Thursday, April 18, 2013

Metamucil and Me

A few weeks ago I had a routine colonoscopy and it about killed me. Last Saturday I took my first dose of Metamucil, a common over the counter supplement, on the advice of a specialist, with the same results. Once again, being treated by a specialist can be very risky if you suffer from a disorder which that specialist may be unfamiliar with. In essence, in these cases, you MUST be somewhat of your own doctor. This is not a short-coming on the part of the physicians; as they are treating so many people; but it is a responsibility of you, as the patient, to be somewhat aware of any special conditions which may affect your treatment in an adverse way. And, if that specialist seems unwilling to listen, then you need to seek treatment elsewhere.

A simple skin test, or a blood test, can determine whether or not this over the counter supplement is right for you or not. For millions of people it is perfectly suited, brining positive results. But, for the patient who may in some way be compromised in relation to their immune systems, this can be a very dangerous supplement; and in the case of myself; can even be life threatening, as I found out last weekend while out for the day with my long suffering (from being married to me) wife, Sue.

Metamucil works in much the same way as the prep containing PEG 3350 does for a colonoscopy, only less dramatic, but it has the addition of psyllium, which can be a real challenge to patients with COPD, as I am, and even for people with conditions as common as asthma. Again, although you would think that the doctor should ask you about any conditions which might be a problem, the specialist does not know you as well as your GP. For that reason I usually run everything by my doctor before using it. But in the case of this harmless looking supplement, I simply followed his advice.

There seems to be no acceptable alternative for either the preparation for the colonoscopy, or the accepted control of the bowels by use of Metamucil. Baby boomers beware; if you have any allergies at all; be sure to consult with your General Practitioner before following all of the advice of your “specialist”. After all, your GP knows you; and your medical history; better than a “specialist”, who is really just a stranger to your body and its particular quirks.

For more on this subject, here is a link to get you started;

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