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My Labs Are All "Normal", But I Still Feel Like Crap - Help!

Does this situation sound all too familiar? You're feeling like crap. Even on your best days, you aren't feeling exactly great. You finally give in and go to your doctor, thinking "something must not be right". Your doctor goes over your symptoms and orders some blood work. You are anxiously waiting for the result to come back, knowing something is up. Yet, when they come back, all your labs are normal.


You're contemplating, "I guess this is a good thing". Your doctor says everything is fine, and you're good to go. But... just one thing. In the back of your mind, you know you STILL feel like crap! What is a girl to do?


I hear this way too often in my practice, and I'll tell you what a girl should do. She should see a naturopathic doctor who doesn't just rely on conventional lab results!


Here's why.


Your Results are "Normal", but are they "Optimal"?

Many doctors may mark your thyroid, ferritin, vitamin B12, and/or vitamin D levels as normal; however, they might not be optimal. You can ask your doctor if your levels are in an optimal range, rather than just in the normal range.


Also, keep in mind that these "normal" ranges are based off of the majority of the population. Is the majority of the population healthy? Nope, don't think so. So even if you fall into the normal range, it's not based off of the best reference guide.


Sometimes your levels can be on the lower end, but not quite low enough to be marked as abnormal. This is concerning because even though they may not be marked as "abnormal", they are most likely on their way to become abnormal, causing more severe issues. Knowing if you are in an optimal range or not can tell you if you are having any kind of dysfunction with your organs and processes.


If we see that you have some dysfunction, we want to address it before it gets out of hand. For example, maybe you're currently feeling a bit tired throughout your days. If left untreated, you could soon experience extreme fatigue, where you can't even function fully, which interferes with your daily life.


You can always ask your doctor for a copy of your lab results as well, in case you want to bring them to your naturopathic doctor later on.


Other Underlying Issues Even Though Blood Test Came Back Normal

So your blood tests all clear, but you still feel ill? There very well could be a reasonable explanation for this. However, your conventional doctor most likely overlooked it. Maybe your blood tests came back normal, but do you know what labs your doctor ordered? Did they check for mold exposure, food sensitivities, toxin exposure, hormone imbalances, and/or any overgrowth of gut bacteria? Probably not, because most conventional doctors don't. Yet, these underlying issues could be what is making you feel like crap!


That's what makes naturopathic medicine different. Naturopathic doctors look deeper into your symptoms and can run a wide array of tests depending on your symptoms. Here are some common underlying problems that my patients struggle with.


Hormone Imbalances

Hormones can be tricky... especially with testing correctly. Some hormones need to be tested at certain times of the day and need to be compared with other hormones and history information to be read properly. Hormone imbalances are my area of expertise. I love when my patients feel better after balancing out their hormones.


Mold Exposure

If your body is filled with mycotoxins, they may cause havoc on numerous functions throughout your body, including brain function, mood, and hormone levels. It’s important to get your home tested for mold as well as your body tested for mycotoxins.


Stress

Stress levels can’t necessarily be tested, but cortisol (stress hormone) levels can be! This is one of those tricky hormones that have to be tested at certain times of the day. You should see your cortisol levels higher in the morning and lower at night. If you are under chronic stress, you'll see these levels either really high or really low, depending on how badly it has affected your adrenals.


Infections (even from years ago)

If you've ever contracted a parasite, been infected with a virus years ago (like Epstein Barr virus or Lyme disease), have H. pylori, or small intestine bacterial overgrowth, your current symptoms could be a result of these. If your body has other stressors coming at it, it could enhance your infection symptoms, making them worse. Many illnesses are associated with infections, including chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune conditions, and digestive dysfunction.


Gut Imbalances

Many doctors don't look at gut bacteria as a potential factor for what's causing your symptoms. However, research shows how the type of bacteria and quantity is important to know for healing the whole body. Having an imbalanced gut microbiome can cause a wide range of health issues, including digestive problems, acne, and even mental health problems.


Your Labs Are "Normal", Now What Do You Do?

Nothing was flagged when your bloodwork came back, yet you're still exhausted, you're experiencing pain, and you have the worst brain fog ever. What should you do?


Step 1

I would keep listening to your body. You know your body better than anyone else. If something doesn't feel right, then something isn't right! Keep a journal and write down how you feel each day. Jot down what you have to eat, if you've been feeling stressed or relaxed, etc. After some time, you can see if you can make any connections as to what may be causing you to feel like crap.


Step 2

Make an appointment with a naturopathic provider. They will take into account if your results are optimal or just normal. They also run additional testing to check for things that your conventional doctor may not run. Instead of prescribing a medication, a naturopathic doctor gets to the root cause to determine why your body may be functioning at a suboptimal level.


If you are finding yourself in this situation, please reach out to Dr. Jillian Smithers. She is an Arizona based naturopathic doctor who specializes in sex hormone, thyroid, & adrenal imbalances. She helps her patients regain their life with the help of her guidance, expertise, and your hard work. Get in contact with her now to start your journey towards feeling like yourself again.


You'll also want to keep an eye out for her Hormone Reset Bootcamp online course coming soon. Through a series of modules, Dr. Smithers will teach you how to track your menstrual cycle, uncover hormone imbalances, and regulate & optimize your hormones. Sign up to make sure you're the first to know when it launches!


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