Women's life stages bring with them changing health concerns and challenges. As mothers and caregivers, women always paid close attention to health issues. As the roles of women continue to change and evolve, the need for straight facts and information on diseases and conditions remains as important as ever. There is a considerable void in traditional Western healthcare regarding a functional approach to women's disorders.
The trend to categorize normal female body functions as diseases has generated billions of dollars for the medical and pharmaceutical industries but has done little to solve women's health problems, according to Dr Madeline Behrendt, a practicing chiropractor and vice-chair of the Council on Women's Health of the World Chiropractic Alliance.
In a paper published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (www.jvsr.com), Behrendt notes that even though "women spend three out of four of all healthcare dollars and determine many of the healthcare choices for their family," research into alternatives to drugs and surgery for women is lacking.
The paper examines the biases towards women's health in the male-dominated research world and asserts that there is a growing resentment by women whose health problems are disregarded by researchers-even as they are being exploited by the drug and medical industries. "Drugs are now utilized to interfere with the multiple bodily experiences unique to womanhood such as menstruation," Behrendt states. The creation of medical specialties such as Female Sexual Dysfunction, PMS, fertility, and menopause are further evidence of this growing problem, she adds. Currently, more than 300 drugs geared specifically to women are being researched.
Chiropractic, for example, the third largest primary care approach in the world, focuses on the detection and correction of interference to the functioning of the nervous system, which may be caused by vertebral subluxations. Vertebral subluxations-like cancer, heart disease, and other health conditions-may be present for years without outward symptoms. All women and girls need to be screened by a doctor of chiropractic for subluxations on a routine basis.
Another, so-called, alternative approach is osteopathy, which adds manipulation that directly affects the various organ systems throughout the circulatory systems. Until recently, the osteopathic literature has only included brief and unsystematic references of directly manipulating the organs. There are also many other approaches to healthcare just as effective but for lack of space we are unable to mention.
We must continue to nurture a multi-discipline approach to restoring our patients' health in the complex environment of contemporary healthcare and not from the "do it all yourself" view of an isolationist.
Conventional Western medical training has included surgical and pharmacological approaches to most dysfunctions. There are however, new approaches that are effective and not dependent on the use of drugs and without their side effects. Many of these approaches are precise and subtle, yet very powerful in unleashing the body's own natural healing capabilities. Further clinical research is sorely needed in order to demonstrate the efficacy of the new, functional approaches and to be accepted into the mainstream.
ENDOMETRIOSIS AND NATUROPATHY THERAPY WITHOUT SURGERY AND WITHOUT HORMONES -IN SOME INSTANCES WITH REFERTILIZATION
By Peter-Hansen Volkmann
Benign growth of the womb's endometrium cells outside the endometrium layer, ie, the womb's inner layer. We describe this as a so-called ectopia of mucous membrane cells.
Such cell conglomerations occur in the uterine wall, in the Fallopian tube, in the Douglas' space, on the ovaries and also in the free abdomen. With approximately a 5% frequency, they may also collect in the bladder, the lungs, or other body tissue.
The growth of these cells is hormone-dependent and, therefore, occurs only once women have reached sexual maturity. Endometriosis is accompanied by severe pain before and during menstruation.
Due to the therapy-resistant pain, women often become depressive during the course of the illness. Fertility is reduced in the event of the usually present accompanying hormonal regulation disorders. Long-term organic pregnancy impediments are not that common.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE THERAPY
The discourse on the increase of endometriosis illnesses has, at times, been conducted in a controversial fashion since, prior to the development of endoscopic procedures, such a diagnosis was difficult to reach.
During the '80s-and unfortunately this can still be observed today-women were often discriminated against as malingerers, as women with psychiatric disorders or relationship conflicts. Multiple surgery and even the total extirpation in the case of young women was the iatrogenic reaction to therapeutic helplessness. Another step was the Winobanin therapy by which women were forced into premature menopause suffering many side-effects, but often hardly improving their pain symptoms at all.
Nowadays, and in addition to the above surgery, the therapeutic scene is set by hormonal therapies with so-called GNH analogues in the form of injections with retarded hormones such as Zoladex or by oral substances such as Winobanin, Orgametril, or Clinofem.
Repeated pelvioscopic or laparotomic operations with the aim of eliminating the bleeding foci-sometimes including extirpation of one or both ovaries and, at times, of the uterus even for young women-are to this day still considered "state of the art"!
My patient with the earliest total extirpation was, at the time of her operation seven years ago, a mere 22 years old! This childless woman had any chance for motherhood and a family iatrogenically and irrevocably destroyed at such a young age.
Where children are wanted, diagnosed infertility is treated with varying success both hormonally and by a number of surgical procedures.
In summary it must be said that hormonal regulation disorders-from dysmenorrhea through premenstrual syndrome and endometriosis to male and female infertility-can be treated very well by naturopathy methods-without any side effects and at very little expense.
In addition to a healthy natural nutrition, therapeutic success is based on the above procedures of which, besides the rehabilitation of the bowel, HOT is certainly the most important foundation.
The main advantage of the above course of action lies in the improvement of the patient's basic regulation. Health and well-being is assured even in those areas to which we as therapists have no direct therapeutic access. Adjuvant procedures such as acupuncture, traditional homeopathy, chiropractic, or osteopathy work more quickly, more effectively, and with more improved long-term results than without the above basic therapy.
Pregnancy as the female body's regulative hormonal peak performance becomes the touchstone of the physician's skill. The patients' awareness of the necessity for a healthy food intake and life-style, of behavioral changes where required, of modifications to the living environment where it is polluted by toxic substances, etc, leads to an overall positive attitude to one's own health and the health of the desired child.
For parents who have prepared themselves in such a way, a child is not an "entitlement at health insurance expense", but a gift from the heavens-and is perceived as such. In the months prior to conception, the partners adjust to this child through their own actively healthy behavior.
They experience development and birth far more intensely as reward for their own consideration, effort, and input. A birth usually free of complications is the first compensation for their labor.
The greatest thing, however, is the fact that after such action a newborn finds its way into a far more healthy living environment since this health has been achieved through conscientious effort-at optimum health already prior to birth through the mother's HOT and thereby perfectly prepared for adversity in our often turbulent world.
THE PIRIFORMIS MUSCLE AND THE GENITO-URINARY SYSTEM
THE ANATOMY OF THE MUSCLE-ORGAN-GLAND CORRELATION
By Scott C Cuthbert, DC
CHIROPPRACTIC AND THE GENITO-URINARY SYSTEM
As used in applied kinesiology (AK), manual muscle-testing (MMT) procedures are helpful diagnostic tools in the examination of a system frequently ignored and unexamined by traditional physicians today: the reproductive system of both men and women. Using AK MMT we can work directly with the position, motion, innervation, nutritional needs, tissue tone, and functional capacity of the reproductive organs as well as their adjacent and supportive tissues. AK MMT procedures permit us to restore proper tone and structure/function relationships throughout this critical area and to improve its potential for health. Within chiropractic the genito-urinary system seems to be viewed differently than other body systems-it is usually ignored as a specific clinical entity.
This paper will argue that it makes no sense for the chiropractic profession to deliberately shy away from the genito-urinary system in its patient recruitment, history taking, functional examinations, or therapeutics. We possess methods within our therapeutic system that permit us to evaluate and treat the genito-urinary system-with respect, reverence, sensitivity, and skill. Visual and laboratory inspection of the tissues and fluids of the reproductive organs is only one aspect of the proper evaluation of this system.
The relationship of AK to the endocrine system is one that creates success for the clinician where other manual modalities might fall short. Each of the endocrine organs has been given diagnostic tests, therapeutic protocols, nutritional correlations, and treatment monitoring methods. The endocrine glands are of course controlled by the nervous system, and this is why chiropractic has been helpful throughout its history for endocrine-related disorders (1). But AK offers an exhaustive, exemplary, and accurate way to monitor both the endocrine symphony and the effect of our natural therapies upon it.
It is very difficult to localize and distinguish between the various palpated and tested tissues in the pelvic area. Only by having a thorough knowledge of both the external and internal anatomy of the pelvis can this be accomplished. Most states in the US do not allow chiropractors to palpate the internal anatomy of the genito-urinary system. However the pelvic tissues can be specifically tested using non-invasive AK MMT procedures, and the muscle inhibitions found can be anatomically interpreted by the physician as to the location of the primary involvement: segmental level, pelvic articulation, muscle, organ-gland, fascia, nutritional deficiency, lymphatic or vascular
pooling, cranial-sacral involvement, and so forth.
If there is a connection between the genito-urinary system and the muscles of the pelvis, we should find an immediate improvement in pelvic muscle strength and lumbar and femoral range of movement (ROM) upon application of the appropriate sensory-receptor challenge or correction. We should discover in a moment the difference this cor-
rection will make upon the tissues of the pelvis. To immediately improve (by a particular therapeutic trial) the tissue tone surrounding the sacral plexus, for instance, or the tissue tone of muscles through which the pudendal arteries and veins pass, or the tissue tone of the suspensory ligaments of the uterus, ovaries, bladder, rectum, or vagina, is a real benefit in the evaluation and treatment of any genito-urinary involvement. Demonstrating this change to a patient and making sure that they understand this improvement in tissue tone, is an excellent way to increase your practice and your reputation.
CLINICAL ROUNDS IN FUNCTIONAL AND NUTRITIONAL MEDICINE
By Mikell Suzanne Parsons, DC, DACBN
POLYCYSTIC OVARY DISEASE
Patient presentation and prior management
A 34-year-old, self-employed woman presented with Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOS) and the desire to discontinue oral contraceptives. In 1997 she was diagnosed with PCOS via transvaginal ultrasound and subsequently had two surgeries (1997 and 1998) to remove the ovarian cysts. To help manage her symptoms she was prescribed various birth control pills (Demulin 135 and Demulin 150). March was her last "regular" menstrual cycle. In July, on her own, she discontinued the oral contraceptives. In August, she had three days of menses and in September she came to see me. In the past, when discontinuing oral contraceptives she noted an increase in facial hair and painful cystic acne, which caused her great concern. She had been told that this was due to elevated testosterone levels. Her mother at the age of 45 died of breast cancer. She was fearful of developing breast cancer and/or the PCOS getting worse, and this is what motivated her to seek a healthier lifestyle.
Typically, I try to have the patient take control of their diet and teach them to make better choices. Because of her age and lifestyle, it was clear that her liver was under stress. To date she is doing well, occasionally falls off of the wagon, but knows what she needs to do to get back on track. As a side note I received a call from her mother thanking me for "getting her daughter back"!
BLADDER CONTROL AND ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS INCLUDING MENSTRUAL CRAMPS
by Carl A Ferreri, DC
One of the most chronic quality of life problems plaguing women (and some men) is and has been the so called "Bladder Control" issue. Although this problem has been recognized for many years it is only recently that it has been openly discussed and special accessories are available in the supermarkets. The only attempt to help eliminate the embarrassment of the so called urinary accident is the use of discrete diapers or pads. As any woman (and some men) will testify that this condition is aggravated by almost any physical activity, such as laughing, sneezing, coughing, lifting, ascending or descending the stairs, etc.
Medicine has had no treatment other than a surgical procedure to lift the bladder and uterus and tighten the pelvic floor muscles. Now the condition has been elevated to a disease category because there is a new drug on the market that slows urine production and lessens the problem to some extent. The disease category is required in order to prescribe the drug. (A drug cannot be prescribed for a non disease.) Neither of these solutions is a solution as neither gets to the cause of the problem-and neither is good for your health.
Bladder incontinence is not a disease process but rather a mechanical problem and is quickly and easily treated. In one of my previous articles on the Universal TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ), I indicated that this particular TMJ fault was related to numerous problems including this condition under discussion (see issues 9 and 10 of AK Journal). Let us again look at the primary function of the TMJ.