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HEALTH INFO - Womens Health



-Avoid processed goods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, cigarettes and chocolate while you are pre-menstrual to avoid making mood swings worse. Although I have found that cutting out sugar through out the month has eased my painful periods. Watch out for hidden sugars in all pre-prepared foods & processed foods, even mayonnaise, mustard, baked beans, tomato sauce etc. There are alternatives available without sugar in good health food shops.

-Maybe reward yourself with something "nice" or tasty once you have started your period to give you an incentive. This is the time you should be nurturing yourself.

-Avoid plastic covered foods as much as possible, especially with fatty foods. Plastic leeches out xeno-oestrogens which mimic our body's oestrogen & may worsen PMT symptoms.

-Drink chamomile tea during this time and eat plenty of fresh fruit & vegetables, carbohydrates; baked potatoes, pasta, bread, chapattis, crisp bread, to give you energy; even digestives, rich tea & other dry biscuits are an improvement on chocolate or cream cakes.

-Try these hormone balancing foods; soya, tofu, yams.

-Eat regularly throughout the day to maintain balanced blood-sugar levels.

-Drink lots of water, exercise regularly & eat a balanced diet.

-Manage your time. When you are pre-menstrual, channel your energy to assert yourself and deal with any complaints you have against others, or focus on activities to occupy yourself.

-Use essential oils like rose, neroli, lavender, & geranium to ease pre-menstrual symptoms.

-Use clary sage, lavender, rosemary, & black pepper to ease menstrual cramps. Use them in dilution, & rub into your thighs, lower back and clockwise into your tummy.

-Try the herbal remedy, extract of Vitex agnus castus fruit, also known as chasteberry. German studies show 50% reduction in pre-menstrual symptoms in 52% of women who tried it. It has long been a favourite of herbalists and naturopaths in managing PMS symptoms.

-Some people have found that taking Evening Primrose Oil or Starflower (borage) oil eases their symptoms. However, it works best when taken with zinc and magnesium if you are low on these minerals. Sometimes it takes up to 6 months for you to see improvements but most see a result long before then. Seek advice from a good health food shop or health practitioner, especially if you suffer with epilepsy.

-Vitamin B6 or Vitamin B complex supplements can work too. Again, talk to your health food shop or health practitioner for advice.

-Osteoporosis is not caused by the onset of menopause, but by a process which can begin in your 30s due to a protein-rich diet. It only becomes apparent in later life. (source WDDTY newsletter 290104.)


-Try eating more hormone balancing foods like soya, tofu, yams, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds or linseed. If you use linseed or sunflower oils, choose an unrefined product to ensure you get all the goodness.

-Natural remedies such as red clover, black or blue cohosh, agnus castus, hops, phytosoya and wild yam have eased menopausal symptoms for many women. Consult a nutritionist or your local health food shop to establish which would best address your symptoms. Different women seem to benefit with different supplementation. Remember there are no overnight cures, so it can take up to 3 months for a natural remedy to kick in, however some women notice a difference within a week.

-Wholegrains like brown rice, oats, chickpeas, lentils; garlic, fennel, celery, rhubarb, parsley, carrots, corn, apples and hops, also help balance hormones.

-Try eating plenty of beans, vegetables (especially cabbage), fruit (especially strawberries and prunes), because they contain boron which seems to increase oestrogen levels.

-Avoid processed foods, alcohol, salt, sugar and caffeine where ever you can.

- Eat smaller amounts more often to help keep your blood-sugar levels up.

-Vitamin E, C and bioflavonoids, can help reduce hot flushes. Consult a nutritionist, or ask your local health food shop for advice.

-If you do need to take a multi-vitamin, choose a good one which contains boron.

-Vitamin B complex can help ease symptoms too. Talk to your local health food shop for details.

-Some women find maca, a relation of the turnip grown in Peru helps ease symptoms & improves sex drive & energy levels.

-If you have been taking H.R.T., ensure that when you come off it that you have plenty of calcium, magnesium, zinc & vitamin D in your diet, possibly even considering taking supplements if necessary. This is because that while you take H.R.T. you are not prone to developing osteoporosis, but when you stop, your body plays catch up & increases the risk. By eating or supplementing sensibly, you can reduce this risk to a minimum.

-Osteoporosis is not caused by the onset of menopause, but by a process which can begin in your 30s due to a protein-rich diet. It only becomes apparent in later life. (source WDDTY newsletter 290104.)

-Research shows that there is an increased risk of developing heart disease or cancer when taking H.R.T. especially over prolonged periods, i.e. doubling the risk if you have taken it for 5 years or more. (source British Medical Journal 2003; 327:9) If you have any concerns, talk to your G.P. or professional health therapist.

-In a 4-year study of 4, 532 postmenopausal women of 65 or over, researchers concluded that HRT with oestrogen & progestin, increased the risk of stroke & dementia. They concluded that for every 10, 000 women on HRT, 23 additional cases of dementia will occur each year. The study further concludes that the risk of taking HRT outweighs any benefits. (source, Journal of American Medical Association, 2003; 289: 2651-62)

-In one study, involving 9518 women over 65, a mile's walk a day reduced the risk of developing cancer & cardio-vascular disease. They also enjoyed a longer life.

-Avoid plastic coated foods, especially fatty foods, as plastic can leech out xeno-oestrogens which mimic our body's oestrogen & may worsen the effects of the menopause.


Endometriosis is when the womb lining implants & grows outside the womb, which bleeds with each period. This unpleasant & often painful condition can affect up to 15% of women, & may lead to infertility. It is common in childless women over 30 & in overweight women.

Symptoms may be any number of the following:-

painful periods nausea
heavy/irregular periods fatigue
painful sex back pain (especially in the lower back)
gastro intestinal problems e.g. diarrhoea, bloating, painful defecation infertility
pelvic pain  
painful urination  

Orthodox medicine has had limited success in treating this condition, & drugs often lead to other unpleasant side effects, which in turn often need treatment. So it may be worth trying some of the following advice. Always seek support of a qualified medical practitioner or GP.

-Try avoiding caffeine in tea, coffee, pop. None is best, but limiting yourself to 1 cup a day may help to start with. Cutting down is always a step in the right direction.

-Limit yourself to 4 ounces of dairy products, saturated fats & red meat per week to reduce period pain. Reduce your intake a little each week until you reach this goal. If you can cut it out completely for a while & see how you go, all the better for your health.

-Keep your calcium levels up & eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, broccoli, seafood, almonds, asparagus, oats, sesame seeds & parsley.

-If need be, consider taking a good multi vitamin & mineral supplement. Liquid vitamins are best, capsules or powder is next best, & tablet form come bottom of the pile for effectiveness & getting value for money. The latter are often bulked out with other agents which may cause irritation to an already sensitive gut. See your health food shop or medical practitioner for advice.

-Keep your vitamin B levels up, again eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, fresh nuts, seeds (especially linseeds), corn oil, & sunflower oil. Opt for organic, cold pressed oils, which have more nutrients in them.

-Keep your vitamin C levels up by eating plenty of potatoes with their skins on (even mashed this option is tasty especially with mustard!), green pepper, kiwi fruit & citrus fruits.

-Echinacea boosts immunity & detoxifies your body. Consult your health food shop or medical practitioner to see if this natural medicine suits you.

-Medical herbalists can often create a herbal preparation especially to suit you.

-Evening primrose oil has helped some people. Ensure you get enough zinc & magnesium in your diet if you take this to make sure it works effectively.

-Excess oestrogens can be found in some teabags & sanitary products, so opt for natural, organic, non-chemical products wherever possible & go for sanitary towels rather than tampons if you can, allowing your blood to flow more freely.

-Avoid excess alcohol. Give your body a break some nights & restrict yourself at weekends. I often alternate an alcoholic drink with a pint of water to retain balance.~

-Avoid HRT if possible, because it can encourage growth of endometrial patches due to excess oestrogen.

-Try some relaxation techniques to control the pain. Consult a qualified therapist or go to your local library for more info.

-Take up a form of exercise which helps decrease pain.

-Continue to take your painkillers alongside any of these suggestions, but you may want to gradually reduce them with the support of your therapist & GP.

-If your pain needs attention, run yourself a hot bath & another cold one (in a baby bath ideally). Make up this blend then add 9 drops of it to the hot bath only:

10 drops geranium essential oil
5 drops rose otto essential oil
2 drops cypress essential oil
10 drops nutmeg essential oil
8 drops clary sage essential oil

stay in the hot bath for 15 mins, then 5 mins in the cold bath. Get back into the hot bath, adding more hot water if necessary. Do this for 2-4 cycles until you feel some relief. Alternatively you could apply an ice pack or a pack of frozen peas if you can't make a cold bath. Wrap it in a towel & apply to your lower back for 5 mins.
-Massage this oil blend twice a day into your abdomen, hips, & lower back:

5 drops clary sage essential oil
5 drops rose otto essential oil
10 drops geranium essential oil
10 drops nutmeg essential oil
50mls of base oil e.g. sweet almond oil


-Reduce caffeine, salt, & alcohol intake as much as possible.

-Avoid fatty foods

-Bathing breasts in cold water once a day can help.

-Eating cabbage can help. Alternatively place a clean, fresh, ironed piece of cabbage against your breast & hold in place with your hand or bra.

-Evening primrose oil may help. Consult your therapist or health food shop.

-Essential oils geranium, cypress, juniper berry, peppermint can all help if massaged in the correct dilution into your breasts. A full body massage regularly can also help if you suffer with cyclical pain, because it eases pain, increase circulation & reduces water retention.

See if you can incorporate some of these into your life to improve your well-being.

The advice included on this site is not meant to replace any medicine or treatment you are receiving through your doctor, if you have any queries or concerns including compatibility with current treatment/medication, please contact us or speak to your GP ©2002

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