What Can You Do About Gut Problems?
No matter what type of gut problem(s) you
have, there are several things you might
1. WRITE IT DOWN, TALK IT OUT
Keep a journal. List the problems you encounter,
their frequency, how long they last and exactly how
they make you feel. Explain in detail and as honestly
as possible how these problems impact your life,
so your health care provider can get a sense of how
severe they are. For example, if you are too nauseated
to eat, sometimes vomit your medications or have so
much gas you're afraid to go out in public, your doctor
needs to know this.
Some people tend to "normalize" many of these GI
side effects because they occur so regularly in their
daily life. There's a lot more to gut problems than how
they make you feel.
"Your body is just this giant stream. For me, spiritually, the best approach to managing gut symptoms was to understand that this was part of how my stream works: There's going to be a lot coming in, and a lot going out."
-- Shana, diagnosed in 1994
2. CONSIDER CHANGING HIV TREATMENT
If you suspect your GI distress is caused by your
HIV medications, never simply stop taking them.
This can potentially make your HIV disease worse
by causing resistance to your HIV medications,
thereby limiting future treatment options. If your gut
problems are caused by your meds, your doctor may
recommend a switch in one or more of the meds in
your regimen. While switching HIV drugs can be safe
and may reduce side effects, there's no guarantee that
the switch will help.
Your GI issues may go away on their own -- or with diet
changes or other treatment options discussed in this
booklet -- even if you don't switch HIV meds. Know
your options if you and your doctor decide to switch.
Remember that all medications can cause side effects.
Be sure you know what are the possible side effects
of any meds you are considering switching to, and
whether you're willing to risk those possible side effects
in order to get rid of the ones you currently have.
Above all, think of you and your doctor as a team. Your
doctor wants you to stay healthy and be as comfortable
as possible with any prescribed treatment.
3. LASTLY, NEVER FORGET THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Millions of other people are living with HIV, and if
you're having gut problems, you can bet that many
others are as well. It may sound strange, but some gut
problems have a mental connection, so the better you
feel emotionally, the better you may feel physically.
You don't have to live in silent discomfort: Talk to
your doctor, and contact your nearest HIV/AIDS
organization for support.
Visit asofinder.com for a listing of HIV/AIDS
service organizations throughout the U.S.
Copyright © 2013 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.