Teach girls to take charge of their own health education

Orlando Examiner

By Elizabeth  Randall

April 5, 2009

Are we teaching girls to take charge of their health? Does health education, in fact, address the needs of young girls and their marketable vulnerability by the health establishment?

Thirty years ago, leading women’s magazines published article after article documenting the astonishing increase in breast cancer. Where the disease once afflicted one woman in 800, breast cancer incidents had jumped to one in eight women. Today, the American Cancer Society estimates that close to 200,00 American women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. The number one cause was Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

One of the essential ingredients in Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), estrogen, is still prescribed by medical professionals even though most of its touted benefits have been proven false and its detriments, according to findings from numerous health organizations, research studies, universities and medical journals, include Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart attacks, breast cancer, and strokes. Short-term, HRT is of some benefit to women recovering from hysterectomies, and there is some evidence that it prevents osteoporosis. Yet, the 2002 results of the Women’s Health Initiative study proved that prolonged HRT is life threatening to women.

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, factors that increase the amount of time that a woman’s body is exposed to estrogen, such as hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, increase the chances that she develops breast cancer. Scanning a “Birth Control Timeline”, an online article by Daniel DeNoon on WebMd.com, it is easy to see that women between the ages of 35 and 55 belong to the first generation exposed to long-term use of synthetic chemicals in the form of birth control pills.

Women who choose to use birth control pills alter their body chemistry, but at least they’re preventing unwanted pregnancies. Women who choose HRT do so to stay “young looking,” to alleviate symptoms related to an unprecedented epidemic of hysterectomies (12 million procedures in the past 20 years according to the National Uterine Fibroid Association), and because their doctors refer to the natural life process of menopause as an “estrogen deficiency.”

A deficiency is something that must be remedied. Yet the gradual transformation of a woman from a childbearing vehicle into a mature adult is handled as a threat by the medical profession. If a woman in her late 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, etc. can no longer bear children because her body is, wisely, dispensing less of the essential hormone necessary to procreate, why is it considered a lack that must be supplemented?

Is it possible that, for the general population, there is no reason to risk a woman’s life to relieve “menopausal symptoms?” How bad is a hot flash, how disturbing is a night sweat? Surely it is not worse than surgery to remove a breast, or being confined to a wheelchair because of a stroke.

Are men supplementing their waning lack of testosterone or taking pills to decrease fertility? In fact, according to Health Reportsfrom The Dr. Gabe Mirkin Show and DrMirkin.com, as men age from 50 to 70, their testosterone levels drop more than 40%, causing them to become fatter, and less sexual, muscular and assertive, and to have smaller, weaker bones . Two major concerns that prevent doctors from prescribing hormones to older men is the risk of heart attack or the spread of prostate cancer.

Clearly, similar studies were not conducted for women before doling out hormone pills. There is an old saying that no one can take advantage of anyone else without her permission. Are women the victims of the medical profession and their pharmaceutical partners or did women create a profitable industry and their own resulting carcinogenic destiny? It is time for women to stop regarding their anatomy and their inevitable aging as a preventable momentum and instead assume responsibility for sharing birth control with their partners and also for the minor discomforts that accompany ripening into an autonomous old age. These facts must be shared with young women in health classes.

PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.