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Women's Health

Women today are busy, stressed and often trying to do more than their share of tasks. Women often lack the support they need to keep them healthy – mentally, emotionally and physically. More and more women are turning to Naturopathic Doctors to help them manage their health concerns and learn stress management techniques.

Women’s health concerns are among the most common that Naturopathic Doctors will see in their practices. Most female health concerns can be addressed effectively without drugs or surgery using naturopathic treatment. Women’s health is a broad subject that can entail a variety of conditions.

Fertility
Many women struggle with an inability to get pregnant. The facts are that some simple changes might help. A naturopathic doctor can help a woman understand the factors underlying their difficulty in getting pregnant.

Nutrition, as usual, plays a key role in maximizing fertility. Eating a whole foods diet rich in high quality protein, fruits and vegetables is critical in preparing your body to conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy. Avoiding substances like caffeine and alcohol will also help to increase the chances a woman will become pregnant.

If a woman is not ovulating regularly, there are treatment strategies naturopathic medicine can offer to promote regular ovulation and pregnancy. One example is Chaste Tree Berry, an herb that has research supporting its use in increasing fertility in women who do not ovulate regularly.

If you are having trouble getting pregnant, consulting a naturopathic physician will provide you with strategies that will help you increase your chances.

Menstrual problems
Menstrual problems are very common for women of all ages. Painful menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome are some of the diseases that can cause a woman pain, discomfort, emotional lability, and fertility problems. It is important to understand all the underling factors that contribute to these problems.

Diet, liver function, hormone imbalances, inflammation, and environmental factors may all play a role in these conditions. A naturopathic physician will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine which of these factors is involved in your particular situation. Once the key causes are identified, a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) will develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

Diet will be a cornerstone of the treatment, and will be individually tailored to balance hormones, minimize inflammation, and reduce toxic burden. Nutritional factors to help metabolize hormones and reduce inflammation will be recommended. Commonly recommended nutrients are vitamin B-6, calcium and magnesium, and fish oil.

Homeopathic remedies may be useful as well. Hands on therapy, or physical therapy, can also be helpful for some of these conditions. Visceral manipulation is one type of gentle hands on therapy that can be very helpful for painful menstrual cramps.

Fibrocystic breast disease
Many women suffer from painful, swollen breasts before their menstrual periods. This condition, called fibrocystic breast disease or FBD, is not serious, but causes lots of anxiety and discomfort for many women. Fortunately, FBD can be very effectively controlled by a naturopathic approach.

Once a diagnosis is made, an ND will develop a treatment plan that will be focused on reducing inflammation in the breast, and balancing hormones to avoid an excess estrogen activity on the breasts. Avoiding caffeine is an important part of an FBD treatment plan, as even small amounts of caffeine can trigger FBD symptoms. An anti-inflammatory diet will be recommended.

This diet is one that emphasizes essential fatty acids that come from plant foods and minimizes saturated fats that come from meats and animal products. There are also herbs and nutrients that can help to balance hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.

Weight management
This is, quite literally, a gigantic problem for women in North America. Obesity is now well chronicled as an epidemic. A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) can be a vital part of your weight loss program by bringing innovative ideas and strategies to your weight loss plan.

The secret to weight loss is really not a secret at all. It is basically a formula that includes calories in, calories out, and metabolic rate. Naturopathic medicine does not have any magic bullets for weight loss. However, strategies for maximizing metabolic rate with diet, nutritional supplements and exercise can help to accelerate your weight loss.

Safe and effective programs that encourage modest but steady weight loss and emphasize life long changes in eating and activity patterns will be the foundation of a naturopathic approach to weight loss. Emotional aspects of dysfunctional eating patterns will also be a focus of naturopathic treatment approaches.

Menopause
All women will sooner or later face this very natural and normal transition. Hot flashes, emotional instability, insomnia, menstrual changes, and changes in libido are all very common symptoms of menopause. Fortunately, these symptoms are temporary, and will eventually end.

These symptoms are not a disease; they are signs of a changing internal environment. If a woman is not bothered by her symptoms, there is no need to do anything other than wait it out. If, however, her life is disrupted by any of these symptoms, there are many effective strategies to help ease her through this transition.

Hormone replacement is a common and effective treatment for these menopausal symptoms. Hormones however, have potentially serious long term effects, so their use must be weighed against these potential dangers.

A naturopathic physician can help a woman sort through the vast and confusing amount of information on this subject. Once her particular needs and concerns are understood, a treatment plan will be developed to help ease her transition into a healthy and happy new era.

There are many non-hormonal therapies that can help effectively treat menopausal symptoms. Many dietary, exercise, and botanical therapies have research showing they can successfully treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Utilizing an ND for assistance in navigating the menopausal transition can definitely ease the passage.

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