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Posted February 23, 2010: by Bill Sardi
The most recent data available shows there were 46 million inpatient and 53.3 million outpatient surgical procedures performed in the U.S. in 2006, representing about a third of the total population that lines up for operations annually, not counting dental procedures.
Often there is little effort made to avert surgery. The rush to the operating room is what is most financially rewarding for physicians. Patients facing surgery for chronic or even urgent conditions may be able to forestall or avoid surgery altogether with the judicious use of dietary supplements. Ten such conditions that warrant surgery, which may be alleviated with dietary supplements, are presented below.
If you are experiencing angina chest pain, instead of receiving a prescription for medicines like nitroglycerin, which dilates (widens) the coronary arteries that supply the heart with oxygenated blood, you are likely to undergo invasive introduction of a balloon catheter to break up a blood clot and permanent placement of a stent (a tubular metal prop) to maintain a viable coronary artery, a procedure that has not been shown to reduce the risk for death or heart attack compared to medical therapy (blood thinners and dilators) alone.
Ex-President Bill Clinton recently had two stents placed in his coronary arteries.
A large clinical trial showed there is no advantage in reducing the risk for death or future heart attacks with the use of a balloon catheter and stent placement over medical therapy (blood thinners) alone. The COURAGE trial, which involved 2287 patients, showed any symptomatic relief of chest pain with stents only last about 36 months, which has been President Bill Clinton’s experience.
In 1992, one man, Dick Quinn, who had undergone a failed double coronary artery bypass surgery and was now incapacitated with crushing chest pain, was advised to try cayenne pepper by a neighbor lady. Quinn said: “Herbs reopened my arteries and saved my life.”
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper, has been shown to effectively dilate blood vessels and even reduce high blood pressure. Chili pepper consumption has been shown to improve circulation in the heart of males. Quinn wrote a whole book about his experience entitled Left for Dead which is still available from used-book shops. About 9 million Americans experience chronic angina and are on medical regimens.
Hemorrhoids are bothersome, swollen, inflamed veins of the rectum and anus. More than a half million patients in the U.S. are treated annually for symptoms and an estimated 10—20 percent require surgical treatment.
If you were in Europe and you were struggling with symptoms caused by hemorrhoids you might first be prescribed a citrus peel extract called diosmin for your condition. Over 90 million prescriptions for diosmin have been written, mostly outside the U.S., since its introduction over two decades ago.
The most popularly used and scientifically backed brand goes by the European trade name Daflon 500, which is micronized (particle size reduce from 37 to less than 2 microns) to improve oral absorption. In the U.S., this natural remedy is rarely employed.
Diosmin has an affinity to strengthen and tighten venous tissues. Diosmin treatment is effective almost immediately. Diosmin therapy is about 85% effective in relieving symptoms.
Diosmin has undergone many rigorous clinical trials, including randomized double-blind placebo-controlled studies. Diosmin has even been shown to work in acute cases. There have been no negative studies, nor side effects reported. Typical dosage regimen is 500 milligrams twice a day (1000 mg total per day). Diosmin is available under various brand names in the USA without a doctor’s prescription.
More than a few women have been ushered into the operating room to undergo hysterectomy (surgery to remove a woman’s uterus) solely based upon an abnormal pap smear and some vaginal bleeding. A study conducted over a decade ago found 1 in 5 hysterectomies were unnecessary.
Few women are advised to take supplemental vitamin B12, folic acid (vitamin B9), thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2) and vitamin C to normalize their pap smear. There is strong evidence that vitamin supplementation can normalize a pap smear and avoid surgery altogether. Few young fertile women are informed that birth control pills deplete folic acid and make them prone to abnormal pap smears. Smoking depletes vitamin C and also increases the risk for an abnormal pap smear.
If your gallbladder is filled with stones that are blocking the flow of bile through the common bile duct, almost without exception, your doctor will refer you to a gastroenterologist who will recommend surgical removal of your gallbladder (cholecystectomy).
Surgical removal of the gallbladder is considered the only permanent way to relieve symptoms, but patients are often left to endure the same symptoms of indigestion and gastric discomfort following the procedure.
You need your gallbladder. It is a reservoir for bile. It squirts bile into the stomach upon consumption of food to aid in the digestion of fats and oils. Without sufficient bile you will experience chronic indigestion, air, gas and pain. A sharp knife-like pain under the lower right rib after a meal is often a sign of gallstone problems. Surgical removal of the gallbladder means you must solely rely upon bile flow from the liver, which is much slower.
The problem for many people with gallbladder problems is that their bile is thick and sludgy. It’s like motor oil instead of gasoline. Even with large gallstones, thinning the bile will facilitate normal bile flow around the stones. Gallstones often narrow or block the bile duct. Complete blockage can cause pain and infection with accompanying fever.
Doctors fail to recognize bile is produced from taurine, an amino acid. Taurine supplementation will often thin the bile and facilitate normal bile flow and relieve symptoms.
I studied this problem when I experienced gallstones and found I could completely relieve symptoms and dissolve the stones naturally. When a partially dissolved gallstone blocked my bile duct and caused a fever (infection), oil of oregano capsules resolved the fever. A more complete description of natural remedies for gallstones can be found online. Many people have reported complete long-lasting resolution of their gallstone problems with utilization of taurine and other dietary supplements.
Cesaerean section is commonplace today in developed countries where health insurance financially rewards obstetricians for delivering babies via an abdominal wound rather than vaginally.
A high rate of C-sections persists despite the realization that this procedure poses risks over and above those of natural childbirth. The need for C-section is not determined by any health threat to the baby or mother. A deviation from the head-down position of the baby is deemed to justify C-section. Yet old-fashioned skills at delivering babies without C-section are forgotten and shunned.
Of great interest is a recent report showing a deficiency of vitamin D results in poor muscular tone which may predict the need for C-section. Women with low vitamin D levels were nearly three-times more likely to undergo C-section. Vitamin D supplementation is suggested throughout pregnancy. The 400-IU recommendation is insufficient to raise blood levels. Daily doses of 2000 IU of supplemental vitamin D, and possibly 5000 IU, are now suggested.
Tonsillectomy has long been considered a “cash cow” for throat surgeons. For more than seven decades physicians have debated whether surgical removal of tonsils in young children is beneficial. Clearly, many needless tonsillectomies continue to be performed. A recent hypothesis links tonsillectomy with low levels of vitamin D. With the realization that modern medicine offers nothing in regards to prevention, vitamin D therapy and prevention should be explored and practiced.
Sitting on the living room couch of a long-time friend, their dog was placed in my lap. Then I was handed a photograph of the dog taken months prior, showing obvious cataracts that appeared as white opacities where the normal black pupil space would be. Older dogs are often plagued by cataracts.
I was then asked to look at the eyes of the same dog in my lap. There were no white opaque cataracts I could visualize. They had vanished.
My friends told me their veterinarian had prescribed a special amino acid (carnosine) eye drop which had eradicated their dog’s cataracts in a relatively swift manner. Why don’t we do that for humans?
It is obvious that there is no financial incentive for eye doctors, optometrists or ophthalmologists, to prescribe eye drops which may prevent cloudy cataracts in humans. Modern cataract removal and lens implant surgery is so safe and effective (95% will experience improved vision along with functional improvement in vision — sewing, driving, reading). Why prescribe an eye drop when such an effective permanent solution to the problem is available? This is the current thinking among eye doctors, but the option of prevention, especially to younger-aged patients with early-stage cataracts, is never offered.
Research studies employing carnosine eye drops are not limited to dogs. Human studies conclusively show that a 9-month course of instilling carnosine eye drops into the eyes of patients with beginning-stage cataracts (20/40 vision or worse) demonstrably improves visual acuity, improved color vision and decreased glare among senior adults. Over 50,000 adults now habitually take these drops, a compliance rate which speaks for effectiveness.
Please recognize the CAN-C eye drops (Innovative Vision Products, Inc.) are not plain carnosine eye drops that are widely available. There may be different results produced with other unproven products. CAN-C contains benzyl alcohol, a preservative that has anti-cataract properties in itself.
Until surgical consent forms include the option of carnosine-based eye drops to patients with early-stage cataracts, it is unlikely patients will even become aware of them.
The common form of glaucoma is described as elevated fluid pressure within the eye which gradually destroys the optic nerve at the back of the eyes, resulting in restricted side vision. The onset of glaucoma is rare before the age of 40, so it is an age-related condition.
The human eye is largely made of tough connective tissue. With advancing age this connective tissue loses its constitution and the eye literally begins to shrink in its socket. The fluid drain begins to collapse as the connective tissue weakens, resulting in elevated fluid pressure.
Pressure-lowering drops are often prescribed. To avoid major eye surgery, the heat from a laser beam is sometimes applied to the area of the drain (called the trabeculum) which temporarily shrinks tissue and opens the drain, thus lowering fluid pressure. This laser procedure, introduced in the 1970s, is called laser trabeculoplasty.
However, the pressure-lowering effect is only temporary, with a 19% failure rate in the first year following treatment and 52% by the fifth year. The eye also becomes scarred with repeated treatment and laser treatment produces inflammation.
Physiologists show that a molecule known as hyaluronic acid helps to maintain constant fluid pressure in the eye.
Researchers have described common glaucoma as a deficiency of hyaluronic acid, a key constituent of connective tissue. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a water-holding gel that acts as a scaffolding for the eyes. Eyes with glaucoma exhibit 4 times less hyaluronic acid than healthy eyes.
Having written a book about hyaluronic acid over ten years ago, I have repeatedly received feedback from users of oral hyaluronic acid that their intraocular pressure was reduced following their use of HA as an oral dietary supplement. I have been unable to coax any eye physician to conduct even a small study of 10 patients to prove that oral HA therapy would be efficacious in glaucoma therapy.
Contrary to what many physicians believe, oral HA is absorbed. Oral administration of HA stimulates the natural production of HA via HA-producing fibroblast cells. The typical fluid pressure reduction reported with oral HA therapy parallels the reduction in fluid pressure achieved with eye drops or laser treatment. This non-problematic therapy better addresses the true cause of common glaucoma than any other existing treatment.
Kidney stones can produce excruciating pain. An estimated 1.3 million Americans struggle with kidney stones each year with about 12% of men and 5% of women affected by the time they are 70 years old. About 80% of kidney stone sufferers are men between the ages of 20 and 50 years.
Lithotripsy is a modern medical procedure that uses shock waves to break up kidney stones. Again, because this treatment is widely hailed as less invasive than surgery, patients who cannot tolerate the pain, lithotripsy will be suggested.
Generally, nothing is offered in the way of dissolving these stones, which are primarily comprised of crystals of calcium oxalate.
For some time now it has been known that a component of bran called phytate (IP6) dissolves calcium stones. People who form kidney stones exhibit lower urine levels of IP6. IP6, derived from rice bran, is available in health food stores and is superior to other stone-dissolving agents.
IP6 has been described as “a powerful agent for preventing calcifications in biological fluids.” Its usefulness in dissolving kidney stones has been demonstrated in humans. Yet this journalist does not know of one conventional doctor who prescribes IP6 rice bran extract for the treatment or prevention of kidney stones. Suffice to say, IP6 is a dietary component found in seeds and whole grains and safe and effective in the resolution of kidney stones. Patients are left to their own resources here to employ this simple and economical remedy for emergent and chronic problems caused by kidney stones.
The walnut-sized prostate gland traverses through the urethral hose that facilitates urinary flow. Because the prostate gland progressively grows and swells with advancing age, urinary flow can be difficult and develop into a chronic condition known as prostatitis. It is agonizing to see even relatively young men stand at a urinal and dribble their urine out slowly due to an enlarged prostate gland when there are effective remedies.
An overlooked remedy for prostate enlargement is pumpkin seed oil. Alone or with phytosterols such as from saw palmetto berry, pumpkin seed oil inhibits testosterone-generated growth of the prostate gland. Pumpkin seed oil can also inhibit pre-cancerous changes in the prostate gland. Urinary flow has been improved in males who consume pumpkin seed oil.
The desire to use dietary supplements and avoid surgery can be overplayed. It would be unwise to attempt to prevent cataracts to the point where you fall and break your hip or lose your driver’s license. It would be unwise to avoid gallbladder surgery to the point of experiencing other serious side effects. Modern surgical procedures have a place. Sometimes surgery is unavoidable.
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