At best a waste, at worst a hazard: 5 things to avoid that claim to improve your health

Stock image, St. George News

FEATURE — I am sure those who offer these services will probably disagree, but these are not my opinions. These are the opinions of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Medical Association and the National Institutes of Health.

Here are five things that are meant to improve your health but which should actually be avoided.

1- Direct marketing of medication to consumers

Even though very few countries in the world allow this, direct marketing of medication to consumers must work because they keep doing it, right? Well, if you watch carefully, these are not “take them for a week and you are fixed” sort of medications. These are meds you take your whole life, and they are very expensive.

I no longer allow drug representatives into my office because they want to leave samples and occasionally literature, but they are unable to answer the most basic question I have: Has this new expensive drug been thoroughly studied and found to be better than what we are using now, with the same safety profile? If it has, it will come out in my literature. If it hasn’t, it hasn’t.

Be careful with new technologies, especially new medications. Some really are amazing, while some are no better and marketed with incomplete information. When in doubt, go to the NIH, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or Mayo Clinic websites. Read up-to-date articles. Don’t trust any one person’s opinion – including mine – unless you are sure there is no conflict of interest. Just be cautious and a little skeptical. It’s a good thing.

2- Vaginal steaming

I literally laughed out loud when I first saw some Hollywood person pushing this. I mean, no offense to anyone out there who offers this, because I think their motives are probably good, but it is unproven and possibly dangerous. Think about this: the body has evolved very precisely and has ways of taking care of problems. Never in the history of enlightened man has vaginal steaming been seen as an advantage. There are zero reliable medical studies that show this to be beneficial.

3- Colon cleansing

Read #2.  Same answer.

4- Detoxification treatments

You have a liver. You have kidneys. They are amazing detoxification organs. Nothing you can do or take can do what these organs can do. We are not running around with toxins in our blood; that is simply not true. There is no data anywhere that supports this.

5- Fat burning creams or pills

They don’t exist. Don’t waste your money.

That is probably enough for today. I could literally go on for pages about things that are available out there that are pure snake oil. How do you avoid them? The best way is to study things using good sources – not YouTube videos or sponsor’s websites – and have a doctor that you trust that practices evidence-based medicine. Otherwise, it’s a matter of time before you’ll be looking for leeches to get rid of your bad blood, or something along those lines.

I hope that helps.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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