‘I was getting better…It dropped a whopping ten pounds’: Doctors share account of gastroenteritis experiences

This is Terence Jordan. He is a doctor, health care policy expert, Pulitzer Prize winner, a Churchill Fellow and PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Terence previously had a break from public health to come to work at our independent Fox News Medical A-Team and now lives with his wife, Penelope, in a red brick house on the outskirts of Chattanooga. He is one of those bright young, capable people who just want to be normal.

We asked him about the mysterious feeling of ills, pains and digestive conditions that are harder to diagnose than is obvious and treatable. Here is his answer.

You’ve reported in the past that there may be a genetic link to digestive problems. What are your thoughts now?

Dr. Terence: I started having recurring bouts of severe bloating when I was 28 years old. I first saw a gastroenterologist. By the time he finished his examination, and then he sort of laughed and said, “Oh, sorry, I don’t feel like doing this.”

That’s when my dad, a gastroenterologist, happened to be watching. He helped me figure out why I was experiencing the problems, and the gastroenterologist thought they were probably due to infections in my appendix. So he called the technician and said, “I want you to look at your appendix.” And the technician looks at the appendix and he looks at the technician and he says, “You know that you’re human; I’m going to take you to the ICU,” which is what happened to him.

My aunt, who’s a doctor, was the kind of person who’d approach you about it. She said, “Oh, Dr. Jordan, I’ve got it.” That’s when the family got involved, and the entire family started buying books about gastroenterology. At that point I realized that I was, indeed, a problem because it took me a while to figure it out.

You’ve said that having these symptoms is confusing to you. As an MD, how does that make you feel?

Dr. Terence: To the medical community I was like, “I don’t know what it is, and I don’t know what to do.” And so for a few years we tried different medications. As our numbers kept going up and up, the treating physicians all basically said the same thing—they said, “You have to try and do something to get rid of this.” We were drinking fluids, we were eating more fiber, we were trying to ingest those things that make the gut much more efficient. And, at that point, I started getting better. I dropped a whopping ten pounds.

I didn’t need the medications I was taking. I could find my way. I didn’t even have to see a gastroenterologist.

But not all cases, unfortunately, are so easy to manage. That’s why it’s important to keep improving your intestinal flora. Dr. Jordan further recommends having a regular meal routine, and following it carefully. Although a consistent diet or lifestyle is sometimes difficult for anyone, it’s especially challenging for people who have digestive troubles. Once you do have a fixed meal regimen, you’re helping to nurture what’s called the beta linoleic acid. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, and don’t have a lot of time to exercise, all bets are off. You may not be able to make that recommended amount of time to eat—so just relying on a regular meal routine can really make a difference in your gut health.

Ahead of tonight’s program, we explored whether norovirus is more of a national public health hazard than antibiotic-resistant germs, and also if there is potential for economic harm in areas where there is not antibiotic resistance. Tune in now to see if these factors come up.

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