Why are we becoming more infertile?


I have been writing on health for almost 17 years. One of the very first articles I wrote was on Environmental Toxicity. Bear in mind that this was 15 or 16 years ago and the world was not that savvy about toxicity (at least in Singapore). In those days, magazine articles were supposed to be about 2000 words. When I finished my article it was more than double the length at about 5000 words.

On one hand, I was relieved because I had worked really hard on that article. On the other hand I was horrified. The information I had penned down provided a nightmarish picture of what was going on right beneath our eyes. I couldn’t eat or sleep properly for the next two days.

My editor called me up and grumbled about the length of the article. I told her very politely to feel free to edit it to her heart’s content. I knew she could not. I had written the article too tightly. I was also secretly hoping that I would get paid for two articles instead of one because they would have to run this article as part I and part 2.

My wish came true. Not before she called me a few days later in a state of shock. She could not eat, sleep or rest properly after she read that article either. In a way I felt validated. In another, I felt sick and horrified.

I spent the next 10 years studying, researching and doing post graduate work in Clinical Ecology, Environmental Medicine, Allergies, Cancer and Autism. Along the way I discovered that the same principles of reducing toxic loads would also help couples get pregnant more easily.

In those 10 years, I wrote and accumulated hundreds of pages and documentation on environmental toxicity, illness and pollution. I think I was about 35 when I realized that the sheer volume of literature was so sickening, disheartening and frustrating that it would overwhelm anyone to read it in one book unless it became a reference text. Alternatively I would be branded, tarred and feathered (metaphoricallyspeaking) like the author of “Silent Springs” Rachel Carson was for talking about environmental toxicity long before it was fashionable.

By now as I looked at the epidemic of autism, increase in cancers and strange and bizarre neurological illness, the avalanche of conditions like Chronic Fatigues Syndrome,Fibromyalgia, the increase in liver related toxicity cases, everything started fitting together in a bizarre fashion. Symptoms of environmental toxicity can include the following;

Oily Skin
Weight Gain
Cellulite
Fatigue
Lethargy
Sore and tired eyes
Arthritis
Cataract
Infertility
PMS
Mood Swings
Cancer
Fibroids
Tumours
Atherosclerosis
Heart Disease
Fibroids
Birth Defects
Endometrosis

According to present usages, the term “ecologic illness”, refers to chemically induced disease. The term is used to describe some of the subtler devastating health effects of chemical exposure in the workplace, the home and outdoors. These illnesses, according to San Francisco immunologist Alan S. Levin, appear to stem from damage to the immune system, either from acute poisoning by toxic chemicals or from chronic, low-level exposures that ultimately overwhelm the system. As reviewed by Earon S. Davis, the exact symptoms may vary from person to person, but generally involve an increasing intolerance to wide range of chemicals, including substances like formalehyde, pesticide, natural gas fumes, perfumes and scents, solvents, tobacco smoke and auto exhaust, to mention the more common offenders.

Exposures to small amounts of substances like lead, mercury, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have no discernible impact on adults early exposures to dioxin or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chemicals from industrial activities that accumulate in dietary fat, damage the developing immune system, making the child more prone to infections. Risks of asthma and high blood pressure are increased by early environmental exposures. All of these significantly affect the reproductive systems of both men and women. Every year there are 2000 new chemicals being introduced into the environment.

We are being exposed to 100, 000 chemicals that our grandparents were not exposed to. Most of the toxic chemicals that are fat soluble are also xenoestrogenic. These include
The PCBs, DDT, PBB not to mention lead, mercury, chlorine, fluoride, antibiotics and steroids in too large amounts as well as toxic tampons and breast implants .

For those who are interested in learning how to clean themselves up, the resources are outlined in the books below. Alternatively they can also access the website of my Naturopathic Practice http://www.NaturalTherapies.com

Be well

Dr Sundardas

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Is Your Water Safe?


There is a global crisis of potable water, but most people in the industrialized nations either don’t know about it or simply don’t care about it. This lack of awareness about the severity of the problem is short sighted and puts humans all over the globe at risk.

Water is not an inexhaustible resource; in fact, there is a finite amount of water on the Earth which is rapidly being depleted thanks to worldwide population growth and contamination due to the infrastructure that allows humans to drive cars, fly in airplanes, heat their homes, and more.

How critical is the problem? Look at these statistics and judge for yourself:

1.2 billion people get sick each year due to polluted water

At least 10 million people die from dysentery, diarrhea, and other diseases caused by impure water

25 million children under the age of five die each year due to impure water and its related illnesses

According to the United Nations and leading scientists, half of the wetlands on the planet have been destroyed and the rate of destruction is increasing. Our rivers and our streams are polluted and the increasing demand for potable water is leading to serious water shortages. As you can see, there is a real urgency to finding effective ways to conserve and purify water.

Contaminated Water

Modern technology is rapidly destroying water’s life-giving capacities. Increased population, industrial wastes and agricultural chemicals are contaminating our water sources. Examples can be found in chemical spills, landfills, excessive herbicide and pesticide sprays, chemical dumps and nitrate fertilizer run off that affect our lakes, underground aquifers, and rivers. Time Magazine reports “over 4000 chemicals” have already been found in drinking water. All levels of government have been slow to act. Meanwhile, more and more chemicals are showing up in the water supply of America’s cities and towns.” Each year in the U.S., 18 billion pounds of pollutants and chemicals are released by industry into the atmosphere, soil and groundwater.

Researchers studying water have identified a progression of the disease process in our body. We can call this the “cycle of disease,” because a direct progression of deterioration in the body as it becomes susceptible to disease can be seen. It begins with water that is contaminated with toxins and chemicals that can’t be neutralized and as a result, changes the chemistry of body fluids.

Public water treatment systems rely on chlorine to kill harmful bacteria. Until recently, concerns about drinking water focused on eliminating pathogens. Chlorination of drinking water was a major factor in the reduction in the mortality rates associated with waterborne pathogens. The use of chlorine was believed to be safe until recent years, when halogenated organic compounds, such as chloroform, were identified in chlorinated drinking water supplies. Recent surveys show that these compounds are common in water supplies throughout the North America. These concerns about cancer risks associated with chemical contamination from chlorination by-products have resulted in numerous epidemiological studies. These studies generally support the notion that by-products of chlorination are associated with increased risk of cancer and other health problems. These risks arise from both drinking and bathing in chlorinated water.

Following are quotes from a variety of sources:

U.S. COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY: “Cancer rates for people on chlorinated water systems is 93% higher than for those on non-chlorinated water systems…”

U.S. NEWS &WORLD REPORT – July 29 1991 Is Your Water Safe–The Dangerous State of Your Water “A long hot shower can be dangerous. The toxic chemicals are inhaled in high concentrations.”

High levels of THMs (trihalomethanes) may also have an effect on pregnancy. A California study found that pregnant women who drank large amounts of tap water with high THMs had an increased risk of miscarriage. These studies do not prove that there is a link between THMs and cancer or miscarriage. However, they do show the need for further research in this area to confirm potential health effects.”

Make sure your water is safe and life giving.

Be well

Dr Sundardas

Why soya is not good for you.


For the last twenty years, tofu has been all the rage. As people became increasingly educated about the dangers of dairy and dairy products, tofu became the viable substitute. However in a bizarre reversal of sorts, we have begun to discover that if a little of something is good, more of it is not necessarily better. “Tofu Shrinks Brain!” Not a science fiction scenario, this sobering soybean revelation is for real. But how did the “poster bean” of the ’90s go wrong? Apparently, in many ways – none of which bode well for the brain.

In a major ongoing study involving 3,734 elderly Japanese-American men, those who ate the most tofu during midlife had up to 2.4 times the risk of later developing Alzheimer’s disease. As part of the three-decade long Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, 27 foods and drinks were correlated with participants’ health. Men who consumed tofu at least twice weekly had more cognitive impairment, compared with those who rarely or never ate the soybean curd.

“The test results were about equivalent to what they would have been if they were five years older,” said lead researcher Dr. Lon R. White from the Hawaii Center for Health Research. For the guys who ate no tofu, however, they tested as though they were five years younger.

What’s more, higher midlife tofu consumption was also associated with low brain weight. Brain atrophy was assessed in 574 men using MRI results and in 290 men using autopsy information. Shrinkage occurs naturally with age, but for the men who had consumed more tofu, White said “their brains seemed to be showing an exaggeration of the usual patterns we see in aging.”

Phytoestrogens – Soy Self Defense

Tofu and other soybean foods contain isoflavones, three-ringed molecules
bearing a structural resemblance to mammalian steroidal hormones. White and his fellow researchers speculate that soy’s estrogen-like compounds (phytoestrogens) might compete with the body’s natural estrogens for estrogen receptors in brain cells.

Plants have evolved many different strategies to protect themselves from predators. Some have thorns or spines, while others smell bad, taste bad, or
poison animals that eat them. Some plants took a different route, using birth
control as a way to counter the critters who were wont to munch.

Plants such as soy are making oral contraceptives to defend themselves, says
Claude Hughes, Ph.D., a neuroendocrinologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.They evolved compounds that mimic natural estrogen. These phytoestrogens caninterfere with the mammalian hormones involved in reproduction and growth – a strategy to reduce the number and size of predators.

Toxicologists Concerned About Soy’s Health Risks

The soy industry says that White’s study only shows an association between tofu consumption and brain aging, but does not prove cause and effect. On the other hand, soy experts at the National Center for Toxicological Research, Daniel Sheehan, Ph.D., and Daniel Doerge, Ph.D., consider this tofu study very important. “It is one of the more robust, well-designed prospective epidemiological studies generally available. . . We rarely have such power in human studies, as well as a potential mechanism.”

In a 1999 letter to the FDA (and on the ABC News program 20/20), the two
toxicologists expressed their opposition to the agency’s health claims for soy, saying the Honolulu study “provides evidence that soy (tofu) phytoestrogens cause vascular dementia. Given that estrogens are important for maintenance of brain function in women; that the male brain contains aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estradiol; and that isoflavones inhibit this enzymatic activity, there is a mechanistic basis for the human findings.”

Although estrogen’s role in the central nervous system is not well understood, White notes that “a growing body of information suggests that estrogens may be needed for optimal repair and replacement of neural structures eroded with aging.”

One link to the puzzle may involve calcium-binding proteins, which are
associated with protection against neurodegenerative diseases. In recent
animal studies at Brigham Young University’s Neuroscience Center, researchers found that consumption of phytoestrogens via a soy diet for a relatively short interval can significantly elevate phytoestrogens levels in the brain
and decrease brain calcium-binding proteins.

Concerns About Giving Soy to Infants

The most serious problem with soy may be its use in infant formulas. “The
amount of phytoestrogens that are in a day’s worth of soy infant formula equals 5 birth control pills,” says Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., president of the Maryland Nutritionists Association. She and other nutrition experts believe that infant exposure to high amounts of phytoestrogens is associated with early puberty in girls and retarded physical maturation in boys.

A study reported in the British medical journal Lancet found that the “daily
exposure of infants to isoflavones in soy infant-formulas is 6-11 fold higher on a bodyweight basis than the dose that has hormonal effects in adults consuming soy foods.” (A dose, equivalent to two glasses of soy milk per day, that was enough to change menstrual patterns in women. ) In the blood of infants tested, concentrations of isoflavones were 13000-22000 times higher than natural estrogen concentrations in early life.

Soy Interferes with Enzymes

While soybeans are relatively high in protein compared to other legumes, Enig says they are a poor source of protein because other proteins found in soybeans act as potent enzyme inhibitors. These “anti-nutrients” block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. Trypsin inhibitors are large, tightly folded proteins that are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking and can reduce protein digestion. Therefore, soy consumption may lead to chronic deficiencies in amino acid
uptake.

Soy’s ability to interfere with enzymes and amino acids may have direct consequence for the brain. As White and his colleagues suggest, “isoflavones in tofu and other soyfoods might exert their influence through interference with tyrosine kinase-dependent mechanisms required for optimal hippocampal function, structure and plasticity.”

High amounts of protein tyrosine kinases are found in the hippocampus, a
brain region involved with learning and memory. One of soy’s primary
isoflavones, genistein, has been shown to inhibit tyrosine kinase in the
hippocampus, where it blocked “long-term potentiation,” a mechanism of memory formation.

Be well

Dr Sundardas


The Epidemic of Autism


When I first started practice 19 years ago, I had barely heard and registered that were conditions like ADHD, ADD and Autism. I think I was practicing for almost 3 years before I saw my first real case of learning disability. It was either ADD or ADHD. Since than the numbers have mushroomed. Now I may see 6 to 10 children a month. At least a third will have some kind of learning disability on top of allergy like symptoms. At least one child will be in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Nearly 12 million children in the United States of America (or up to 17 percent) suffer from one or more developmental disabilities, including deafness, blindness, epilepsy, speech defects, cerebral palsy, delays in growth and development, behavioral problems, or learning disabilities.

Learning disabilities alone affect 5 to 10 percent of children in public schools, and these numbers appear to be increasing. Prior to 1960’s the reported figure was 0.2 percent. According to the US Census Bureau in 1997, there was a 2.7 percent of children under five who exhibited some form of developmental delay.

Why is there an increase?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) conservatively affects 3 to 6 percent of all school children, and the numbers may be considerably higher. The incidence of autism seems to be increasing, though much of this apparent increase may be due to increased reporting.

Are we poisoning our kids?

Exposures to small amounts of substances like lead, mercury, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have no discernible impact on adults, can permanently damage the developing brain of a child, if the exposure occurs when a child is most vulnerable (during development in utero up till the first six months of life) .

Early exposures to dioxin or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chemicals from industrial activities that accumulate in dietary fat, damage the developing immune system, making the child more prone to infections. Risks of asthma and high blood pressure are increased by early environmental exposures.

The gut-brain connection starts in the womb

When there is significant damage to the lining of the small intestine (intestinal villi,) multiple systems failure (ie the immune system, the digestive system, the nervous system, the endocrine system) tends to manifest. Perhaps of even greater importance is the effect on intestinal permeability. The intestines are lined with a slimy layer of mucoproteins.

This layer provides lubrication and protection for the intestinal wall as food passes down the alimentary canal. These mucoproteins must be sulphated if they are to be continuous, protective and effective. If they are not sulphated, the proteins clump together and leave exposed intestinal material which makes it more susceptible to toxic food particles. When these get into the tissues, the body’s immune system over-reacts, generating auto-immune conditions.

We believe that these peptides are the agents (bullets) which are directly responsible for the symptoms but there may be other agents, which can have a serious impact upon the total picture. In some cases, wheat (gluten) and dairy (casein) appear to be the sole elements but in other cases it is clear that other factors are involved. The involvement of peptides from gluten and casein is very large and will obscure other factors. It is only after the main sources of the bullets, gluten and casein, are removed from the diet that the smoke will clear sufficiently to allow us to detect other causative elements which are largely of dietary origin.

What can you as a parent do? You can clean up your lifestyle. Eat clean food, clean water and reduce your personal exposure to toxins. I am sorry to say this ladies, you need to stop drinking alcohol and smoking for at least one year before conception. You may also want to clean out all your mercury fillings and reduce the metal and toxic load on your body. Very often I have parents and mothers come in to see me after they have one autistic child to figure out what to do for the next.

For those who are interested in learning how to clean themselves up, the resources are outlined in the books below. Alternatively they can also access the website of my Naturopathic Practice http://www.NaturalTherapies.com . For those who have children with learning disabilities, they can also access the above website and look at the information on Autism and Learning Disabilities.

Be well

Dr Sundardas

Beating Fatigue


You get your nine hours of beauty sleep regularly every night. So why do you feel so tired? You eat all the right foods or so you think. You regularly exercise thirty minutes a day. However you just can’t seem to get up and go. Even sex seem to be a chore. If so read on…

If you are fatigued and have trouble falling asleep, or sleeping restfully, suspect that caffeine may be the cause when: You drink any caffeinated beverage within three hours of bedtime You drink the equivalent of five or more cups of coffee per day You become aware that small caffeine increase makes you restless, excited, super-alert or nervous. You may suspect that your fatigue may be caused by caffeine overstimulation, if you drink the equivalent of five or more cups of coffee per day and if you suffer symptoms of physical hyperstimulation or a sense of depletion. If cutting down on your coffee makes you feel better, you have discovered the source of your problem.

Do you remember the times you used to feel depressed and out of sorts? Do you remember what you craved to eat at that point in time? Was it fruits and nuts? Was it salad and fruit juice? Most of you at such times would have gone for sweet things like chocolate, cookies and candies or ice-creams

The initial rush of energy or lift that you get occurs because these food products are quickly metabolised to produce blood sugar.This is precisely what happens when you crave your mid-morning cup of coffee with sugar. Initially you will get a temporary energy lift since it raises your blood sugar level. This is followed soon by a downward plunge of energy leaving you feeling worse than before, calling for a repetition of more coffee and sweets or alcohol.

When we have a simpler way of life we would strike at our enemy or run away for an emergency. The event would end and the body would return to a more normal relaxed state. In everyday situations however we are confronted with a series of stresses that arouse our bodies in the same fashion as a fight/flight emergency.. No wonder you are tired. However many individuals don’t feel their emotions of anger, impatience, frustration or depression and despair. They may be so accustomed to being worried or hostile that they think the condition is normal. Meanwhile their bodies are falling apart as they tax it to the limit. Fatigue is the inevitable outcome.

If you want to have a constant supply of energy, forget the “three square meals ad day” rule. Most meal aren’t square anyway but are likely to be unbalanced or inadequate anyway. Eat like a rabbit or squirrel. Nibble your way through healthy snacks. No, I am not suggesting that you snack on ice-cream, chocolates and sweets or pastries.

Eat health foods that build up your energy level consistently. Substitute protein for sweets and carbohydrates at your many meals. Snack on slices of fruits, nuts, a piece of raw fruit, a celery or a carrot stick.

Make a protein powder drink with your fruit juice for breakfast or lunch and you will have the juice of life to burn for hours. If you plan to attend an important meeting after lunch and you need to be mentally alert than skip the carbohydrates during lunch. Have a salad with some fish or chicken.

You could even try a protein drink with fruit juice. Sometimes though, you happen to be a really nervy type. You want to deliberately calm down and slow down at the meeting. That is when you would want to snack on rice and vegetables.

Skip the protein foods for they will make you overly alert. Another quick energy boosting routine is to eat a little fat. That’s right fat. I can imagine some of you shaking your head and thinking “Now I have really heard it all”.

Researchers have learnt that a little fat is necessary to make your gall bladder work. I have heard of horror stories of people who have had their gall bladder shut down on them because went they went on a diet and did not take any fat at all. They needed surgery after that.

Taking a little fat staves of hunger as well as fatigue for hours, Either add a bit ofcold-pressed vegetable oil to your protein drink before you blend it (you will never notice it there) or add more oil to your salad at mealtimes and drink only the remains from the bowl.

After almost 19 years of seeing clients with a range of fatigue conditions, we have come to the following factors that could underlie as serious case of fatigue. These factors are

Allergies
Chemical Poisons
Heavy Metal Toxicity
Candida
Parasites
Dental issues
Nutritional Deficiencies
Hypoglycemia
Hypothyroid
Structural Issues
Emotional Issues
Estrogen Dominance – Progesterone Deficiency

Be well

Dr Sundardas

Is Natural Medicine safe?


For many years, Natural Medicine has always been touted as being the safer of the two medical systems. After all herbs and vitamins rarely if ever give you side-effects. They are also often non-toxic and rarely habit forming.

However this view is often rebutted by critics on the pro Western Medicine side who will talk about the incidences of herbal products being toxic or dangerous. One of the most recent incidents being skullcap (about 3 4 years ago). The difference is that when herbal products are considered unsafe, very often the person has been using a product for months if not years. Very often you have liver enzyme inflammation or a side effect like that. In contrast when Western Medicine drugs are considered to be unsafe, the death count would have often reached thousands and than someone blows the whistle and its yanked of the market or it comes back on the market with new disclaimers.

Doctors in the UK have linked 103 deaths to patients taking the drug Vioxx, which was mainly used to treat the pain associated with arthritis.

Dr David Graham said he had felt pressured to water down findings from a study linking the drug to greater chances of heart attacks. An FDA scientist told a Senate inquiry in November that the regulator had been guilty of a “profound regulatory failure”. According to Dr Graham’s calculations, Vioxx may be linked to as many as to 56,000 American deaths.

Research published by The Lancet medical journal, also in November, highlighted a study by the University of Berne in Switzerland which found serious question marks over the safety of the drug dating back to 2000. The Lancet concluded that the drug should have been taken off the market years before it was finally withdrawn. Editor Dr Richard Horton said: “The licensing of Vioxx and its continued use in the face of unambiguous evidence of harm have been public health catastrophes.”

So at this point we can say Natural Medicine is safer. However let me offer you a third scenario. If Western Medicine is guilty of sins of commission, Natural Medicine is guilty of sins of omission. Western drugs can kill. A Natural Medicine practitioner or therapist can by holding out false hope mislead a patient into foregoing the appropriate treatment.

A case in point. I saw this young lady who said she had a lump in her breast. She refused to have it X-rayed or scanned. I felt that I could not responsibly treat someone without appropriate testing. She opted to work with someone else who promised that her condition would clear up. This someone kept selling her health products for two years giving her the impression that her cancer would improve.

Two years later, she came back to see me. She was still alive. However her breast was ulcerated. She had been using hydrogen peroxide on an open wound because she has heard or read somewhere that this was a good way to clean it up. Eventually I persuaded her to work with a medical doctor as well.

Eventually she had the ulcerated (cancerous complication) breast removed. Eventually the tumours spread and she had to do chemotherapy. What should have been an open and shut case has become a precarious one. If she had done the X-rays and the scan, done surgery to reduce the tumour burden than gone on to do nutrition and diet, the whole situation would have been very different. Simply because someone with the best of intentions and the poorest of knowledge, information and training had held out to the cancer patient that these Natural Methods and products would cure her cancer.

In my opinion this is really sad. Of course the practitioner would maintain, “I was only giving her advice. She had made the choice.” The issue is more like, was there a gross misrepresentation? So what would you my dear reader do? Be safe when you work with Natural Medicine. Ask for training, expertise and life experience in your wellness practitioner.

Be well

Dr Sundardas

Male and Female differences to wellness.


Over the last 19 years that I have been in practice, I have noticed that I have consistently seem more men rather than women. I used to wonder about it. I used to believe that this was because women were more in touch with their emotions and so they knew far earlier that something was not right.

There is this quite common misperception that women often imagine their pain and  it is often part of an attention seeking mechanism. In my experience I have yet to meet a female hypochondriac even after more than 10, 000 clients. When a woman says she feels something is not quite right, there often is. The only hypochondriac that I ever met was a male. He kept asking me to check him for cancer because his sister had had cancer. Eventually I told him to go and do medical scans to convince him that he had no cancer because all my testing did not show up any early warning cancer markers.

Until fairly recently it was controversial to suggest that there were any differences between males and females in the perception and experience of pain, but that is no longer the case,” said Dr Ed Keogh a psychologist from the Pain Management Unit at the University of Bath.

Male female differences in pain perception

“Our research has shown that whilst the sensory-focused strategies used by men helped increase their pain threshold and tolerance of pain, it was unlikely to have any benefit for women,” said Dr Keogh.

Other research by the Pain Management Unit has looked at the relationship between gender differences in anxiety sensitivity and pain. Anxiety sensitivity is the tendency to be fearful of anxiety-related sensations (e.g., rapidly beating heat), and seems to be important in the experience of pain sensations. In a study of 150 patients referred to a hospital clinic with chest pain, researchers discovered that the factors that predicted pain in men and women were different.

Researchers believe that it is the fear of anxiety-related sensations and an increased tendency to negatively interpret such sensations, both of which are more predominant in women than men that influences women’s experiences of pain.

When do men and women seek help?

Prompted by one’s cognitive appraisal of a stressor like pain, individuals respond using various coping mechanisms. Researchers have found that men and women differ in their mechanisms of coping with stress — particularly, coping with pain.

Unruh, citing other studies, reported that women more frequently use coping strategies that include “active behavioral and cognitive coping, avoidance, emotion-focused coping,
seeking social support, relaxation, and distraction.

Men rely on direct action, problem-focused coping, talking problems down, denial, looking at the bright side of life and tension-reducing activities such as alcohol consumption, smoking and drug abuse.

Researchers found that women’s ways of coping involved more expression of feelings and seeking social support, whereas men’s ways of coping “were more rational and stoic (e.g., accepting the situation, engaging in exercise).”

Other researchers found that in response to pain, women reported significantly more problem-solving, social support, positive self-statements, and palliative behaviors than men. Jensen and colleagues found that among individuals with long-term intractable pain in the neck, shoulder, or back, women increased their behavioral activity (e.g., household chores and social activities) as a coping strategy more often than men. Other studies suggest that coping strategies are influenced more by the type and duration of pain than by whether the person is a man or a woman.

Research has also shown that women, as compared to men, respond more aggressively to pain through health-related activities (e.g., taking medications or consulting a healthcare provider). This is consistent with studies that have shown that women tend to report more health-care utilization for treatment of pain than do men.

I once saw this lady who was worried about the heath of her children. Their hair mineral reports suggested significant metal toxicities and they were doing poorly healthwise. I also suggested that she check herself out. Eventually she came in with her husband and I suggested what tests they should do. They had to leave on a holiday.

When they came back, the lady sent me a email asking me about what testing she should do. I gave a a more elaborate list. Than she asked me about her husband. I gave him a simpler list of tests. She later queried me about the difference.

I replied that generally men unless they cannot work, are disabled by pain and cannot move or they are so sick and have a nervous breakdown, they maintain this veneer of stolidity and the attitude that says “I am fine”. I was being merely respectful of this. Whereas women prefer to be proactive and prefer to preempt trouble generally. She was very amused by my response.

My personal opinion is that women are more proactive, more sensitive to pain and seek earlier intervention. They are more interested in intervention before the quality of life is compromised. So serious issues are discovered earlier. Men wait until what happens to them creates an impasses in their ability to work or be effective. This may be one factor that accounts for increased life span.

Be well,

Dr Sundardas