Monday, April 6, 2009

First Do No Harm -- Please?

Someone close to me reported meeting a young woman who was having a drink in a bar, looking like she hated the world. In conversation, she revealed she had been on anti-depressants since she was in high school, for over eight years, because a therapist told her mom she needed them. He asked if she still needed them, and she didn’t know. Didn’t even seem to care. She was clearly depressed. So much for the drugs, right?

Does it seem to you that most people blindly follow doctors’ orders? That they don’t ask for drug-free remedies as an alternative treatment? That doctors don’t even mention there ARE other remedies unless a patient asks? That’s certainly been my experience, and it frustrates the heck out of me.

Here’s a good example. Post-partum depression is caused by a huge drop in progesterone after the birth of a baby. Some women’s bodies rebound quickly and begin making more within a week or two. Others don’t, and that leads to major depression because progesterone is our feel-good hormone. It also balances out estrogen and testosterone. If your progesterone is too low, you’ll exhibit all sorts of symptoms, one of them being depression. For a new mom suffering severe post-partum depression, why would anyone want to put drugs into her body when a natural cream identical to what the body produces is available?

Another example. Someone else close to me suffered from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). She was told by top specialists in New York City and Chicago that there was no cure. All she could hope for was management. Naturally that meant drugs. So this young woman took birth control pills and a diabetes drug for several years, but the side effects were so bad, she felt as though she was in menopause, and that put her into a depression. Then we found a wonderful doctor in Chicago who treated her with natural progesterone cream, acupuncture, and diet control (eliminating red meat/dairy/soda/sugar substitutes). Guess what? No more PCOS or pre-diabetes or hot flashes, rashes, hair loss, or digestive issues. And no more depression, either.

A great source of information on natural progesterone is the website of Dr. John R. Lee, a pioneer in its use. But don’t ask a conventional doctor about it or you’ll be prescribed a synthetic version made from horse urine. Excuse me, but there’s NOTHING natural about that. My gynecologist got into a big argument with me over the safety of natural vs synthetic. I’ve since found another doctor who believes going natural is absolutely safe and effective. Those doctors are out there. You have to look for them, but it’s well worth the trouble.

I don’t mean to sound like an ad, and I know there is a place for prescription drugs, but when I hear about young people being put on strong medications without trying safe, alternative remedies first, I get angry. Other countries don’t do it that way. They combine methods, trying the safer ones first. After all, isn’t that what doctors are supposed to do? First do no harm?