Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 31: Use of Medicines in Women's Health
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In this book we recommend many medicines. This chapter explains how to use them safely. For more information on side effects, warning signs, medicines that need special instructions, and antibiotics, see the "Green Pages".
Medicines can be useful, but they cannot replace healthy living, good food, or good health care.
Medicines are drugs that can be used to help the body fight disease or feel better when sick. Medicines can be either modern or traditional. In this book, we mostly talk about how to use modern medicines. This is because traditional remedies vary greatly from one region to another. A remedy that works in one community may not exist or may not work in another community. Ask traditional healers where you live to help you find remedies that may work for your problem. (See information about using traditional remedies).
It is important to use medicines safely. Used properly, medicines can save lives. But used improperly, medicines can hurt and even kill you. For example, some medicines can cause health problems for a pregnant or breastfeeding woman and her baby. And some medicines may cause other problems (side effects) that can be annoying, worrisome, or even dangerous to a person’s health. If you take too much of a medicine at once, or if you take it too often, it may harm you.
This chapter talks about how to safely use the medicines mentioned in this book to treat women’s health problems. It also provides information to help you decide when to use medicines to improve women’s health.