Dr. Rakel shares why women are generally better than men at discovering intestinal problems?
One difference between men and women is women have a much larger limbic system and the limbic system is a part of our central nervous system that allows us to feel. It allows us to bond and this is a little dangerous here but maybe that’s why women are the main caretakers of our children. They have that motherly instinct that males can have and do have but that limbic system allows us to do that better.
So that is often, that limbic system also makes us a little bit more intuitive. We have heard of the women’s intuition and you need to listen to that. There also can be a little bit of a curse because often women feel that in their body more than men and that’s why we might see some conditions where the sensitivity, that feeling is turned way up, like fibromyalgia where our whole body starts to ache.
What we have an opportunity to do is at the very beginning of turning that sensitivity up we can take a step back and learn what that symptom is trying to tell us and you know, if my neck starts to hurt I can recognize, okay, what’s going on in my life that might be causing my neck to hurt, and then if I bring that into my consciousness hopefully we can turn that sensitivity down because I become aware.
It’s kind of like the mindfulness approach. It’s being aware of the present moment because most of that stress comes from memories of the past or desires of the future, stressors that are created in our own mind.
Mark Twain said, “I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles and some of them actually happened.” I love that quote because it stresses that most chaos comes from our own critical thoughts and if we can recognize that, particularly in women who are much more sensitive and are at risk for some of these hypersensitive conditions we can use that gift.
And I like to address it that way because it really is a gift. It’s an intuitive gift but sometimes it can get turned on so much it can be a curse. So but if we can recognize that as a gift and turn it down in a way that we can use that intuition, that emotional bond, that relationship in a positive way, without it getting out of the hand that causes us to suffer, beautiful.
About Dr. Rakel, M.D.:
Dr. David Rakel, M.D., attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and completed a family practice residency in Greeley, Colorado. He spent the next five years in rural practice as one of two physicians staffing a 14 bed hospital in Driggs, Idaho. As medical director for Grand Targhee Ski resort in Wyoming, he developed an interest in sports medicine and received his Certificate of Added Qualification in 1999.
Dr. Rakel completed a two year fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona from 1999-2001. He joined the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine in 2001 where he teaches and practices, and is the medical director for the University of Wisconsin Health Integrative Medicine. Dave is board certified in family medicine, holistic medicine and sports medicine. He is also certified in Interactive Guided Imagery.