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Women's Health

Holism, by nature, is a feminine perspective and no more aptly applied than in the field of Women's Health, where a woman's relationships, emotions, psychology, as well as general well being and nutritional status are all reflected in her reproductive system. Being very sensitive and interrelated, the reproductive system becomes a hologram for a woman's general health. Similarly, the trends in women's health can be a barometer for the health of an entire culture.

Pap smears are a fascinating example of this hologram that show how emotions are reflected on a cellular level. The pap is one of the few places where cellular structure is regularly examined. For example, an abnormal pap smear can be caused by sexual transmission of human papilloma virus, high stress such as going through a difficult divorce, or nutritional deficiencies and imbalances in the woman's body. Often times it is a combination of such causes.

Depending on the circumstances, treatment might include nutritional supplements specific for cervical tissue or the immune system, direct cervical treatments, Acupuncture or Homeopathy for rebalancing, safe sex instruction or a referral for counseling. Especially important for healing, is that a woman correlate the original stress, deficiency or attitude with her body's symptoms.

In Holistic Gynecology, a women's personal and medical herstory, lifestyle, diet, well-being, spiritual state and gynecological health are all assessed. Problems such as menopausal changes, vaginal infections, PMS, menstrual irregularities or cramps, fibroids, endometriosis and breast cysts might first be approached nutritionally or psychologically, then with herbal treatments, and finally with medications or surgery, if appropriate or still necessary. If these approaches are ineffective, exploring spiritual aspects might be encouraged. For example, chronic yeast infections can result from poor diet of excess sugar and simple carbohydrates, not wanting sexual contact in a disintegrating relationship, working out old abuse issues or recent high stress levels. Treatment would include teaching awareness and working on the causes, while using one of many herbal treatments or pharmaceuticals to treat the yeast.

Self-care education is central to holistic care for women. Most fundamental to this philosophy is helping to elucidate our attitudes patients have towards themselves and their bodies. A breast exam, for example, should be approached as a check-in, not as a search for a problem in an alienated appendage. Nourishing attention helps one become familiar with the natural contours of the body.

In our fast-paced, product-oriented world, women, the carriers of the feminine, need to be reminded of both how to nourish the body and soul and how to interpret their bodies' messages of imbalance. In Holistic Gynecology, a growing group of Nurse Practitioners, Nurse-Midwives and Gynecologists are offering such nourishing, safe, multi-faceted preventative care for women.

Source: Lorraine Fairmont, Certified Nurse-Midwife, Boulder CO.

Also see Birthing and Midwifery

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