Episode 141: Bloated and Uncomfortable? How to Avoid Having to Undo Your Top Button By the End of the Day

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss the different reasons why you could be experiencing bloating and what you can do about it. If you look and feel pregnant at the end of the day (and definitely aren’t!), it could be due to a number of different hormonal, digestive and structural issues that can happen in perimenopause. 

See previous episodes:

Factors that can cause bloating:

  • Eating large meals or eating late at night
    • No time to digest
    • Physiological bloating
  • Pressure in your stomach from weight gain or pregnancy
  • Diastasis recti or abdominal wall laxity
    • “mummy tummy”
  • Food intolerances or sensitivities
    • Visceral hypersensitivity can be stimulated by inflammation of the gut lining by foods, especially gluten, corn, dairy
  • Sugar alcohols especially sorbitol, less with erythritol, xylitol
  • Sugars like lactose or fructose
  • FODMAP foods
    • short chain carbohydrates found in many fruit, veg, legumes
  • Gut dysbiosis and microbiome imbalance like H. pylori and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
    • Especially after antibiotic and antacid medication use
  • Low stomach acid due to eating while in stress mode or sympathetic nervous system 
  • Low pancreatic enzymes or pancreatic issues
  • Gallbladder removal or issues
  • Slow gut motility and constipation
  • Hormone changes in perimenopause and premenstrually
    • Progesterone is a mild diuretic, so low progesterone in perimenopause can lead to more water retention
  • Cortisol imbalances and stress
    • High cortisol can lead to more water retention
    • Women who have experienced trauma are 50% more likely to experience IBS
  • Uterine Fibroids, hernias, scar tissue
  • Endometriosis
    • over 80% of women with endo experience bloating

Testing to consider:

  • Elimination challenge or low FODMAP diet trial
  • HCl challenge to test for hypochlorhydria
  • Food sensitivity blood test
  • Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis
  • SIBO breath test
  • H. pylori breath, blood or stool test 
  • Liver and digestive panel blood test
  • Electrolyte blood test
  • Thyroid panel to check for potential cause of constipation
  • Female hormone panel with cortisol testing in saliva or urine
  • Endoscope with biopsy, colonscopy, laparoscopic assessment
  • Abdominal ultrasound

Natural approaches to address bloating include:

  • Start by tracking symptoms
  • Avoid food triggers
  • Fermented foods – sauerkraut, kim chi, yogurt with active bacteria
  • Enteric coated peppermint oil capsules or peppermint tea
  • Bitter vegetables and foods: artichoke, arugula, radicchio, dandelion greens
  • Herbs: ginger, chamomile, fennel, anise, dandelion tea (root and leaf)
  • Apple cider vinegar or lemon in water
  • Chew your food well and eat while sitting down, calm and relaxed
  • Avoid drinking too much water while eating
  • Probiotic supplementation
  • Antimicrobial herbs like oregano, garlic, thyme, goldenseal or prescription rifaximin if needed for SIBO or dysbiosis
  • Digestive and motility support like D-limonene, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow root, melatonin
  • Manual visceral therapy by trained osteopath, physiotherapist, naturopathic doctor
  • Castor oil packs

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni is a big fan of having a spray bottle with water and peppermint oil on bedside table to use when hot at night

Dr. Lisa loves having her 2 minute daily cold showers and doing breath of fire and/or the Wim Hoff breathing exercise to energize her when feeling tired

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

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

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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 88: Exhausted, Gaining Weight and Forgetful – Is it Your Thyroid? (previously released as Episode 42)

We refer to this past episode from October 8, 2020 so often that we decided to re-release it! Is your thyroid the reason you are exhausted, depressed, constipated, forgetful and gaining weight? We discuss signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, how to properly diagnose imbalances, how to eat to support thyroid health and how we approach assessment and treatment as Naturopathic Doctors.

One in eight women will develop thyroid disease at some point in their life and women are 5-8 times more likely than men to experience thyroid issues.

As Dr. Lisa shared previously in Episode 3, she realized that her thyroid wasn’t functioning properly after giving birth to her son. It is common for women to discover thyroid issues in the postpartum period. Proper blood work, addressing stress and taking dessicated thyroid were crucial for Dr. Lisa to feel her best. 

Why is your thyroid so important?

Your thyroid gland regulates your temperature, energy production and metabolism. When your thyroid is under functioning, it is called hypothyroidism. High thyroid function is called hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Increased sensitivity to cold and temperature changes
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin and thinning hair
  • Puffy face
  • Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates
  • Muscle weakness, aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Depression and anxiety
    • as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the cause of their depression 
  • Brain fog, poor memory and concentration
    • Studies of women in their 60s have shown that low thyroid function can cause dementia-like symptoms and treatment can improve cognitive function and have a protective effect on the brain
  • High cholesterol
  • Increased risk of heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of the thyroid on heart rate and rhythm
  • Fertility issues, increased risk of miscarriage and preterm birth
  • Increased risk of prenatal and postpartum depression

Why do so many women have thyroid issues?

Possible Causes of Your Thyroid Issue Include:

  • Environmental exposure to different chemicals, xenoestrogens and heavy metals
  • Certain medications including birth control pill
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
    • Iodine, selenium, vitamin D, zinc, iron, vitamin A
  • Low calorie diets
  • Infections
  • Stress
    • High cortisol levels due to chronic stress:
      • reduces thyroid hormone production
      • inhibits your conversion of the inactive form of thyroid hormone T4, to the active form T3
  • Gut issues
    • Leaky gut (also known as intestinal hyperpermeability) and imbalances in your gut microbiome have both been shown to impact hormone imbalances and fluctuations, like when you are postpartum or in perimenopause
  • Autoimmunity
    • Environmental toxins, chronic stress, nutritional insufficiencies, leaky gut, food intolerances and having chronic inflammation are all factors that can contribute to autoimmune disease
    • Your immune system is triggered to produce antibodies that can attack your thyroid, which is what is happening when you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

How do you properly test your thyroid function and the underlying causes of thyroid issues?

Blood work: 

Full thyroid panel: TSH, free T4 and T3, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, thyroglobulin antibodies, reverse T3

Vitamin D, iron

Celiac screen 

Gluten and other food sensitivity

Saliva and urine testing for hormones including cortisol, estrogen, progesterone

Urine testing for heavy metal exposure (eg. cadmium, mercury)

Temperature checks every 3 hours during the day to see if your body is using your thyroid hormones properly

What can you do about an underfunctioning thyroid?

Avoid raw goitrogenic foods – soy and Brassica family veggies like broccoli and cauliflower

Increase your intake of thyroid supporting foods 

  • Seaweed like dulse for iodine, brazil nuts for selenium, pumpkin seeds and oysters for zinc

Reduce toxin exposure

Replace nutrient deficiencies

Consider adrenal and stress support:

  • Address your throat chakra – speaking your truth, asking for help
  • Herbal support with ashwagandha, kelp, bladderwrack, Coleus forskohlii

Thyroid hormone replacement with Synthroid or Dessicated thyroid

  • Take in the morning, on an empty stomach, away from caffeine

Why would you consider dessicated thyroid?

  • If you’re on monotherapy like Synthroid (T4), you still night suffer from anxiety and depression even if your TSH levels are normal
  • T4 may not be enough to restore your T3 levels in your blood and target tissues
  • It contains all four natural thyroid hormones – T4, T3, T2, T1, plus iodine, thyroglobulin

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni loves having a healthy and easy recipe like Egg Muffins from Amanda Naturally that the whole family will eat for breakfast or a snack. Check out Episode 5 for more tips for healthy food habits from Amanda.

Dr. Lisa knows that Dessicated Thyroid is an absolute must have for her!

Thank you for joining us today! 

Connect with us at our website www.perimenopausalmamas.com, on Facebook and on 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!