We are born into nature and are an inseparable part of it. Yet modern culture with its overemphasis on materialism and hyper-rationality has left us disconnected from the experience of our natural selves. Just as the natural world has been polluted and desecrated, so have we. The purity of our inner essential selves has been tainted and obscured with the thought forms of a superficial, consumer driven society.

The clash of culture with one’s inner nature can be particularly injurious to women, beginning most notably at the time girls enter puberty. The natural changes to both body and psyche signal the onset of the most sensitive time for the formation of a girl’s feminine identity. Nature tells her that she is moving toward adulthood, with the potential for bearing children, as she begins to hormonally embody the feminine qualities of nurturing, empathy, and the ability to merge with another; sensibilities that she first experiences internally, and will later express out in the world. Yet much about today’s culture carries the suggestion that her value is based primarily on her outer looks, with little or no emphasis given to the power, depth and wisdom of her inner essence.

First, I believe in women making choices regarding their own health care (for that matter, I believe EVERYONE should decide the best course of therapy for an illness). While our doctors serve as a primary source of information, they should NEVER have the final say about OUR health care choices and decisions.

As a doctor, I readily admit I don’t know everything! I don’t have time to know everything, so I’m always thankful when my own patients provide me with research they have found that might positively influence the outcome of their diseases. I’ve done the hard research for you on the topic of breast cancer, and it is my hope that when properly used, the information in Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How You Can Win the Battle! will save lives.

Women are prone to bladder infections, much more so than men. Due to the very short length of the urethra, bacteria can more easily migrate up into the bladder, and then multiply and irritate/infect the bladder. On some occasions, the bacteria can go higher up the ureters into the kidneys and cause more serious infections. Any woman who has ever experienced this problem will recognize the symptoms: feeling the need to urinate frequently and often urgently, but little comes out at a time, and urinating can be painful and burning. One doesn’t need to have all the symptoms for an infection to be present.

This isn’t some newfangled health idea; they teach it at Stanford University! A Stanford professor is teaching his students about the mind-body connection and the relationship between stress* and disease. The head of the Psychiatry Department at Stanford said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her female friends.

The importance of eating healthily for general well-being and warding off disease can never be underestimated, no more so it seems than with cancer. Today, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer amongst women, and in fact is the most prevalent cause of death in female cancer patients. Scientists however estimate that over 40 percent of all breast cancer cases could be prevented by a number of means such as changing one’s diet, drinking less alcohol, being more physically active and maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI).1 The main reason why these methods are proven to work is that they reduce and even negate the effect of what are known as ‘carcinogens’ in our bodies.

Hormones play an integral role in the way we look, feel, and perform from day to day. The premiere sex hormone testosterone is important for men, but it also plays an important role for a woman-especially a woman's healthy interest in sex.

Testosterone has been called the "hormone of desire" for good reason. Without enough testosterone, desire for sex all but disappears. Testosterone plays a major role in almost all aspects of sexual health in both genders (low testosterone levels are implicated in many cases of erectile dysfunction—not exactly something you ladies need to worry about). But testosterone is required for a lot more than just a good time.

When I recently meditated upon the Dalai Lama’s words about the role of women today, his sentiments confirmed the vital contribution women have made to all areas of society since the advent of feminism. When I grew up in the 1950s, it was rare to find examples of women in positions of leadership. Whether on TV, in magazines, or on the silver screen, the images of women promoted by the media conformed to the notion of “the weaker sex” requiring the protection and support of a man. Today, however, we’ve come a long way from this “Betty Crocker” vision of women. As we all know, women are increasingly assuming leadership roles that had previously been reserved for men, from corporate America, politics, and the business sector to social activism, human rights, medicine and science. As women continue to make vital and powerful contributions to their chosen fields, however, this transition from male to female social influence must be better framed and understood.

Women everywhere are talking about menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Is it safe or isn't it? Well, that depends on whom you ask, what studies you read and what media reports you're exposed to.

Earlier this year, women—and even doctors—became more confused about HRT when the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) issued a press release saying HRT is safe and effective if women start taking it early in menopause and for less than five years.

You can’t open a newspaper or magazine without seeing advertisements for hair loss solutions for men, but very few options are offered to women who are losing their hair. Over two-thirds of women suffer hair loss, and hair loss can be quite extreme—from thinning to bald patches. Thankfully, few women go totally bald like men do, but there is nothing more distressing than watching your lovely locks fall out in abundance. Topical solutions for women rarely reverse hair loss. And the drugs that are available have been predominantly researched in men and do not address the underlying reasons for hair loss in women.

Mary works full time while raising three young children and has been suffering with insomnia and night sweats even though she is far from menopause; Joanne, a busy stockbroker, has such heavy periods that she is locked in her house for seven days every month; and Melinda, newly married with an exciting job, is losing her hair, gaining weight around the middle, and feeling exhausted. All three women are suffering from estrogen dominance, a common condition in women.

Have chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or even sinusitis or spastic colon? You probably have overgrowth of yeast or Candida. Though poorly understood by most physicians, treating this underlying infection can have profound health benefits!

There are no definitive tests for yeast overgrowth that will distinguish yeast overgrowth from normal yeast growth in the body. However, if you have ANY of the following conditions you should be treated with anti-fungals:

Women are three times more likely to feel fatigued than men.

One in four North American women has low iron or iron deficiency anemia, characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, peeling fingernails, hair loss, poor concentration, heart palpitations, pale skin and dark under-eye circles. So important is iron to health that even a mild deficiency can affect your ability to perform everyday mental and physical tasks. And you do not have to be diagnosed as anemic to feel the effects of low iron. In a 2003 British Medical Journal clinical trial involving non-anemic women, iron supplementation dramatically improved unexplained fatigue.

Many people who are just starting a fitness program are going to turn to this page, as well as many who already caught the fitness bug and are “in the lifestyle.” The latter group can always remember what it was like when they first got into it, unless they are among the very few who were always fit and athletic, since childhood. We hate you guys. (Just kidding, just kidding…) When you’ve put it off for a long time, you usually feel you have a lot of weight to lose, plus you hate to exercise, plus you’re intimidated by all the choices and don’t want to ask “stupid” questions* on how to get started (*premature footnote: I don’t think there are such things), or you feel some combination of the above. And always, you wish you knew how to start.

In case you haven’t noticed, life has gotten harsh. It starts with jarring alarm clocks and chlorinated showers, where we lather up with stripping detergents and petrochemicals. Once in front of the mirror, we might pass a little harsh self-judgment before brushing our teeth with sodium lauryl sulfate, gargling with stinging mouthwash, applying paraben-laden deodorant to freshly-shaven underarms, and coal tar-derived color cosmetics to freshly-exfoliated skin. With a spritz of great-smelling neurotoxins and carcinogens, we hit the kitchen for our blood-sugar-spiking juice and cortisol-pumping coffee. As we sit down with our newspaper to dwell on the important things, we think: Ahhh, the most relaxing part of my day, as our bodies gasp, What just happened! And what’s going to happen to me when we go out the door?

In a talk to an audience of mothers of daughters, I asked the women to close their eyes and see a simple image in their minds, an image of an every day occurrence, “See that you are looking at yourself naked in front of a full length mirror. Look at your face and body. Are you happy with what you see?” In an audience of over 60 women, only one raised her hand. I then asked, “How many of you dislike what you see?” The rest of the women raised their hands. I was stunned, as I was looking out over an audience of well-groomed, attractive women in an affluent community, women who obviously took the time to exercise and cared about how they looked. I told them, “Your attitude about your own body and sensuality, whether you talk about it or not, is automatically passed down to your daughter. Who you are affects your daughter’s sense of self for the rest of her life.”

An ancient adage from Chinese medicine says, “A doctor would rather treat ten men than one woman.”Chinese medicine validates what women have always known, we are indeed intricate creatures! Our hormones are in part responsible for this complexity. Their ebb and flow influence all aspects of a woman’s physical, emotional and mental well-being.

The American College of Pathology states that four out of five women who die of cervical cancer had not had a PAP smear in the previous five years. According to U.S. statistics, the highest incidence of cervical cancer and the highest death rates occur in women over the age of 55, a group that often stops having annual PAP tests. PAP smears save lives by discovering abnormal cells, called cervical dysplasia, early enough to prevent loss of life from cervical cancer. All adult women from the age of 18 should have an annual PAP test to ensure that their cervix is healthy. But what can be done when the test comes back abnormal?

The venerated father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, has had many of his wise sayings immortalized over the past two millennia. Most of us know a version of the following: “As to diseases, make a habit of two things—to help, or at least, to do no harm.” However, there is one quote attributed to Hippocrates that has all but disappeared from a list of his most quotable quotes. Hippocrates poised the rhetorical question, “What is Woman?” to which he supplied the answer: “Disease!”

When it comes to women’s health, the knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine embodies may pearls of wisdom. One of the most well-known sayings is that a Chinese doctor would rather treat ten men rather than one woman! It is no surprise that women are the more complex gender. A woman’s unique physiology gives her extraordinary advantages, such as a longer life span. However, altering the very delicate and finely balanced female hormonal system can also predispose women to a long list of health problems that can compromise her physiological, emotional and mental well-being.

Menopause is the term used to describe the progressive cessation of menstruation in a woman over time. Menopause typically occurs after a woman’s child-bearing years, between the ages of 45 and 50. Some women, however, experience it as early as 35 and as late as 60 years old. The process of menopause can last for two to six years, during which time a woman’s hormone levels change due to the reduction in the production of estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries as they cease to produce eggs. Physiologically, menopause marks the end of a woman’s childbearing capacity and is a part of her natural aging process.

Tomatoes and natural tomato complex may be the ultimate women’s health food

Heart disease, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, skin cancer, endometrial cancer and osteoporosis— what do they have in common? They are all caused by oxidative stress, they attack women and they can all be prevented by tomatoes. The tomato may very well be one of nature’s most perfect foods, containing phytonutrients that help prevent oxidative damage which serves to protect against the leading health problems of women.

Self-Transformation Part II

There are many clicks to the Rubik’s Cube of self-transformation, and most require rethinking and undoing old mind-sets and self-sabotage to find your way back to your true radiant and glowing potential. Before we can find the ultimate path for ourselves, we must first reject the false paths that led us astray and then retrace our steps toward recovery. In the last issue, I appealed to you, through my own example, to reject today’s merry-go-round of short-sighted health and beauty solutions and take a more authentic path to transformation through health (if you missed the last issue, be sure to catch it). This month I offer some crucial first “twists” of the Rubik’s Cube toward recovery.

At best of times, understanding the ebb and flow of women’s hormones through the various stages of their life can seem like a daunting task. To make matters even more challenging, the Allopathic medicine perspective tends to medicalize and pathologize women’s hormonal issues. All too often, the first approach is prescribing hormones either as bio-identical hormones or HRT, both options come with risks.

Before I start talking about that vitamin study you all want to know about, I want to say a few words about MSNBC and FOX NEWS.

Trust me, it’s relevant.

No matter what side of the political fence you’re on, I’m sure you’ll agree that cable news has become extremely shrill and highly partisan. Both MSNBC and FOX may agree on the facts they are reporting but then spin them in an entirely different way to reach entirely different conclusions. Each political argument is founded on certain “if’s, ands and maybes”; i.e. this policy will lower (or raise) the debt assuming certain projections (such as medical costs or unemployment) are in fact true. Different researchers come up with very different projections (just read the Wall Street Journal stock advice columns!) Depending on whose projections and figures you use, even well-intentioned honest people can come to very different conclusions.

At best of times, understanding the ebb and flow of women’s hormones through the various stages of their life can seem like a daunting task. To make matters even more challenging, the Allopathic medicine perspective tends to medicalize and pathologize women’s hormonal issues. All too often, the first approach is prescribing hormones either as bio-identical hormones or HRT, both options come with risks.

So what is a woman to do?

I invited Angelo Druda, a renowned Oriental medicine practitioner; author of The Tao of Rejuvenation and a feature writer at NaturalNews.com, to have an in-depth conversation about the profound insight and practical approaches for natural hormone rejuvenation gleaned from thousands of years of Chinese medical wisdom. The ancient wisdom of the East offers the profound insight not just about how to balance hormones naturally but the very regenerative forces found within the female body. This is knowledge rarely understood in the western medical model but empowering information for women.

From childhood, girls love to play with mommy’s makeup. As the years go by, teen girls may not even dare to go out without makeup. Over the years, women use some form of makeup on almost daily bases. Cosmetic brands are a multibillion-dollar industry and women are willing to spend any price for beauty. Unfortunately, many of these cosmetics may contain toxic ingredients with potential harmful health effects. The price may not be paid until later in life with different degrees of sensitive skin and other health problems.

Women, Put Your Best Foot Forward

Women's feet are not just a smaller version of men's feet—they're uniquely designed and, therefore, need different support. The American Orthopedic Food and Ankle Society (AOFAS) found that 80 percent of women have foot problems, and not all of those are baby boomers.

Yes, I know why woman wear heels, after all, I'm 5'4" and always wanted to be at least 5'7". We feel more feminine, slimmer and better-dressed when we wear high heels. That said, the amount of woman over 55 that are suffering with symptoms that often can be directly related to the type of heel on their shoes is astounding. Researchers know most women's foot problems are due to their footwear; these problems are not found in men!

Research released by the Women’s Health Initiative ( WHI ) that showed that 1,000 mg calcium and 400 IU vitamin D in healthy postmenopausal women (between the ages of 50 to 79 years) did not reduce the risk of bone fractures. The study did show that the supplementation of calcium and vitamin D, combined with the recommended amount of calcium from the diet, significantly improved hipbone density. This study was a bit discouraging for many women who bank their bone health on just a daily calcium supplement product. There is so much more to do for bone health, including eating a wholesome diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle. In addition, there is a branded ingredient compound called Ostivone®, known in the research as ipriflavone, which when combined with calcium has been shown to significantly increase bone density.

One of the secrets to optimal health is cultivating a great relationship with bacteria. While many people will be reaching for their favorite antibacterial soap with just the thought of bacteria, there are, in fact, certain species of bacteria that we literally cannot live without.

In fact, our digestive tract is home to a thriving population of life-promoting gut bacteria that take up residence within us from the moment of birth. These microflora are so critical to our survival, that without their presence, every aspect of our health would suffer.

Welcome to Our Inner World
Our digestive tract, all 30 feet of it, is one of the most complex and immensely important organs of the body. The healthy functioning of our digestive system is profoundly dependent on the one hundred trillion microorganisms that dwell there, outnumbering the ten trillion cells that make up our body by ten to one!

In my 20 years as a health consultant and naturopathic doctor, I have traveled the world in search of the newest and most-compelling research on women’s health. I’ve seen hundreds of “panaceas” come and go. And in all this time, one thing I’ve learned with certainty is there’s no magical silver-bullet formula for balanced health.

I knew from the tension in Rosie’s voice that something was wrong. She phoned me in a panic after her doctor told her that her heavy menstrual bleeding was caused by uterine fibroids. She was hoping to avoid the only option offered to her by her doctor—a hysterectomy.

Being a woman isn’t easy. The world of feminine hygiene is fraught with a plethora of discomforts and health challenges.

The health statistics say it all: 80 percent of women will be exposed to human papillomavirus (HPV); nearly 75 percent of all adult women will have at least one genital yeast infection; bacterial vaginosis (BV), the most common vaginal infection in women, affects 700,000 women; 40 percent of women will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime; one million women have a flare up of pelvic inflammatory disease each year; approximately one out of four women are infected with genital herpes; and half of all women over the age 40 will suffer from vaginal dryness at some time.

An ancient adage from Chinese medicine states, “A doctor would rather treat 10 men than one woman.” In a way, this validates what women have always known—that they are indeed intricate creatures. At the heart of a woman’s complexity are her hormones, their ebb and flow influencing all aspects of physical, emotional and mental wellness. Sexy hormones are sex hormones including, but not limited too, estrogen, testosterone, DHEA and progesterone. When a woman’s hormones are in balance, she feels fabulous, her skin glows, she has energy and vitality.

If I were to tell you there is a fungus living in your intestines that produces 180 chemical toxins capable of making you feel dizzy and fatigued, shutting down your thyroid, throwing your hormones off balance, and causing you to crave sugar and alcohol, all of which make you put on weight—would you believe me? You probably wouldn’t— few doctors even realize the extent of damage caused by yeast overgrowth but the above scenario is all too true.

Like so many women, the midlife middle spread seemed to have sneaked up on me. I knew I had just emerged from two years of major life changes with its accompanying stress. Well, really, to be totally honest, MAJOR STRESS! However, I was not at all prepared for my doctor’s rather blunt comment.

Rather tactlessly he said. “What has happened to you? You look like you are six months pregnant.”

Now I knew I had been carrying some extra cortisol-induced weight around the midriff, but I guess denial is a really wonderful thing. I really didn’t think I looked that overweight. Stepping onto his scale really ripped the veil of illusion from my eyes!

For most women, weight gain is the bane of our existence. It is a culturally induce fat phobia. Aside from our vanity, extra-weight is a health hazard. In 2004 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranked obesity as the number one health threat facing America. More than 60 percent of women over the age of 20 fall into the overweight category. That’s makes it 64.5 million of us. If we’re talking obesity that means almost 35 million more are in that category.

Americans spend a lot of money on weight loss programs and diets—$50 billion annually! That’s an awful lot of our hard earned cash.

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