#1 Naturopathic Doctor's Principle: Treat the Root Cause

February 26, 2023

#1 Naturopathic Doctor's Principle: Treat the Root Cause

Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD

Scottsdale Naturopathic Doctor

As a Naturopathic Doctor, my primary goal is always to “Find the Cause”.

I follow seven principles, but in my mind finding the cause is the most important and trumps things like “Docere: Doctor as Teacher”, “Prevention”, “Treat the Whole Person”, and “Remove the Obstacles to Cure."

When you really think about it, without treating the cause, the rest of those principles are basically useless.

Now of course the hippocratic oath tells us to “First do no harm”, but I have to argue with that a bit. If you don’t have a proper diagnosis established, if you don’t know what is CAUSING a certain symptom set then there is no way you can actually “do no harm”. The wrong diagnosis inevitably leads to harm. We have to find the cause to avoid harming the patient with the wrong medication or treatment that will always have the potential for side effects.

I have an enquiring mind that always want to know what is causing the patient's symptoms and am not a good fit as a doctor for patients that want to just mask their symptoms with medications or herbs. While I know how to do this, I am going to explain today why this is totally ineffective and sometimes dangerous.

What happens when you can’t find the cause?

You keep looking…

Recently I came home and something smelled REALLY bad in my house.


Now, I looked everywhere and could not find the cause. I have a child and four pets so the possibilities of where the smell could come from were seemingly endless in my mind.

Eventually, I realized that the smell was coming from the garbage can in the kitchen. It was a hot day, and earlier I had made some fresh cabbage and pear juice and the remnants were left in the trash to heat up and stink up my entire place.

No amount of incense, air freshener, oils, or candles can combat the smell of rotting cabbage!

Trust me! I tried.

And even after I “treated the cause” there was still a residual stench.

Occasionally the body sends us really stinky signals like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and skin rashes that will just NOT clear up. The typical medical “air fresheners” aka drugs, herbs, supplements and natural medicines are just suppressing the symptoms or “smells” and not treating the actual cause of the problem. The fact is we simply need to “take out the trash," or remove whatever is causing or triggering the symptoms as I commonly see in Chronic Bladder Pain and Chronic Yeast Infections in women.

A good doctor will always put on their medical detective cap and find the cause of the problem.

The REAL cause of the problem with acid reflux for instance, is NOT that your stomach is making too much aberrant acid at the wrong time of the day and so you need to be on some sort of proton pump inhibitor to decrease the levels of HCL produced.

The real problems I actually find are Food Sensitivities and stress.

Stress and diet is then what we need to treat while we also do something to soothe the acid reflux, and allow the ulcers on the stomach lining to heal.

If we don’t treat the real cause the body will just continue to over-ride the medications.

In most cases if you are on a medicine and the dose has to be increased, or a new med needs to be added on board to further manage new symptoms, then chances are you are ”spraying too many air fresheners” and not actually “taking out the trash”.

I say if you can’t find the cause, you always just have to keep looking. Maybe you have to do what I did with the stench in my home and spray air fresheners WHILE searching for the cause. Maybe you still need to “spray some air fresheners” AFTER treating the cause. Obviously there are diseases that have a strong genetic component that will not respond to diet and lifestyle. But, by all means, find and treat the causes that you can. I have yet to see a Chronic Disease in women that did not somewhat improve from my Naturopathic methods.

Most causes of disease boil down to poor diet, stress, and lack of exercise. When we bring someone’s health in to balance diseases and symptoms just naturally start to fall off. A balanced diet and lifestyle creates a balanced and healthy person.

However, I always tell all people with chronic disease to never give up.

I know the limitations of the kind of care I provide patients, and if I can no longer be of help, then I am busy looking for the person that can.

I don’t care who it is, I don’t care what they do. You have to never ever give up when it comes to certain medical mysteries. I refuse to be so arrogant as to think that I can facilitate the healing process perfectly in every single person I encounter. Also, not all patients are willing to do the kind of work I prescribe as I explain in my blog about "Why I Became a Naturopathic Doctor."

If you want to watch a very inspiring movie about two parents determined to save their chronically ill little boy, I would highly recommend the movie “Lorenzo’s Oil."

Oftentimes when I am not successful with adequately helping someone as a Naturopathic Doctor, it is because the patient is not willing to treat the underlying cause. Perhaps they are in denial about the cause, or perhaps they are suffering from depression, or lack of motivation, but regardless, I think it is tough for people to REALLY get better unless we are always working to address the cause.

Just my experience after 23 years working in Women's Health. Women that show up with a notepad and take notes during our visits always get better. I have learned this is a key sign that my patient is perfect for Naturopathy because they are committed to the process of finding the best things for their personal constitution, and want to actively learn how to avoid triggers that make them worse.

In Latin, Tolle Causum means “Find the Cause."

If you need my help finding your Root Cause, simply pop over to my SCHEDULE page to treat yourself to a Naturopathic visit!

Dr. Nicole Sundene

(480) 837-0900

Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause,  Thyroid,  Hashimotos,  PMS, PerimenopauseAutoimmunePostpartumChronic Fatigue, DepressionAnxiety, Food Allergies,  DigestionDermatology, AcnePsoriasis Eczema, and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 23 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones, she presents to women the best-integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 28 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan (not Medicaid) and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones, and Naturopathy!

Location: 14300 N Northsight 
Blvd Ste 124
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Ph: 480-837-0900
Fax: 480-409-2644
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