by Eleanor Rodgerson, M.D.

If the earth had no diseases, if there were no accidents, if there were no interruptions in what we consider healthy living, there would be no need for either medical practitioners or other helpful experts. But, since we are surrounded by organisms that fight for their survival and catastrophic accidents that cannot be anticipated, medical information is craved, the printed variety in particular.

Back at the turn of the century, women seemed to ask few questions about their own health and seemed to agree that health needs were the same for both men and women. Privately, however, they had questions and looked for answers. My mother bought a 1908 Cookbook from a door-to-door salesman, chiefly, I imagine, for the chapters, "Preventable Diseases of Children" and "Infection and Disinfection."

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Today, bookstores have large sections filled with health books for and by women and, through these later years, women’s sense of uniqueness was stimulated by the feminist movement in the ‘60s, when self-help and self-care were advocated. Out of this movement was produced the paperback, OUR BODIES, OUR SELVES which included folksy pictures of women working and playing, explicit anatomical illustrations, personal testimonials, chapters on self-care, lesbianism, childbearing, aging, and women and the medical system.

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The American Medical Association printed a comprehensive volume on female health problems and treatment, COMPLETE GUIDE TO WOMEN’S HEALTH. It begins with general guidelines on staying healthy and includes sexual health, pregnancy, health concerns of women, as well as, "A Practical Guide to Recognizing a Heart Attack" and "A Practical Guide to Genetic Counseling."

Click here to buy this book.A recent publication by D. Lindsey Berkson, NATURAL ANSWERS FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH QUESTIONS, combines the enthusiasm for self-care with the need for help from good, caring medical physicians. Part One prepares a reader with general advice and anatomical illustrations suggesting remedies for many disabilities. Part Two is an index, from ABORTION to YEAST INFECTIONS. Appendices explain various procedures and recipes for medications. Finally, there is an APPENDIX L, "Important Herb Considerations and Drug Interactions." There are warnings that herbs are not always innocuous... This latest volume should be a helpful reference book for those interested in a natural way to maintain health.