I’m often asked what a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) does – here’s my opportunity to fill you in on how it all begins. Keep in mind, this is how I practice, and this doesn’t necessarily apply to all NDs.
So, first, you’ve booked your initial visit. Now what?
By email, you’ll be sent a link to your own intake form. This intake form gives you the chance to write down each and every one of your health concerns. As NDs, we take all of those concerns into consideration and don’t always observe them as separate concerns. For example, maybe you ended up on antibiotics when you came down with Strep throat and now you’re dealing with a number of vaginal infections. Or maybe your sleep has gone haywire ever since you started experiencing anxiety at work.
The intake form also asks you to list any medications and/or supplements you are currently taking, along with their dosages. This ends up being a significant part of my role in your healthcare. As an ND, I’ll check for any nutrient depletions or potential interactions caused by medications, supplements or the combination of the two.
Many people assume that natural health products (botanical medicine, vitamins, minerals) are always safe.
For the most part, they are gentle and might have more desirable safety profiles, but they absolutely can have an interaction with your current medications or supplements. For example, St. John’s Wort is a well-known botanical medicine used to treat some mood disorders (typically depression). St. John’s Wort should not be combined with a number of first-line, standard antidepressants, as this greatly increases the risk of serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a serious condition, and can even cause death. So, you get my point now, right?
Before patients come in, I go through that list of medications and/or supplements, and figure out any nutrient depletions and potential interactions. That way, my future recommendations can be well-educated and safe.
The intake form also prompts you to inform me of any medical conditions, allergies, family medical history and goals. Once you’ve filled that out, the intake form gets into things like mood, energy, sleep, stress and diet.
So, you can imagine – by the time a patient has come in for their first visit, I already have a decent idea of what’s going on. I spend a significant amount of time researching the case before I even meet the patient.
Now, that initial visit (90-minutes) often involves me asking a ton of questions, and getting a better grasp on certain details of the case. Physical exams also provide greater insight – it establishes your ‘normal,’ but can also help identify abnormal findings. This gives me (and the patient!) a greater understanding as to what’s going on, what sort of support is required and how to proceed with a treatment plan.
Now, as a Naturopathic Doctor, I am committed to communicating with other members of the healthcare team. Naturally, as I’m situated within the Charleswood Medical Clinic, this is standard of care. I’m happy to send letters to family doctors and other healthcare providers so that they are kept in the loop and have the ability to get in touch with me. I work hard to bridge that gap between conventional and complementary medicine, and I believe it provides well-rounded, effective care for patients.
So, I’ve just given you a small breakdown of what those first steps look like. A ton of people don’t know how it all works, and I get that – I hope that this helps you have a better understanding of how it all begins.
If you’d like to book a complimentary meet & greet or your first appointment, book online or call (204) 510-3286.