Natural Answers for Women's Health Questions: A Comprehensive A-Z Guide to Drug-Free Mind-Body Remedies

Natural Answers for Women's Health Questions: A Comprehensive A-Z Guide to Drug-Free Mind-Body Remedies

by D. Lindsey Berkson

One-Stop Problem Solving...Naturally

With the increased popularity of natural remedies, more and more women are looking for clear, authoritative information on how to use these applications for specific health problems. What will help severe allergies? How do the major hormonal events in a woman's life — from puberty to post-menopause — affect


One-Stop Problem Solving...Naturally

With the increased popularity of natural remedies, more and more women are looking for clear, authoritative information on how to use these applications for specific health problems. What will help severe allergies? How do the major hormonal events in a woman's life — from puberty to post-menopause — affect symptoms and treatments? What's the real story on hormone-replacement therapies? Do birth-control pills increase the risk of breast cancer or not?

In this one-stop reference, D. Lindsey Berkson provides clear explanations and natural solutions. Organized in a straightforward A-Z format and covering more than 200 health conditions with advice focused entirely on women's distinctive needs, entries include discussions of:

anorexia • arthritis • cancer

heart disease • hormone-replacement therapy • insomnia

lupus • menopause • pregnancy

STDs • stress • thyroid problems

Each entry provides an explanation of the condition, lists common and uncommon symptoms, notes likely causes, and includes a section of uniquely female concerns highlighting the role of hormones. Sensible health-promoting strategies are spelled out: which foods to eat, which foods to avoid, which dietary supplements to take, and which exercises to do, as well as how meditation and visualization can help. Each section includes complementary medicine tests to discuss with your doctor.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A nutritionist, chiropractor, and women's health advocate, Berkson (Healthy Digestion the Natural Way) is a "DES daughter" i.e., her mother was administered the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol early in pregnancy. Having been exposed to such a powerful chemical at a crucial stage in gestation, she has faced hormonal problems and gynecological procedures and is unable to bear children. Those medical issues led Berkson to dedicate herself to understanding women's health problems and finding practical, drug-free solutions. Her latest book is firmly grounded in both her experience and her expertise and offers clear guidance to more than 200 health conditions that concern women (e.g., anorexia, cellulite, and menopause), particularly those that affect women differently from men; special attention is paid to issues concerning women's hormones. Each entry includes an explanation, a section of female concerns, supplements to take, exercises, and a list of common and uncommon symptoms and causes. The treatment suggestions are primarily nutritional and natural. Berkson emphasizes that her recommendations should be followed only with a physician's supervision, and she recognizes the utility of medications and medical procedures. Recommended for consumer health and large health sciences collections as a potential tool for empowering women to take some measure of control over their own health. Linda M.G. Katz, MCP Hahnemann Univ., Philadelphia Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Read an Excerpt

from the Introduction

Living in a woman's body means inhabiting a different universe from the one a man lives in. Any woman can tell you this. Historically, however, most medical research and many medical recommendations have been based on the male anatomy and the way the male body functions. This book is uniquely female. It takes into account women's major hormonal events — puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, peri- and postmenopause — and looks at the ways in which these circumstances affect symptoms and the treatments of various illnesses.

This book is a guide to help you work along with your health allies: the doctors and practitioners who listen to your whole story and figure out how to make you the best and healthiest you can be. The old Chinese proverb holds true: Give a starving woman a fish to eat and soon she will be hungry again, but teach her how to fish and she will be able to feed herself and her whole family. This book is about helping us feed our bodies and souls with facts and guidelines that are uniquely female.

That various medical conditions are affected and often exacerbated by specific phases of the menstrual cycle is a well-recognized phenomenon in medical literature, but this fact has not yet made the transition into clinical practice. When was the last time a doctor asked you if your asthma or irritable bowel symptoms cycled with your menstrual cycle? Did your doctor consider running a complete evaluation to see if an imbalance of your hormones had anything to do with your recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes, or migraine headaches?

You are a soul having a human experience in a female body that ovulates, respondssensitively to hormonal fluxes as well as to the moon, and is a mystery to us all, even doctors. No matter how much anyone seems to have all the answers, you and you alone are responsible for your health. There is such an explosion of information today that no one doctor can know everything that is available or keep up-to-date on the latest studies. That does not make any doctor wrong, bad, or arrogant, nor does it fossilize you into permanent victimhood. It is just the fact. Life is fast and furious, and so is information. Get smart and stretch your mind, lifestyle, nutrition, and options. Let me help you help yourself and your doctors so you can enjoy yourself as fully as possible on this magical mystery tour called life.

Read This First

The information in this book is to be used in conjunction with a physician who monitors your treatment and progress. All your health concerns should be medically supervised. Always tell your doctor everything you are taking, including all nutrients and herbs, especially if you are or will be taking any medication, are planning surgery, or are presently pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. In dealing with health issues, risk can never be completely ruled out, nor can any guarantees be made.

Dosages in this book are given for adults, and alterations should be made for adults with certain conditions. Most RDAs (recommended dietary allowances) tend to be too low to produce a therapeutic effect. However, never take supplement dosages higher than the RDAs without professional supervision. Certain individuals may experience allergic or other adverse reactions from using a natural dietary supplement or from some substance mixed with it. Call your doctor immediately if any reaction occurs. Do not put off proper medical supervision because you think you can self-medicate based on what you read here; instead, share the information in this book with your doctor or health-care practitioner.

It makes sense to try natural means to heal many problems before using drugs, unless the situation is serious or an emergency. Drugs are not without side effects, some of which require hospitalization. Adverse reactions to drugs account for 3.1-6.2 percent of hospitalizations per year in America, and 0.13-0.21 percent of deaths. These are only the reactions that are tracked; many reactions don't lead to hospital admission and are therefore not counted. Women, as well as the elderly, more than men, are at risk for hospital admissions due to drug reactions.

How to Use This Book

This book is an A-to-Z guide to health conditions that occur more frequently in women than men, that affect women differently, or that are related to women's hormones. It focuses on simple explanations of what the conditions are, how being female affects both symptoms and treatment, and goes on to give nutritional and other suggestions for improving health.

Many conditions that are not classically thought to be linked to female hormones and menstruation may in fact be closely coupled with our ovaries and their influence. An alarming number of doctors don't realize the extent to which our hormones orchestrate our disease processes, so it is up to you to connect the dots and start explaining this link to your doctors.

Read Part One first. It sets the scene for your basic information and orients you in using this book. Then go on to Part Two, which provides easy access and information for each condition — the dos and don'ts for diet and nutrients along with pertinent ideas to discuss with your doctor. When there is a long list of causes or symptoms, don't be overwhelmed. Read the list and figure out which apply to you.

When there is a long list of nutrients, it is sometimes hard to decide which ones are the most important for you. Discuss this with your doctor and refer to the charts on pages 35-39 to find which nutrients might be best to take for your body. Blood tests are a notoriously unreliable way to recognize nutrient deficiencies until very late in the game.


1. Read Part One first.

2. Look up your specific health condition in Part Two.

3. Before you take any nutrients, see "How to Take Nutrients" on page 37 and review with your doctor the interactions of nutrients with food, herbs, drugs, and each other in appendices I-L. You don't want to take an inappropriate nutrient. This section is a must!

4. Read whichever hormonal links pertain to you. For example, if your problem is related to excess estrogen, read Estrogen Dominance and the section on estrogen under Hormones.

5. Check the nutrient charts (pages 35-39) to get an idea of what deficiencies you may have. This will help you decide which nutrients listed under your condition are the best for you to use. Don't use all the nutrients listed.

6. Read the section on digestive enzymes (appendix F) to evaluate whether or not you need them. Taking nutrients and herbs without digesting them is useless.

7. Go to Stress-Reduction Techniques (page 52) for mind-body tools.

8. Check other sections that may be related to your health, such as Wine and Alcoholic Beverages, Caffeine in Coffee and Tea, Fats and Essential Fatty Acids, or Immune Enhancement.

9. Share with your doctor the information about hormone testing and lab resources in appendix A.

10. If you don't understand a word, look it up in the Glossary.

Remember, the information in this book is to be used in conjunction with medical supervision and any necessary tests and conventional therapies.

Copyright © 2002 by Dr. D. Lindsey Berkson

from How to Put Your Health Together

You Are Worth It

Many women fall into the trap of doing for everyone else — their kids, parents, mates, and friends. They think they are not being good women, good people, if they put their own needs first. Ironically, you can only share with someone else what you already have. If you don't have a mango in your bag, you can't give it away. If you don't have your own health, how can you help keep others healthy?

If you give, give, and give away your love, time, and energy to everyone else without adequately giving to yourself, you can become depleted, angry, fatigued, and stressed. Take time for yourself. Eat well, spend some money or time on good exercise, food, and fun. When you have a full reservoir, you can freely give to others. If you are frazzled and constantly tired, not taking care of or loving yourself, those around you will treat you the way you treat yourself — with no respect. But when others see you living sensibly, having boundaries, and generally taking good care of yourself, they will respect you and feel better about themselves as well. A vital aspect of health is being aware of the choices you make about managing your body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

As it turns out, martyrdom really only works for martyrs.

Think it costs too much to take care of yourself? Not all lifestyle and alternative medicine choices are expensive. Start by improving the quality of most of your meals, taking the time to walk, to sit and contemplate your navel, to breathe deeply and look around at what is happening. You can be the master of your domain rather than a stressed-out victim hanging on by her fingertips. Try simple solutions first; if they don't bring the energy and health you want and deserve, then go on to more sophisticated and costly answers. You're worth it.

Copyright © 2002 by Dr. D. Lindsey Berkson

Meet the Author

D. Lindsey Berkson is a consulting scholar and visiting professor at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane and Xavier universities. She has a master's degree in nutrition, has lectured nationally, was a professor of nutrition at several colleges, had a radio show on nutrition in the Bay Area, and designed one of the first natural supplement lines for women (Fem Line). The author of Hormone Deception and Healthy Digestion the Natural Way, Berkson was also coeditor of Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide, a book used to train medical doctors. She lives in Santa Fe.

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