Women's Health Issues with Aging
By Alex Strande, Ph.D.  





About 1 in 3 U.S. women has a pelvic problem by age of 60. National Women's Health Center indicates that pelvic problems mainly relate to the following areas: Abnormal heavy menstrual periods (menorrhagia). Uterine fibroids (benign tumors made of muscle and connective tissue in the uterus). Urinary incontinence (urine leakage during physical acts such as coughing or sneezing). Pelvic organ prolapsed (the drooping of pelvic floor organs including the bladder, uterus, vagina, small bowel, and rectum.

It is suspected that many women don't report these conditions or seek treatment, perhaps out of embarrassment; perhaps conventional medicine does not offer safe easy solutions. Herbal medicine does offer rapid results provided the practitioner knows how to mix and concentrate the herbs to produce results in a timely manner.

These conditions become even more common with age, and with the baby-boomer generation getting older. It is predicted that pelvic health conditions will rise in American women. Here are some examples of herbs traditionally used in women's pelvic health:
Helonias luteum - utherine tonic and strengthener, estrogenic; Discorea villosa - utherine tonic, liver tonic, anti-spasmolytic; Beth root - similar action as Helonias but it is more astringent; Vitex - weakens FSH, therefore weakens excess estrogen and strengthens LH, this way promoting progesterone. It is more of a hormonal regulator. Viburnum - any pelvic inflammatory condition with pain; Blue Cohosh - useful for mastalgia, increases progesterone; Wild Yam - a specific for utherine pain; Silybum marianum - liver restorative (remember liver downgrades old estrogens); Evening Primrose -increases anti-inflammatory prostaglandins; Ginger - the most specific circulatory tonic and stimulant for reproductive organs; Dong Quai - circulatory and blood tonic as well as hormonal balancer; Cramp Bark and Black Haw - excellent remedies for cramps and pain; Pulsatilla - an organ pain killer; Black Cohosh - uterine pain killer with estrogenic action; Shark cartilage - shrinks tumors and growths; Raspberry leaf, Shepherds Purse - an astringent, indicated in excessive bleeding.

Here are few exercises indicated in weak or prolapsed pelvis organs:

1. Place the body on the floor. Elevate and support the heaps. Tense and relax the muscles of the pelvic wall. Do 100 of them twice each day.

2. Lying in your bed on the back. Relax every part of your body completely. Hands beside the body. Bend the knees and draw the heals close to the buttocks. Lift your heaps off the bed while using shoulders and feet for support. You do it while inhaling. Lower the heaps while exhaling. Constrict the anus when breathing in (pulling the action on the uterus). Relax the anus and entire body while breathing out. Do it 10-30 times daily.

3. Lying on your stomach with legs extended and crossed. Constrict first the anus and the vagina. Then relax completely. 100 to 300 times daily. It is predicted that about 70% of white women and 80% of African-American women develop uterine fibroids by age of 50.

An estimated 13.5 million women in the baby-boomer generation (1/3 of female baby boomers) have urinary incontinence. Nearly 40% of women aged 45-60 experience heavy menstrual periods. More than 250,000 hysterectomies (surgical removal of the uterus) were done in the U.S. in 2005 for women with a diagnosis of menorrhagia or uterine fibroids.

Americans are living longer than ever before, and many seniors are living active, healthy and productive lives. A woman who is 65 today can expect to live, on average, another 19 years to age of 84. Many of you are using this extra time volunteering in your communities, traveling and spending more time with family and friends.

Taking good care of your body and mind will help you enjoy your golden years. Common sense tells you that there is no point in poisoning yourselves with pharmaceuticals and chemicals since nature provides us with hundreds of healing plants from which to choose.

With aging, the key other issues that affect older women are heart disease and stroke, cancer and mental disorders. There are wonderful natural remedies that were traditionally used in these conditions for the last 5000 years. Ask your naturopath to elaborate.

Older women have higher rates of disability than men because women with disabilities survive longer than men. Taking good care of yourself, including lots of supplements, can lower your chances of becoming disabled. Don't believe in the rubbish some people will tell you "If you eat well, you will be fine." No, you won't for the simple reason that you do not absorb as well as you age.

Planning your future is also vital to make sure you enjoy your retirement. Visiting a good naturopath will help you live longer and have less fatigue, pain, anxiety and depression. You have only one life. Let's make the best out of it.

Alex Strande, Ph.D. is a Traditional Naturopath and Microbiologist. His special interests are difficult conditions. He can be reached at his office in Irvine at (949) 587-1513 for questions and appointments. Find more information about Dr. Strande's background, articles published and many testimonials at www.simplyhealingclinic.com

 


Return to the January/February Index page