Episode 134: How Trauma May Be Impacting Your Parenting (and Your Life) with Jinelle Watson – Part 1

In part 1 of a 2 part episode series, Dr. Toni discusses the impact of trauma on parenting with social worker Jinelle Watson. They review how both big T and little t trauma can create different stress responses, and how the pandemic, hormone fluctuations and different aspects of parenting (hello, sleep deprivation!) can lower your window of tolerance. Whether you know you are experiencing the impact of trauma or are not sure, this episode is a must listen!

Jinelle Watson is a registered social worker who holds a Masters in Social Work with a clinical designation. She has been working in the field of mental health for over 8 years. During her pregnancy, she developed a passion for understanding the impacts of pregnancy and postpartum on gestational and non gestational parents and their families. With her daughter being born in 2020 she has developed a special level of empathy for life with a new baby during a global pandemic. Prior to the birth of her daughter in 2020, Jinelle specialized in sexual trauma therapy and she has built on this experience by completing her perinatal mental health certification. 

Jinelle’s approach to therapy comes from an anti-oppressive, and person-centered lens. She is experienced in supporting individuals and families through areas including but not limited to depression, anxiety, big T and little t trauma, PTSD, addictions, grief and loss, sexuality, gender identity, self-image and self-worth. Jinelle primarily uses techniques from Mindfulness Based Therapy, Sensor Motor based Psychotherapy, Art based therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Feminist Therapy.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • What is little t and big T trauma
  • How little t trauma can impact you to a greater extent than big T trauma
  • The pros and cons of getting a diagnosis of PTSD
  • What it can look like to get counselling to address your trauma
  • How your personality can impact you might experience trauma 
  • What is the window of tolerance and how parenting, hormone fluctuations, sleep deprivation and the pandemic lowers your window
  • The different trauma responses you could experience, how you don’t anyways get to choose what you experience and how those responses are helpful
  • Why you can’t prevent trauma experiences and how helicopter parenting negatively impacts your kids
  • How to you can reduce how your kids experience trauma with communication
    • For more info on conversations with your kids about sex, see Episode 98

You can connect with Jinelle at https://www.jinellecounselling.com/ for a free consultation or Moss Postpartum on Instagram @moss_postpartum_house

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Jinelle likes the Instagram account @kids.eat.in.color to support her kid’s nutrition.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of the grief-focused podcasts Healing with David Kessler and Here After with Megan Devine.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening this fall. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2022: 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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 133: Is It Hot in Here?! What You Need To Know About Hot Flashes

In this re-released episode from 2020, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are talking about a hot topic: hot flashes! Whether you call it a hot flash or hot flush, they can be an annoying and uncomfortable symptom that you may start to experience in perimenopause. We discuss: what hot flashes are and why they happen; the potential causes and triggers for your hot flashes and night sweats; and what you can do about them so you don’t have to suffer.

According to research, anywhere from 35%–50% of perimenopausal women suffer sudden waves of body heat with sweating and flushing that last 5–10 minutes.

What is a hot flash?

A hot flash or vasomotor flush can vary from feeling slightly warm to more like a fire from the inside out. They can come on rapidly and last anywhere from 1-10 minutes. 

You may get them anywhere from a few times per week to more than 10 times during the day and night. They can be combined with visible flushing with your chest, neck and face turning red, with a little bit or a lot of sweat.

Hot flashes often continue for a year or two after menopause, but in up to 10% of women, they persist for years beyond that. They can disrupt your sleep, which can worsen: fatigue, irritability, anxiety, metabolism, weight control and immune system function.

Why do you get hot flashes?

Although hot flashes have been studied for more than 30 years, no one is absolutely certain why or how they occur. The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) at UBC attributes hot flashes to “estrogen withdrawal”, as their research has found that hot flashes closely resemble an addict’s drug withdrawal due to the hormonal associations and brain effects seen.

Your level of estrogen while in perimenopause is fluctuating and can be unpredictable. When your estrogen level drops from normal to low or high to normal, it can trigger a hot flash in your body.

Estrogen drops can trigger the release of your stress hormone norepinephrine, as well as other stress hormones and brain neurotransmitters. Norepinephrine narrows the range of body temperature where you feel comfortable (also called your thermoneutral zone) so you’re more sensitive to both heat and cold. 

A hot flash is a vasomotor symptom where your blood vessels dilate to release more heat because of the narrowing of your thermoneutral zone.

Causes of hot flashes can include:

  • Blood sugar imbalances that can trigger your stress hormones, resulting in you feeling hot and wired
  • High stress and cortisol levels that can worsen night sweats
  • Inadequate detoxification through your organs of elimination or emunctories. Things that can make your hot flashes worse by negatively affecting your body’s ability to detox include:
    • smoking, constipation, being overweight, not exercising and not sweating (via exercise and sauan usage)
  • Triggers are different for each women. It is useful to keep a hot flash journal, tracking your potential triggers such as:
    • Hot drinks, caffeine, alcohol
    • Sugar, spicy foods, garlic
    • Nightshades like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers
    • Perceived stress or stressful situations

What can you do about your hot flashes?

  • Avoid your known triggers
  • Manage your temperature
    • Turn your thermostat down, put on a fan or A/C 
    • Sleep naked or in loose-fitting breathable cotton
    • Under-dress during the day and wear layers
    • Use a breathable weighted blanket like ZonLi, Chilipad or gel pillow
    • Drink cool or ice water
    • Use an essential oil spray with peppermint, clary sage, geranium
  • Manage your stress
    • Have stress-releasing time EVERY DAY! Be proactive to improve your response to stress
      • Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, singing, humming
  • Get a sweat going during the day with exercise, sauna or a hot bath
  • Eat nutritious food to:
    • Balance blood sugar levels – see Episode 10: What to Eat? Nutrition Tips for Hormone Balance
    • Include liver-detoxifyng and phyto-estrogenic foods
      • Ground flaxseeds (can add to chia pudding, smoothies, cereal, yogurt)
      • Organic fermented soy like miso soup or tempeh
      • Brassica vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts
  • See a Naturopathic Doctor for hormone testing and individualized treatment including:
    • Herbs like maca, vitex, black cohosh, sage, red clover, pueraria (Thai kudzu), hops, milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke
    • Nutrients like berberine, plant sterols, N-acetyl cysteine, magnesium, vitamin E, L-glycine
    • Acupuncture
    • Homeopathy
    • Bio-identical hormone creams
      • Natural progesterone has been shown in recent research to be safe and effective for hot flashes and night sweats, avoiding some of the adverse effects of classic estrogen therapy or synthetic estrogen with synthetic progesterone (progestin)

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni has a favourite oat and fruit bar recipe for a quick and easy breakfast or snack that Frankie loves:

Dr. Toni’s Banana and Fruit Breakfast Bars

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chopped apricots, cranberries, dates and/or prunes
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup milled flax seed
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mash bananas and combine with fruit and oil. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread onto a pan or cookie sheet and flattened with a fork. Bake at 375oF for 10-15 minutes until slightly browned.

Dr. Lisa found a tasty gluten-free beer called Glutenberg to enjoy in moderation on hot summer days.

Thank you for joining us today! 

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!

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 132: How to Work Through Overwhelm and Guilt as a Caregiver with Stephanie Muskat of Compassion in Caregiving

In this episode, Dr. Lisa chats with Stephanie Muskat from Compassion in Caregiving how to navigate the challenges that come along with looking after a child, parent or loved one with a chronic illness or medical diagnosis. Stephanie shares ways to move through the guilt and overwhelm, along with support systems and programs out there for caregivers themselves. She also reviews creating an active care plan to do before a loved one becomes ill or passes away to prevent unnecessary stress and decision fatigue.

Visit Stephanie’s website here: https://www.compassionincaregiving.com/

Follow her on Instagram @compassionincaregiving

Episode 131: Is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (aka SIBO) the Cause of Your IBS?

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are discussing a potential root cause for digestive symptoms like bloating and gas called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, otherwise known as SIBO. 

SIBO = Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

-abnormally large numbers of commensal bacteria are found in SI

-bacteria is fed by carbohydrates and produces excess amounts of gas – hydrogen, methane, hydrogen sulfide

-bacterial overgrowth interferes with proper digestion and absorption of nutrients

-gas interferes with proper bowel motility, resulting in constipation and/or diarrhea

Up to 84% of people with IBS also have SIBO, so it’s thought to be an underlying cause 

Symptoms of SIBO can include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain/cramps
  • Constipation, diarrhea or alternating
  • heartburn/reflux
  • Nausea
  • Food sensitivities
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Brain fog
  • Malabsorption issues like anemia, chronic low ferritin (iron stores), fat soluble vitamin deficiency like vitamin D deficiency
  • Skin issues like eczema, rosacea
  • Inflammatory conditions like pancreatitis, interstitial cystitis, prostatitis

What causes SIBO?

  • Conditions affecting intestinal motility and damage to MMC (migrating motor complex), including thyroid issues, concussions, head injuries, chronic high blood sugar
  • Acute gastroenteritis from food poisoning or “stomach flu”
  • Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI) acid inhibiting medications
  • Low stomach acid, pancreatic enzyme and bile secretion
  • Ileocecal valve dysfunction, resulting in reflux of colonic bacteria into small intestine
  • Complications of abdominal surgery, including gastric bypass for obesity and gastrectomy to treat peptic ulcers and stomach cancer, postoperative loop, stricture or fistula

How do you know if you have SIBO?

  • IBS symptoms get worse when you take a probiotic, especially with a prebiotic
  • IBS symptoms might get better after antibiotic treatment for another infection
  • Symptoms worse after eating more fibre – veggies like broccoli, fruit like apples

How can you test for SIBO?

  • Breath test = most common method of testing for SIBO

-fasting after fibre restricted eating day before

-provocation with lactulose non-absorbable sugar

-breath sample every 20 minutes over 3 hours, tested for levels of hydrogen, methane, hydrogen sulfide in the gas in the sample tube

  • Small intestinal aspirate culture = currently the gold standard test for bacterial overgrowth. To obtain the fluid sample, doctors pass a long, flexible tube (endoscope) down your throat and through your upper digestive tract to your small intestine. A sample of intestinal fluid is withdrawn and then tested in a laboratory for the growth of bacteria.
  • Possible alternative: a course of specific antibiotics to see if you’re successful in reducing your symptoms may also be a way to assess if you have SIBO

Comprehensive Approach to Addressing SIBO:

  1. Liver and gallbladder support eg. NAC, dandelion, artichoke, beets, green tea
  2. Herbal or specific prescription antibiotic to lower bacteria levels eg. rifaximin, specific garlic, oregano extracts, berberine, myrrh, thyme, goldenseal, enteric coated peppermint oil
  3. Digestive support for stomach acid, pancreatic enzyme, and bile production, leaky gut eg. bitters like gentian, L-glutamine, NAG, lemon water or D-limonene, topical castor oil pack
  1. Motility support – prescription or nutritional eg. prucalopride, ginger, 5-HTP, acetyl L-carnitine, Iberogast, spacing at least 3+ hours between eating

Mindful raisin-eating exercise 

Other treatment options: 

Elemental diet – liquid diet for at least 2 weeks to starve and kill off bacteria

Biofilm disruptors like NAC, black cumin, ALA

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa loves using apple cider vinegar before meals, as well as adding lemon and lime zest to salads, coleslaw and in water to support her digestion.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of the wet sock treatment to support immune health, especially at the first sign of a cold. 

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening this summer. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2022: 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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 130: Lose Your Cool Less: Parenting with Educator Tara Gratto

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa discusses everyday tools for feelings and kindness with educator Tara Gratto to support parents. As parents, we have a whole range of feelings and our patience is tested over and over. Social and emotional intelligence is a skill like learning a language – it needs to be practiced! Listen in to learn more.  

Tara Gratto M.S.Ed, MA, OCT is the founder of Raising Resilient Children. A long time educator and former preschool owner, she supports parents with tools and skills for feelings, kindness and everyday mental well-being. Her signature framework, the Language of Kindness makes parenting easier while fostering connection and building essential life skills with children. Tara focuses on supporting busy parents with tools for today, tomorrow and life. 

In this episode, we cover:

  • How to lose your cool less
  • What you can do in the moment when you are losing your cool
    • Awareness of triggers (where and when?)
    • Breathe and counting backwards from 10 or 5 (model tools for emotional regulation to your kids)
      • Five Finger breathing, Butterfly breathing or Dragon breathing
    • Name it to Tame it
  • The principles of the Language of Kindness
  • kindness to self (your inner voice and self-confidence)
  • kindness to others (how we treat each others in calm and conflict)
  • kindness to the planet (to encourage thinking about food and consumption)
  • Setting yourself up for an action plan to deal with big feelings

Connect with Tara and access her free workshops for parents HERE.

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of having a public library card to get books and DVDs 

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety around labour and birth is happening this summer. Join her by registering HERE.

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2022: 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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 129: What You Need to Know About Hair Loss in Women

In this re-release episode from January 2021, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss: the different types of hair loss, causes, lab tests to consider and solutions that can work for women in perimenopause who are experiencing hair loss. It’s important to recognize that some hair loss is normal but unfortunately, abnormal hair loss is common. Up to 50% of women will experience significant amounts of hair loss in their lifetime.

What is Normal?

  • Loss of 50-100 hairs on average per day
  • No change in hairline/scalp you can see; pony tail still same size
  • 3-4 months postpartum: 
    • you don’t lose hair during pregnancy; make up for it at this time
    • normalizes at around 6-12 months postpartum

The Stages for Hair Follicles:

  1. Anagen – active growth phase lasting 2-7 years
  2. Catagen – brief transitional phase where fibre stops growing
  3. Telogen – rest phase lasting 3 months where old hair pushed up to skin surface then shed

What is Abnormal?

  • Losing more than 100 hairs per day when not postpartum
  • Change in your hairline with more scalp visible
  • Telogen effluvium: temporary hair loss after stress, shock or traumatic event

Type of Hair Loss:

  1. Genetic – progressive gradual reduction in your hair volume, can make your hair follicles more susceptible to reactive hair loss
  2. Reactive – also known as telogen effluvium, temporary hair loss

Causes of Hair Loss:

  • Nutrient deficiencies: low iron, vitamin b12, protein intake
  • Low thyroid function: Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis
    • Your thyroid gland helps to regulate your body’s metabolism by controlling the production of proteins and your tissue use of oxygen. Any thyroid imbalance can therefore affect your hair follicles. 
    • If hypothyroidism is left untreated it may result in anemia or iron deficiency
  • Stress, shock or traumatic event
    • Can negatively impact your estrogen levels which can impact hair loss
    • Raises your androgen levels, disrupts your scalp health causing dandruff, negative impact on your digestion
    • Can negatively impact your thyroid function
  • Leaky gut, celiac disease and eating gluten – see Episode 8 for more info on gut health
  • Damaging hair dye or other hair care products that weigh your hair down
  • Traction alopecia: caused pulling hair back tightly (eg. ponytail, bun or braids) and weakening hair follicles
  • Hormone changes and imbalance
    • Perimenopause with lower estrogen
    • PCOS with high androgens and insulin resistance
  • Caloric restriction:
    • Excessive fasting
    • Cleanses with low protein intake
    • Eating disorders
    • No or low carb intake

Laboratory Testing You Can Consider To Determine The Cause of Your Hair Loss:

  • Nutrient testing
    • Iron panel – hemoglobin, ferritin, iron and transferrin saturation levels
    • Vitamin B12
  • Celiac screen
  • Food sensitivity testing
  • Thyroid panel (TSH, free T4 and T3 plus thyroid antibodies) – see Episode 42 for more info
  • Autoimmune testing
  • Hormone testing
    • adrenal/cortisol
    • hormone panel with estrogens and androgens
  • Blood sugar testing
    • Insulin and glucose levels when fasting
    • Hemoglobin A1C
    • Glucometer or continuous blood sugar testing at home

What you can do about it?

  • Biotin:  does it really work? 
    • Found in eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower
    • Can impact accuracy on certain lab testing like thyroid hormone tests 
    • Too much can worsen cystic acne and affect your absorption of vitamin B5, which is needed for skin health
  • Your hair is made of protein, so adequate intake of protein rich foods is essential 
    • Palm sized portion with lunch and supper
    • Aim for a total intake of 1 gram per kilogram of body weight daily
  • Complex carbohydrates provide your hair with the energy it needs to grow
    • Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, greens
  • Other minerals and vitamins: iron, copper, zinc, selenium, vitamin C, B12, D3, essential amino acids l-lysine and l-methionine 
  • Supporting scalp circulation 
    • Head/scalp massage
    • Exercise, yoga, headstands
  • Essential oils applied topically to scalp
    • Thyme, rosemary, lavender, cedarwood in carrier oil of jojoba and grapeseed has been shown to support hair growth in people with alopecia areata
  • Hair oils can make your hair stronger and protect hair follicles and strands to prevent breakage
    • Ayurvedic oils and herbs like amla, ashwagandha, brahmi and dashmool can be applied to dry hair for a pre-wash treatment
  • Work with naturopathic doctor or other medical professional to support hormone and blood sugar balance, improve digestion and leaky gut
  • Reduce stress: sleep, say no, rest, get help…

After you start a treatment plan, the more you can be calm and patient, the better. Due to the nature of your hair growth cycle, it takes at least 6 weeks to see an improvement. Do your best and give your body some time to regain balance.

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni has been using her bullet journal to get thoughts and to-do lists out of her head so she isn’t thinking about them in the middle of the night! See Episode 11 for more info.

Dr. Lisa loves Cheeks Ahoy unpaper napkins and reusable paper towels to reduce her use of single use products to clean up spills. 

Upcoming Events:

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety around labour and birth is happening this summer. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Get on the waitlist for Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective Fall 2022 enrollment: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Thanks for joining us today!

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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 128: Using Astrology to Align With Your Soul’s Calling with Spiritual Mentor Renata Taravski

In this episode, Dr. Lisa speaks with Dr. Renata about how you can get into alignment with your life. Whether you are a Virgo or an Aquarius, we break down how your limiting beliefs, where and when you were born and other factors can impact how you can live out your soul’s purpose. 

Renata’s a straight-talking astrologer, spiritual mentor, reiki master and naturopathic doctor who cuts through the “spiritual fluff,” to deliver the sassy cosmic wisdom you didn’t even know you were searching for. But what makes Renata a true master of her craft, is her commitment to helping empaths, spiritual entrepreneurs, healers and seekers confidently service the world the way they were born to do. So if you love a no-BS approach, with a lil’ woo-woo from someone who’s already walked the path, to tell you exactly what you need to do to make that happen, she’s your girl!

In this episode, we cover:

  • The ways your body can tell you that you are not in alignment
  • How you can get into alignment with your soul’s calling
  • What astrological patterns and factors influence your strengths and how you can live out your purpose

If you liked this episode???

You can connect with Renata at https://www.renatataravski.com/ and on Instagram @alignwithrenata

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of some fun family activities, like the board game Sorry, a mini basketball net and soccer net for the backyard.

Renata loves Smart Sweets snacks and playing with bubbles in the summertime.

What’s Else is Happening:

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety around labour and birth is happening this summer. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Get on the waitlist for Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective Fall 2022 enrollment: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Thanks for joining us today!

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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 127: Anxiety in Perimenopause: How Hormones, Blood Sugar Imbalances and Inflammation Are Impacting Your Mood

In this re-release of a 2021 episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss the increased levels of anxiety moms in perimenopause are currently experiencing over the pandemic and what you might be doing to make it worse. There are many effective approaches to naturally deal with your anxiety so you don’t have to suffer. 

Did you know?

A research study that followed 3000 Canadian moms over 12 years showed that symptoms of anxiety and depression almost doubled between May and July of 2020 compared to levels between 2017 and 2019. 

Another study on the impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians reported that 24% of people rated their mental health as fair or poor compared to 8% in 2018. 88% of participants experienced at least 1 symptom of anxiety in the 2 weeks prior, with 71% feeling nervous, anxious or on edge, 69% becoming easily annoyed or irritable and 64% having trouble relaxing.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety refers to anticipation of a future concern and is more associated with muscle tension and avoidance behavior.

Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness, and involve excessive fear or anxiety. 

If you have 3 or more anxiety symptoms for a period of 6 consecutive months on an almost daily basis, you might be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Consult with a licensed therapist for support and confirmation of diagnosis.

What are symptoms of anxiety?

Psychological or mental and emotional symptoms you might be experiencing can include:

    • Fear

    • Irritability

    • Restlessness, inability to relax

    • Difficulty concentrating

    • Decreased libido

    • Decreased emotionality

Somatic or physical symptoms you might be experiencing can include:

    • Arrhythmia or heart beat irregularities, increased heart rate or palpitations

    • Increased shallow or difficulty breathing

    • Nausea

    • Diarrhea, reflux or IBS

    • Sweating

    • Tremor

    • Increased urination

    • Increased appetite

    • Dizziness or vertigo

    • Increased sensitivity to pain 

    • Headaches 

    • Worsening of skin conditions like eczema, hives, psoriasis

Postpartum anxiety can happen to you even a year after you have given birth. 

Symptoms of postpartum anxiety can include the above symptoms, as well as:

  • Feelings of worry or dread
  • Racing thoughts
  • Problems sleeping
  • Hot flashes

What are possible causes of anxiety?

  • Hormonal change and fluctuations in perimenopause
    • Your brain’s response to hormonal changes can impact if you experience anxiety
    • Women with a history of mental illness, including postpartum depression and anxiety, are more at risk, as well as women whose moods are sensitive to hormone changes and have experienced PMS and PMDD
    • About 18% of women in early perimenopause and 38% of women in late perimenopause experience symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Life or situational stressors
    • Changes in work, home, family
  • Individual genetics
    • Your genes can impact your neurotransmitter balance eg. COMT
  • Drug-induced anxiety
    • Alcohol, cocaine, caffeine, cannabis (see Episode 80 for more info on cannabis)
    • Amphetamines
    • Corticosteroids
    • Anticholinergics including some antidepressants
    • Hallucinogenics
  • Thyroid conditions (see Episode 42 for more info on thyroid)
    • Hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis 
  • Hypoglycemia
    • Low blood sugar can increase stress hormone cortisol
  • Lung conditions like COPD
  • Heart failure or arrhythmia
  • Brain inflammation or encephalitis, eg. traumatic brain injury, concussion
  • Nutrient deficiencies
    • Vitamin B12
    • Magnesium
    • Iron
  • Trauma, chronic stress and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS)

What are the conventional medical options for dealing with anxiety?

Prescription medications used to treat anxiety include:

  • Benzodiazepines like clonazepam, lorazepam, diazepam
    • High risk of developing side effects, dependence and tolerance
    • Nutrient depletions can include melatonin and glutathione
  • SSRI and SNRI antidepressants
    • High risk of side effects including impact on libido
    • Potential of worsening of symptoms in first 2-3 weeks
    • Nutrient depletions can include sodium, folic acid

What laboratory testing can be helpful for determining the root cause or factors of your anxiety?

Blood work – Iron panel, thyroid panel, vitamin B12 and D

Urine organic acids and hormone testing eg. DUTCH

Beck anxiety questionnaire

What are some natural approaches to address your anxiety?

  • Reduce alcohol, caffeine, sugar
  • Learn your situational triggers eg. running late
    • Avoid the avoidable
    • Prepare for the unavoidable
  • Practice RAIN – work of Tara Brach
    • Recognize – name the feeling
    • Allow – lean into the feeling, let it be, breathe
    • Investigate – physical feeling, self-talk/beliefs, what do you most need right now
    • Nurture – talk to yourself like friend, direct self-compassion
  • Interrupting anxiety or changing your state
    • Breathing exercises or humming to activate the vagus nerve
      • Diaphragmatic breathing with long inhalation and longer exhalation, research study showed lowers stress hormone cortisol practiced twice a day over 8 weeks
    • Splashing or drinking cold water
    • Ground yourself in the present by checking into your physical body, using your sense including smell and sound
    • Journalling
  • Prioritize sleep – see Episode 73 for more info
  • Exercise and moving your body
    • Bonus if you go outside for fresh air and sunshine!
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation eg. loving kindness practice
  • Avoid multi-tasking to prevent:
    • Increased heart rate
    • Feeling wired
    • Reduction in cognitive function and emotional control
    • IQ dropping by up to 15 points
  • Balance blood sugar and reduce pro-inflammatory foods – see Episode 45 for more info
  • Prevent anxiety-like hypoglycemic symptoms
  • Reduce inflammation fuelling anxiety

Supplements to consider:

  • Lavender, lemon balm, kava, tulsi, chamomile, passionflower
  • Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, rhodiola, eleuthro, reishi
  • L-theanine, Lactium, taurine, 5-HTP, glycine, inositol, phosphatidylserine 
  • B complex
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Magnesium 
  • Vitex for hormone regulation

Prescription medications to consider:

  • Bio-identical progesterone
  • CBD (also available without prescription in specific retail stores in Canada)

Other resources available:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • Wellness Together Canada online portal

Today’s Mama Must Have: 

Dr. Lisa loves using her morning routine to set the tone for her day, including meditation, humming and chanting exercises

Dr. Toni highly recommends carving out some solo time for personal development and is currently enjoying the Living Passionately online seminar through Landmark Worldwide. It has made a huge impact on her mental health and helped to reduce the stress of the “should”s.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety around labour and birth is happening this summer. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2022: 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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 126: Why Less is More When it Comes to Exercise (and How to Have Fun Doing it!) with Julia Hickman

In this episode, Dr. Lisa discusses with fitness and lifestyle coach Julia Hickman how crucial it is for women to carve out time for self-care and exercise, but probably not as long as you think. Instead of an all or nothing approach or pushing yourself harder, the key is to do it smarter. Learn how to stick to a movement routine when life gets busy or while on vacation, so you don’t suffer from exhaustion and burnout. 

Julia Hickman is an entrepreneur, wife and mother of 2 living in NJ. She left her corporate career in data analytics to become a stay at home parent to her first child and soon realized this was the ideal time to bring to reality her desire to be an entrepreneur. She started blogging and then became an online fitness and lifestyle coach helping entrepreneurial and professional women make time for fitness and self-care. After a short break undergoing stressful IVF treatments to have her second child, she decided to create a new business helping entrepreneurs focus on their brilliance by becoming their strategic partner in helping them elegantly launch and manage profitable podcasts that lead to high-ticket programs. She is the host of the Fit Femmes Movement podcast. 

In this episode, we cover:

  • Why you don’t have to workout 1 hour, 5 days per week
  • Why cardio is not the most efficient solution if you want to reduce body fat
  • Julia’s favourite full-body and core exercises
  • How to stick to an exercise routine, even when life gets busy
  • How to incorporate enjoyable movement while on vacation 
  • The benefits of starting your own podcast if you are an entrepreneur or have something to sell
  • How exercise is an act of self-love

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of Midday squares (Peanut Butta flavour) as a lower sugar, higher protein snack.

Julia recommends using Mini Bands as an alternative to using weights to mix up your exercise routine.

You can connect with Julia on Instagram.

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

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective and Wild Women Adventures: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Thanks for joining us today!

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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 125 – Atopic Triad: Allergy, Asthma and Eczema in Moms and Kids

In this episode re-release, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss the atopic triad of allergy, asthma and eczema that both perimenopausal moms and their kids can experience. Find out how your hormones are involved, plus what you can do to prevent and treat these inflammatory issues today.

What is an allergy?

Hypersensitivity disorder of your immune system, where you react to normally harmless substances in the environment that most people won’t react to.

Allergic symptoms include:

Itchy, watery, red eyes

Runny nose

Sneezing

Headache or pressure in sinuses

Itchy throat

Postnasal drip

Constant clearing of throat

More serious symptoms include:

Eczema – inflammatory skin condition

Asthma – immune reactivity and inflammation in airways causing wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath

Hives and anaphylaxis

The prevalence of allergic symptoms is increasing!

Allergic rhinitis, including runny nose, dark circles under eyes and throat clearing, affects as many as 40% of kids in US

CDC reported food allergies increased by 18% in US since 1990s

Eczema affects about 1 in 5 kids in US, with rates tripled in past 3 decades

Asthma affects at least 1 in 8 kids in US, with rates tripled between 1980 and 2008

Increased immune system reactivity causes may include:

  1. Hygiene Hypothesis or Microbiome Disruption
    • Your immune system needs to learn to respond to components in dirt and soil
    • Babies born by C section are 5x more likely to develop allergies than vaginal birth, since they are not exposed to mom’s vaginal microbiome
    • Also influenced with breastfeeding
    • Good bacteria are needed for “oral tolerance” and immune tolerance, so you are less reactive to foods and environmental allergens
    • Reduced gut flora diversity linked with increased risk of eczema, damage to gut lining allows foreign particles to trigger more immune reactions since more than half of your immune system is found along your gut – see Episode 8
    • Germ phobia can make kids more allergic
  2. Insufficient micronutrient and antioxidant intake
  3. Environmental pollution and compromised liver detoxification pathways 
    • Liver filters all the blood in the body from the digestive system and removes toxins, allergens, hormones, chemicals, drugs, etc.
    • Your liver contains the Reticuloendothelial System (RES) containing immune cells that remove antigens from the digestive system
    • If overworked with high levels of chemicals and pollution, your liver will not be able to remove allergens appropriately – see Episode 33
  4. Stress and adrenal function
    • Adrenal glands produce stress hormone cortisol, which is needed for an appropriate immune response
    • If overstressed or burnt out, you produce less cortisol resulting in more inflammation – for more info, see Episode 24
  5. Genetics
    • Can be modified by environmental factors
    • Just because your parents suffer from allergies doesn’t mean you have to!

Immune system balance is like a teeter-totter or see-saw 

Th1 vs.Th2 response 

  • Infants born with an allergic tendency and proper amounts of beneficial bacteria or microbiome supports more balance away from allergy while preventing autoimmunity

For example:

Research has shown that children in Estonia are less allergic than those in Switzerland and Estonian children have higher numbers of good bacteria in their intestines

Components of the Allergic Response include:

Allergens are also called antigens, like food, animal hair, insects, pollen, mold, dust, trees, chemicals, drugs, dyes, detergents, additives, etc.

Antigen binds to IgE antibody receptors on immune cells called mast cells, which triggers the release of inflammatory substances including prostaglandins and histamine 

Histamine acts in many areas in the body causing:

  • Vasodilation – swelling, redness, inflammation
  • Skin – itching, swelling, redness, hives
  • Nose – runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion
  • Eyes –watery
  • Lungs – congestion, bronchoconstriction of airways, difficult to breathe
  • Digestive System inflammation

Conventional medical treatment for allergies, asthma and eczema include:

  • Antihistamines – blocks action of histamine
  • Steroids (Inhaled, oral, topical cream) – suppresses the overactive immune response
  • Decongestants – reduces congestion 
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine) – blocks action of histamine
  • Epinephrine (adrenaline) – dilates the airways, makes breathing easier
  • Immunotherapy – small doses of allergens are injected below the skin or taken under the tongue to desensitize the immune system

Nutritional Factors that Increase Allergic Symptoms

  • Mucous-producing foods including dairy, gluten, sugar, bananas, processed foods, fried foods
  • Pro-Inflammatory foods can include:
    • Dairy, gluten, red meat, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, oranges, grapefruit, soy, shellfish, sugar, processed foods, pork, corn, eggs
  • Histamine-containing foods:
  • Deli meats, aged cheeses, fermented foods, canned fish, shellfish, avocado, citrus, tomatoes, alcohol, dried fruits, smoked meat/fish, 
  • Foods high in omega-6 increases inflammation and the allergic response – vegetable oils, soybean, canola, sunflower, corn, safflower
    • Ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be 4:1; Western diet ratio is 10:1!
    • In Japan, with westernization of diet (less fish and omega-3), saw increase in allergies
    • Can balance with more omega 3 from algae or fish source (anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon), as well as omega 6 GLA found in evening primrose, borage, hemp
  • Deficiencies in:
    • Omega-3 
    • B vitamins
      • Vitamin B6 – found in tuna, calf liver, chicken, salmon, turkey, potatoes, cod, sunflower seeds, halibut
      • Vitamin B12 – found in calf liver, sardines, salmon, beef, lamb, halibut, scallops, yogurt
    • Magnesium – found in pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, soybeans, sesame seeds, halibut, black beans, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds
    • Zinc – found in oysters, red meat, poultry, baked beans, chickpeas, and nuts like cashews and almonds
    • Vitamin C – found in blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, papaya, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kiwi, cauliflower, kale, parsley, lemons, limes, spinach, snow peas, and rose hip tea
    • Vitamin D – found in small amounts in eggs, milk, best made with UV exposure to skin
    • Vitamin E – sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, papaya
    • Vitamin A – found in two forms:
  • Retinol – active form of vitamin A, found in animal liver, whole milk, and some fortified foods
  • Carotenoids –  can turn into active form of vitamin A, found in plant foods like carrots, squash, sweet potatoes

Why Does Perimenopause Cause More Skin Itching and Hives?

Estrogen plays an important role in your skin health, impacting the microbiome of your mouth, gut and skin. Microbiome changes related to menopause may increase intestinal permeability, which increases the likelihood of having food reactions and atopic dermatitis. 

Hives, also called chronic urticaria, are about twice as common in women as in men and may be associated with hormonal changes such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, birth control pill or synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Your sex hormones can modulate immune and inflammatory cell functions, including mast cell secretion of histamine. 

One study suggests that patients with chronic urticaria have lower levels of serum DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), an adrenal hormone that tends to decline with age. Stress is commonly elevated during perimenopause, leading to high output of cortisol and adrenaline which are frequently associated with hives.

Lab testing you can consider:

Serum hormone testing or DUTCH urine hormone testing

IgG food sensitivity testing

Micronutrient testing – vitamin D, specialized labs for zinc, vitamin A, omega 3 

Comprehensive stool testing for microbiome balance and gut health

Prevention and Treatment to Consider for Allergies, Asthma and Eczema:

  • Support stress management and adrenal glands
    • Avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol, stimulants
    • Stress-relieving techniques including sleep support and routine
    • B vitamins, Vitamin C, adaptogenic herbs
  • Increase air quality
    • HEPA filter (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, vacuum cleaner)
    • Avoid carpeting
    • Regular dusting and vacuuming
    • Keep pets out of the bedroom and bathe regularly
  • Sinus rinse or Nasal Lavage
    • Neti Pot or Nevage
    • Steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil
    • Blow your nose regularly
  • Support gut health with probiotics and fermented food
    • Avoid antibiotics, PPIs, NSAIDs
    • Use filtered water to remove chlorine
  • Nutrition
    • Avoid inflammatory and histamine increasing foods
    • Avoid food allergies and sensitivities
    • Increase foods with nutrients important for immune function, including flavonoids  – see Episode 39 for more info on nutrients to support immune activity for viruses
      • Pomegranate, tomatoes, bilberry, blackberry, blueberry, black currant, sweet cherry, apples, apricots, pears, raspberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, pinto beans, watercress, green tea, grape skin
    • Consider regular intake of local honey to decrease immune sensitivity to environment
  • Supplements to consider:
    • Urtica dioica (nettles), Ribes nigrum (black currant), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), Pine bark extract, Flavonoids including quercetin
    • Homeopathic Remedies
    • Homeopathic Immunotherapy
  • Topical treatments for eczema can include moisturizing oils like coconut, shea, jojoba (anything except olive), oat baths, calendula

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa loves roasted beets and beet root powder to provide natural sweetness and extra liver support.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of having moisturizing lotion and creams for hands and body handy. She likes Baby Bum fragrance free every day lotion with shea butter and Rocky Mountain soap company omega 3 vanilla coconut hand cream.

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: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Thanks for joining us today!

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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.