Women have a lot of things to keep track of when it comes to taking care of their health. From menstrual cycles and PMS to fertility and pregnancy, women have unique challenges in staying healthy and balanced. Naturopathic medicine incorporates the best parts of Western physiology and natural healing methods to come up with a treatment plan that addresses all of women’s health concerns.
Some of the more common women’s health issues are described below.
Menstrual Cycle Issues & PMS
Many women experience pain or moodiness either before or during their periods, and it can interfere with daily life. Pain with menstrual bleeding is called dysmenorrhea and ranges from mild to severe. PMS is the term for symptoms that appear in the days leading up to your period. You can read more about Menstrual Cycle Issues here and PMS here.
A sexually transmitted infection, or STI, is a bacterial or viral infection that is passed between partners through bodily fluids. Most bacterial infections, like chlamydia or gonorrhea, stay localized to the genital and reproductive areas. Many women who get these infections don’t have any symptoms, but both of these very common sexually transmitted diseases can lead to infertility. HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis C are common and potentially life-threatening STIs. It’s important to get regular STI testing, and your doctor should be able to make you feel comfortable when you ask.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) and trichomoniasis are infections of the vagina that cause smelly discharge. Both of them can be passed on to partners, and treating them is important. Sometimes, BV doesn’t resolve with antibiotic treatment, and deeper immune support can help.
Chronic Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are an annoying issue that most women experience at least once in their lives. High blood sugar, antibiotic use, and a high sugar diet can all be part of what’s causing frequent vaginal yeast infections, even if it doesn’t seem like they’re connected. Natural remedies are as effective as prescription and over the counter remedies and help treat the root cause.
Urinary Tract Infections
Because women tend to have shorter urethras than men, they tend to get more urinary tract infections (UTIs). This can be annoying and painful, and taking repeated rounds of antibiotics can wreak havoc on your digestive system and cause yeast infections. Read more about UTIs here.
Fertility & Preconception Health
Fertility is a major reason that women seek alternative and complementary health care. One of the major causes of infertility is a lack of ovulation. Underlying conditions, like PCOS, hypothyroidism, and high stress can all prevent ovulation. Other causes of infertility include uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and tubal blockages. Supporting the body with natural methods and treating the cause of your infertility can help you to have a baby.
If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, it’s important to make sure your body has proper nutrient stores. Iron and folic acid are important for your future baby’s health, and testing for STIs and other infections will help keep your future baby healthy.
During pregnancy, women need extra support to make sure their baby is developing normally. They can also use extra help with all the changes their bodies are going through. From morning sickness to insomnia and pain, natural remedies can help support the mother and the baby.
Rare is the woman who has a symptom-free menopause. Hot flashes tend be the most disruptive, making work and sleep difficult. Mood swings are common, and so are changes in weight, appetite, and libido. There are many natural approaches to helping you through menopause.
Naturopathic Approaches to Women’s Health
One of naturopathic medicine’s guiding principles is to treat the cause, so identifying what’s causing your symptoms is the first step to healing your body. From there, we make a plan that may include herbal medicine, nutritional advice, supplementation, and acupuncture. Naturopathic doctors are trained in counseling and homeopathy, and can listen and support you using those tools. Developing a treatment plan that works for you is important, and your ND will with you every step of the way.