Episode 213: How (And Why) To Love Your Liver In Perimenopause and Beyond (Re-Release)

In this episode re-release, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni review why it’s so important to pay attention to liver health for hormone balance in perimenopause. The liver has a lot of work to do as the largest organ in your body, especially as you get older, and can benefit from some extra TLC when addressing symptoms like hot flashes and heavy periods. 

In today’s episode, we cover :

  • Why it’s important to reduce the amount of chemicals and toxicity coming from your environment, food and personal care products
  • How your liver function impacts your hormone balance or imbalance, especially relating to estrogen dominance
  • The connection between your intake of sugar and highly processed convenient food, insulin resistance and fatty liver
  • Some of the functions your liver has, including:
    • Filtering your blood and converting your hormones and other compounds in your body to a less toxic and less harmful form – detoxification!
    • Converting fat soluble vitamins to a more active form
    • Producing bile to support blood clotting and absorption of fat and fat soluble vitamins
    • Regulating fat and carbohydrate metabolism
    • Supporting immune cell function
  • Signs your liver is not functioning optimally physically and energetically
    • Skin itching, headaches, hot flashes, fibroids, breast and ovarian cysts, heavy periods, anger, irritability, frustration
  • Lab tests to consider to assess the health of your liver
    • Blood tests like AST, ALT, GGT, bilirubin, hemoglobin A1c, glucose tolerance test, cholesterol panel, iron and ferritin, CRP inflammatory marker
    • Ultrasound, CT scan, MRI if needed
    • DUTCH – dried urine hormone testing
    • Genetic analysis of genes coding for liver detoxification enzymes
  • Ways to support your liver function
    • Avoiding excess exposure to chemicals and toxic compounds like pesticides, bisphenols, phthalates
    • Support air quality in your home
    • Avoiding unnecessary medications
    • Limiting your alcohol and added sugar intake
    • Physical activity and movement to support your circulation
    • Drinking water and staying hydrated, also with green and rooibos tea
    • Increasing your intake of antioxidants
      • Colourful veggies and fruits, especially garlic, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, artichoke, beets, dandelion greens, arugula 
      • Herbs and spices like rosemary, turmeric
    • Eating an adequate amount of protein to support your detoxification enzyme pathways
      • Eggs are also a good source of choline
    • Using a castor oil pack or getting bodywork like acupuncture, osteopathy
    • Express all your emotions in a healthy manner like punching a pillow, instead of suppressing or stuffing your anger and frustration

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of using crystals to help set intentions, invite in energies and dispel the negative, including selenite to dispel negativity and connect to higher self, rose quartz to promote self-love and love for others, and amethyst to absorb negativity and develop focus.

Dr. Toni recommends taking time with friends or even by yourself – get your spouse or family on board for child care or get a babysitter! 

What’s Else is Happening?

Join Dr. Toni online to learn more about self-hypnosis to support your health and hormones in 2024. Click Here and use the code MAMA2024 for a special deal. 

Dr. Lisa’s “Make 2024 Your Best Year Yet” free webinar, on Tuesday, January 23rd at 7:00pm. You can register on her instagram or in the show notes (HERE). This will be the only time Dr. Lisa is  offering this as a free webinar. She shares practical tips from Gretchen Rubin’s, “The Four Tendencies”, along with valuable snippets from James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits”. Feel free to share the registration link with a friend/neighbour/colleague.

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 190: Are You Drinking Too Much? What You Need To Know About Alcohol

In this re-released episode (from Oct 2022), Dr. Lisa and Toni discuss who is and isn’t drinking alcohol and why. Did you know that any consumption of alcohol increases your risk of cancer and can impact symptoms of perimenopause like hot flashes? There are new recommendations for drinking alcohol in Canada based on new research and it might be time to question our culture around drinking alcohol, especially for moms.

Research shows that any alcohol intake over 100 grams/week can increase your risk of death and reducing your alcohol consumption from 196 g per week to 100 g per week or below may increase your life by 1–2 years when you are 40 years of age.

100g of alcohol = less than 7 standard drinks

14g of alcohol per standard drink

  • 12 oz of 5% beer, cider or cooler
  • 5 oz of 12% wine
  • 1.5 oz of 40% liquor/distilled alcohol – gin, vodka, rum, etc

Standard Alcohol Calculator: https://therightamount.ca/sensible-guidelines/standard-drink-calculator/

Signs of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Blacking out or not remembering things that happened.
  • Continuing to drink even if it causes distress or harm to you or others.
  • Drinking more or longer than you planned.
  • Feeling irritable or cranky when you’re not drinking.
  • Frequent hangovers.
  • Getting into dangerous situations when you’re drinking (for example, driving, having unsafe sex or falling).
  • Giving up activities so you can drink.
  • Having cravings for alcohol.
  • Having repeated problems with work, school, relationships or the law because of drinking.
  • Needing to drink more and more to get the same effect.
  • Not being able to stop drinking once you’ve started.
  • Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking.
  • Wanting to cut back but not being able to.
  • Obsessing over alcohol.

Women have a different metabolism of alcohol!

Women have lower activity of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase in the stomach than men, which leads to a higher absorption of alcohol in women by up to 30% when the same volume is consumed compared to men.

How Alcohol Can Impact You in Perimenopause:

  • Affects hormones
    • Increases estrogen levels through aromatization
    • Increases stress hormone cortisol
  • Decreased libido
  • Increased fat storage and weight gain
  • Increased risk of cancer:
    • Low (1 drink daily or less) alcohol consumption increases the risk of esophageal cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer
    • Moderate (1-2 drinks daily) alcohol consumption increases the risk of colon cancer, rectal cancer, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer
    • High (over 2 drinks daily) alcohol consumption is linked to almost all cancer incidence and increased cancer mortality
  • Poor sleep
  • Worsens hot flashes
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Worsens mood swings, feeling stress and anxiety
  • Worsens blood sugar swings/feeling hangry
  • Poor impulse control “say, do” things you otherwise may not
  • Increased risk of accidents
  • Disrupts your gut microbiome and can lead to leaky gut
  • Increased inflammation

Alternatives to Drinking Alcohol:

  • Enjoy other drinks like tulsi tea, kombucha, sparkling water
  • Avoid triggers
  • Connect with friends over coffee, tea or an activity like walking or sports
  • Enjoy dry bars or mocktails at a cocktail bar
  • Attend social events that don’t revolve around alcohol like Jaybird, othership, sober music festivals

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of 24gooddeeds.ca charity advent calendar.

Dr. Toni loves getting outside on the weekend to enjoy the fall colours at local parks.

 

What’s Else is Happening?

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

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 122: What is Perimenopause?

In this replay from December 2021, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss all things perimenopause…what it is, what’s happening and how to test for it. Not sure if you’re in perimenopause or what is happening with your hormones? Experiencing hot flashes, irregular periods, mood swings and insomnia? Listen in!

What is the difference between menopause and perimenopause?

Menopause is when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months.

Perimenopause is the transition period before you reach menopause and can last for 4 years, 8 years or longer. 

What is happening with your hormones in perimenopause?

Perimenopausal symptoms, as well as your hormones, can be unpredictable and might fluctuate throughout perimenopause:

  • You may get PMS symptoms some months, not others
  • You may get other menopausal symptoms some months and not others
  • Changes that can happen around perimenopause and menopause includes bone loss and osteoporosis, shifts in weight and metabolism, brain and mood changes
  • The most common symptoms you may experience include:
    • Insomnia
      • 30-60% of women experience in perimenopause
      • Research show correlations between plastic exposure and body care products and self-report insomnia (testing urinary phthalate levels – Hatcher 2020)
    • Fatigue
      • See more info about fatigue:
    • Depression and Anxiety
      • Up to 40% of women face depression or mood changes in perimenopause
    • Hot flashes
      • You can experience one of four patterns of hot flashes
        • Early onset, late onset, high frequency, low frequency
      • See more info about hot flashes: Episode 32
    • Irregular menstrual cycles and heavy bleeding

Your body’s normally predictable hormone cycle that happens over the month changes during perimenopause:

  • You might not ovulate every month or you might ovulate early
  • You have changes in your menstrual cycle length of 7 days or more (shorter or longer cycles) then have longer cycles and more skipped periods until you reach menopause 
  • Your estrogen levels can go up and down more than usual
  • Your progesterone levels tend to decrease overall
  • Your FSH level may elevate or fluctuate
  • Your stress hormone cortisol and thyroid hormones can be impacted 

Does every woman experience the transition from perimenopause to menopause the same way?

No!

You can have one of 4 different patterns of estrogen and 3 different patterns FSH levels, as well as different combinations of other symptoms at different stages of perimenopause. 

How can you tell if you are ovulating?

  • Monitor your basal body temperature (BBT)
  • Check your cervical fluid and cervical position

Perimenopausal Journal to track your symptoms and your menstrual cycle: https://www.cemcor.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/Daily_Perimenopause_Diary_with_treatments.pdf

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of this paleo crepe recipe that Stuart also loves:

Dr. Toni loves seeing Frankie play with simple wooden blocks and hand-me-down Lego blocks

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 116: Traditional Chinese Medicine and Perimenopause: A Yin-Yang Disharmony

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss how the philosophy and practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help with symptoms of perimenopause like hot flashes, insomnia and anxiety. Find out how supporting your TCM organs and balance of yin and yang are important for your hormone balance in perimenopause. 

Yellow Emperor’s Classic (2600 BC):

At seven times seven a woman’s heavenly dew wanes;

the pulse of her Conception channel decreases.

The Qi that dwelt in the baby’s palace moves upward into her heart,

and her wisdom is deepened.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • The philosophy of TCM and its holistic nature
  • What is chi/qi?
  • How imbalance of yin and yang can cause hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness
  • What your emotions and waking up in the middle of the night mean according to TCM
  • How the function of organs like Liver, Kidney and Spleen are important for hormone balance in perimenopause
  • The importance of seasonal eating and using food to balance yin and yang
  • Some of the scientific research supporting the use of acupuncture in perimenopause and menopause 

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of using an ear syringe to help safely clean excess wax from your ear canal. 

Dr. Toni loves tracking her physical activity with The Conqueror Virtual Challenges and is starting the Stand With Ukraine challenge. 

What else we’re up to:

Dr. Lisa’s next Wild Collective group is starting later this spring – get on the waitlist at https://www.wildcollectivetoronto.com/

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing class series starting in March and – for more info on a free online masterclass to reduce fear and anxiety around birth, go to https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/

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. 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.