What You Need for Awesome Health

What You Need for Awesome Health

Is your schedule packed with holiday gatherings? Do evenings with family, friends, and coworkers dominate your December? Have you made a list (and checked it twice) to make sure that these events fall anywhere other than the week of your period? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone! Find out what you need for awesome health every day of the year.

Over 14% of menstruating women admit to missing work or family events due to PMS and period discomfort. If you’re planning your days around those dreaded two weeks, you’re missing out on half of your life! Give yourself the gift of better health this holiday season.

In the bustle of holiday shopping and year-end deals, it can be easy to overlook our greatest investment: our health. If you deal with any of the symptoms below, it’s time to rethink your plan:

  • Fluctuating weight
  • Bloating
  • Low back pain
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Stiff, swollen joints
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Low sex drive
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Acne
  • Mental fog
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Each of these is a symptom of hormonal imbalance, and over 80% of women complain of undergoing this each and every month! While most just accept these conditions or rely on ibuprofen and prescription pain medication to dull their symptoms, there is a better way! You can balance your hormones, and eliminate these symptoms from your life forever.

Hormones in Balance

Our bodies are composed of an intricate system of cells. Hormones control the function of these cells so that when our bodies are ready for rest, the right hormones are secreted to help us wind down, relax, and drift off to sleep. They keep us from getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and stimulate our hunger in the morning.

When hormones are in balance, we eat the right things, are naturally rested and energetic, and are generally clear-headed. Sadly, our lifestyles contribute to an imbalance on a daily basis, from the foods we eat to the products we use and the air we breathe. Hormonal imbalance can be caused by any of the following:

  • Hormonal contraception (birth control pills)
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Stress
  • BPAs in plastics
  • Cosmetics
  • Non-organic meat, eggs, and dairy
  • Environmental toxins (mold, pollution, etc.)

While some of these causes are under our control, many occur naturally in our environments. We are not destined to live out of balance, however!

An Imperfect Cycle

When hormones become imbalanced, it causes a cascade of symptoms. For many women, this manifests as severe cramping, moodiness, and bloating 7-10 days before their periods, as well as painful and heavy periods. Digestive disturbances are common, as are cravings. Mental fog, fatigue, and exhaustion can make it hard to support the body nutritionally, which further shifts the balance. By the time the week of their periods comes to an end, most of my patients feel like they’ve been on a terrible rollercoaster, and spend the next two weeks recovering. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like awesome health to me.

Rebalancing Hormones

Conventional medicine dictates that in order to balance hormones, we must flood the body with more hormones. This goes against functional medicine and our body’s natural healing methods. It’s like setting your house on fire because it’s a little too warm. Instead of seeking the cause of the problem and treating it from this source, most doctors will try to use the pharmaceutical solution despite the links between these products and cancers, infertility, and more severe symptoms.

The Functional Medicine Difference

Functional medicine practitioners like myself have an entirely different view of healing. We believe in restoring the body’s natural function, and that bringing everything back into balance will restore your awesome health. We use advanced diagnostic testing to determine deficiencies and imbalances in your body instead of sending you home with a few different medications that may or may not help. You are unique, and so is your body. With functional medicine, you will be treated as an individual.

With your unique test results, I will help you bring your health back into balance by addressing your diet, lifestyle, and other factors that are contributing to your symptoms. I will recommend the right supplements to address any deficiencies. Unlike conventional medical practitioners, my goal is to solve your deepest health concerns, not keep you on a leash until I authorize your next prescription. I want you to live the fullest life possible, and I will be an advocate for your best health!

My goal is to help you enjoy each season of your life. In a month filled with holidays for many people, I make it my priority give you the gift of better health. I offer a free consultation so that we can discuss your health goals together, and end the year strong. If you’d like to have the best December ever, contact me today!

 

 

Herbal Remedies for PMS

Herbal Remedies for PMS

Do you battle the symptoms of PMS with only a handful of medications as your source of relief? I see so many patients who worry about the long-term effects of over-the-counter and prescription medications for managing PMS. If you’re like most women, these quick-fixes are convenient in the moment, but only work temporarily and also leave you reaching for another until it’s time to inevitably restock the supply once again. There is a better way! Herbal remedies for PMS have worked for centuries of women, and continue to work today.

Nature has provided many healing substances that work in conjunction with our bodies. Herbs are a wonderful way to support your system and eliminate the discomfort associated with PMS. Many of these can be combined to make a formula catered to your health. Just be sure to check with your healthcare provider, or contact me to review your current treatment and ensure that the herbs you choose are the best for you!

Why Choose Herbs?

While none of us would give a second thought to taking a deep breath, a bite of fruit, or a healthy helping of salad, plants as medicine seems like a completely foreign concept. In the last decade, there has been a push to live more naturally, resulting in better health, more delicious produce, and stronger communities. Herbal medicine is still often left by the wayside. This is because herbs cannot be regulated the same way that conventional medicine can. Plants are living organisms, and they work synergistically with your system to support each person in different ways.

The safest way to begin using herbal remedies is to consult with a trusted healthcare practitioner. Ensure that the herbs you are using are fresh, organic, and safe to use with any other treatments you are undergoing. Try them as a tea, tincture, or in supplement form. If you notice any adverse effects, discontinue use immediately and consult your healthcare provider.

The Herbs

Red Raspberry Leaf

Often referred to as “The Woman’s Herb”, Red Raspberry Leaf is a great ally to women suffering symptoms of PMS. It can help ease cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. It is a uterine tonic, and also helps to balance hormones. Taken regularly, it can help boost the immune system, lighten menstrual bleeding, and even cure a sore throat. It has a rich flavor similar to black tea. Red Raspberry Leaf provides relief to women through each stage of their lives.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is celebrated for its nourishing, relaxant properties. If PMS causes you digestive upset, mood swings, anxiety, or insomnia, this herb may be your new best friend! Gentle enough for everyday use, it has antiviral properties that make it helpful when your body is facing added stress. It also helps sharpen mental clarity when you’re feeling extra scattered and stressed.

Dandelion Leaf

If you’ve ever struggled to keep up with the weeds in your garden, you already know the perseverance of dandelion leaf. The leaves of this herb are especially nutritious, and have a spicy, bitter flavor. If bloating is your chief PMS complain, the diuretic properties of this herb can help! Be sure to purchase fresh, organic dandelion leaf and throw together a liver-supporting salad by tossing in a few cloves of fresh garlic.

Cramp Bark

This earthy herb works to relax the uterus and can aide in cramping during PMS and menstruation. It has a deep, cinnamon flavor and tastes best when combined with other herbs like red raspberry leaf and stinging nettle.

Stinging Nettle

This iron-rich herb has a bright, grassy flavor. It’s full of vitamins and minerals. Nettle has also been used to treat many conditions throughout history. It’s an astringent herb and helps rid the body of toxins. It can boost energy, relieve allergies, and prevent anemia. Best consumed with vitamin C for better absorption, it pairs beautifully with Red Raspberry Leaf for a great PMS tonic.

Chasteberry (Vitex)

Chasteberry, or Vitex as it is sometimes called, can help balance your hormones. It affects the hypothalamus directly instead of just treating the symptoms of PMS. It can also immediately help reduce irritability, breast tenderness, and headaches associated with PMS.

Gingko Biloba

Gingko is an anti-inflammatory herb which can help increase circulation, reduce breast tenderness and swelling, and banish bloating. It can also give you an energy boost when you feel sluggish, help stabilize mood swings, and boost memory.

St. John’s Wort

Often championed for its antidepressant properties, this herbal remedy has even more to offer. It also fights fatigue and balances hormones for women suffering from PMS. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has shown promise in inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells in tumors.

If you’re ready to feel like yourself again without popping a pill, contact me today for a free consultation. I can help you determine which herbs are right for you, as well as uncover the root cause of your PMS in order to solve it for good!

Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps

Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps

Picture this: an entire month without suffering through debilitating cramps, popping over-the-counter and prescription pain pills, and stumbling through those first few days of your period. Sound too good to be true? If you’re one of half the menstruating population who experiences painful cramps each month, it may seem like it.

The best solution for any uncomfortable condition is to discover why it occurs. Instead of treating symptoms, a functional medicine practitioner can help you solve the issues that causes discomfort, boosting your health overall.

There are many natural ways to minimize the symptoms associated with menstruation, however. Below, you’ll find a few of my favorite tips for eliminating cramps naturally so that you can enjoy your life to the fullest, no matter the day of the month!

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5 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Time to Balance Your Hormones

5 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Time to Balance Your Hormones

Fall is officially underway, and I can’t think of a more appropriate time for re-evaluating your health and bringing everything into balance. I see many patients with additional complaints this time of year, from infertility, irregular periods, and low libido to hair loss, digestive issues, and weight gain. Hormones seem to rule the season.

As our bodies acclimate to the changes around us, it is important for us to take a little extra time to look within and determine the root cause of any lingering health complaints. Still not convinced that now is the best time? Here are my top five reasons why fall is the best time to balance your hormones.

1. Look and Feel Your Best for the Holiday Season

Do you notice an increase in breakouts around the time of your period? How about weight gain, bloating, and diarrhea? For most women, the shifts in hormones before and during menstruation can cause a host of uncomfortable bodily changes. If you worry about your holiday plans falling too close to the uncomfortable parts of your cycle, this doesn’t have to be the case!

By balancing your hormones, your body will learn to shift naturally from one phase to the next. Choosing a diet that eliminates or significantly reduces dairy, gluten, sugars, and processed foods will aid you in shedding those stubborn pounds around your waist and will keep you motivated to continue your healthy habits despite the holiday treats that abound this time of year.

2. Rest Well to Restore Your Lost Energy

If you find yourself yawning in the middle of the afternoon, or dozing off as the sun goes down, you’re not alone! Autumn’s shorter days and longer nights can cause a major shift in our energy. Unfortunately, many turn to sugary snacks and high-caffeine energy drinks to get through the mid-afternoon slump. While they may cause a temporary energy burst, they leave us feeling even more exhausted afterward, and often unable to rest well.

Women who are nearing menstruation may also suffer from insomnia due to a drop in progesterone. Balancing these hormones means that you will rest more consistently and avoid quick fixes that cause deeper issues. For optimal health, practice good sleep hygiene by omitting sugar and caffeine from your diet. Avoid screens prior to retiring to bed. Ensure that your hormones are in balance in order to face the fall without the fatigue.

3. Boost Your Immunity for Flu Season

It happens every year. Whether the kids bring it home from the classroom, or your coworker shares it with the entire office, flu season arrives in full swing. Wish you had the upper hand? Balance your hormones! When our hormones are out of balance, they can actually suppress the immune response, leaving us vulnerable to all sorts of illnesses. Viruses, infections, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases are all results of this imbalance!

Adaptogen herbs, such as Ashwagandha and American Ginseng help our bodies to manage stress, regulate hormones, and boost immunity. Consult with your health care provider to ensure you’re choosing the right herbs for you.

4. Clear Your Mental Fog

Have you ever gotten home from the grocery store, only to realize that you forgot the most important thing on your list? Do you constantly misplace your car keys? Blame it on your hormones – cortisol, to be exact. As we attempt to lead more stressful lives, our bodies fight back by releasing the stress hormone cortisol. Celebrated for its powerful energy boost known as the fight-or-flight response, cortisol exists to support us in life-threatening situations. Unfortunately, our hormones cannot differentiate between dead-stop traffic with an impending deadline and outrunning a potential attacker. Without a quick resolution to these situations, cortisol accumulates, leading to a weakened immune system, depression, and damage to cells in the hippocampus which causes long-term memory loss.

The good news is that you can take control of your stress level today! As the holiday season invites more stress into your life, take the time to practice healthy stress-management techniques, like yoga and meditation. A high-quality Omega 3 supplement can significantly affect cortisol levels as well.

5. Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

If depression is part of your yearly routine, particularly around fall, you’re likely suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Like most other forms of depression, SAD occurs because of a hormonal imbalance: dips in serotonin and melatonin. Instead of spending half of the year in a slump, take control of your hormonal balance now to avoid the debilitating symptoms of SAD.

Adding a Vitamin D supplement can help ward off both anxiety and depression. Start an exercise routine, whether it’s a class at your local gym or just a brisk walk around the block. Not only will you benefit from heart-healthy exercise, but you’ll fight depression and release feel-good endorphins. If you find you’re still struggling, reach out to a qualified counselor or healthcare practitioner.

Fall is a wonderful season to look inward and take stock of your health. If you find you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, are often depressed, are feeling fatigued, or are frequently unwell, take the time to bring your body back into balance. I offer a free consultation to help you evaluate your health goals. Together, we will discover the root cause of all of your concerns, and will devise a plan to restore you to optimal health.

Depression During PMS: It Doesn’t Have to Be Normal for You

Depression During PMS: It Doesn’t Have to Be Normal for You

For many women, the two weeks before menstruation are especially trying. This condition is commonly referred to as premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. Hormone fluctuations, insomnia, anxiety, food cravings, bloating, and a lack of motivation are a common occurrence.

Add to that the usual stresses of an overly-busy lifestyle, and it’s no wonder more and more women are becoming fed-up with over-the-counter and prescription drugs to deal with their symptoms.

If you struggle with mental fog, sadness, and irritability in the weeks before your period, know that you are not alone, and you’re not destined to endure this discomfort until menopause. Read below to find out steps you can take TODAY!

What is PMS?

PMS occurs during the premenstrual period in the weeks before menstruation begins. Hormone shifts, changes in brain chemistry, and a stressful lifestyle are all contributing factors. Depression during PMS can be similar to clinical depression (also known as major depression), but differs in that it only occurs during this part of the menstrual cycle. Symptoms of PMS include the following:

  • Acne
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach Upset
  • Back Pain
  • Headaches
  • Change in Appetite
  • Pain in Joints
  • Mental Fog
  • Mood Swings
  • Anxiety

When Depression is More Than a Symptom

If feelings of hopelessness and sadness are part of your monthly routine, you don’t have to live this way! Depression occurs for many reasons, and hormonal shifts in the luteal phase (also known as the premenstrual period) can trigger this condition for many women.

The female hormone Estrogen is largely to blame, as it rises and drops off at various periods throughout the month. During the luteal phase, estrogen bottoms out, causing many women to experience extreme mood swings, carbohydrate cravings, and a downward shift in serotonin levels, which many associate with depression.

If you have days where you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, depression has become more than a symptom for you; it has taken control of your life. The good news is that there is hope!

Balancing Your Hormones

Addressing PMS and other mood disorders begins with a thorough examination of your health and lifestyle. Many of the “healthy” foods we eat and habits we maintain are adding to this imbalance. Functional medicine seeks to uncover the underlying cause and provide you with a new set of tools to achieve optimal health.

There are many tests available to determine what may be causing your discomfort, including the DUTCH hormone test, a comprehensive panel that measures hormone levels. Our office will recommend the right testing for you so that we can get to the bottom of your most pressing health concerns, including the symptoms of PMS.

Choosing the Right Support

Both diet and supplements play a huge role in your heath as well. We will help you determine which foods are helping, and which may be causing discomfort in your body. As your hormones shift and cravings take over, it is important to have a plan in place. Do your shopping beforehand to ensure that the foods you eat are supporting your health, stabilizing your blood sugar, and helping to banish bloating.

The right supplements are an integral part of achieving your ultimate health. Choosing supplements can be intimidating, especially with the range in price and quality. We will help you determine which ones are essential for you, and find the highest quality options for your price range.

There is not one magic pill that is a cure-all, but with our advanced diagnostic techniques, we can determine the cause of your uncomfortable symptoms and take steps toward giving your body what it really needs. By eliminating the guesswork, you save loads of time and money trying to stumble upon the right combination of support and begin uncovering tools that will help you thrive immediately.

Living the Fullest Life

If you’re one of the many women who has struggled for weeks out of each year with the discomfort of PMS, treat yourself to better health by uncovering the cause of your discomfort. Choose foods and supplements that support a healthy hormone balance. Follow these steps to take charge of your health once again in order to live the fullest life.

  1. Eliminate the guesswork by choosing the RIGHT TESTS for you.  The right tests uncover the shifts in your hormones, imbalances in your gut health, and nutrient deficiencies in your diet.
  1. Choose the best SUPPORT with nutrition and supplements tailored to your health needs.  Using your unique test results, we can help you discover the underlying deficiencies that are adding to your monthly discomfort, and recommend a diet that will support your health goals. We will recommend supplements that will give you more energy, reduce bloating, and help balance your hormones in order to banish feelings of depression and anxiety.
  1. Make it at LIFESTYLE.  Once you realize how much better you feel when you support your body in this way, it’s nearly impossible to turn back. Approach these new habits as a complete shift in lifestyle, rather than a quick way to shed pounds or feel better. Not only will you live without the sadness and discomfort of PMS, but you’ll enjoy robust health all month long!

 

If you’re tired of having to tiptoe around your changing hormones, schedule a FREE CONSULTATION today!

How to Relieve PMS Bloating

How to Relieve PMS Bloating

If there’s one part of PMS that almost every woman hates dealing with, bloating would be it. You’re already sensitive about your body weight and then PMS comes along and your pants are fitting even tighter than normal.

While retaining water is, unfortunately, a common part of the PMS process, it’s not normal.  However, there are some great strategies that you can use to combat PMS bloating until you find and eliminate the root cause of your PMS symptoms.

Let’s look at a few of the top tips to know and remember:

Drink More Water

While you might think the last thing you want to be doing is putting more water into your body when you are already in a bloated state, this is exactly what you do want to do.

Remember, the more water you put into your body, the more water you’ll push out. Often when you are severely bloated, it’s because your body is holding onto what water it does have. This could be, in part, due to dehydration.

Make a conscious effort to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water each day, possibly even more when suffering from PMS.

If you can’t get that water in, try adding a few slices of lemon, lime, or a handful of berries to a pitcher. Let sit for 30 minutes and you’ll have lightly flavored water in no time.

Avoid Processed Foods

It’s also important that when you are suffering from PMS bloating, you avoid processed foods. These foods are usually rich in simple sugars and salt, both of which may cause you to retain water.

Instead, focus on eating foods in their natural states. Whole grains, leafy greens, fruits, as well as lean proteins and healthy fats should be your go-to choices.

Also, concentrate on eating smaller snacks and meals more frequently throughout the day rather than three large meals. This will decrease bloating further and ensure you have a steady stream of energy at all times.

Eat Celery And Asparagus

Two foods you’ll want to include in your diet to help naturally combat bloating are celery and asparagus. These foods act as natural diuretics for the body. They are a great way to help push out any excess water you may be retaining.

Try snacking on some celery and nut butter or alternatively, steaming some asparagus to go with your meal.

Try Dandelion Tea

Finally, if all of these fail and you are still feeling bloated, dandelion tea may do the trick. This herbal tea has been well-known to have diuretic effects. It can help your body flush out the excess water it’s retaining.

Sip a cup or two, preferably early in the day so you are wide awake and able to use the bathroom!

Drinking before bed may hinder your sleep.

So there you have a few of the top points to remember next time you’re suffering from severe PMS-related bloating. Remember these are only bandaids to the real solution, which is eliminating PMS all together!

To get to the root cause of your PMS bloating, schedule a free consultation to get started

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