(Reprint courtesy of Hippocrates Health Institute)
Not long ago it was revealed that women’s health is on the far backburner for research money in the conquest of disease. Our global progress in the twenty-first century has fallen short compared to other
human advancements. Even the women’s liberation movement has sparked a new layer of responsibility beyond the care of our children and families. Working — which is a necessity in fulfilling many of us — has, in itself, given rise to diseases that are traditionally developed via stress.
Our historic role of nurturing and feeding the family has been overshadowed by fast food, television and computer nannies. This breakdown of the traditional family brings forth insecure and unguided children who grow into ill and dysfunctional adults. Disease rates among babies and youths are outrageous and expanding daily. 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of ‘the pill.’ Internationally celebrated as a win for women, this birth control method has proven to devalue commitment and intimacy and raise diseases through the roof. Birth control pills have been through many generations of reformulation. Each new version raises different disorders from increased chances of clotting, emotional concerns and even breast and other cancers. It is time we ask our men to protect us during intimacy and not once again be expected to sacrifice our health and happiness to please them. Life should be a two-way street which brings balance.
For decades, pharmaceutical estrogens and progesterone were handed out like candy once a woman headed into middle age. Although here at Hippocrates Health Institute we warned of their perils, it took a global study exposing the risks associated with these ‘meds’ to halt their deadly march. They were shown to be carcinogenic and increased cardiovascular risk. Simply put, they were life-threatening.
MENOPAUSE – For much of our lives we are fertile. Nature liberates us as the perpetuators of future generations as we age so that we can spend more quality time with and for ourselves. Weight gain happens often due to hormone imbalance and as researchers consistently report when estrogen is not balanced and remains either high or low, it increases body fat in the hips and belly region. Estradiol (E2) and estrone (E1), at high levels, could increase breast and ovarian cancer. The main postmenopausal hormone is estrone E1. It is produced in the ovaries only after menstruation ceases. It is made in your fat cells and additionally in the liver and adrenal glands. Estriol (E3) can protect us from breast cancer, and there is clear evidence that women who have breast cancer and take bio-identical (E3) Estriol, endure far less recurrences of the disease.
In addition, women who make love one to two times a week double the good estrogen. The rise in estrogen was discovered by Karolinska Institute in Stockholm where they revealed that oxytocin stimulates the brain cell neuroreceptors, creating endorphins which in turn spark estrogen development. Another hormone—insulin— plays a major role in production of serotonin and helps the body repair itself. It counters the adrenaline and cortisol actions in the body.
After menopause progesterone that is also produced in the ovaries, reverts to production in the adrenal glands. Sugar, saturated fats and stress lower progesterone. We need the progesterone to balance the estrogen. Testosterone is also a ‘female’ hormone made in the adrenal gland and ovaries. It will decrease during menopause, yet is precipitated by pollutants, stress, birth control pills, chemo or depression. Exercising, losing weight, sleeping well and taking zinc will help to increase it.
I am 10 years post-menopausal, and have enjoyed a life of continuing muscle, aerobic and strengthening exercise. I also eat a diet of fresh vegan organic food and juices. It has been such a natural process. It is the original and foremost way to live, so that mental and physical energy abound throughout our entire life. From the early days of our new found ‘freedom,’ ‘we came a long way baby,’ and began smoking like chimneys. Symbolically, it gave many women a feeling that they were now on par with their male counterparts. This turned out to be true as lung cancer, emphysema, infertility problems and other health concerns skyrocketed among the female population. Today the one group that is not hearing the message about quitting smoking are young women. Miscarriages, weakened offspring and reduced incomes due to illness are also connected to the inhalation of disease causing smoke.
Endometriosis is impairing more women each year. Mainstream medicine perceives this an autoimmune disease, but it is actually a lifestyle disorder. When one does not sleep, eat and exercise properly, it weakens immune system cells, precipitating an imbalance in the homeostasis of this female system. Add on top of this other daily stress factors and it can create a recipe for disaster. This disease is the result of healthy cells that form the lining of the uterus (endometrium) growing and mutating outside the uterus—usually in the abdomen, pelvis, fallopian tubes or ovaries— causing inflammation, along with enormous pain and risk of infertility. Endometrial cancer is a form of uterine cancer—the most common cancer of the of the female tract, often caused by estrogen replacements, tamoxifen and other estrogen suppressors, obesity, diet and alcohol consumption. Research has found that women who ate large amounts of meat had an 80% increased risk of developing endometriosis. Conversely, those who ate a vegan diet had a 40% decreased endometriosis risk. Caffeine consumption and exposure to PCBs and parabens are also risk factors.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a virus with hundreds of variations. It is linked to cervical cancer, which is the second most common cancer for women between 15–34 years of age. This connection spawned a questionable new drug called Gardasil, which is targeted at teenage girls. HPV is contracted in great part via unprotected sex. Long-term use of birth control pills, smoking, diet and stress are contributors as well. We are now in a phase where unsolicited human experimentation is being conducted, and it will take a generation to see the real effects of Gardasil.
Ovarian cancer, which at one time primarily affected older women, has begun to touch much younger females. One cause of this trend is unnatural hormonal disparity due to environmental estrogens. The root of this problem is manmade chemicals, heavy metal pollution and unhealthy diets. Research indicates that women who consume dairy products have a 44% greater risk of ovarian cancer (see Joseph Keon’s article on page 24 to learn how dairy products also contribute to prostate cancer in men). A cultural lessening of sexual activity, coupled with increased use of laptop computers, cell phones and wireless technologies, further contributes to this malady. (See Devra Davis’ article on page 31 for more about mobile phone risks.)
Breast cancer, which attacks one out of five to one out of seven women, depending on education and cultural status, has become a plague. Over 90% of breast tumors are insulin receptorpositive, so the amount of sugar (alcohol, sodas, etc.) you eat and drink is directly linked to breast cancer. As Dr. Brian Clement and I wrote in our book Killer Clothes, synthetic bras, accompanied by animal-based food consumption, the plethora of worldwide pollutants and the impact of emotional concerns, all rally together to unleash breast cancer at an alarming rate. Nursing mothers reduce their chances of contracting this disease, as do women in secure and loving relationships. The less stress and environmental hazards the less chance women have to contract this disorder.
Hyper- and hypothyroidism are becoming very common problems for women worldwide. This is yet another disease that was minimally concerning and has now become commonplace. Thyroid problems often appear when we are in menopause. Your ovaries have thyroid receptors and your thyroid gland has ovarian receptors. So, when we lose estradiol and testosterone from ovaries it can affect the thyroid. Long-term selenium, zinc and iodine deficiency in our soil (The World Health Organization finds that about 72% of the world population is iodine deficient), emotional stress and chemical and electromagnetic pollution are the major culprits behind thyroid illnesses. Check temperature under your arm for 10 minutes as soon as you wake up in the morning. If it’s lower than 97.4° F, do the following medical testing for Thyroids, Free T4, Free T3 and TSH blood tests. When thyroid abnormalities are left unchecked, they can elevate to thyroid cancer. Directly and indirectly this impairs memory, libido, the cardiovascular system and much more.
Fibroids and cysts are anatomical mechanisms that are the results of the body defending itself from abnormal chemistry, infections and toxins. Fibroids have estrogen receptors, so they grow when there is an abundance of estrogen. Fibroids thrive during pregnancy, improper hormone treatments and when one consumes a polluted diet. Formerly, cysts were believed to be independent from cancer creation. They are now considered potential precursors to cancer. Many describe them as internal pimples, which apparently describes them in an understandable way. These growths possess the potential to complicate organ and circulatory function.
Osteoporosis and Osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis) affect a wide cross section of women and are far more prevalent in developed countries. Misleading marketers tell you this is caused by a calcium deficiency. This is not only wrong, but improper calcium supplementation (most often touted) actually lead to hardening of the arteries and stroke. Bones are constantly breaking down and reforming, reabsorbing and depositing calcium. As we get older, bone breakdown exceeds bone formation. Our thoracic and lumbar vertebrae could demineralize. Thin women—even those who conduct significant amounts of exercise—are more prone to these disorders than are stocky women. All body types can contract this malady. Resistance exercise, a healthy green organic plant-based diet and the consumption—either from foods and/or whole foods supplementation—of adequate strontium, silica and biotin, can help prevent and even reverse osteoporosis and osteopenia.
There are many others health concerns I could address, but the resolution is always the same prescription. Regain emotional positivity, eat an organic plant-based diet, exercise aerobically, stretch and lift weights, sleep and rest adequately, and make sure that your work and home environments are sound and peaceful. Your personal relationships and the occupation that you choose absorb all of the time in your life. For this reason, it is essential that you develop a positive and strong self-identity so that you will not compromise on your choices concerning these pinnacle decisions.
When finding yourself in disharmonious life circumstances, remember that you are in control of your destiny, and it is only you that can make the necessary improvements and changes that may literally save your life.