Episode 71: Let’s Talk Ovarian Cysts and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: It’s Not Just in Your Ovaries

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are talking about the different types of ovarian cysts that perimenopausal women can commonly experience, including PCOS. Did you know that if you have ovarian cysts, it doesn’t mean you have PCOS? Find out what symptoms you need to watch for, what lab testing to consider and natural approaches to effectively managing ovarian cysts. 

What types of ovarian cysts can you develop?

Functional cysts – related to menstrual cycle, usually harmless, rarely cause pain, resolve within 3 cycles

  1. Follicular cyst – when follicle fails to release egg at ovulation and continues to grow, forming a cyst
  2. Corpus luteum cyst – when follicle releases eggs, corpus luteum continues to grow and accumulates fluid inside, forming a cyst

Other cysts: – can become large and shift position of ovary, increasing chance of twisting, or ovarian torsion, which can be painful and cause decrease of blood flow to ovary

  1. Dermoid cysts – also called teratomas, can contain tissue like hair, skin or teeth, because they form embryonic cells, rarely cancerous
  2. Cystadenomas – develop on surface of ovary containing either water or mucus
  3. Endometriomas – develop as a result of uterine endometrial tissue growing outside of uterus and attaching to ovary, related to endometriosis

These kinds of ovarian cysts are different than polycystic ovarian syndrome.

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

Endocrine condition that affects other systems as well: 

  • not only hormones and fertility, but also your skin, cardiovascular system, metabolism, immunity, mental-emotional health and more

Risk factors for developing ovarian cysts:



Hormonal issues

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Hormone imbalance
    • Insulin resistance and increased androgens like circulating testosterone in PCOS
      • insulin stimulates secretion of testosterone by ovaries, inhibits sex hormone binding globulin from liver, leading to increased circulating testosterone, leading to acne, excess facial and body hair and male pattern baldness in women
    • Estrogen dominance (for more info, see Episode 21 and Episode 22)
  • Use of medications like Clomid or Tamoxifen
  • Hypothyroidism – see Episode 42 for more info

Early menstruation (11 yoa and younger)

Cigarette smoking

BMI above 30

Dysfunctional fat tissue, not inert

  • Fat cells become enlarged and have less circulation, causing some cells inside fat tissue to die, resulting in inflammation results 

How do you know if you have PCOS?

You can have at least 2 out of 3 of the following:

  • presence of micro polycystic ovaries or 12 or more small follicles on ultrasound 
  • signs of high androgens – acne, hirsutism (dark hair on chin, around nipple, upper lip, sternum, lower abdomen), 
  • irregular menses due to chronic ovulation disorder = fewer than 9 periods in a year or any stretch of 3 months without period

How do you know if you are not ovulating?

You can check for changes in your:

  • Basal body temperature 
  • Cervical position
  • Cervical fluid or vaginal discharge

Lab testing to consider:

Ultrasound – transvaginal

Urine hormone testing – DUTCH or CHI

Blood work:

  • LH, FSH (looking for elevated LH/FSH ratio)
  • bioavailable testosterone, estradiol, progesterone
  • DHEAS (measures androgen production from adrenals)
  • Thyroid panel (TSH, free T4 and T3) – see Episode 42 for more info
  • Blood sugar panel (Fasting glucose and insulin, hemoglobin A1c)

Signs and symptoms you might experience if you have ovarian cysts or PCOS:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles and fertility challenges
  • Pelvic pain – due to ovarian torsion or rupture, especially after intercourse or vigorous exercise
  • Abdominal pain or pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting, especially when experiencing pain, having bowel movement or urinating
  • Signs of hyperandrogenism like acne, hirsutism (excess dark hair on face, chest)

Conventional treatment approaches can include birth control pill and metformin

Naturopathic approaches to addressing ovarian cysts and PCOS:

Diet – see Episode 10 for more info on eating for hormone balance

  • Anti-inflammatory, low glycemic, fasting at least 12 hours overnight
  • Reduce sugar, simple carbs, alcohol
  • Balance protein, fibre and healthy fats with each meal
  • Increase liver supporting vegetables like cruciferous veggies (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale)

Exercise to support blood sugar balance

Avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals, especially in plastics – see Episode 65 for more info

Manage stress – see Episode 24 for more info

  • High cortisol increases your blood sugar and cravings for sugar and carbs
  • It takes 40% longer to process a high carbohydrate meal if you are in a high stress state or if you haven’t had enough sleep
  • Getting out in nature or forest bathing see Episode 30
  • Meditation, sound therapy or sound baths see Episode 70

Castor oil packs topically on abdomen can reduce inflammation and cyst formation when used long term

Supplements to consider 

  • Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil is anti inflammatory
    • When studied with vitamin E for 12 weeks in a therapeutic dose, showed an improvement in insulin resistance, total and free testosterone levels
  • Resveratrol: anti-inflammatory antioxidant in red wine and grapes
  • Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory, pro-hormone activity
    • Studies show 4000IU dose improved glucose metabolism and lipid profiles better than 1000IU/day (get your blood levels tested for optimal dose for you)
  • Probiotics for gut health and to lower inflammation- 12 weeks helped support weight loss, improved insulin resistance and blood lipid balance
  • Green tea have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity
    • L-theanine for reducing stress and supporting calm
    • Research shows after 12 weeks of supplementation, improved weight loss; decreased fasting insulin and free testosterone
  • Myo-inositol and methylfolate improved ovulation and conception better than metformin
    • Myo-inositol also improves insulin sensitivity, similar to metformin
  • Cinnamon – research study in women with PCOS showed improved menstrual regularity
  • Alpha lipoic acid, chromium picolinate improves insulin resistance
  • Vitex, black cohosh, white peony and maca can support hormone balance and menstrual regularity
    • Supports menstrual cycle regulation and amount of flow
  • Adaptogens like rhodiola, schisandra, ashwagandha, licorice, tribulus
    • may improve menstrual regularity, weight, insulin sensitivity, quality of life and mood
  • NAC, DIM, calcium d-glucarate, hops supports liver detoxification to properly process excess estrogen

Today’s Mama Must Haves: 

Dr. Lisa loves her homemade “bits and bites” snack: TumYumm puffed fox nuts (Himalayan sea salt flavour) with broken up plantain chips, raw pumpkin seeds for healthy 3pm snack

Dr. Toni is a big fan of film festivals and recommends checking out the Calgary Underground Film Festival online – streaming until May 2. She watched Together Together with Ed Helms (from the US version of The Office) about surrogacy.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening in May. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 70: Sound Therapy to Manage Stress and Anxiety with Nicole Manes

In this episode, Dr. Lisa talks with Nicole Manes about how sound therapy can be used to manage stress and mood, improve sleep and digestion, and promote relaxation to support healing and well-being. Tune in to experience the benefits of a sound bath for yourself! 

Nicole is a Certified Sound Therapy Practitioner and is the co-founder of Sound Response Wellness, a company offering online and in-person Sound-Based Stress Reduction™ services. In addition to a long-standing interest in psychology, mindfulness and spirituality, plus over fourteen years as a public relations and marketing communications specialist, Nicole brings years of vocal training, live performance, song writing and in-studio recording experience to her sound therapy practice. She uses a variety of instruments and tools including voice, crystal quartz singing bowls, metal singing bowls, tuning forks, drum and chimes to deliver therapeutic soundscapes that help people reduce stress and increase their overall sense of well-being. 

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • The difference between in person and virtual sound therapy sessions
  • The benefits of sound therapy demonstrated by scientific research:
    • Can help you to anchor yourself in the moment and feel grounded
    • Naturally promotes a state of calm and relaxation of your central nervous system
    • Reduces stress and tension in the body to positively sleep, digestion and symptoms of depression and anxiety
    • Provides the one of the easiest ways to enter a meditative state
    • Help you get in touch with emotions that are hard for you to verbalize and shift your state to regulate your emotional stability
    • Acts like a massage from inside out
    • Increases physical energy levels and promotes a feeling of well-being
    • Can lower blood pressure and physical pain
  • How there is no minimum dose of sound therapy for you to experience benefits
  • The importance of nature sounds for feeling a sense of safety
  • How you can use different sounds at home as healing tools
    • Running or pouring water 
    • Koshi chime 
    • Kalimba
    • Your own voice with humming, singing or sacred vowel sounds
  • How different soundscapes can be used in sound bath depending on the desired effect and complement other health practices
  • Nicole provides a 10 minute sound bath for you to enjoy

You can connect with Nicole on Instagram at: @NicoleManesSoundTherapy on FaceBook and online at www.soundresponsewellness.com

Check out Nicole’s free weekly sound baths on her Nicole Manes Sound Therapy YouTube Channel  

Today’s Mama Must Have: 

Nicole is a big fan of lemon ginger tea and the Essentrics functional movement system Framewrk by Josephine Cuthill

Dr. Lisa relies on the Bands in Town app to find different music events happening online to get her live music fix

Thank you for joining us today!

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 69: Understanding Uterine Fibroids: Risk Factors, Prevention and Treatment Options

In this week’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are discussing what you need to know about uterine fibroids. Did you know that by the age of 50, almost two-thirds of women experience fibroids? Listen in to discover risk factors, racial disparities, conventional and natural treatments available for fibroids.

What are uterine fibroids?

Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow in the uterus and range from pea to football sized. 

Fibroids disproportionately impact women of color. Black women are diagnosed with fibroids roughly three times as frequently as white women, develop them earlier in life and tend to experience larger and more numerous fibroids that cause more severe symptoms.

In the US, nearly a quarter of Black women between 18 and 30 have fibroids compared to about 6% of white women. By age 35, that number increases to 60%. 

Potential causes and risk factors:

  • Estrogen dominance, as estrogen can feed the growth of fibroid – see Episode 21 and 22
    • Xenoestrogens and hormone disrupting compounds – for more info see Episode 65
      • Commercially-Raised Animal Products:
      • Plastics & Canned Goods (many have plastic lining)
      • Personal Care Products (makeup, lotion, & perfumes)
      • Oral Contraceptives or birth control pill
      • Pharmaceutical medications
      • Food Additives & preservatives
      • Styrofoam products
      • Laundry & Dishwashing detergents
      • Household cleaners & air fresheners
      • Pesticides & Herbicides
    • Perimenopause due to with lower progesterone levels
    • Weight gain, as your fat cells make more estrogen
  • Poor liver detoxification of hormones
  • Low vitamin D status – impacted by your skin tone and levels of melanin in your skin 
    • Vitamin D deficiency occurs 10X in Black women compared women from other cultures
    • Vitamin D inhibits uterine fibroid growth
  • Stress – see Episode 24 for more info on stress and your adrenal glands

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Menstrual periods lasting more than a week 
  • Anemia and fatigue
  • Pelvic pressure or pain, can be during intercourse
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Constipation
  • Protruding abdomen or bloating
  • Backache or leg pains

3 locations:

  1. Subserosal – on the outside surface of your uterus
  2. Intramural – within the muscular wall of your uterus
  3. Submucous – bulging into your uterine cavity

May impact your fertility in the following ways:

  • Block fallopian tubes, cervix
  • Reduce where implantation can occur
  • Increase risk of miscarriage
  • C-section may be recommended for birth

Conventional Treatments:

  1. Uterine Fibroid Embolization
  • Non-surgical; outpatient procedure
  • Incision in upper thigh with catheter inserted into femoral artery using x-ray to guide/locate blood supply to fibroid
  • Microscopic inert particles injected into vessels that nourish the fibroid to block blood supply resulting in fibroids shrinking
  1. Myomectomy: 
    • Fibroid only taken out
    • Black women 2x more likely to get complications like excessive blood loss, scar tissue, fertility issues
  2. Hysterectomy 
    • Removal of uterus
    • Black women 2.5x more likely to get than other cultures in the US


  • Optimize vitamin D levels
  • Supporting liver detoxification pathways
    • Green tea
    • Cruciferous vegetables
    • Garlic, onions, beets
    • Herbs: turmeric, milk thistle, yellow dock

Support regular bowel movements – see Episode 63 for more info on addressing constipation

Avoid xenoestrogens and plastics (even BPA free plastic) – see Episode 65 for more info

Limit alcohol

Support healthy weight and body fat percentage


Reduce stress

Consider hormone testing and if needed:

  • Support progesterone with vitex or bioidentical progesterone
  • Support estrogen detoxification with DIM, I3C 

Naturopathic treatment includes:

Above prevention strategies plus

  • Replace iron if deficient
  • Castor oil packs topically on abdomen to reduce inflammation and support circulation
  • Herbs to reduce bleeding like yarrow, shepherd’s purse

This Week’s Mama Must Have: 

Dr. Toni is loving the inspiring and motivational book Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

Dr. Lisa has committed to daily reading time and has read 4 books so far since Jan 2021. She loves getting books from free little libraries and just started Girl on a Train.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking for increased calm, confidence and comfort during labour and birth is May 30. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 68: Intuitive Eating for Kids with Jay Baum

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa discusses the approach of intuitive eating for kids with registered dietitian Jay Baum. Find out how to develop healthy eating habits with your kids and make mealtime fun instead of stress-inducing. You can raise a child who is an intuitive eater, even if you grew up to have a dysfunctional relationship with food.

Jay Baum is a Registered Dietitian with over 10 years of experience working with families. She is the owner of Pommetta Nutrition, a private practice based in Toronto, where she applies an intuitive eating approach with an emphasis on eating competence. Former professional chef and mama of two, Jay knows her way around the kitchen and has firsthand knowledge of the challenges that go along with feeding kids. 

In this episode, we cover:

  • The difference between Intuitive Eating, eating intuitively and eating competence
  • The importance of checking in with yourself about the baggage from the past that you have around eating, dieting and meal times
  • The division of responsibility between you and your child at mealtimes
  • The importance of having a rough schedule of meals and snacks 
  • How to make your main family meal fun so your kids want to be at the table 
  • The difference between kid friendly and family friendly foods
  • The importance of modeling healthy eating to your kids 
  • How to deal with your kids’ eating quirks and changing appetites
  • The pros and cons of processed food and snacks
  • The balancing act between allowing and restricting sweets
  • The importance of normalizing not finishing or liking a food when trying something new

Powerful Mama Advice from Jay:

Start with one small change that you can be consistent with and turn into a habit over the long term. Give yourself some grace and do the best you can!

Check out Jay’s website and blog here (she has a great post about 50 mealtime conversation starters to use with your kids)

Follow Jay on Instagram @feeding.kids_intuitive.eating 

Join Jay’s Pommetta Nutrition Facebook Community

Looking for realistic tips for feeding your kids? Sign up for her newsletter HERE

Interested in taking a course? Register Now

Today’s Mama Must-Have: 

Dr. Lisa enjoys a few squares of 80% dark chocolate after lunch and loves the Zazubean and Giddy Yoyo brands. 

Thank you for joining us today! 

Have any comments, suggestions or burning questions? Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 67: The Mind-Body Connection Behind Autoimmunity with Kari Klein

In today’s episode, Dr. Toni welcomes back transformational coach Kari Klein to talk about the mind-body connection behind autoimmune conditions and how the mind is a key to true healing, bringing the idea of stress management to a whole new level. If you have the tendency to overthink things and you’re feeling a lot of pressure, overwhelm and fear, you need to listen in on this conversation, even if you don’t have an autoimmune condition.

In Episode 9, Kari shared her story of recognizing and addressing hormone imbalance which impacted her brain function and mood.

As a mom and chiropractor trained in functional neurology, Kari Klein has offered wellness care for families for many years. By providing transformational coaching and deep-dive conversations that produce a new level of self-awareness, Kari is passionate about guiding women and men to discover themselves and their potential, unlocking their power and connecting them with the knowledge of who they fully are and what they are really here to do. 

What is an autoimmune condition?

With autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and lupus, your immune system is triggered to create antibodies against your own tissue.

It is common for women to experience the onset or flare of an autoimmune condition postpartum or soon after having kids.

A naturopathic approach to addressing autoimmune conditions involves supporting your immune system’s balance, gut and liver health, and stress management. 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The focus on doing vs. being human
  • How you can get mis-identified with your body and the chaos of your life instead of the essence of who you are
  • How when you connect with how you are designed by nature, it is easier to manage stress
  • Where expectations, pressures and demands around being a mom come from and the autopilot setting you can be living in that can keep you feeling separate
  • How to recognize the training or programming you picked up so you can let it go
  • Why you don’t need to be better and how to reconnect to your true nature and your intuition
  • The impact of fear on your health and your inability to be present with your kids
  • How the mind can create burnout and help you heal from burnout
  • The power behind recognizing that you’re not broken and don’t need to be fixed

Kari mentions the book Why Don’t Zebras Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky

Want to connect with Kari? Email her at kari@kariklein.ca and find her on Facebook and Instagram @thislifekariklein 

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Kari loves using Sistema® lunch boxes with separate containers for her little guy. 

Dr. Toni can’t imagine life without a simple white noise machine (set on rainfall setting) and a fan to help support a full night’s sleep.

Thank you for joining us today! 

Have any comments, suggestions or burning questions? Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!