Got gas? Urinary leakage? Here are 16 easy cures for common health problems, ranging from unexpected gas to ugly warts. Many womens’ health problems – adult acne, memory loss, snoring – can be cured easily and quickly.
These 14 easy cures for minor health hassles are from doctors, for women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s — this article is a reprint from a piece I wrote for Health magazine a few years ago.
Many women’s health problems, such as urinary tract infections, are caused by decreasing estrogen levels.
“Decreasing estrogen levels cause your urethra’s lining to become thin, inflamed and more prone to infection – and more at risk for urinary tract infections (UTIs),” says Lauri Romanzi, MD, urogynecologist at Weill Cornell Medical Center in NYC. “The solution to pollution is dilution!” Water and cranberry juice helps, as do cranberry supplements containing probiotics and vitamin C. “The many dietary recommendations for UTIs haven’t been scientifically proven,” she says. “But wiping ‘front to back’ works.”
Another supplement is Coenzyme Q10 which I started taking a week ago. It’s an antioxidant that helps with mood, heart health, blood pressure, gum disease, and more. One of the health experts I interviewed told me about it, but it wasn’t until I learned my massage therapist takes it that I started. My massage therapist is in her late 50s, and incredibly strong, healthy, and youthful. Who better to listen to than her?
As your body ages, things come out when you’d rather they stay in – and sometimes they stay in when you’d rather they come out! To help you cope with minor health hassles through the ages, I’ve rounded up doctor-endorsed “quick fixes”, ranging from daily cocktails (not what you think) to boil-and-bite dental devices.
Sneaky leaks of the urinary type
Cough, laugh, sneeze – oops! “Urinary leakage can start early, but most women wait months or years before discussing it with their physicians,” says Donnica Moore, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Health for Life and president of Sapphire Women’s Health Group. Incontinence occurs because pelvic floor muscles have relaxed due to vaginal childbirth and weight gain increases abdominal pressure. An easy cure for urinary leaks is to practice your Kegels daily, and avoid caffeine, nicotine, spicy foods, and alcohol.
Adult acne: a blast from the past
“Hormone fluctuations caused by your period, pregnancy, perimenopause, stress and even lack of sleep stimulate the skin’s sebaceous glands to produce extra oil, which leads to flareups,” says Vermen Verallo-Rovell, MD, a research dermatologist at VMV Hypoallergenics in NYC. Exercise, sound sleep, and stressing less can help. “A daily hypoallergenic, fragrance-free cleanser with salicylic acid is also effective.”
If your biggest womens health problem is acne, you’re lucky! But it’s not fun. Here are 7 adult acne treatment tips that may help.
Toot toot! Unexpected gas
“All our bodily sphincters weaken with age, including the anal sphincter,” says Dr Romanzi. “This makes it harder to ‘hold it in’ – and so could a childbirth-weakened pelvic floor.” Age-related changes in the digestive tract can also increase intestinal gas. Kegels and formal pelvic floor physical therapy can improve pelvic coordination, strength, and function. Another easy cure for this womens health problem is to avoid gum, carbonated beverages, and gas-producing foods.
Headaches, bloating, cravings, muscle spasms, tummyaches, anxiety, paranoia – no wonder women get grumpy premenstrually! The exact causes of and cures for PMS are unknown – but solutions exist. “Complex carbohydrates help,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. “And, try a daily ‘cocktail’ of vitamin B6 (100-200 mg), vitamin E (200-400 units) and evening primrose oil (1000 units).”
If PMS is a major health hassle for you, read Natural Cures for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Symptoms.
Endless nights without ZZZ’s
Career issues, child-raising challenges, marital stress, and financial stress can trigger aggravating bouts of insomnia. “Turn the clock away so you can’t obsess about time when you’re not sleeping,” says Peggy Spencer, MD, of the University of New Mexico Student Health and Counseling Center in Albuquerque. “Try a white noise or sound generator, earplugs if noise wakes you, and a warm bath before bed.”
Singing the ZZZ’s
“Progesterone promotes upper airway muscles. As this hormone dwindles during menopause, women’s tongues are more likely to relax and fall back in deep sleep,” says otolaryngologist Steven Y Park, MD, author of Sleep, Interrupted: A Physician Reveals the #1 Reason Why So Many Of Us Are Sick and Tired. “This can cause snoring, which disrupts sleep.” An anti-snoring mouthpiece pulls your jaw forward and opens airways, so you sleep better (but doesn’t treat the more serious sleep apnea).
If you’re looking for natural cures for snoring, read Acupuncture for Snoring – A Natural Remedy for Sleep.
Aggressive tooth brushing, toothpicks, grinding teeth, and normal aging can lead to receding gums, says Emanuel Layliev, DDS, of the New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry in NY. The pockets of unhealthy gums harbor bacteria and create dental-related halitosis. An easy health cure for this health problem is to eat crunchy fruits and veggies to get rid of food particles, and drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist – especially if you’re on prescription medications that cause a dry mouth.
Gloomy, doomy feelings – depression and dysthymia
“The average age of depression is 44,” says Dr Moore. “It’s the ‘sandwich generation’ theory: sleep deprivation, caring for kids and aging parents, role conflict and other stressors all conflict.” Rule out hypothyroidism – which has many symptoms in common with and may be mistaken for mild depression – with a thyroid function test. Get aerobic exercise, eat healthfully, take vitamins and supplements as needed, and take care of your medical conditions.
Flushes and flashes – menopause
Estrogen loss and fluctuations in the hypothalamic and pituitary hormones contribute to hot flashes. Layer your clothes, keep your house cool, and avoid triggers such as alcohol, coffee, soup, and spicy foods. “A natural cure is black cohosh,” says Dr Minkin. “Always look for reliable brands such as Remifemin, which was used in many studies.” Remifemin has no estrogenic activity, and is safe for women who have had breast cancer.
Bedroom boredom – decreased libido
“The vagina is rich in estrogen receptors,” says Dr Romanzi. “In menopause – average age 51 – estrogen levels drop sharply, causing vaginal skin to lose elasticity and lubricate poorly.” No lubrication can lead to painful sex and less desire. To lube it up naturally, increase your fatty acid intake with foods rich in vitamin E and fish oil. Another easy cure for this womens health problem is an over-the-counter lube, or a topical estrogen therapy cream (a prescription medication that restores elasticity and lubrication).
Decreased blood flow and neurotransmitter production in the brain (because of low estrogen and arterial plaque buildup) leads to fuzzy thinking. “Anything that increases blood flow can improve memory lapses – exercise, a good diet, sleep,” says Henry Hess, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. “Ginkgo biloba is also known to improve blood flow and, therefore, cognition.”
Research is inconsistent about the use of ginkgo biloba for memory. Better are brain fitness tips that reduce memory loss.
Peeing more than 6-8 times a day is “urinary frequency”, says urologic surgeon Melody Denson, MD, of the Urology Team in Austin, TX. Diminished estrogen in menopause can over-activate your bladder. “The worst thing you could do is eat a spicy Mexican dinner, drink margaritas, and finish with red wine or coffee and chocolate cake! You’ll be in the bathroom all night.” An easy cure for this womens health problem is to decrease your spice, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate consumption.
Unwanted smooth patches or baldness
Hair loss is caused by declining ovary functioning and lowered levels of the hormones estradiol and testosterone. “Stress, nutritional deficiencies, poor digestion, and changes in thyroid function or blood sugar can also trigger hair loss,” says gynecologist Barbara Soltes, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. An easy cure is an over-the-counter biotin (vitamin H or B7) supplements metabolize amino acids and fatty acids, possibly slowing hair loss. Also helpful: iron, vitamin B complex, flaxseed oil, and protein supplements.
“By age 50, we’ve walked around the earth twice,” says Seema Ramcharitar-Amante, DPM, spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. “Foot arches fall and stress the plantar ligament, which is attached to the heel bone. This triggers an inflammation that calcifies and leads to a heel spur.” An easy cure for this health problem are over-the-counter insoles and custom orthotics can prevent pain and treat heel spurs.
Phew – you’d think that aging is only about womens health problems! But I’m happier at 41 than I’ve ever been – and healthier, too. What about you?
If you have any tips or easy cures for womens health problems, please comment below…