Women sometimes have specific health issues that can be expensive and debilitating. I'm thinking of things like menstrual pain, and "lady infections," two things that have caused me a lot of pain over the years. There are things that can help in prevention and better health, as I've learned, and I would love to have a thread that focuses on things we've learned that help us, as women dealing with or preventing health issues. (It would be cool if there was a thread for men on health issues that affect them, but I have no experience to offer there!)
So I'm starting this thread in the spirit of crowdsourcing. I'd like to share some things that have helped me, which might inspire you if you're dealing with any of these issues. And I hope other women will share things they've found helpful.
My main focus is largely on natural things--herbs, supplements, probiotics. These aren't all free or even cheap, but they can be much better alternative than constant doctors visits or just trying to live with the pain. I don't currently grow any of my own herbs, or make my own probiotics, but that would be a wonderful sustainablepermaculture skill to learn.
I hope this is within the bounds of this area of the forum and will be useful to some, and that I'll learn things as well, if any of you feel so inclined to share.
Not a woman, but I have had issues and done a lot of experimenting in the last few years concerning my own problems.
In almost every instance I've found that the better I eat and drink the better my body responds.
I used to eat the Standard American Diet (SAD)...
Then I started reading books such as your bodies many cries for water and came across ideas that made good sense to me but which I had not come across previously.
For the record, for many years I have been dealing with a number of things on and off, a few of the major ones being as follows:
a) A patch of very dry skin on my right ankle
b) Extremely dry/cracked skin between the larger toes on my left foot
c) A rash on my front inner thighs, particularly when I spend too much time sitting (I was a software engineer...)
d) Pimple like outbreaks on my behind and lower front thighs
My ex wife constantly harassed me about these and demanded that I go and see a doctor and get prescriptions. I did so on a couple of occasions and although some of these problems would temporarily go away they would come back within a few months. She of course attributed that to my not doing what the doctors said (she was wrong...).
Finally, I started experimenting and managed to get all of these to go away without any help from a doctor, modern drugs, or anything else.
The keys were as follows:
1) Drink primarily water and organic juices. Cut soda and sugary crap drinks out of your diet. If you drink coffee or alcohol drink an extra cup of water for each soda and/or alcoholic drink.
2) Eat primarily plant based foods. If you can manage all plant based foods even better. If you can manage all organic (or even better, home grown organic) foods, better still.
3) Do not eat manufactured food products.
4) If you eat meat, pay the extra cash for organic grass fed critters (or better yet, hunt or raise the animals yourself)
By dropping animal products, manufactured foods, and non water drinks all of my problems went away within two weeks.
By doing a week long juice/water fast (only drinking water and/or organic juices with no added crap) I managed to not only get rid of my various rashes but to also clear up my teeth.
Most people don't seem to recognize it, but your skin is like a third liver. If you are abusing your liver so badly that your skin starts breaking out then you need to re-evaluate what you are eating.
I know that our society pushes fast food, restaurants (most small towns have little else in them), and steak and eggs... and that it is hard to act normal if you stop eating them (especially if you go to restaurants a lot).
I also know from experience that when I stick to a good variety of vegetables and fruits (more colors!) and stay away from animal products then I lose weight quickly, have more energy, and my physical ailments go away.
No, I'm not a hard liner about these things (If I'm in your house and you are serving a meal that includes meat then I'll have a small portion to show appreciation), but my experience tells me that the less animal products and (especially) manufactured foods and sugary drinks I consume the healthier I am. I'm 44 this year and two years ago at our family reunion I was able to out run and wear out every teenager there.
If you have the will I'd strongly recommend looking into trying a plant based diet, drinking water when you are hungry... and then only eating if you are still hungry ten minutes later, and absolutely avoiding sugary drinks and manufactured foods.
Again, I'm not a woman... but I'm human and with diet I've been able to eliminate various issues fairly simply (though it can be hard to override cultural conditioning) via diet.
While you are considering it, you might also look at toxification and detoxification. Women tend to use a lot of chemicals (soaps, conditioners, shampoos, etc.) on their bodies. We already live in a toxic world... storing more toxins and adding them through your skin will likely only exacerbate existing issues. The more toxic you are the more easily it is to put your body in emergency mode.
Anywise, just some food for thought. If I offended you in any way my apologies... as the above was simply to relate that doing exactly the opposite of what we are told we should be doing via corporate media has done me wonders.
Finally, you might look into how digestion works and consider spacing out different types of food appropriately. For example, eating meats. dairy. potatoes, and vegetables all at the same time requires that your stomach be both acidic and basic at the same time to digest the mixed foods... while knowing how long it takes to digest different types of foods and whether they are acidic or basic lets you choose to group like food types together and wait an appropriate amount of time between eating to reduce the energy your body needs for proper digestion... meaning you need to eat less and have more energy.
There are two types of people in the world: Those who want to be left alone and those who will not leave them alone.
A few years ago I had to deal with these over and over, with a great deal of pain, run down health, and medical expense to treat them. Often treatment required more than one round of antibiotics. Even repeated infections, to which some people seem to be prone (for any or no reason), mean a fresh doctor visit each time. I often needed painkillers for the intense pain, as well. Though this is rarely considered a serious medical issue, infections can spread and kill you if ignored.
I learned that basic biology means women are more prone to them than men. That some women are particularly vulnerable to them, and that older people are at risk of repeated infections as well. None of this seemed particularly urgent or of great importance to the medical profession, but it sure was a hellish situation for me! Or anyone else dealing with these things.
Things that helped:
Probiotics to build up my system. I found this one (Pearls YB) http://www.pearlsprobiotics.com/Products/Probiotic-Pearls-Women-s particularly helpful, as it is gentle but targeted particularly towards the female system and UT health. After dealing with repeated infections and getting extremely run down, I was very glad to find a product that helped me, and I took several pearls a day for months, until my system seemed strong enough that I didn't need to. I may have gone overboard, but overdosing was impossible, while living in terror of yet another doctor visit and more agony was really impacting my quality of life. I can say without a doubt, these pearls helped. Today I don't need to take them because my biology has been built up a lot, and it seems to not even be an issue. But I definitely recommend them for any woman dealing with UTI vulnerabilities. A pearl of prevention is worth a pound of cure (not to mention the expense, pain, and antibiotics!).
I've taken other probiotics that I believe helped as well, such as Gut Shot, which generally built up my health; and good overall nutrition and not being malnourished in any particular nutrient seem to be important or helpful as well. https://www.farmhouseculture.com/gut-shots (I'm sure there are lots of overall good probiotics, and I've tried a lot of them! I honestly think the more the merrier because different companies use different strains. Also someday maybe I'll learn to make my own probiotic foods, but I haven't yet.)
A natural health practitioner gave me some advice that really helped in more emergency (aka not so much preventative or health building, but a situation where it feels like you might be coming down with a UTI and are hoping against hope that you won't have to go to the doctor). That advice was to take some baking soda in water several times a day to adjust your body's PH and make it less "friendly" for a possible infection.
The second advice she gave was to skip the cranberry juice (which I had chugged for years to very little avail) and go straight for for the D-Mannose, a concentrated form of the beneficial ingredients in cranberries, to prevent/heal UTI issues before they got to a point of desperation. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HCMK90
Obviously if you need medical care, go to a doctor. Take the antibiotics if you have to. But anything that can reduce the expense of medical bills, or having to take harsh antibiotics over and over again, is very worth pursuing!
Eventually my body healed and built up to the point where I rarely need to use any of these things, but I keep them in mind, just in case. And I do feel that they were very close to lifesaving for me! It felt like my health was spiraling lower each time—back to the doctor every few months for more and more treatment, a revolving door of pain and seemingly causeless UTI issues that kept coming back.
following, because my kid gets UTIs like nothing I have ever seen. I have had exactly one in 45 years, she has them constantly and ends up taking lots of meds.
The last month, since the last major event, I have gotten her eating yogurt and drinking kombucha; I'm not super convinced of how effective it is going to be but I figure it can only help. She is going through lots of stress (college entrance exams!) which I know just helps her get more and more rundown, but that all will be done in the space of a month and she can focus on getting herself in order.
* Wear cotton underwear or no underwear, avoid tight/constricting bottoms.
* Load up on healthy animal fats-- grass fed butter, grass fed dairy and meats in general.
* Calf liver. Especially when it's almost That Time. I cannot stress calf liver enough.
* Basil for period cramps. Just straight fresh leaves, with a little bit of salt and lime or whatever if you want.
* One of my very favorite period comfort foods is a hot bowl of oatmeal with lots of nuts and dark chocolate chips.
* Root vegetables and hardy dark leafy greens.
* Catnip tea acts as a quick anti-anxiety remedy that is safe to take at all stages of fertility/cycle. Start with a small amount and gradually increase until you find the dose that works for you.
* Warm milk with turmeric, cocoa, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and wild honey for hormonally induced general anxiety or sleeplessness.
* The warm rice sock. You know what to do with this guy. It's pretty comforting to place directly on the chest when experiencing heartache, too.
* Weighted blanket. Similar to rice sock.
* Feet on floor, squat down, and rock forward and backwards, or bounce a little-- cramps are like labor pains, and the same position/motion that helps your body push out a baby will help your body shed its uterine lining.
* If you're nauseous: Mint. The scent of mint, eating mint or mint flavored things. Mint and/or eucalyptus oil rubbed on the chest.
* Strong raspberry leaf tea for general women's hormonal health.
* Pure shea butter as a moisturizer, and/or extra virgin olive oil.
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association