Feminine Health Products

Written by Sarah Provost
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Feminine health products have come a long way since Lydia Pinkham's tonic. That potion gained part of its effectiveness from an extract of Black Cohosh, but a whole lot more from the high percentage of alcohol used in preparing the tincture. Black Cohosh and other age-old remedies for "female troubles" are still being used, but new feminine health products are coming on the market all the time.

The old advice for menstrual cramps, which still holds true, was to apply heat to the abdomen or lower back. Heated stones wrapped in flannel were the first means, followed by hot-water bottles and then the miracle of the electric heating pad. The problem with all of these, however, was that you pretty much had to lie down and stay in one place. A recent product on the market is a thin, flexible adhesive patch. When placed on the body, under clothing, it produces gentle heat for up to eight hours, while you go about your life unencumbered.

Feminine Health Products for Menopause

For centuries, women used herbs such as Black Cohosh, Valerian root and hops to ease the symptoms of menopause, and such herbal remedies have once again become very popular. Synthetic hormones used in hormone replacement therapy were a real breakthrough, alleviating almost all the symptoms of menopause, but they came with some serious side effects. Medical researchers are still undecided about whether most women should use synthetic hormones, but new combinations are being tried which might eventually yield individualized medications, tailored to each woman's history and risk factors.

Feminine health products for birth control are also being constantly improved. Pessaries and other intra-uterine objects were the gold standard for centuries. The diaphragm was a great improvement on that, and the advent of the birth-control pill ushered in a whole new era of sexual freedom. Now birth control is available as an implant, which lasts for up to a year, or as a patch that releases hormones into the skin, or even as a "morning-after pill," which prevents a fertilized egg from being implanted. We still have our "female troubles," but we have a lot more ways to cope with them now.

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