Tag Archives: Reproductive Health

Herbs for Your Reproductive Tract

by Paula Youmell, RN

Herbs are amazing, healing tools because herbs are whole foods.  Whole foods nourish each and every cell in your body. 

Whole food eating means feeding our bodies the way nature intended.  This means eating foods in their natural state, as close to the perfectly “whole” state in which nature provides them.  This also means following the natural growing seasons and eating more foods that are locally grown and produced, in season. Whole food nutrition is eating in balance, which in turn keeps the body in balance.  Foods grown naturally develop with the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats intended for that particular food.  They contain balanced vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and enzymes. This natural balance for each food ensures that the body can properly utilize the nutrients. 

The effects of moving away from our whole food diet and eating a refined, processed, and convenience food diet are very prevalent in our society.  (Ask me for my educational handout titled Whole Food Eating for an easy introduction to healing body cells with whole food nutrition, pyoumell@gmail.com)

One of the biggest tragedies of human civilization is the precedents of chemical therapy over nutrition.  It is substitution of artificial therapy over natural, of poison over food, in which we are feeding people poisons trying to correct the reactions of starvation.    Dr. Royal Lee

As a culture, we have created the same scenario with our healing medicines, including those for healing the female body.  We have moved away from whole, natural medicines to the processed, refined, factory made pharmaceuticals that upset balance in the human body.  Just as refined, factory made food products upset the body’s natural balance.

Herbs, whether ingested as a medicinal infusion, taken as a tincture or in any other form of herbal medicine, are whole foods.  The nutrients in the herbs: vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and the nutrients yet to be discovered, are utilized by the body cells to cleanse, nourish, and heal each and every body cell.  Herbs specific for the female reproductive tract are nourishing to the reproductive organ’s cells.

So often we get the message from main stream media and medicine:  Do NOT use herbs as they are potentially dangerous.  This is as crazy as saying that eating beets, apples, or any other natural, whole food is potentially dangerous.

When we eat a beet, an apple, some broccoli, or any whole food, our body digests and absorbs the nutrients in the whole food to nourish our cellular health.  The same process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients happens with herbs.  Herbs are whole food; herbs are healing medicine.

Herbs are plants (leaf, root, stems, bark, berries, seeds), like a beet or an apple, that have nutritional and healing properties with affinities for certain tissues.

Stinging-Nettle-Image

Herbs for female health are many and each has its own healing purpose.  Used in combination, they create powerful healing energy in the female body.

Some excellent female healing herbs are:

  • Stinging nettles
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Wild yam
  • Chaste tree berry
  • Motherwort
  • Red clover flower
  • False unicorn root
  • Passion flower
  • Don quai root
  • Wild carrot
  • Ginger
  • Blue and Black cohosh
  • Squaw vine
  • Black haw
  • Yarrow
  • Pennyroyal
  • Mugwort
  • Partridge vine

These herbs balance female hormones, tone and heal the female organs, and add nutrients to every cell in your body.

A simple healing tea I used to make for my roommate, many years ago before I had become a certified herbalist, to ease her menstrual cramps:  chamomile tea with 30 drops of black or blue cohosh tincture.  When she moved into her own apartment, just up the street, she would call me every month and ask me to bring her a jar of this cramp relief tea.

For specifics on which herbs to use for your personal needs, contact an herbalist in your area.  In the Potsdam, NY area?  Give me a shout.

Herbs for healing other organs: (Just to remind you how amazing herbs really are!)

  • Saw palmetto for the prostate
  • Hawthorne berry for the heart
  • Rhubarb root for the colon
  • Milk thistle for the liver
  • Nettle as a general nutritive herb (Yes, I truly love nettles!)
  • Dandelion and burdock root for liver cleansing and nourishment

The list of herbs and the cells / organs they nourish goes on and on.  These are just a very few example of herbs and the cells / organ they have affinities to nourish and promote healing. This healing action happens because the herb adds whole food nutrition to your body cells.  This is the same thing a beet does; feeds your body cells.

Stinging nettles are my favorite herb!  Nettles are a power house of nutrition and healing energy for the whole body.  I add nettles to every combination herbal formula I create. Use nettles in your female healing remedies!

With that said, I recommend you read up on the herb you want to ingest for its nourishing, medicinal abilities.  Learn about the herb and its healing affinities before you make the decision to take it.  Contact your local herbalist for help in choosing the right herb or blend of herbs to add to your whole food dietary plan to promote personal health and healing.

Words from a happy client that demonstrates my point about herbs and whole body healing; that body cells are nourished by ingesting herbs:

Thanks Paula! The herbs you recommended for my peri-menopausal symptoms have really helped! No more migraines, moodiness, or horrible night sweats. After years of challenging health symptoms, I am very happy to be healing with whole foods, including female healing herbs.  Sherry B.

Herbs are whole foods.  Use them wisely for healing your female energy and whole body healing.  Blessings of health, Paula

Red clover flower and Red raspberry leave, combined with my favorite herb: Stinging nettles, are the three herbs I recommend for a fertility infusion to drink daily.

Paula Youmell is an RN, author, holistic healer, and blogger who thrives in northern NY State, USA.  Learn more about her healing lifestyle at www.HandsOnHealthHH.com, http://www.wholefoodhealer.com, or http://www.wisewomenredtent.com

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Filed under and Hormone Cycle, blood, growing up, healing, Infertility, Menopause, menstruation, miscarriage, mooncycle, motherhood, PMS, Reproductive Health, sex

Ablation, Shhh, Things We do Not Talk About

by Paula M. Youmell, R.N.

Ablation is removal of material from the surface of an object by vaporization, chipping, or other erosive processes.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ablation). This definition alone, erosive processes??, would make me shudder and stop to think about what was being recommended for my body, my precious uterus.

“Stop your heavy period and restore your life” is NovaSure’s advertising hype for uterine ablation.  Wow, my life needs restoring because I bleed?  Really?  Then, the opening paragraph on the NovaSure’s website is a scary patriarchal mindset, PMS as Wise Woman Susun Weed aptly calls it.

Heavy bleeding is a symptom that there is an imbalance in a woman’s body.  Eroding the endometrium will not heal this imbalance.  Correcting the imbalance will heal the heavy bleeding and prevent more complex female health problems down the road of life.

Youmell

I am an RN and Holistic Health Educator and Healer.  I worked in Maternal Child Nursing for 12 years before leaving to focus on Wise Women centered care; holistic health education and healing.

I first heard of this uterine ablation while sitting at my healing table working with a beautiful female soul.  She told me she had this procedure 10 years prior, at age 32!  I then gently said, “Wait, what? Please explain that to me again.”  I was shocked to say the least but maintained my compassionate energy.

When I removed myself from standard medical care, I lost tract of new procedures created to “solve women’s issues.”  Consequently, I am paying attention again, not to recommend the procedures, but to support women in healing and avoiding such procedures.

Not wanting to make her feel bad for her choice; I opened my ears, heart, and soul and listened to her story.  I was amazed and frustrated at how she was convinced that burning away the inside of her uterus, the endometrium, was just the thing she needed to do to solve all her womanly problems.

I have since heard this story, many times over, and it breaks my heart.  Red tents are needed in every community to remind women of the wisdom of their own body, to listen and hear what the symptoms of heavy bleeding are struggling to tell them.

My wish is to be able to support women in these situations.  By sitting with them, listening to their “her-stories,” and helping them to unravel the causes of the menstrual symptoms.  The body will heal when we remove the cause(s) of the health symptoms and nourish the body back to health with nourishing, Wise Woman supported, life giving choices.  Lifestyle changes centered on whole food eating, whole health living, and herbs to nourish and heal the woman’s beautiful female organs and her entire body, every cell in her body, would be how I would create a Red Tent for every woman I am blessed to support on their healing paths.

_________

Bio:  Paula M. Youmell is an RN, author, and Wise Woman Holistic Health Educator and Healer in Northern NY state.  Find her at  www.HandsOnHealthHH.comwww.WholeFoodHealer.com, and  www.wisewomenredtent.com.

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Filed under menstruation, Reproductive Health

HorMoon Awareness Guide

by Leslie Botha

Click here to download the HorMoon Awareness Guide

HorMoon Awareness Guide

 A new book!

Understanding Your Mind, Mood, and Hormone Cycle was written for women who want to understand the sometimes, confusing physical and psychological changes they experience each month. It is also suggested reading for men who deal with hormonal women daily; and for educators, healthcare and social welfare professionals who support women of all ages that are struggling with physical and behavioral issues caused by hormonal changes. It is the product of a nine-years of research, analysis, and writing.

Purchase the book for $24.93 on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Your-Mind-Hormone-Cycle/dp/0989010104/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374691726&sr=8-1&keywords=leslie+botha

Purchase the book on amazon

This richly illustrated, pioneering, book is co-authored by Leslie Carol Botha and H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik, with original graphics by Nicholas Batik. Medical researcher, H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik provides extensive clinical background to support the findings of this book. The conversational writing style makes it easy and compelling to read, while the richly footnoted text makes this a valuable resource for professional healthcare providers. The book explores on the very essence of a woman’s being — the fundamental nature of the female hormone cycle; and was written to fill the void of practical, menstrual health education that focuses on understanding the delicate mind/body connection — a connection that has the power to bring about health or disease in the body. Contrary to current medical thinking and pharmaceutical industry messaging that encourages women to deny, ignore, suppress and replace their natural hormone production with synthetic hormone birth control and hormone replacement therapy, Botha and Chevalier-Batik believe that the hormone cycle is the foundation of women’s health and well being. Modern medicine has promoted the concept of specialization, encouraging women to consult specialists to treat isolated aspects of our body and mind, rather than consider our body as an integrated system, and exploring the relationship of the hormone cycle with other cycling systems in our body. Creating health begins with a shift in this perspective to one that recognizes the whole body is greater than the sum of its parts; a shift that recognizes that health is our birthright and represents our natural state. Such a change in perception can change how we express vibrant health and inner peace. Using the tools and information provided in this book, women can learn to perceive symptoms as biometric feedback from our bodies about our diet, lifestyle and the state of our mental, emotional, and spiritual self. These symptoms are the “tell” for conditions such as: hormone imbalances, depression, mental confusion, exhaustion, autoimmune disorders, allergies, and reproductive disorders. The purpose of this book, is to help you tap into the magnificent intelligence of your body and interpret its profound language to finally understand your mind, mood, and hormone cycle. Using the tools and exercises provided you will learn to live with in your hormone cycle to prevent re-occurring gynecological problems and mental/emotional imbalances; Perhaps for the first time in your life, you will feel like you can reach your full potential by acknowledging your strength and who you truly are. It is our goal to open your eyes to the real you — a woman who can trust herself, has confidence in her actions, understands her feelings and knows how to create a fulfilling life by living with her hormone cycle With brilliant simplicity, the authors tie the menstrual cycle into the other natural cycles of the universe and to the Paleolithic wise women who tracked their cycles on antler bones. These wise women understood that menstruation was vital natural cycle that held power. These foremothers became the first mathematicians, agriculturists, and healers by applying their menstrual wisdom to their culture’s survival. It is imperative that we understand all of the cycles in our lives. Women must be pro-active in all aspects of their wellness. Education and the willingness to ask questions and demand answers is a start.

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Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, beauty, coming of age, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, Leslie Botha, Menopause, menstruation, menstruation history, Mood, moon, mooncycle, moontime, PMS, Post Menopausal, Reproductive Health, Understanding Your Mind

You Asked, I Answer: Infertility Questions

By Keiko Zoll (Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed, August 27, 2011)

Our Infertility Journey So Far

Keiko and Larry, High School SweetheartsThat’s us from when we dated in high school, circa 1997 or 1998.

Where are you on your infertility path right now? Are you still leaning more towards a DE cycle than adoption at this point? And when can we look forward to your cycle?
There have been a few things since my last infertility journey update in June. Right now we are still leaning very heavily toward donor egg, although, and this is totally random: I may have ovulated on my own this week, but because I’m rocking the Zombie Leper Shingles, not so much with the sex this week. We are going to continue our “experiments in natural babymaking” again. And just in time for the hurricane: a light period. So no “we’re stuck inside and there’s nothing else to do” sex either. Awesome.

Right. So, still leaning toward donor egg but adoption is not off the table as a second option. The challenge right now is that everything depends on my insurance. I have, very luckily, rockin’ insurance that will cover basically half of our total costs. Right now, we’re looking at about $15K out of pocket.

The original game plan was to select a donor by the end of this year, get the ball rolling, and aim for an April/May transfer if everything went swimmingly. And right now, things are up in the air because I need to make a game plan should I leave my job, which is a very real possibility and soon. I promise next to my immediate family, my blog readers will be the first to know when things get off the ground.

How does your husband feel about you being so public about your emotions and your relationship? Has the blog affected your relationship? If so, how?

I started this blog as a way to cope and initially, wrote under a pseudonym. I’d ask, and then nag my husband: “Did you read my blog today?” Sometimes the answer was yes, of course, and other times he’d play catch up the same way I do with other blogs I follow. There’s a certain degree of self-censorship that occurs; rarely do I write about some of the more intimate details of say, our sex life. But I have written about some nasty fights.

When I broached the subject of doing my video and revealing my name and face, I of course ran it by him. He was more than supportive and has continued to be even more so since then. Larry gets that my blog is more than just dumping my emotions for the world to read (which yeah, a lot of times it can be). He gets that this fuels a sense of impassioned personal fulfillment for me. And that as much as this blog is my space, Larry is very much a part of it. Sometimes, I even let him write here (and I hope to have him do it more in the future).

It’s hard to say if this blog has affected our relationship; it certainly factors into our life together, say, watching an episode of Castle together versus writing a blog post. Larry understands that my blog has become a platform for me to finally start figuring out just what the heck I want to do with my life, and in being supportive of me, my goals, and this blog, then it’s fair to say that yes, in that sense, my blog has affected our relationship for the better.

Infertility Support & Resources

Keiko Baby PictureMe at three months old. Chubby cheeks you could pinch right off.

I am unfamiliar with the donor egg process. How do you choose donor eggs? Do they have photos of potential donors? Are there specific requirements that you and your husband have for the potential donor?

There’s definitely a lot to answer in this one question. So first, let me point you to a couple of posts that might be helpful. The first is this helpful overview of the donor egg process from RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. The second is a mish-mash of helpful info from RESOLVE of New England’s Donor Egg Decision-Making Seminar back in June, that I live-tweeted. The third is a post I wrote early last year about wrapping my brain around choosing donor egg as our option: A Donor For Your Thoughts. That post might help answer how we chose donor eggs.

As far as what we’re looking for in a donor… we’re looking at three basic characteristics:

  1. Brunette
  2. Caucasian*
  3. College educated with good academic history

That’s pretty much it. The * indicates that ideally, we’d love a donor of Japanse or Asian descent, as I’m half-Japanese. And to make things in a really nice neat little bow, it would be awesome if she were Jewish. But finding a Japanese-Jewish donor is a bit of a challenge, so we’ll settle on those top three for now.

Keiko, I’m a twenty three year old woman who desperately wants to conceive someday. I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and have been told that I’ll likely never have children of my own. Help.

First of all, I just want to say that I’m so sorry you’ve gotten this diagnosis. PCOS can be a very overwhelming disease when you’re first diagnosed, but take solace in knowing there is a huge online community out there for support and education.

So here’s my advice.

  • Do you like your doctor? Trust them? Feel comfortable at your appointments? If not, consider seeking a second-opinion from a doctor you are more comfortable with. You want to make sure that not only you have an accurate diagnosis, but a professional who’s willing to work with you whom you trust.
  • Do your homework, but do it in moderation. It’s easy to don the Dr. Google hat and get sucked into the self-diagnosis and worrying vortex. Pick up a couple of trusted PCOS resources. Check out a few online communities. But give yourself only an hour or less a day to do it- you don’t want to overwhelm yourself.
  • From what I know of PCOS, diet plays heavily into the disease, so it’s worth making an appointment with a nutritionist. I know there are also implications for other health issues so you want to make sure you’re giving your body the best nutrition you can.
  • Find other PCOS bloggers. Read their blogs, reach out, and connect with them. And find those online PCOS communities – I know they’re out there.
  • Seek out IRL support, too. Whether it’s a private therapist, a clergy member, a friend you can count on, or even a support group – it’s important to talk about how it’s affecting you emotionally.

That’s all I’ve really got. Since I was originally diagnosed with PCOS in 2000 but then went to college and had my head up my ass, I don’t actually have any good PCOS resources off-hand. I’m more in the POF/POI camp at this point. That said, I know I have many readers here who are in the PCOS boat.

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Filed under adoption, Hannah Wept Sarah Laughed, Infertility, Keiko Zoll, Reproductive Health