community. You were brave enough to step up and address that issue by sharing your experience, and I admire and thank you for doing it.
(In other news - best. fisher. EVER.)

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:43 pm 
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I have to politely disagree. Jorge Garcia is the best kfisher ever!

Ha! Hi, Sayward. I was one of the kids who got it wrong re your diet. Now that you say it, I do remember reading about it being saturated fat.

Mostly I'm so glad your feeling better! Thanks for sharing your story. I agree that it needs to be something we can discuss without the brush off.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:03 pm 
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Sayward, thanks for chiming in!

Congratulations on your recovery!


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:39 am 
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Desdemona wrote:
Hi, Sayward, and welcome! I originally posted the link to your article, and I'd just like to reiterate my statement from somewhere way back in this thread: I think it's important for people who follow a vegan diet to have "permission" to talk about health issues that may arise without being immediately brushed off with "oh, well, it's because you need to eat animal products" or - even worse - being afraid of stigmatization by their own community. You were brave enough to step up and address that issue by sharing your experience, and I admire and thank you for doing it.
(In other news - best. fisher. EVER.)


Yes, this. I've started to say this a number of times but didn't find it fit in with where the conversation was, but for the past year or two my mom has been struggling with very low protein. If I recall, my grandma also had issues with that toward the end of her life and they both also have/had some serious vitamin deficiencies, yet neither are even vegetarian. With my mom's struggles, of course I am concerned with her, but I've also had the nagging question about me...what if it is genetic? And if it is, and me, or worse, my daughter, have the same issue down the road, will anyone even listen or will it automatically get blamed on diet? And then I get frustrated because I'm worrying about getting proper treatment for an ailment I don't even have, and may never get simply because they are the protein related.

I also had low cholesterol, along with the extreme fatigue issues...and angry skin. My doctor didn't even know that low cholesterol caused problems, I'm the one who brought it up and she still never addressed it, but said she would look into it. And this is someone who did take my problems seriously, so I can't imagine an MD who didn't do so. And while I was going through all that, I never mentioned diet, because, well, the obvious. "Good" cholesterol also runs in the women in my family (who don't have the greatest diets) so it's not really surprising that mine would be low.

So, instead of rambling on about me, I DO understand, I've been there to a point, and worry about being there even more in the future. Thank you for your courage in sharing an issue that gets pushback from all sides. We ALL have a right to discuss our health without the assumptions and judgments from whomever.

I'm really glad to read you're feeling better. Stay healthy, and thank you for being awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:18 pm 
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Sayward, welcome and thank you so much for sharing your story and posting here. Much respect to you for sharing your story.


I feel at the base of the story is that healthcare professionals really need to focus on postpartum a lot more. Stop with the all the "new mom" stuff and listen, run tests, don't wait for the mom to follow up, put her in contact with somebody who can keep in contact with her.

Telling anybody who is depressed to "follow up" is like telling them to "fork off". How are they supposed to follow up when they cannot even make it through the day?


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:32 pm 
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Vantine wrote:
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Quote:
She was alarmed to hear that I wasn’t menstruating, something I hadn’t paid much attention to. I assumed that since I was still nursing I was just experiencing lactation-induced amenorrhea. Also, I hadn’t had regular periods in years, since way before getting pregnant (and since before going vegan, in case you wondered). I wasn’t actually menstruating when I got pregnant with Waits.

I thought this was really alarming and I hope that other people take this story to heart. Amenorrhea is something that should always be checked out by a doctor.

Adding fat and protein to her diet seemed to help a lot. If you haven't read Vegan for Lifeyet, you should.
The comments on her blog are a crazy collection of view points.


I just read the article today and as someone who has had irregular cycles, I've talked to gynecologists about it and not having a period in 3 YEARS is a huge deal. It is a shame to have the medical profession brush you off but sometimes you have to fight, switch doctors if you need until you find someone who listens to you.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:57 pm 
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PugMom wrote:
I feel at the base of the story is that healthcare professionals really need to focus on postpartum a lot more. Stop with the all the "new mom" stuff and listen, run tests, don't wait for the mom to follow up, put her in contact with somebody who can keep in contact with her.

Telling anybody who is depressed to "follow up" is like telling them to "fork off". How are they supposed to follow up when they cannot even make it through the day?


What's particularly amazing is that they've instituted all kinds of safeguards to make sure PPD gets noticed, but they don't even make those safeguards work. In our state, you fill out a PPD questionnaire before leaving the hospital and another at your 6-week postpartum visit. In the hospital, mine was in the almost-certainly-depressed range (I wasn't depressed then, the questionnaire just didn't make much sense to ask immediately postpartum - what 40 week pregnant woman *hasn't* cried in the past week, hasn't felt a little out of control, hasn't felt a little overwhelmed or scared? and if her birth went way differently than she expected, hasn't felt responsible one day postpartum?) and then it was the same at my 6-week appointment (where, again, I wasn't actually depressed, but was anxious, traumatized, and dealing with a difficult medical situation). In the hospital the nurse said: I can tell you're not the kind of person who's going to be depressed, so don't worry about your result, it just means you're being honest. In the midwives' office, they just didn't even talk about it. [this is the questionnaire: http://www.fresno.ucsf.edu/pediatrics/d ... hscale.pdf]

But part of it - low energy and a touch of anxiety, especially, is super normal and not necessarily appropriate to treat. If it's not presenting with other clinical signs of depression and definitely not presenting with any kind of psychiatric problem that would make someone think you're going to harm your child, I can relate to a doctor's feeling that it might be worth giving it some time to resolve itself before going in for probably unnecessary testing to see if it's something else. It would be a lot better, though, if midwives and OBs just had an in-house therapist who immediately saw women who came in with that kind of presentation (or just saw all post-partum patients routinely), to do a better job of ruling out PPD and to provide some better encouragement to help people get through the normal crappy stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:07 pm 
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im absolutely terrified of PPD. TERRIFIED.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:47 pm 
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Ariann wrote:

But part of it - low energy and a touch of anxiety, especially, is super normal and not necessarily appropriate to treat. If it's not presenting with other clinical signs of depression and definitely not presenting with any kind of psychiatric problem that would make someone think you're going to harm your child, I can relate to a doctor's feeling that it might be worth giving it some time to resolve itself before going in for probably unnecessary testing to see if it's something else. It would be a lot better, though, if midwives and OBs just had an in-house therapist who immediately saw women who came in with that kind of presentation (or just saw all post-partum patients routinely), to do a better job of ruling out PPD and to provide some better encouragement to help people get through the normal crappy stuff.



Just having somebody keep in touch and seeing if things are getting better, worse or just holding steady would I think do a world of good for new moms. I myself am not a huge fan of treating (medicating) every little thing. Running blood tests in my opinion is not to much for a new mom.

Also, I personally think that every new mom could use some adult interaction that focuses on how she is feeling and how she is taking care of herself. Yes, a new baby is a blessing but mom is still a individual and her own feelings and needs.


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