labcoatDo you suspect you have a hormone disorder, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, or another health issue that impacts your cycle? If so, then I’d like you to promise me that you’ll do something important: See a qualified healthcare professional about it. This means someone who went to medical school and has professional credentials, such an M.D. (medical doctor), D.O. (osteopathic physician) or N.P. (nurse practitioner).

This issue is on my mind right because, in addition to writing a weekly health article for Woman’s World magazine, I write a weekly article about saving money for the same publication. And right now, I’m writing about avoiding purchasing counterfeits.

And this had me thinking about the “counterfeit” health experts I’ve met and interviewed over the years.

These are people who have no formal medical training, but who call themselves “doctor” and describe themselves as one on their website. Or they’re folks who insist they’re an “expert” in health, hormones or a certain condition when really all they’ve had is training in nutrition, herbal remedies or acupuncture. Or they paid a lot of money to attend a few months (or even weeks) of online classes that gave them a certificate that allows them to put a few letters after their name so they sound more credible.

Like counterfeit money, counterfeit health experts can be difficult to detect because they look and sound like the real thing–for instance, they may wear a white coat and confidently present themselves an authority on a topic–but just like fake cash, they can get you into trouble.

That’s because they can’t help you like someone who’s medically trained can. They can’t order necessary tests, diagnose symptoms accurately or provide appropriate treatment. In fact, after interviewing a few of these counterfeits personally, you’ll be glad they can’t do any of these things since there have been times when I’ve been stunned by their lack of basic knowledge of the human body and health conditions.

And all this means they can misdiagnose a problem, miss a problem, worsen a condition you already have or create a new problem you didn’t have before.

Unfortunately, these counterfeit healthcare providers often find their way onto popular TV shows and radio programs because they have a book or an app that makes them seem legit or they simply sound convincing enough to intrigue a producer. This then boosts their seeming legitimacy–with some ending up becoming “doctors to the stars” and/or getting their own TV and radio shows.

Personally, I have a deep passion for sharing research and tips about how the hormones in your monthly cycle impact your moods, health and behavior and explaining how to apply this information to your daily life in practical, easy ways. It’s what I’ve been trained to do as a professional health journalist.

However, when it comes to medical issues, I will always advise you seek out help from a qualified healthcare provider.

Are you frustrated with traditional healthcare and turn to non-credentialed healthcare providers because you prefer holistic or natural treatments? I prefer natural remedies as a first line of defense, too. It’s one of the reasons I report on so many studies about natural remedies here in my blog. Lucky for folks like us, there are many doctors who practice both traditional and holistic medicine. You can find them by doing an online search for “holistic doctor”, “holistic gynecologist”, etc., in your area. Or seek out osteopathic doctors (who have O.D. after their name) and nurse practitioners (who have N.P. after their name) since they usually take a holistic approach to health, trying lifestyle remedies in addition to recommending medicine and surgery. And other traditional doctors are happy to work with you as you try natural remedies you’ve heard about–just like mine does.

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Gabrielle Lichterman is a longtime women’s health and lifestyle journalist whose articles have appeared in dozens of major magazines and newspapers around the globe including Cosmopolitan, CosmoGIRL, Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Daily News and Woman’s World. Gabrielle began developing Hormonology® and the Hormone Horoscope® in 1999 and has been sharing menstrual cycle-related research and tips through her apps, blog, book, newsletter and magazine articles ever since.




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