In addition to making sure our daughters have healthy options for their bodies, we all want to give them healthy ideas for their mental well-being too. As the founders of an organic tampon company, and director of self-esteem programs for girls, we’ve spent years talking to adolescents and parents about menstruation, or the “moon” cycle. Although everyone is unique, the curiosity of girls and the anxiety of parents associated this conversation is pretty universal, so here are a few suggestions.
Wait a second . . . toxic chemicals in my tampons? Ah, menstruation, that monthly ritual often marred by discomfort, inconvenience and most fun of all— mood swings! For most women, once they find the menstrual products that meet their needs, they stick with them for a lifetime without giving them any further thought.
Unfortunately, there is more to tampons than one might expect. Women’s Voices for the Earth (http://www.womensvoices.org/), a national women’s health non-profit, has been delving into the world of tampons and other feminine care products to better understand what they are made of, what toxic chemicals they may contain, and how they might be impacting our health.
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.