A Woman's Guide To Health
Women are having unnecessary hysterectomies. Sixty thousand hysterectomies a year are performed in Canada, resulting in 60 deaths every year. Half to a third of all hysterectomies are unnecessary. The majority of hysterectomies are performed on women between 35 and 44, and a whole new generation of women are going into premature surgical menopause because many of them are talked into having their ovaries out as well. When women have hysterectomies, their ovaries will fail earlier, their sex lives will be affected, and some women will have their sex lives permanently damaged. In general, they will have a long recovery period, unless they have this new operation through laparoscopy, and there are side effects in the bowel and bladder as well. We do have natural treatments for a lot of the problems that necessitate hysterectomies such as one of the most common causes of hysterectomies, fibroids.
We have thousands of repeat Caesarians every year. Most of them are not only medically unnecessary, but they are more dangerous than vaginal birth. All the medical colleges have verified this, but doctors don't necessarily practice according to science.
Women are cut and mutilated for no medical reason during episiotomies. No scientific studies have ever found that episiotomies are necessary. They don't prevent prolapse; they don't prevent urinary problems; they don't prevent anything. They are basically more convenient for the doctor, especially the doctor who believes that women's bodies were not designed to give birth, and a lot of doctors believe that. Doctors actually believe that it is necessary for them to be there. They have to be there with their scissors, cutting through three layers of tissue and causing great disability for most women after childbirth. In Britain, they have found that in most first births, episiotomies can be prevented, because in Britain, mid-wives are used.
Antibiotics, Steroids and Hormone Treatment
In my practice, I see that women are getting sicker, and part of it is caused by doctors' overuse of antibiotics, birth control pills, hormones and steroids. Even steroid skin creams are over used and can affect the immune system. Germaine Greer pointed out that estrogen has a sedative effect on women, and that taking hormones has unknown effects upon the body's own hormonal system. We have no idea what the long term use of birth control pills and hormones are doing to women's bodies. Birth control pills are related to increased gall bladder disease and could be related to breast cancer and cervical cancer. There are much safer methods of birth control such as the barrier methods, the diaphragm, the cervical cap and the condom, and all have the advantage of protecting you from sexually transmitted diseases as well.
Chronic fatigue is a number one complaint among women today. At least 25 to 35% of chronic fatigue has real physical causes such as anaemia, low thyroid, allergies, yeast and a number of physical problems which are usually being missed by doctors. Most women with chronic fatigue do not have chronic fatigue syndrome. I believe that one of the main causes for chronic fatigue in women is overwork. Women are now working harder than ever at home or at two jobs and they are working in less than favourable working conditions. I still see so many women suffering because they are doing most of the work in the household. This calls for a fundamental change in the way women are looking at the situation. They are setting a very bad example for their whole family if they allow themselves to do most of the work in the household. Many doctors and naturopaths don't recognize the kind of stress this kind of unequal division of labour creates. Then you add environmental stresses to this kind of overwork, polluted food, air and water, drug overuse, antibiotics, and all the other things we have mentioned. Dietary changes and supplements such as B6, mega B vitamins, vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil, calcium, magnesium and zinc are helpful in overcoming stress and fatigue.
The yeast syndrome is another thing which has been pretty much ignored by the medical profession, and it has been partially created by the medical profession through their use of antibiotics and birth control pills. It seems to be a vague syndrome because of the quite general symptoms like chronic fatigue, chronic digestive problems, brain fog, lack of concentration and depression. Children can get yeast infections too. For example, when a child's school performance suddenly drops, it could be due to a yeast infection triggered by tetracycline which was given for acne. A lot of scientific research has been conducted, and there are many treatments available, yet they have not been implemented in the medical field. Yeast infections are basically treated through diet, a diet that eliminates sugar, excess fruit, yeast and bread. You must take supplementary bacteria, acidophilus, and an anti-yeast medication or a natural form of an anti-yeast preparation, which is what I prefer. It can be garlic capsules or Nutribiotic, a grapefruit seed extract which is very good. It is both anti-yeast and anti-parasitic. You can also take things like caprylic acid a natural product that you can get in a health food store. Women on the birth control pill or hormones tend to have a lot more yeast infections.
Cystic Breast Disease
A researcher in Kingston, Ontario, Dr. William Ghent, discovered that a simple form of iodine, a non-toxic substance, can completely reverse cystic breast disease about 90% of the time. There are no side effects, and it also seems to lower the rate of breast cancer. We know that a low fat diet will also lower the rate of breast cancer. The iodine therapy is still being held up by the government, probably because it is a very inexpensive solution, and of course, it is also very safe.
We don't know how much of the current epidemic of breast cancer is caused by doctors and the whole pollution of the atmosphere. There are some very well designed studies which have linked the birth control pill with breast cancer and even more convincing evidence linking hormone replacement therapy with breast cancer. The best designed studies have shown a doubling of breast cancer rates for women on hormone replacement for long periods of time, from 10 to 25 years. Unfortunately, the medical profession is controlled by the drug industry, and the drug industry controls the medical journals and medical education.
Heart Disease and Osteoporosis
There are better ways to prevent heart disease and bone loss than taking hormones. There is a wonderful creme made from wild yams called progesterone creme which you apply to the skin. It can prevent and reverse osteoporosis and it is a wonderful alternative to hormone treatment. It is available at Supplements Plus.
Endometriosis is diagnosed when tissue which normally lines the uterus is found in other parts of the abdomen and pelvis. It can be in the bowel or the bladder and all kinds of areas. It usually causes severe pelvic pain. We have an Endometriosis Association in the U.S., with a branch here in Toronto, which has accumulated a great deal of information about endometriosis. Recent research sponsored by the Endometriosis Association has shown a link between dioxin and the development of endometriosis. Women are exposed to a lot of dioxin in sanitary napkins and tampons and all women should switch to unbleached sanitary products. They should also phone up the manufacturer and tell them why they are making the choice to change brands. Women are the main consumers of health care and they can initiate change in both product manufacturers and the medical profession.
There are enormous risks in this electromagnetic age, such as health hazards connected with using computers, and a lot of these computer risks are being completely dismissed. I was just in the new CBC building here in Toronto and I was shocked. The computer work stations are situated completely incorrectly. They have people sitting directly behind the computer in front of them. That is the place of maximum exposure for electromagnetic radiation, higher even than directly in front of the screen, and it has enormous side effects on women's health. You should be at least four feet from the back of another person's computer and three feet from your own computer screen. In addition, that whole building is full of formaldehyde, gassing off from the new rugs, causing headaches and illness.
It is mainly women who buy all this unhealthy food. We should be aiming at a diet with no sugar, or very little sugar, just as a treat, and no sugar substitutes, which are very harmful and cause a lot of symptoms like headache and insomnia and allergic reactions. Diet Coke, caffeine and alcohol should be eliminated as much as possible. Alcohol has a very detrimental effect on women's health. Women's bodies were not designed to handle alcohol; it is not metabolized well, and it has a detrimental effect on the whole hormonal system. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good things to eat, preferably organic. Through eating organic products, you can reduce your environmental pollution. Whole grains and beans, supplemented with chicken and fish are good. This is a current diet recommended for the prevention of cancer and heart disease. A lot of women are still allowing their families to eat a less than healthy diet and wondering why they are tired all the time.
Guidelines For Beginning Natural Therapy
People are often afraid to start a natural therapy. The first guideline is that if it works for you and has no side effects, then use it. To find an alternative practitioner, ask around, ask your friends, ask at health centers and health magazines. Choose your practitioner as you would any other service, according to his quality, experience, reputation, and lack of sexism. Herbs, vitamins and homeopathic remedies very rarely have side effects. It is very difficult to overdose on vitamins or herbs. They can't even compare with the list of side effects for any drug that you will find in every doctor's reference manual. In natural medicine, we believe that if you take drugs, they can suppress the body's own natural healing system and drive the illness further down into the tissues, only to resurface later as allergies or asthma.
Chronic Bladder Irritation
There are two types of bladder irritation. One is an infection and the other is an inflammation. Dr. Andrew Bruce, the head of Urology at Toronto General Hospital conducted a study and found that he could prevent recurrent urinary infections through using acidophilus capsules which are applied in the vagina. The inflammatory bladder irritation is harder to treat. It is usually related to chronic yeast infections, but it can be treated with natural and dietary treatment as well.
When you have a chronic illness, your immune system is shot and you have to go back to basics of diet, simplifying your diet, going on a cleansing diet, like brown rice and vegetables for a short time. You are going to do a lot of cleansing. Build up your immune system through vitamins and herbs. Look at all the emotional co-factors in your life and address them. Natural healing is a positive journey because you learn a lot about yourself. Women also have to educate their doctors as well as choosing their own alternatives. You can bring in scientific articles to your doctors which you can obtain through various self-help organizations.
Dr. De Marco practices as a consultant in holistic medicine in Toronto and British Columbia, specializing in women's health issues. She has been a pioneer in promoting natural childbirth and training midwives. She is a writer and medical advisor for Health Naturally magazine and has written a wonderful book called Take Charge of Your Body: Women's Health Advisor, which tells you all you need to know about avoiding unnecessary drugs and surgery, and making the best health choices for yourself.
Women must take charge of their own health, educate themselves, and not depend primarily on their doctors for their health care. Women have fallen in love with technology, and easy solutions, unfortunately. It is women who are the main victims of the overuse of drugs and surgery in the medical world. It is women who accept medical treatments without asking any questions, who have lousy diets and buy lousy food for their children.
This article is published by permission from http://www.consumerhealth.org