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Can chiropractic help premenstrual syndrome (PMS)? Can chiropractic help the cramping, pain and bloating of menstruation (dysmenorrhea)? Can chiropractic help those going through menopause-the period of change that arises when menstruation ceases? Millions of women with these conditions have visited chiropractors-why?
The female sexual organs-the ovaries, oviducts (tubes), uterus, cervix, vagina, glands and related structures-all need a healthy nerve supply from the spine to function properly. Doctors of chiropractic help see that the sexual organ/spinal column relationship is a healthy one. Let's discuss some of the common conditions associated with the female reproductive system.
Though not a treatment for gynecological troubles, the chiropractic approach has been a blessing to countless women with such problems. Chiropractors correct the vertebral subluxation complex (a dangerous condition in your spine that interferes with the nervous system and causes a state of "dis-ease" or reduced health and wholeness) that can lead to disease.
Hysterectomy, the amputation of the uterus, which may also include the removal of both tubes and both ovaries, is done to over 600,000 American women a year. Many are performed on women under 30. "These operations are almost always unnecessary," says Nora W. Coffey, president of the HERS (Hysterectomy Education Resources and Services) Foundation. The pelvic and hip bones gradually widen; within the first year after a hysterectomy; women wear one or two sizes larger in pants and skirts as a result of the pelvic bones moving and broadening... this changes the alignment of the entire skeleton, often resulting in lower back, hip, and knee pain.
As Stanley West, M.D. has written in The Hysterectomy Hoax: "More than 90 percent of all hysterectomies are unnecessary. Worse, the surgery can have long-lasting physical, emotional, and sexual consequences that may undermine your health and well-being." Doctors are not taught the true damage hysterectomy can cause: "I was taught that castration (removal of ovaries) does not affect a woman's sexuality, but women tell quite another story"
Hysterectomized women experience a profound loss of stamina, libido (sex drive) and sexual response, urinary incontinence, bowel problems, diminished blood flow resulting in icy feet and toes, diminished tactile sensation from the waist down, bone and joint pain, memory loss, depression and many other problems. Too few doctors warn their patients about these too-common side effects. As Ms. Coffer states:
The HERS Foundation has referred sixteen thousand women to gynecologists who specialize in the conditions for which they had been told they needed hysterectomy. As a result, 98% of those women were told they did not need hysterectomy. They were treated either medically or by reconstructive surgery, and quite often no treatment was needed.
Hysterectomy may be necessary in cases of severe infection of the reproductive organs, necrotic (dead) tissue in the uterus and cancer that will not respond to more conservative care but most women who are told they need a hysterectomy may not. By the time a woman reaches age 65 the chances are 50 percent that she will have had one of these operations. "Hysterectomy should have been abandoned in the Dark Ages," says Ms. Coffey
Many doctors consider menopause a disease instead of a normal physiologic state. Because of this attitude, women are often subjected to drug therapies that may cause dangerous side effects. As Robert Mendelsohn, M.D. has stated: Since medical treatment for hot flashes (for) over five decades has proven to be more dangerous than the disease (what disease?), and since the latest non-hormonal treatment are no less frightening than their predecessors, my best advice to women with hot flashes is to stay away from the doctor. Talk to plenty of other women. Read books on the subject by women who are not doctors. If you must go to a doctor, remember that you are receiving experimental drugs whose side effects become more visible year after year.
It is no coincidence that many who suffer from menstrual cramps also suffer from neck or back pain. In one study of 122 dysmenorrhea sufferers, most had lower back problems and spinal displacements. Perhaps that is why many women who initially visited a chiropractor for neck or back problems experienced beneficial effects on menstrual cramps, pain and other gynecological problems. There are, however, many women who suffer from menstrual problems and other health conditions who will not go to the chiropractor because: "If I don't have a backache, why go to the chiropractor?" Because of this misperception that chiropractors are "backache doctors" many never receive the true benefits of chiropractic care.
Many organs other than the sexual ones are responsible for reproductive health. For example, chemicals produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands that are essential for reproduction are broken down by the liver. If the liver isn't working properly, these chemicals can build up to unhealthy levels and cause fibroid tumors in the uterus (leiomyomas), which, although benign, account for at least one-third of all gynecological admissions to hospitals.
For over a hundred years, many women who have suffered from a wide variety of pelvic and gynecological conditions-from pain to PMS-have discovered the natural benefits of chiropractic care. Patients have also observed that menopausal symptoms including depression, hot flashes, back or joint pain, irritability, headaches or fatigue have been reduced from chiropractic spinal care. Dr. J. E. Browning is a doctor of chiropractic who has written extensively on the chiropractic management of patients with pelvic problems. His clinical observations have led him to state that, "Various disturbances in pelvic organ function have been successfully managed by chiropractic ... symptoms [include] bladder, bowel, gynecologic, and sexual dysfunction ..."
Many patients have found protection from unnecessary surgery, useless medication and needless suffering when they started to read drug product inserts; books on their condition; got second and third opinions; and, whenever possible, explored alternatives to hysterectomy and drug therapy. Remember, a healthy spinal column is essential for the health of the female reproductive system and it is vital for women with gynecological problems to have routine spinal checkups by a doctor of chiropractic. A chiropractic spinal examination could make all the difference between sickness and health.