Quick Q and A, all about Naturopathic Doctors.
15 Apr 2020
Are Naturopathic Doctors safe?
Naturopathic doctors draw on the body’s ability to heal itself, bolstering the body’s innate ability to keep itself in balance. NDs spend time with each patient to conduct a thorough health history, physical examinations and laboratory tests to get to the root causes of disease or dysfunction. They use non-invasive and natural therapies to decrease your symptoms by improving your overall health and treating the dysfunction where it began. Naturopathic doctors go through rigorous training and education in order to be prepared to deliver primary health care in a safe and effective manner.
Are Naturopathic Doctors “real” doctors?
Naturopathic doctors (ND) require extensive training and education in order to be licensed to practice in Canada. Your naturopathic doctors will have completed an undergraduate degree with scientific prerequisite courses, followed by a four-year naturopathic medical education at one of the seven accredited schools in North America. They will then have completed and passed two sets of provincial licensing board examinations and are required to continue learning throughout their careers. All NDs must complete a minimum of 70 hours of continuing education every three years. With extensive knowledge and training, NDs are licensed and legitimate primary or adjunctive healthcare providers.
Can Naturopathic Doctors Order Blood Tests?
A naturopathic doctor can order a variety of blood tests to help get a better picture of your overall health state. Blood tests can be an important aspect of a naturopathic doctor’s work-up in order to get a fuller understanding of your health and symptoms. Although blood tests ordered by a naturopathic doctor are not covered by OHIP, they use the information gathered through a thorough intake interview to assess the need for each individual test and how the results will impact your treatment. A naturopathic doctor can sit down with you and explain the relevance of each test they are ordering for you.
Are Naturopathic Doctors Covered by Insurance?
Although Naturopathic Medicine is not covered by OHIP, many extended health coverage plans include a set amount of naturopathic care per year. It’s important to determine how much insurance coverage you have in order to make the best plan possible for your health.
Can a Naturopath prescribe medicine?
In Ontario, Naturopathic Doctors who have taken an additional prescribing exam have the ability to prescribe a variety of supplements at levels above which you can buy over the counter as well as intravenous therapy of certain nutrients. Although they cannot prescribe pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, they prescribe many supportive herbal treatments, supplements and nutritional therapies. A naturopathic doctor will be able to tell you what treatments they can prescribe and will make appropriate referrals when your needs are outside of their scope of practice. NDs are well trained to refer as needed and safely support you with the medicines you are already taking. Understanding drug interactions between two pharmaceuticals or between a pharmaceutical and food, supplements or botanicals is an important aspect of naturopathic training.
What is an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor like?
Seeing a Naturopathic Doctor for the first time can be quite a unique experience. The initial appointment will include a thorough health history where the ND will ask you about all facets of your health. This will include your main concerns but also past medical history and family history. Depending on your concerns, physical exams may be performed to allow the ND to get a deeper understanding of your health. Your ND can also order a wide range of laboratory and diagnostic tests in order to get a more full picture of how to proceed with your treatment plan. They are also well trained to refer for adjunctive treatment from other healthcare practitioners if needed.
Can Naturopathic Doctors help with weight loss?
Naturopathic Doctors are uniquely positioned to help individuals with weight loss as they are able to spend time with each patient to address their weight loss concerns from all facets of health – physical, emotional, psychological. They approach each patient as an individual, keeping a patient centred perspective and getting to the root cause of their issues with weight loss. An ND will help you reach your goals by getting to the deeper causes of weight gain and creating a treatment plan accordingly. Some key aspects of your health that they may address include your metabolism, hormone imbalances and any dietary and/or lifestyle factors. They will treat you as a whole person and take the time to give you a plan that will work for you and your life. You will not only lose weight but, more importantly, you will feel better.
Can Naturopathic Doctors help with depression and/or anxiety?
There are many ways naturopathic doctors can help individuals with anxiety and depression. From screening and diagnosing to support alongside conventional treatment, an ND can work with you to manage your symptoms and get to the root cause of dysfunction. NDs use a variety of tools to help manage depression and anxiety including nutrition, supplementation, counseling, acupuncture and botanical medicine. They will work with you and your healthcare team to manage your mental health and improve your quality of life. NDs have long appointments where they are able to take a thorough health history and really hear your concerns, allowing them to develop an individualized plan for you.
Can a Naturopath help with fertility and pregnancy?
A naturopathic doctor can work with both you and your partner to get to the root of your fertility difficulties and enhance your chances of conceiving. Whether you are planning on doing IVF or trying to conceive naturally, an ND can help guide and support you through the process and optimize your chances of conception. They can:
- Run lab work to assess your cycle and hormones
- Teach you how to monitor your own cycle
- Prescribe supplements and/or herbal medicine
- Work with you to adjust your diet
- Perform acupuncture
- Counsel on lifestyle modifications
- Address your environmental toxic exposure
A naturopathic doctor can also be an excellent adjunctive care practitioner to support you through your pregnancy. An ND can support you emotionally and physically through all stages of pregnancy and provide safe and effective treatments to many conditions that may arise throughout. Such conditions may include morning sickness, varicose veins, constipation, thyroid dysfunction, among others. Naturopathic doctors are educated on botanicals, acupuncture, nutrition and lifestyle modalities to support your pregnancy from conception to birth.
Can a Naturopath help with hormone imbalances?
A naturopathic doctor can help find the root of your hormonal concerns and treat the cause of dysfunction or imbalance rather than managing the surface symptoms. Did you know that often your gut has a huge role to play with your hormone balance? There are many reasons for your hormones being out of balance and a naturopathic doctor can find the root through a thorough health history as well as physical exams and lab results. They have many tools and modalities at their disposal to manage your health including nutrition, lifestyle counseling, acupuncture, supplements, and botanical medicine.
Can a Naturopath Doctor help with Allergies?
There are many reasons you could be experiencing allergies and a naturopathic doctor will work with you to get to the root cause or trigger of your symptoms. Using nutritional changes, supplementation and herbal therapies, they can help relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life during allergy season. Naturopathic Doctors can also conduct food sensitivity testing for patients who are experiencing digestive or skin concerns, inflammatory concerns, weight changes, headaches or ADHD. Although your ND cannot order conventional allergy testing, they can use their multiple modalities to help alleviate symptoms resulting from seasonal allergies to food sensitivities and will be able to refer you to your MD more severe reactions.
How does a Naturopathic Doctor treat hypothyroidism?
A naturopathic doctor can work with you to address your concerns and manage your hypo/hyperthyroidism. In some cases, this may mean working alongside your MD to manage drug side effects or improve your symptoms through diet, lifestyle, supplementation, herbal formulas, among others. Naturopathic doctors may also prescribe desiccated thyroid in some cases of hypothyroidism when necessary. An ND will treat you as an individual and manage your symptoms and concerns in a way that works for you and your life. Taking into account all facets of your health, your ND will be able to make recommendations that help treat your concerns at the root of the problem.
Can a naturopathic doctor help with IBS?
Naturopathic doctors are uniquely positioned to help individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). With their knowledge of physiology as well as the longer appointments to hear all of your concerns, they are able to determine the root cause of your symptoms and treat accordingly. A naturopathic doctor will develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient – because each patient is different! There are several options and tools at an NDs disposal to help manage and treat your IBS, naturally. Depending on the cause of your symptoms, an ND may use food sensitivity testing, nutritional changes, botanical medicine, acupuncture, stress reduction techniques and/or lifestyle and exercise to address your IBS.
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