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My long hair just cant cover up my red neck.
09:15 PM on 12/26/2009
I dont know if that would be a facter, However if were planning to do studies I would like to be the first to volunteer!!!!
06:15 PM on 12/26/2009
The top women's health story of the decade _ought_ to be that autoimmune diseases, which disproportionately affect women, are still not recognized as a women's health issue. Thousands of young women in their twenties and thirties are having their very real symptoms blown off by a medical care system that is not geared to diagnose autoimmune diseases early, treat them effectively, or support the women who have them.

Many women turn to "alternative medicine" out of desperation. They are sold supplements and vitamins that do not treat their very real illnesses. Something is terribly wrong here, and it saddens me to read an article like this one, that seems oblivious to this ongoing women's health crisis.
06:26 AM on 12/27/2009
Quite right.

Many organ-specific autoimmune diseases (OSAIDS) are x10-20 more common in women than men. Why ?

One developing view is that some are remote consequences of childbirth !!! ? !!! The rationale is that if you have a difficult vaginal delivery then that contributes to the massive increase in constipation that elderly women suffer from - compared to men (gynecologic problems also contribute). Persistent defecatory problems strip autonomic nerves to midline endocrine organs resulting in "autoimmune" disease. "Autoimmune" is a dustbin of conditions that medicine uses to classsify anything it does not understand - the usual criterion is the presence of CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes in the gland - which may simply be a reaction to the underlying denervatory process. Denervation is clear in the salivary glands (Sjogrens) and some thyroid disease though it is seriously understudied.

(1) Autonomic denervation and "autoimmune" diseases Am J Med 2008
(2) Organ-specific autoimmune diseases J Clin Gastroenterol 2008
(3) Diabetes, diet and denervation Med Hypoth 2009
(4) Autonomic denervation and chronic Western disease 2010
Dana Seilhan
05:52 PM on 12/27/2009
I was lucky. I had autoimmune symptoms during my second pregnancy and happened to be seen by a D.O. in the urgent care I visited. I had no idea what was going on but she found inflammatory markers on the blood tests she ran. Too bad there wasn't another one waiting for me in the OB/GYN clinic she referred me to... the baby was healthy, so they didn't bother with me.

I still don't know what it was. I tested negative for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

I don't know about that constipation idea the other commenter mentioned, but I've heard of childbirth being linked to autoimmune disorders in another way: sometimes fetal cells wind up in the maternal bloodstream, and while hormones suppress immune reactions in the uterus, they don't do so hot in the mother's circulatory system.
04:39 PM on 12/26/2009
From what I already know, these points make extremely good sense. And I've learned more.
03:14 PM on 12/26/2009
Sisters are doing it for themselves.....Yah!
02:38 PM on 12/26/2009
Dr. Northrup: thanks again for you wisdom. As a man, I appreciate everything you do to help make the women in my life (and in the world) more aware and healthier.
02:04 PM on 12/26/2009
Good column. And by the way, chapter 8 of the Kristof -Wudunn book Half the Sky is Jane Roberts and Her 34 Million Friends. We're still looking for 34 million Americans to take a stand for women's and girls' health, education, and human rights to survive childbirth and plan their families. And the more educated girls are, the healthier they are and the healthier are their families. Let's hear it for gender equality! Warmly Cheers, Jane
01:26 PM on 12/26/2009
The so-called "wisdom" women have about their bodies is that women are not taught as children to ignore pain. Ignoring pain is kind of stupid when you think about it. So is the way we raise men in this country.
Dana Seilhan
05:54 PM on 12/27/2009
Agreed. I'm a feminist, will always consider myself one (even if I wonder what in the world some of them are thinking), but part of that for me is changing society to make it OK for men to have emotions and feel pain without suffering from social death as a result.

Agreed about the pain part, anyway. Pain is not always involved when something is "off" in a person's body. It can be something as simple as a change in mood patterns.

Anyway, I think Dr. Northrup is speaking metaphorically to a degree. But I notice poetic language tends to make Americans in particular feel yucky. Dunno what it is.
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Disabled Vietnam Vet
12:24 PM on 12/26/2009
So Grandma was right about everything ?

Sure wish she was still here to pass on her wisdom .
12:22 PM on 12/26/2009
My intutuion tells me NOT to take fish oil due to high mercury levels in fish
12:56 PM on 12/26/2009
It's filtered out.
Unless you buy it from some 'unknown' supplier.
Go with a well known company-brand.
04:37 PM on 12/26/2009
Also, you can get fish oil/vitamin D from suppliers which use only smaller fish, which do not have a chance to accumulate so much mercury. One of them is (I have no connection with this company except as a customer) which only uses the 'cleanest, smallest fish for fish oil and also sells small, wild-caught salmon and other fish as well as frozen organic berries and 80% chocolate and more.
08:09 PM on 12/26/2009
Thanks for the information on fish oil!!
11:35 AM on 12/26/2009
Researchers have found many things that can help inhibit life threatening diseases and conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes. Regular exercise and careful attention to nutrition, such as following a Mediterranean style diet, are known to help. There is also a group of researchers who study people who remain healthy much longer than average to see if they can identify genes, environmental factors and lifestyle habits that may help other people live longer too. Thomas Perls, of the Boston University School of Medicine, has identified ten habits that will help you live as long as [...]
11:24 AM on 12/26/2009
Actually a pretty good article, but I would like to add a couple of points.

Kelp is actually much better than fish oil. Fish don't make EFA's they get them from eating Kelp. Also Kelp is less expensive, and high in Iodine.
11:18 AM on 12/26/2009
Um, there's an ironic typo right there in the headline. A WOMAN'S wisdom, is I think what you meant. Or WOMEN'S wisdom without the "a."
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02:01 PM on 12/26/2009
Yeah, loved that. Though, I suppose, basic grammar may not fall into the "wisdom" classification.