Tag Archives: women’s issues
As a woman, are you committed to living a heart-healthy lifestyle? While we might think of older men when we hear “heart problems”, research tells us it’s time for women to look after their hearts, too.
According to the Heart Research Institute, heart disease is the number one cause of death in Canada for women over 55. What’s more, Canadian women are 16% more likely than men to die from the result of a heart attack. One of our current problems when it comes to women’s heart health is that, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2/3 of heart disease clinical research focuses on men.
So what does that mean for you?
It means that, until more women-centered clinical research is completed, it’s essential that you educate yourself on natural, safe ways to care for your cardiovascular system and live heart-healthy every day. This includes keeping track of your cholesterol levels. Read on for what you need to know, plus our tips and recommendations to get you started.
Women, cholesterol, and heart disease
Heart disease is a women’s issue. Some research estimates that heart attacks are more deadly for women in part because our hearts are affected by the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Physiological differences also exist. For instance, women’s hearts and coronary arteries are smaller than men’s, with faster resting heart rate.
While there are many risk factors involved in heart disease in women, like high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and obesity, cholesterol is a factor you need to monitor for heart health – especially once you reach menopause. That’s because, according to the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, high blood cholesterol levels raise the risk for heart disease, and menopausal women are at increased risk of high cholesterol due to the drop in estrogen production that happens at menopause.
Higher estrogen levels are associated with a rise in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which offers protection against heart disease, along with a decline in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. (Confused about cholesterol types and what they really mean? We’re got you covered below, so read on!). To nurture heart health before, during, and after menopause, you want to keep your cholesterol levels within a healthy range.
Your cholesterol primer
Let’s dig into what cholesterol is, and more importantly, how it might affect women’s health. So what is cholesterol, anyway?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in every cell in the body. It’s both made by the body and absorbed from food. Cholesterol is essential because your body needs it to make important steroid hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and vitamin D. What’s more, the brain needs cholesterol and without enough of it, you might be at increased risk for depression, which is an independent risk factor for heart disease. Cholesterol is also used to make bile acids in the liver. In other words, cholesterol isn’t inherently bad.
But here’s the thing: excess cholesterol in the bloodstream can clog the arteries. These deposits (known as plaques) can result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries – which is a major cause of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which is divided in two major cholesterol types along with triglycerides:
LDL cholesterol: LDL or low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the “bad” cholesterol, which contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries as it undergoes free-radical damage. LDL rises after menopause in many women.
HDL cholesterol: HDL or high-density lipoprotein. It has been called “good” cholesterol because research suggests it helps the body dispose of LDL cholesterol. Low HDL cholesterol might be a more important heart disease risk factor for women than for men. What’s more, low HDL in women is one of the first measure of insulin resistance (another risk factor for heart disease).
Triglycerides: Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in the body. High levels of triglycerides could be a greater risk factor for heart disease in women compared with men. High triglycerides might be caused by conditions like hypothyroidism and PCOS and are associated with excess abdominal fat and high blood sugar, because the liver stores excess glucose as triglycerides.
Women-specific tips for healthy cholesterol levels and heart health
A heart-healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward keeping cholesterol levels in check and preventing heart disease in women. Work with an integrative doctor to track your cholesterol levels and make appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle if your total cholesterol levels are high, if HDL levels are low, or LDL levels are elevated. Diet-wise, choose healthy fats and lower cholesterol intake from foods by opting for plant-based swaps whenever possible. If you’re overweight, do your best to shed the extra pounds.
Try nutritional supplements like Healthy Heart. Talk with other women and let your emotions flow freely – all of these are pathways to a healthy heart.
Every woman needs these tips for better urinary health
In our daily lives, we take many steps to optimize our health and well-being.
For starters, you integrate that new mindfulness meditation practice into your mornings to revitalize your nervous system and invest in quality serums and lotions for your best skin health and natural glow.
Still, you rarely stop to think about urinary health—except when you’re struck down with a urinary tract infection, or UTI.
Most women will experience a UTI at least once in their lives, but for many others, urinary tract infections happen on the regular.
The great news is that you can curb your UTI risk naturally by following some simple daily habits, and when you do get a urinary tract infection, you can turn to natural remedies for symptom relief and treatment. How? Read on for our top tips to harness your best urinary health yet.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a bacterial infection that commonly affects the urethra and bladder. The main symptoms of UTI include painful urination, a burning sensation while peeing, a pressure in the lower abdomen and above the pubic bone, and frequent urge to pee, even though little comes out when you do. When you have a UTI, you might be tired and need more rest than usual. What’s more, frequent and painful peeing might make you anxious about your daily activities, like going to work and playing sports.
What causes UTI?
A urinary tract infection is usually caused by bacteria. But other factors are also involved. For example, being a woman is a risk factor for UTI. And once you’ve had a urinary tract infection, you become more prone to a recurring one in the future. Finally, pregnancy can up your UTI risk, too.
Lifestyle habits linked with a higher UTI risk include sexual activity (from pressure on the urinary tract during sex, and more bacteria exposure post-intercourse), some forms of birth control (namely spermicides, and friction from condoms), and also wearing a diaphragm (for some women, it can slow urinary flow).
With proper treatment, a UTI will usually subside without further complications. But if you get regular urinary tract infections, you’ll definitely want to tweak your daily habits to hit reset on your urinary health. Read on for our healthful tips.
Daily tips to curb your UTI risk
To kick your risk of getting a urinary tract infection and to support better urinary health, up your daily intake of fluids. Drinking lots of pure water is the ultimate urinary health action plan because it helps flush out toxins and bacteria and maintain a healthy urine flow.
Keep hydrated by drinking pure water while also avoiding too much coffee, tea, and soda, which can be dehydrating.
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
While wearing tight-fitting jeans and nylon undies is fine for most people, if you’re prone to UTIs, you’ll want to swap them for cotton underwear and comfy clothes that let you breathe and don’t trap moisture. What’s more, you’ll want to avoid irritating, scented bath products and feminine hygiene sprays.
Boost your immune system
Supporting better immune health is your go-to approach to better urinary health and lower UTI risk. Fill nutritional deficiencies with a high-quality Adult Multi providing essential vitamins and minerals. Add an antioxidant Vitamin C boost to enhance immune function. Promote optimal pH balance in the body with pH Pro.
Diet-wise, choose natural and minimally processed nutrient-rich foods.
Address UTI symptoms now with these natural remedies
Snag some herbal remedies to help alleviate UTI symptoms. Try Dandelion leaf tea as a beneficial diuretic to help increase urine flow and flushing of bacteria and toxins. Find a Uva ursi extract as a urinary antiseptic, combined with mineral-rich horsetail. Another favorite plant remedy for UTI is pure, unsweetened cranberry juice.
Build your microflora
Restore optimal urogenital flora with probiotics, especially lactobacilli. Loading up on healthful probiotics helps lower risk of UTI while also helping you bounce back faster post-infection.
What’s more, probiotics are essential to restoring optimal flora if you decide to take a round of antibiotics for your urinary tract infection. Take a multi-strain probiotic in supplement form, or opt for live fermented and cultured foods like sauerkraut, kefir, or kombucha.
Rest and recover
When you’re fighting an infection, getting enough rest is crucial. Lower stress and anxiety by indulging in lots of quiet downtimes, restorative baths, and enough sleep. Don’t overbook your schedule, and give yourself time to heal. Learning to manage stress and be more mindful of your body’s needs will also help nix the chance of recurring infections in the long-term.
A holistic approach to preventing UTIs is the surest way path to optimal urinary health.
We do always recommend you work with a qualified healthcare practitioner before starting a new supplement or herbal medicine regime.
CanPrev is known for its quality line of comprehensive natural health products, but what many people don’t know is how and why CanPrev started.
I was a 19-year-old business administration student at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus when I discovered a hard, pea-sized lump just under the surface of my left breast.
I thought nothing of it until an ultrasound revealed a nodule about the size of a dime. Several doctors assured me I was too young for it to be something as serious as cancer, so I promptly and conveniently forgot about it.
The following spring, the lump had become so painful that I insisted upon its removal. A few days after the surgery I drove myself to the hospital to have the stitches removed. That’s when my surgeon regretfully told me that they didn’t get the entire tumour and another surgery was necessary to remove more of the breast.
Tumour? This was the first time the doctor had even uttered the word.
I clearly recall the river of tears that streamed down my cheeks on what seemed like an endless drive home.
My father was the first to receive the news that his 21-year-old-daughter had breast cancer. I asked him to speak with my surgeon; I still hadn’t grasped the reality of what was really going on. I was dumbfounded that nobody had the decency to tell me the truth about my condition.
I began to realize that listening to my body and taking ownership of my health was crucial.
A second surgery removed the rest of the tumour, more breast tissue and all 13 of my lymph nodes on that side of my body. The row of stitches on the left side of my body was so tight that I couldn’t lift my arm. The procedure was considered successful, but it left me feeling like I’d been scraped clean.
My oncology team formulated a recovery plan comprising chemotherapy, radiation and a pipeline of drugs. I was concerned about the one-size-fits-all approach, especially since there was no metastasis to the armpit nodes.
Thus began my research.
I contacted the Canadian Cancer Society, and I was connected with survivors who were more than willing to talk about their experiences. The more I learned about the treatments and their side effects, the more insistent my inner voice became: chemotherapy wasn’t the way to go.
I stunned my doctors with my decision. They thought that I should take advantage of every option I had to reduce future risk. The more they pushed, the more I resolved to take ownership of my health.
I was making a well-informed personal decision, and nobody would change my mind.
When I was a child, my father took the family on yearly trips to his homeland, Germany. We would see a homeopathic doctor for checkups and were treated with various remedies. Being exposed to the world of natural medicine had a profound effect on me.
As a young girl, I witnessed time and time again the healing power of the supplements we took. I believe my early experiences with natural medicine put the seed of complementary and alternative medicine in my head, and helped me to recognize that I had options when it came to my health.
In place of chemotherapy, I decided to accept the recommended 25 rounds of radiation. My decision was predicated upon the fact that I didn’t want to risk my general and reproductive health with chemo. I was unmarried at the time, but I knew I wanted to have children someday.
Radiation was brutal and I felt the effects for a full year afterward, but I was grateful for every hour of life. Five years passed. I was considered cured.
In 1996, I met Franco Salituro. It was one of those classic stories where we met, exchanged a few words, and immediately felt a connection. I was drawn to him from day one; intuitively I knew Franco and I would one day make a great entrepreneurial team. Two years later, we were married.
We welcomed a son in 2000, and our daughter followed in 2002. I settled comfortably into motherhood. Franco worked at a secure job, and though we decided I would be a stay-at-home mom, we began to save a little nest egg that we would one day use to start our joint venture.
We were blessed with our small family and the plans we were dreaming up for the future. I was happy. Healthy.
Or so I thought.
In 2003, familiar painful twinges in my left breast stopped me in my tracks. I was devastated because in my heart I knew my cancer had returned. A mammogram confirmed what I’d already suspected.
My surgeon speculated that after having two babies back-to-back, elevated estrogen levels played a role in the recurrence. I opted for a third lumpectomy and, once again, surgery was thought to be successful.
But within a year, the nightmare pains returned and it was almost too much to bear.
Not to worry, there’s a lot of scar tissue and that’s likely causing the pain, I was told. I couldn’t get another MRI since the mammogram came back negative, so I was advised to wait six months, keep an eye on it and then come back. Perhaps there would be something detectable then.
The next six months of stabbing, debilitating pain was rivaled only by the agony of wondering if the cancer was metastasizing. Homeschooling my two children was a welcome distraction, but every day felt like a year.
At the end of my rope, and after a lot of contemplation, I told Franco I’d decided to have a mastectomy. I wanted to make sure the cancer would never come back again. My ever supportive husband said, “Whatever you decide, I’m behind you. I just want you to be well.”
I spent years looking for more natural solutions to reduce my risk. I saw a holistic nutritionist, an iridologist and two Naturopathic Doctors. They were great, but when it came to supplementation, I couldn’t find any in the therapeutic doses I required to restore my energy or take away my chronic sore throat. That’s when the idea came: Franco and I would seek the guidance and counsel of natural health professionals and start our natural health products business.
We would start a company that would educate people about the benefits of natural medicine and bring it to the mainstream. We were going to help people take ownership of their health with safe and effective products – the kind I’d been personally seeking for so long.
In 2005, Franco gave his notice at work, and I said goodbye to my left breast. The surgery was far worse than I had imagined; lymph nodes had grown back and had to be removed. There were staples galore and an uncomfortable drain for over 10 days. But still, CanPrev was becoming a reality. Our dream was coming true…
We launched our first line of therapeutics in January 2006. Slowly and purposefully we grew, carefully assembling the talented group of individuals that comprise the CanPrev family today. And as the company flourished, so did my family, as I gave birth to two more children in 2010 and 2011. I was in my forties by then, and my prayers and dreams had been answered in more ways than one.
I didn’t know it at the time, but having cancer was actually preparing me for a personal and professional journey that would fulfill my life in ways I never thought possible. From something so terrible has come so much good.
In 2015, we marked 10 years of providing quality, comprehensive products that people use to support their health every day. We are grateful for the wonderful results; the daily testimonials of how these natural health products are helping Canadians is humbling.
It’s my hope that CanPrev will continue to educate and bless others with the gift of better health, for many more decades to come.
Yours in good health,
Welcome to Expert Advice a weekly series that features professional replies to your questions on natural health and wellness, and living a healthy life.
Our in-house team of naturopathic doctors, homeopaths, nutritionists and other licensed health care practitioners help you to make better informed decisions regarding your health, natural health supplements, natural medicine and meeting your wellness goals.
CanPrev Premium Natural Health Products works in partnership with natural health practitioners to bring you accurate and up-to-date information on all of your health questions.
Healthy Hormones for fibroids and ovarian cysts
Q. I just found out I have fibroids and an ovarian cyst. I bought the Healthy Hormones caps and want to ask if I should double or triple up on them for a few months?
A. Healthy Hormones™ is an all natural formula designed to promote healthy estrogen detoxification and relief of PMS. Because it is a potent dose already at two capsules per day, I would not recommend increasing it. A naturopathic doctor could possibly prescribe more than the two capsules per day, and we do recommend our customers and patients have a naturopathic doctor.
We have testimonials of fibroids and cysts shrinking or disappearing after one to three months on the Healthy Hormones, so I hope it will help in your situation. You may want to consider being on a low to full dose of Healthy Hormones long-term, but take a two-week break every three months or so.
Disclaimer: The experts’ responses are for general information purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should always consult your naturopathic doctor or other health care practitioner. Don’t delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of the information presented here.
You can start living a healthier life today. Click here to submit your question in confidence.