For many people, women's health or women's medicine is about reproduction and gynecological care. While the reproductive years are an important part of a woman's life, it's one-third or less of her lifetime. Reproductive care is important, but women have many other health needs. Being female can affect those health needs; heart disease does not usually become an issue for many women until after menopause. Eating habits in the teen years can have a big impact on bone mass and the risk of osteoporosis 60 years later. Women's medicine deals with all of these issues.
Men and women certainly face different health risks. Reproductive care is the obvious difference, as is the management of pregnancy, labor and delivery. Some conditions are more likely to occur in women. For example, people who have lupus are about 90 percent female, while women are two or three times as likely as men to develop multiple sclerosis. Although men can develop breast cancer, it's uncommon; breast cancer is much more likely to occur in women, as are autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
In some ways yes, and in some ways, no. Both conventionally-trained physicians and naturopathic doctors may use the same diagnostic tests, for example. However, a conventionally-trained physician might prescribe a synthetic hormone, while a naturopathic doctor uses phytoestrogens made from plants or herbal preparations to support hormone function. Homeopathy is definitely a different kind of treatment compared to conventional medicine.
Staying healthy and preventing diseases are two of the most important aspects of a naturopathic physician’s care, and regular annual well-woman visits are critical. Women may have nutritional imbalances or deficiencies because they are more likely than men to limit certain foods or diet. Women may also need help with self-care, as they can focus on others while ignoring their own needs. Regular exercise is key to good health, and good sleep habits help the body rest and restore itself.
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