Everyone should consider natural pain relievers in lieu of pharmaceutical drugs, but this can be especially true for women. The country (and much of the world) is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, but women are more likely than men to use prescription opioids, for longer timeframes, and in higher doses. This is in part due to the fact that women simply experience more chronic pain than men.
In fact, 65 percent of all opioid prescription drugs in the U.S. are for women, and it’s estimated that 40 percent more women than men are long-time opioid users after surgery.
Surgery generally leads to acute, or short-term, pain. This type of pain is exactly what opioids were meant to treat. (Unfortunately, opioids are also regularly prescribed for chronic, long-term pain.) The surgeries for women that are particularly linked to opioid prescriptions include a colectomy, hysterectomy, and rotator cuff repair. Obviously, a colectomy and rotator cuff injury can affect men or women, but women are uniquely getting hysterectomies.
Women in Recovery
Women aren’t the only demographic being prescribed and using opioids at higher and longer rates. Those on Medicaid are also more likely to be prescribed opioids compared to those with private insurance. Since 70 percent of adults on Medicaid are women, it’s no surprise that in this demographic, women are again over-represented. Studies have shown that 40 percent of adults on Medicaid with opioid prescriptions have indications that the drugs are being inappropriately used.
The disparity persists in people with color. The good news is that people of color aren’t as likely to be prescribed opioids as their white counterparts, but that reality is based on bias from the prescribers. However, Native American and Alaska Native women are still the most likely demographic to die from prescription opioids. Opioids have taken the place of heroin for street use, as the effects are similar but much stronger with opioids. Between 2003 – 2012, the number of women using heroin doubled.
Alternative for Pain Relief
It’s clear that women can especially benefit from natural pain relief, side stepping the many risks associated with pharmaceutical drugs. Natural remedies are safer, oftentimes more affordable, and can be used long-term and even for life with no adverse effects. However, it’s still important to store kratom powder and CBD products safely for those who live with children. Even though you can’t “overdose” from CBD and many natural products in a way that is life-threatening or causes long-term effects, it’s still critical to only use natural pain relievers as recommended.
Women and Pain Relief: Beyond Opioids
Of course, most people have used over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications. Just because these pharmaceuticals are safer than opioids doesn’t mean they are completely risk-free. Plenty of common pain relievers can be dangerous with high or continued usage. Many have links to kidney damage. Women are often more inclined to use OTC pain killers because of pain related to menstrual cycles, pregnancy and childbirth, arthritis (which women suffer at a much higher rate than men), and simply the pressure on women to be superwoman and do it all—especially in lockdown.
Having natural pain relief alternatives allows women to regain control of their health. The pharmaceutical industry is relatively new. For thousands of years prior to the advent of these medications, natural remedies were widely used and shared between friends and family.
Unfortunately, the complete domination of the industry has led to this wisdom being lost. Alternative remedies are still available, and there are experts who can help guide you on choosing the best treatment for your needs and pain. Women should work with their doctors and reputable dispensaries to achieve a freedom from medications and get options when it comes to their well-being.
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