By Christiane Northrup, M.D.
As a physician, I’ve seen time and time again how our inner guidance also comes in the form of bodily symptoms and illnesses—especially when we are living lives devoid of pleasure, joy, and hope. Our illnesses are designed to stop us in our tracks, make us rest, and bring our attention back to the things that are really important and that give our lives meaning and joy— aspects of life that we often put on the back burner until “someday.” The insights catalyzed by decades of medical practice as well as my own health problems challenged everything I learned in medical school and residency training about women’s health.
Over the years, it became abundantly clear to me that premenstrual syndrome (PMS), pelvic pain, fibroid tumors, chronic vaginitis, breast problems, and menstrual cramps were related to the contexts of an individual woman’s life and her beliefs about herself and what she thought was possible in her life. All of these factors are associated with very real biochemical changes in our cells. This insight is the missing link to optimal health on all levels.
Following a special diet or running three miles a day won’t make a woman feel well if her health is being adversely influenced by a subconscious belief that she isn’t good enough, or that she is the wrong gender, or that it’s a woman’s lot in life to suffer. If she has experienced incest and hasn’t allowed herself to feel the emotions that are often associated with that history, or if she was unwanted or abused as a child, then no prescription drugs exist that will heal that wound and the physical aftereffects that often result. Learning about my patients’ lives often provided me with clues to the source of their distress—and, more importantly, what steps needed to be taken to relieve that distress.
The reason I became an author was so that I could reach more women with this important message: Your body is designed not only to stay healthy, but also to thrive physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I want you to know that it is pleasure, not pain, that is your birthright. When we finally make the connection between our thoughts, our beliefs, and our physical health and life circumstances, we find that we are in the driver’s seat of our lives and can make profound changes. Nothing is more exhilarating or empowering.
Adapted with permission from Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, Bantam, 2010.
© Christiane Northrup, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.
Christiane Northrup, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn, is the author of Women's Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause, as well as Mother-Daughter Wisdom, The Secret Pleasures of Menopause and The Secret Pleasures of Menopause Playbook. For more information about Dr. Northrup and her Women's Wisdom Circle go to www.DrNorthrup.com.
More by Dr. Christiane Northrup:
Midlife: How Our Brains Catch Fire
Protect Your Breasts with Vitamin D