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Why We Need to Be Wary of Modern Medicine

I have chronic headaches. I've had them for most of my adult life and have seen several doctors about them. I've had blood drawn, been treated for allergies, and been given powerful painkillers.

During both of my pregnancies, I continued to endure my sometimes blinding headaches. I was not allowed to take some of the medications that had been effective for me in the past because they were not considered safe for pregnancy. So, I followed the doctor's orders and just took Tylenol. To remedy my sleepless nights, I again heeded my doctor's advice and took Tylenol P.M. on a regular basis. I was alarmed, but not genuinely surprised, when I recently saw a new study that concluded that using Tylenol during pregnancy causes the testosterone levels of male babies to be low. In fact, after only a week of use, testosterone was down by 45%.

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I know some people roll their eyes when they hear about using oils or diet changes or acupuncture or massage therapy to heal our bodies, but medicine as we know it has not been around for all that long. How many drugs have been pulled off the market after we find out that they cause more problems than they solve? Just to name a few:

Thalidomide was touted as a remedy for anxiety and morning sickness. But within a few years of its release, 5-7,000 babies were born with phocomelia (malformation of the limbs) caused by the drug. It was recalled, but so much damage was already done.

I think modern medicine is a wonderful development for humanity, but maybe it should be reserved as a last resort.

Another drug, Diethylstilbestrol (DES), was designed to prevent miscarriage and premature delivery, but it was pulled from the shelves in 1975. It turns out that DES caused a rare form of cancer to develop in the daughters of women who had taken it.

Do you remember Fen/Phen? It was recalled in 1997. While it was an effective aid in weight loss, chronic use of the drug became associated with heart disease and pulmonary hypertension.

Even Tylenol was temporarily pulled from the shelves back in 2010 when Johnson & Johnson's analysts found that some of the medicine had been contaminated with a strain of bacteria.

For those paying attention, modern medicine may not inspire much confidence.

Not a single doctor I've seen for my headaches has asked me about my diet or the amount of water I drink in a day. And that pretty well sums up my hesitance to trust Western medicine.

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I am thankful for medicine, don't get me wrong. It's a miracle that the flu is no longer is a death sentence, but instead more of an inconvenience. For the most part, we don't have to fear illnesses like polio anymore. I think modern medicine is a wonderful development for humanity, but maybe it should be reserved as a last resort. Why not try to fix the problem instead of just stopping the pain? I, for one, will be pursuing other means of pain relief when at all possible. The fact is, we can't be certain what effect any given medication will have on our bodies, and we certainly don't know which drug will be making headlines next week.

I think I'll go have some water.

Image via Twenty20/kikimstq

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