Dana LaVoie joins me this week for a conversation on menopause, aging, and your health. Which is fitting since this episode marks the start of our women’s health theme! Woo hoo! In this episode we discuss how to treat peri-menopause symptoms, managing your hormones, and Dana shares some of the secrets to healthy aging. 

Dana is an Herbalist and Acupuncturist who has spent her career helping women balance their hormones naturally. She wants more women to know how to keep menopause and aging from interfering with their careers, home life, and dreams. 

Some of the topics we explore:

  • Dana answers the question, “How do we know when we are in peri-menopause?” (5:57)
  • The biggest mistake women make in caring for their hormones (15:53)
  • The connection between resilience, burnout, and aging – and why are they all so directly connected to hormones (25:39)
  • Getting on a good plan for managing your hormones help with stress, anxiety, and brain function (36:57)
  • Hormone “leaks” – what they are and how to address them (38:00)

Consulting with Andrea
Dana’s website
Dana on Instagram

Book recommendations:
You know how I love a good personal development book, right? I’ve compiled a list of book recommendations, as mentioned in past episodes. Check out these amazing book recommendations here. Happy reading!

With 20 years of experience specializing in women's health and an over 90% success rate of getting women menopause relief, Dana LaVoie wants more women to know their options for managing menopause and healthy aging – the things their doctor's not talking about.

Dana is an Herbalist & Acupuncturist who has spent her career helping women balance their hormones naturally with over 10K client visits and hundreds of women in my online programs & coaching.

More than anything, she wants more women to know how to keep menopause and aging from interfering with their careers, home life, and dreams. She believes every woman deserves to feel vibrant, alive, and great at every age (no matter what their hormones are doing!).

When not on the computer you’ll find Dana working in the mud building things with her partner in their backyard (because she thinks that’s fun,) playing her guitar, hiking with her dogs, or slowly becoming more of a world traveler.

Right-click to download the episode.mp3



Dana  00:00
There's something we need to make more noise about it's menopause. I think that most women don't have a comfortable place they can go, to talk about it to ask questions to get answers to see what other women are experiencing. To get the information they need to feel really clear about oh, yeah, this is where I'm at in the transition. Here's why I'm feeling this way. And here's my approach for treating it.

Andrea  00:25
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 484 with guest, Dr. Dana LaVoie.

Andrea  00:38
Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.

Hey, everybody, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I'm so glad you're here. I am excited because we are starting a brand new theme. As we're rounding out the end of the year, it has turned a little chilly here. I don't know if it's like that where you live, but I love the seasons changing and it just makes me you know, want to do a whole lot of nothing. I'll be honest with you. Put on my sweats and cozy up and that's about it on the couch all day either reading a book or watching TV or something like that.

So I am excited though, because we are turning the corner and going into women's health and we're going to talk about an array of topics as they pertain to women specifically. And of course, selfishly sorry, all but selfishly, I am 47 and a half, I just had my half birthday on October 15, and I am starting, you know the process of going through the change of life, as they call it. Do they still call it that? I don't know if they still call it that or if that's sort of like an old school term. So I've been interested in people that can help with perimenopause symptoms, and whether you are already through that. Or maybe you're postmenopausal, maybe you are younger in your 30s and you aren't facing that yet. I do think that these particular episodes, these particular experts, if you will, will have something for everyone.

And before we jump into that I wanted to throw this out there in case you didn't know I had a consultation this week with someone who was interested in coaching and they weren't sure if it was the right time for them and like, let's just get on the phone and I'll be able to tell you. And so after a conversation, I told her, here's what I think you need. I think you just need one 90 minute, I call them jumpstart strategy sessions, because this particular person was feeling stuck in their life in one area of their life. And you know, when you're just sort of like spinning your wheels, and you just kind of like whipping around to the same question that's causing you a lot of anxiety, and maybe it's keeping you up at night and you sort of take 10 steps backwards, and you're looking at the long game of it all and you're like, I don't know what step is because it seems like there's so many steps ahead. I don't know if your voice sounds like that. But at any rate, this person is just going to do a 90-minute jumpstart strategy session with me. and a lot of movement can be made in those particular sessions and you'll leave with a bunch of homework, I'm not gonna lie, and you still get help from me afterwards for a few weeks after that. I was just telling a friend this like, here's the thing that I don't like about the not all therapists but most therapists and doctors as well. Sometimes I need some hand holding. Sometimes I go in with the best of intentions. I'm going to do everything my doctor says. I'm going to do everything my therapist says. And then you get left with this like long list of action steps and then you go home and you procrastinate and it's too many steps and you don't know where to start and you get overwhelmed. I don't do that. Absolutely not. I don't want you to feel overwhelmed and like that no one's in your corner. I will check in with you after a few days we co create the whole thing. So really depends on what you need and what you want and how you work best. Like let's set you up for success. So if that's something you might be interested in, even if it's a consulting 90-minute session, if you want to write a book, if you want know want to know more about podcasting, if you want to know more about the speaking industry, if you want to kind of pick my brain for 90 minutes, shoot us an email and we will set it up.

Alright on to today's guest if you don't know Dr.Dana LaVoie let me tell you a little bit about her. With 20 years of experience specializing in women's health and an over 90% success rate of getting women menopause relief, Dana LaVoie wants more women to know their options for managing menopause and healthy aging, the things their doctors are not talking about. Dana is an herbalist and acupuncturist who has spent her career helping women balance their hormones naturally, with over 10,000 client visits, and hundreds of women in her online programs and coaching. When not on a computer, you'll find Dana working in the mud, building things with her partner in their back yard, playing her guitar, hiking with her dogs are slowly becoming more of a world traveler. So without further ado, here is Dana.

Dana, thank you so much for being here.

Dana  05:50
I am truly excited to be here and be a part of this conversation about women's health.

Andrea  05:57
Delighted. I am to and I was telling you before I started recording that you're the you're the first person that I've had on to talk specifically about this, and I've shared with my podcast listeners, my journey in perimenopause. So I'm going to like take 10 giant steps back and sort of ask you some, I feel like they're beginner questions, because you know, we're just starting out with this conversation and I am still confused. So I will probably do the least amount of talking because I honestly probably don't have anything to add or interject in this conversation in terms of being the expert. But okay. So what I hear on the internet is that perimenopause can start a full 10 years before a woman is actually in menopause. So my question is, how do we know? Because I had blood tests taken, and they were like, no, you're not. Everything looks normal. But I'm like, oh, my body’s telling me otherwise. So can you kind of set the record straight with that?

Dana  07:01
Absolutely. I'm gonna give you my view of it, because you will find some conflicting information about this. But when you are in your teens and early 20s, your hormone levels are at an all-time high, okay. You're at your most fertile. And about three years, after your last period, your hormones are settling out. Again, they're stabilizing right at their lower levels. They're postmenopausal, sort of lower levels.

Andrea  07:35
And so that's all normal, right? Like, it's supposed to be like that.

Dana  07:37
Stable and high in your teens and early 20s and they're stable and lower, and they're not zero after menopause, but they're quite a bit lower than they were, and they're stable. To me, everything in between those two periods of stability is part of the menopausal transition. So for most women, age 28, 32, somewhere around there is when their hormones start to decline. You might not feel anything about it at first. But you know, if you go to the doctor at 35, they'll say, well, it might be a little harder to get pregnant now than when you were 18. That's because your hormones are already dropping. So to me the whole time they are in transition is part of the menopausal transition. And I've seen women's having symptoms with that at any time. Usually, when they drop the drop to a certain critical level is when you feel it more. But once they're transitioning to me the whole thing is the menopausal transition.

Andrea  08:36
Okay. So can you can you be in and this is the part that's the most confusing to me is that I had all my hormones tested and they were normal, I guess, according to them, but I was having symptoms that didn't feel right. And I know I got diagnosed with Hashimotos thyroiditis. So it was like…and the pandemic was happening. And so even my doctor said, there's some big variables going on. And I felt like anytime I brought up like is this perimenopause, like it was dismissed. So much listening, wink, wink. Who's experiencing that? I mean, should we just get our hormones tested once every year? Like, should we follow our instincts? Like what's your advice on that?

Dana  09:24
I think that one of the big skills that's going to help all women in menopause is learning to listen to their body and really pay attention to what's changing. We can talk about how to do that. You know, I have some specific exercises. That is always a great idea listening to your body and paying attention to your instincts. My background is in Chinese medicine as an acupuncturist and herbalist and in tonic herbalism so, you know, we don't we don't do hormone testing through a lab. We go by how you're feeling, what your body is telling us about your different energies, your energy reserves. You have different energies that relate pretty directly to hormones. If you're having a lot of symptoms that are really, really common in women in their late 40s, that are not common in women in their late 20s and all of a sudden women of a certain age are getting this, you know, their immune system is getting dysregulated, or they're getting frozen shoulder, they're getting more easily burned out or more sensitive to stress, or their digestion is getting weaker. To me, that's just all a natural part of the hormone starting to change. And so if you want to do the lab testing, that's fine to kind of correlate it with some numbers, but I just go by what your body is telling us. And if we work on hormones, and then you feel 100% fantastic. I'm like, great.

Andrea  10:43
Okay, I appreciate that. Because it sounds like the numbers that print out when you get your hormones tested don't tell you the whole story.

Dana  10:51
And I can find articles for you from you know, the most reputable doctors that say getting your hormone levels tested in your 40s, in early perimenopause, it totally depends on what day of the month you test them on, which mood you're in when you test them. Like it's not actually that reliable. So maybe if you did enough testing every day for two months, you could start to get a picture. But that I've heard medical doctors who specialize in things like hormone replacement therapy, say, you know the testing in early perimenopause is really not what we rely on because it's just not that accurate.

Andrea  11:27
Okay. So you can have frozen shoulder…I had frozen shoulder 10 years ago when I was 37. It was terrible. I still recommend it. It was awful. And they said I was young for…I was an outlier.

Dana  11:41
Yes. Because the average age is guess what, in perimenopause… In Chinese medicine, those female hormones are your Watery Essence. And so every all the signs of dryness are part of the menopausal transition, because your Watery Essence that keeps you lubricated, is diminishing. And we see frozen shoulder as dry tendons. You can get dry, anything that can go different places in your body, but that's one of the places that can go.

Andrea  12:10
Interesting. Okay. You know what this is sort of like a side question and I would just love your opinion on it. Because the thing that surprised me, and now I see it more and more, I think because you know, this side of social media is showing me the things I'm thinking about and talking about with my friends is that we don't… I remember Suzanne Somers was like the only person talking about menopause. Really, I don't even remember her talking about perimenopause. But I just don't feel like we hear about it as much as we hear about puberty or fertility issues and like, you know, things like that and getting pregnant and postpartum. Why do you think that that is.

Dana  12:51
You know, when I was thinking about recording this episode, today, I thought, I love the name of this podcast. Right? Make Some Noise. If there's something we need to make more noise about it's menopause. I think that most women don't have a comfortable place they can go to talk about it, to ask questions, to get answers to see what other women are experiencing. To get the information they need to feel really clear about oh, yeah, this is where I'm at in the transition. Here's why I'm feeling this way. And here's my approach for treating it. Like the conversation is not happening. And I think that societally a lot of us, I mean, I remember when like Our Bodies, Ourselves, remember that book? You know, we first started talking about our bodies at all, we first started learning about them. I think that the sort of natural transition of information about your body from an older generation to a younger, younger generation was probably erased from the conversations we were having in the 50s. And even now, you know, even now doctors, I could quote you so many statistics about doctors not feeling comfortable talking to patients about menopause, not feeling trained in dealing with menopause, everything from that, to you know, modern medicine came up with this blue pill because men not having erections that were satisfying, when they got older was like not okay. And they're still not great treatments for menopause because our symptoms don't seem to matter as much to society or to they don't think they're gonna make money from it. So there's so many reasons, and we could talk just about that for an hour. But definitely the conversation is not being had and it's like you talk about things that we feel guilty. You're uncomfortable talking about, I think that's been programmed into us and I think it's still very much programmed into society around us as well.

Andrea  14:44
I agree with that. And thank you for giving voice to it. I was thinking about it before we started talking. I've been thinking about it a lot, because it makes me mad and I'm like, Why? Have I just not been paying attention? And then I'm paying attention, I'm like, no, I think this is this is a thing. I was wondering I think what might have to do with it is the fact that women are valued so much more, when we are younger and when we are. And, you know, when we become not either one of those anymore, it just it doesn't matter like. And I hate to save a week, it seems as though we don't matter as much. And that pisses me off to no end because in many ways, I'm like, I feel like I'm just getting started. Like, come on.

Dana  15:30
This is when we are coming into our wisdom versus when we have the potential to do our most amazing work in the world, write that book, become a leader. This is when we have the potential to do our biggest contributions and our best stuff. And that is not how it's, like sort of seen in mass culture I don't think.

Andrea  15:53
And you're right. We could talk about that for an hour. But I'm curious, I want to, you know, kind of, again, take those steps backwards and ask what is the biggest mistake that you see that women make in caring for their hormones when they reach around the perimenopause age?

Dana  16:09
So there are a lot of things I could mention here. But I think that the biggest mistake is not updating whatever you're doing to care for your health, right, including your hormones. Not realizing that that plan for staying healthy needs to change, as your hormones change, all during the menopausal transition. What you were doing to stay healthy, to manage stress to lose weight, you know, whatever it was, what you were doing five years ago, might not be the best thing for right now. And I think that that one gets missed a lot, or you find a remedy that works, you know, it's like you start feeling some pre-menopausal changes, or some hot flashes or brain fog, you find something that works and you're like, great, that's it. But no, that's probably only it for a certain number of months. Something else is going to be it. And if I could throw in like a second mistake, it would just be not starting early enough to prepare for what's coming. Because so much of the more extreme discomfort, it's easier to prevent them than to fix them once they really get started. So those would be the things that I would mention.

Andrea  17:25
So when you say fix them, when you're referring to them mean like the symptoms like weight gain or trouble sleeping or those types of things?

Dana  17:36Yeah. So most, it's really, really common in the Chinese medicine community where you can ask a practitioner and you know, how do you like to treat women in menopause? And it's like, well, if I could, you know, I really wish I could put them all in a time machine and start treating them 10 years ago, because then we wouldn't be in this situation. So that's the kind of approach. But those symptoms, all the different symptoms are to me, they're caused by hormone levels getting too low, some part of during this transition, they're not supposed to go down to zero ever, right? They're supposed to go from high to medium. If they ever just drop too too low, that can cause a lot of symptoms.

And the other thing that can cause a lot of symptoms is the hormones, getting out of balance with each other, those hormone ratios, right, getting quite out of balance. So like what will happen is one hormone will drop all of a sudden, and another one is still high. So that kind of change in the ratios that can cause a lot of symptoms as well. And so basically, what I'm saying is, if you've got any type of extreme symptoms, probably one of those things is going on. And so to sort of fix it, we want to either bring up the low hormone level or harmonize the out of balance hormone ratios to resolve that underlying hormonal imbalance, but which will also basically either get rid of this symptom or bring it from, you know, an eight down to a one and a half.

Andrea  19:09
Okay. And I'm sort of jumping all over the place here because I'm thinking of things that I'm interested in. I think I saw somewhere in passing that there's like 30 or something like possible perimenopause symptoms, it's not that you know, women will get all of them and it varies a whole lot. But is that true? I guess they're that many?

Dana  19:34
Oh, yes. Absolutely. And for some women…

Andrea  19:37
I heard somewhere that itchy ears is one of them. I'm like what? My ears have started itching more.

Dana  19:43
Yeah, skin rashes, thinning hair, burning mouth syndrome. I wrote a blog on you know, the relationship between the link between vaginal dryness and frozen shoulder, you know, because they're different manifestations of this dryness. And so many people wrote in are like, I didn't realize those two things were connected.

And the interesting thing is that while a lot of women will get the typical hot flashes, some women really their only symptom of menopause, or by far, their worst symptom is just stress, or just anxiety or just this burning mouth, or just thinning hair, or just weight gain, or just low libido or, you know. It can be something that's not orb or frozen shoulder, you know, it can be something that's not even typically thought of as that's.. That's one of the reasons that when you become a good historian, like I was saying, like, really pay attention to any new symptoms or different ways you're feeling, there might be many more symptoms related to the hormonal changes than you realize.

Andrea  20:43
It’s the thing that fascinates me so much is like I've been… I've never talked about this on my show, I can't live. I'm usually not afraid to say anything Dana like this one thing… The thing that I've been bracing myself for is vaginal dryness and that's the one thing that I haven’t had that I'm kind of like, you know what, I would rather feel like…I'd rather have that than like all these other annoying things. No, I would never wish that on anyone else. But I have had like the thinning hair, I have such hair privilege. Like shut your mouth, Andrea. I have a ton of hair. But I mean, it's half of what it used to be. I said I had frozen shoulder. Sleeping. I've been waking up like in the middle of the night and like wide awake. Totally wide awake, like ready to party. The itchy ears is weird, and the weight gain. And so here's the thing about the weight gain. That's what I was telling my doctor, I'm like, I would and I told her I said if I'm gonna be the size for the rest of my life, it's really not that big of a deal. But can you just tell me so I can prepare?

Andrea  21:53
Like work on it, like my body image stuff, but it can't the thing that's weird about it is that it came on suddenly, right? But it was also during the pandemic and my doctor was like, well, it could have been that, you know, everybody gained 20 pounds. I'm like, did they though? Like, I really, I really need to feel like I'm special here. And I was telling you I'm like it's just not proportionate. Now I understand why people say the inner tube like it feels like one of those like safety inner tube things that I have it is completely and perfectly all around my middle. Like, I feel like that wasn't just pandemic weight that was being in my late 40s. Yes. And the thing that surprised me was it came on so fast and it will not budge.

Dana  22:34
And you didn't change anything, right? You did not simply change your caloric intake. That equation of you know, the weight loss equation that calories in versus calories burned with exercise equals losing or gaining weight. Throw that out the window along with the idea that the low-fat diet is healthy. Because the equation…

Andrea  22:58
People who grew up in the 80s and 90s. Yeah, we know that that…

Dana  23:03
That was me right? Yeah, the equation that is going to make a difference in weight loss, once you reach a certain age is hormone change, which affects your brain chemistry. Your brain starts sending out this message that says store calories as fat and that's when you gain the hormonal weight. And you know, a little bit of weight gain, like not being the same weight you were when you were a sophomore in high school, you know, maybe is normal, I love that saying about you know, oh yes, after a certain age, you know, you have to choose between your face and your ass because one of them is going to look good, not both of them. You know, if your face doesn't look…your ass might be a little bigger than it used to be. But again, that's a normal weight distribution right, in your hips and thighs. That's where you want it if you're going to gain a little weight, when it's more that apple shape when it's around the bra line when it's around just the middle, that is a hormonal weight gain that is not necessarily healthy and that's very hard to lose, unless you address it with hormones and metabolism. And it's stubborn. It's very stubborn. It actually sends out chemicals into your body, that actual fat tissue that perpetuates itself.

Andrea  24:18
It's really fascinating and I was looking at your website and one of the…you have like a list of things that women say to you over and over again. And one of them was I've been eating less but exercising more and I'm still gaining weight. And I and I'm like I could see how that that is a struggle. Like I didn't change the way that I was eating but I did start exercising more and I'm like maybe this can come off and it did wasn't going anywhere. So I just I just kind of gave up. I'm like I'm not gonna kick my own ass for just like… Body acceptance over here.

Dana  24:49
Yeah, and body acceptance, but also maybe finding an easy way to rebalance it just by getting… It's just all these little signs that you're getting that maybe are hormones aren't in their happy place. Even if you're okay with the weight gain, even if it's not extreme, even if it's not causing health problems, it's still a little sign that like, just like the thinning hair, you know, you probably still plenty of hair, it looks great, but it's just a little sign, a little message from your body, you know, maybe my hormones aren't in in their happiest place. Why not resolve that now? Right? Gives up the hormones, the support and see all these little things get better, because that actually means you're preventing some bigger things that could happen, potentially. If you continued in that place of imbalance.

Andrea  25:39
Okay, well, this is sort of indirectly or maybe directly related. What is can you talk to us about the connection between burnout, which I know is a big topic lately, especially over the last handful of years burnout, resilience and aging? Why are they so directly related to our hormones?

Dana  25:56
Yeah. Okay. So I love talking about this. I love that you have resilience and like the tagline for your show.

Andrea  26:02
Because it’s my favorite topic.

Dana  26:04
Yeah, me too. So there are two ingredients that can cause or prevent burnout, basically. One is what I see your energy reserves your battery pack your life potential, right? Is it replenished or is it depleted? When it's replenished, when something comes at you that wasn't on your schedule for the day, or maybe the third or fourth thing comes at you, that wasn't on your schedule for the day, it could be a call from the school principal, you know, kids coming home sick, it could be anything. It could be that the supermarket's out of what you were hoping to get there. It could be that there's a leak in the roof, it could be a problem at work, it could be a tech issue. You know, if your response is I want to get in bed, pull the covers over my head and not have to deal with this today, that is a sign of energy reserves being low. Right?

Andrea  27:01
Because that's my response. When you said that I'm like, oh, that's not everybody's response?

Dana  27:05
Right. Exactly. And when your reserves are replenished, it's like, oh, okay, well, I've got three really creative solutions to that problem, I'm thinking clearly so that I know that number two is the best one,  and this is the three action steps I could take that would do it. Like that is when your reserves are replenished.

Andrea  27:39
And remember those days.

Dana  27:40
Yeah. And you can see, like, if you ask people what burnout feels like. Like that's what it feels like. But those reserves in your body, those energy reserves, those are also what keeps you from aging, right. So when those reserves in your body are depleted, it causes your hair to go gray and become thinner and sagging skin and weaker bones, all you know, weaker teeth, all signs of aging. So the signs of aging kick in when the reserves reach a certain low point. So if you can keep them higher, for longer, you're gonna look and feel younger for longer. And if the reserves are high, you're not burned out. And so that's two.

And then resilience. Resilience is about responding to challenges, that thing that came at you that wasn't on your schedule, could be a pandemic, it could be anything, right? A stress, it could be a bacterial challenge, you could be exposed to COVID. So if your body on every level responds to these challenges, creatively, powerfully, efficiently, not overreacting. It's very important not to overreact, but to say, here's a good solution, here's how to implement it, and then I'm done. Okay? That only happens when your reserves are replenished. Because when your reserves are depleted, you're running on stress energy and that means that you tend to overreact, your immune system over reacts your hormones overreact, your stress is on a hair trigger, the chemical pathways turned on in your body are completely different when you're running on that backup energy because you're actually depleted. And so you're not going to be resilient. And so it all comes down to those reserves being replenished. And in Chinese medicine, what those reserves relate to the most directly is your hormone levels, all your different hormone levels. So that is the connection. And of course, regulating your systems well is really important for resilience as well. Like I said, not overreacting to things whether it's your immune system overreacting or stress overreacting, but again, without the reserves in place, the resilience is not going to happen. The aging will kick in sooner and you will feel burned out.

Andrea  29:51
Okay. I'm quiet over here because I'm thinking I this is probably a perimenopause symptom, and I've just been sort of blaming on pandemic stuff. Maybe it's both who knows. But my, and I think back on my mom and I remember being a teenage, Mom, if you're listening to this, I'm sorry, I'm throwing you under the bus but I remember her seeming like she was out of patients a lot. And I was a moderately well-behaved teenager. I had my moments, but then that is absolutely one of my symptoms. My patience is shit. I don't have…and part of it is I'm like, well, maybe I'm just getting better at boundaries and I'm like, no, like there's healthy boundaries and you know, kindness and compassion and patience, and then there's just knee jerk reactions flying off the handle. And I just this morning, even I got a I got an Instagram message in my, you know, like the filter messages like the people you don't know and I didn't…it wasn't very nice it made like, since this person probably didn't mean anything by it, but I just probably shouldn't have replied. That was probably a wait 24 hours type of message. But that's something that I've noticed that has happened over the last handful of years is my patience has gotten thinner and I am much quicker to it's not that I'm quicker to judge I'm quicker to react. I just I don't have the reserves, I guess is what you're talking about.

Dana  31:24
Well, that watery energy to estrogen and the progesterone, your female Watery Essence… called

Andrea  31:30
What do you call it? Watery Essence?

Dana  31:31
I call it Watery Essence, yes. Watery Essence. It's like this reservoir of cooling, calming, grounding energy. It's where you draw your stamina from, but it's very calm and very grounding. And that's what we have a lot less of.

And another thing that plays into this is in earlier perimenopause, usually the first hormone to drop is progesterone. And I think a progesterone is this, it does a few different things. But one of the things it does is it creates this fuzzy, golden protective coating on your nerve endings. That gets a lot thinner. So when something comes at you, that has the potential to trigger a stress response or anger or be annoying, it's like instead of a little tap by someone's finger, we feel like they poked us with a needle. Like we just become more sensitive to stress. And then if we're also less grounded, and calm, you can see how that can turn into a pattern of becoming more reactive.

But I would really like to say that there is an upside to this, like this is supposed to happen, you know that progesterone is there so that when you get woken up by your nursing baby for the sixth time during the night, you can like be like, oh, yeah, your needs come first, right now, that's fine. I love you. You know, it's there for a reason. And when it goes down, when we're in our whenever you know, late 40s or early 50s, it becomes easier, it lets us it makes it much easier for us to say something like, You know what, you're 18 years old, you can pick up your own socks, I have better things to do with my time now. So it makes it easier for us to focus more on that amazing work, that book, that creativity, that leadership, you know, maybe some other things, our own projects. So there's an upside to it. But when the grounding, calming reserves that give us perspective, and all that are also depleted, it can easily get out of balance and turn into an absolute lack of patience.

Andrea  33:54
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Can we talk a little bit about hormone replacement? And I have several questions. One, you know, is it for everyone? How do you know, when do you decide that it's right for someone? And I just want to kind of tell you like, where I have started and stopped with my research on that. I get so overwhelmed with the amount, not just the amount of information, but the different opinions of different doctors. And there are some people who are like pro progesterone, you know, like replacement, and then like they're like boo estrogen. And then there's the opposite team and it feels like these like rival teams. And then that's when I shut my laptop. I'm like, nope, yes, I'm just really my bad temper.

Dana  36:57
And you really, really need estrogen, but only for this many years and then you have to stop. Like there's very conflicting information out there. So my view on it is this. I see your hormone management plan as having a few different parts. One is a basic healthy diet and lifestyle. And I'm not talking anything perfect, but I'm talking getting some of those hormone hormonal building blocks and cooling alkalinizing foods, you know, just getting some of the good stuff in give your body a chance.

Andrea  37:32
So you're talking about like basic, like good balance of Mac macronutrients getting enough water, getting enough fiber, like that type of basics?

Dana  37:40
Yeah. Like enough servings of vegetables because those are cooling. Right? And some healthy fats, because hormones are made of fats. Being hydrated, and you know, maybe a couple of superfoods like flax seeds that are particularly high and building blocks for hormone.

Andrea  37:55
I eat those are my oatmeal. They help me go steady as my mom likes to say.

Dana  38:00
Yeah, and it's not going to solve everything, but it's going to set the stage for success. It's like the foundation, it's like, you want to build a house, you need a good foundation. The foundation alone, it's not going to keep you warm, it's not going to keep you dry, but it really helps. And another piece of the foundation is some basic stress management techniques, not going through life completely burning the candle at both ends all the time. That helps, too.

And then you need a hormone specific remedy. Most women at some point need a hormone specific remedy. So that's the third part. And that's the part where you're going to see big changes in hormonal symptoms, that's really going to tip the needle, it's going to feel like that's making all the difference. But I'm telling you that the hormone specific remedy will work better with a basic healthy diet and lifestyle in place. It really will. And the reason is that the remedy is like you know, so you’ve got this bucket for estrogen and a bucket for progesterone. So you want to fill up the bucket. You want the bucket to be nice and full. And so there's two things we need to look at: filling up the bucket, and making sure there are no giant leaks in the bottom of the bucket where everything you put in is draining back out. Those are the two things that it takes to keep that bucket full. So when you've got your basic death to healthy diet, basic healthy lifestyle, you go to choose a hormone specific remedy, which is exactly what you're talking about. To me, the ones that are powerful enough to make a difference here are hormone replacement therapy or natural remedies if they're really really powerful and customized for your body. I find that they can both work really well as that hormone specific remedy.

And the thing that I like to say is that your hormones really want three kinds of support. They want help with the hormone levels stay in high enough so replenishing the hormone levels, or helping your body keep those levels high enough, your body needs to be able to harmonize your hormones, and by that, I mean, remember, I talked about those ratios, right? Like that your, all your different hormones are in a good ratio with each other as they change. I think of it like, you know, these three friends going for a walk. They're like, all good on this like nice path. And then all of a sudden in menopause, the path goes over a mountain. Like, they need to walk next to each other up and over and down. And so sometimes they need help with that. And then the other one is more of, I call it energy traffic jams but it's really detoxification, right? Liver support, detoxification really important as well. So that's what your hormones want. Hormone Replacement Therapy is really really good at helping your body keep your hormone levels high enough. So it can be something that it can be super helpful. But sometimes women get massive side effects from it, or it doesn't work that well, or it has some downsides or their body just doesn't take to it well. The natural remedies can really, really help with the detox and the harmonizing of hormone ratios. They really help your body with that.

So here's the way I see it. You need something hormone specific. If you're just starting out on like, you know, try natural remedies give it 12 weeks, if you feel like a million bucks, you know, maybe that's good for now. If you want to use hormone replacement therapy, go for it, I have nothing against it. There's a lot of health benefits to keeping your hormone levels high enough and most women tolerate it without a lot of side effects, or, usually the benefits outweigh the risks. Let's put it that way. When it's used really well with someone who really knows what they're doing. But I find that women who use the hormones with the natural remedies, because they’re sealing those leaks in the energy buckets, they're looking at stress, they're looking at blood sugar, inflammation, you know, detoxification, harmonizing hormone levels, all these other things, then your body's like, oh, the hormone replacement therapy is just those extra hormones that I needed. So they tend to have less side effects better results at smaller doses, when used with the natural remedies. You get a more complete hormonal solution. But you know, for some women, sometimes the hormone replacement on its own, their body does that other stuff, well, you know, it can be great, I've got nothing against. I just don't see it as a complete solution.

Andrea  42:30
And it's definitely not like the first order of business that you go to, with one of your patients?

Dana  42:36
Some woman will go to like a progesterone cream early in perimenopause, and because that's like I said, that's usually the first one to drop. You know what it really helps, and I've got nothing against that. But what I do with my clients is I use natural remedies. That's just what I'm trained in and it's what I do. And then if they get to a point, I find about 80% of the women that I work with do absolutely great with that. Some of them their bodies are just more challenged in terms of making hormones and um, you know, maybe adding a little hormone replacement therapy gets them even better results. Some of them come to me already on hormone replacement therapy. I'm like, you know, great, no problem. So it's not what I offer, I've just not what I'm trained in, it's not my area of expertise. But I see how it fits in and how it can work with everything else that you're doing and I know that, like I said, in most cases, the benefits will outweigh the risks. But you do need to do lab testing. You do need to work with someone who really knows what they're doing and who's continually monitoring and adjusting what you're doing.

Andrea  43:37
Yeah. Okay do women typically follow suit in how their mother handled perimenopause and menopause, or is that a myth?

Dana  43:50
Yes. Not always, but one of the things when I talk about the keys to healthy aging, one is epigenetic support, right? So your DNA is a certain way. When we think well, we're just programmed that way. There's nothing we can do about it. And that's not true. The way that our DNA that we get from our mother is programmed means we have a likelihood or a tendency for certain genes to be turned on for certain genes to be turned off, for us to experience certain health issues. Could be osteoporosis, it could be severe menopause symptoms, it could be early menopause, you know, all those types of things. And so it's very likely if your mother had a very specific difficult thing happen related to menopause, you might have a predisposition to that. Does not mean that is going to happen, it just means that what I would do is I would recommend looking for any early signs of that and doing prevention to say okay, your body is likely to fall into this trap along the way, so we're going to make sure when we go past that spot, we've got everything in place to make sure that that's not when we stumbled.

Andrea  45:06
Okay, so it's not a crystal ball, but sometimes it can be helpful. Oh, yeah, it's

Dana  45:09
Oh, yeah, it's definitely something you want to take into account. You want to counteract any genetic tendencies that you know that you have.

Andrea  45:16
Okay. When you're talking about when you're, you know, the metaphorical bucket can leak, how, like practically speaking, is there something that we could be doing that is making it leak? So is that where like stress comes into play or like poor diet and things like that? Or is it some things that we have no control over?

Dana  45:38
Assessing what those leaks are for each person for each woman, and then assessing is it a significant leak or not, is a really important part of the strategy in terms of putting together your hormonal plan. Because for some women, those leaks are significant and you want a lot of the energy and the remedies and the time and the money and the pills that you're taking to be about sealing the leak. For some women, the leaks are very minimal, and they can just focus on refilling the bucket. So figuring out if you have those leaks, and how big they are, is really important. And the leaks are things like stress, stress is one of the big ones. And we all have stress, right? But for some people, it is really causing an issue. And for some people it's not. But that's one of the most common ones is stress.

The funny thing about stress is, stress can be a hormone leak, but if your hormones are out of balance, it can cause stress that's almost impossible to deal with just with meditation. So addressing the hormones can help with the stress, but also just all the other things we do for stressful. So stress is a huge one. But also inflammation, and any type of work that your immune system is doing when it should be resting. So an autoimmune disease, low grade chronic infections, or inflammation, or allergies. That is a lot of wasted energy right there. So that's another big leak. Even overthinking., right, is a leak. Not sleeping.

Andrea  47:09
I don't know anything about that. Yeah, food allergies.

Dana  47:11
Right. So yeah, these are the types of leaks that we look for. So they're definitely they're a combination of some people just have them sort of built in, that they have a tendency to certain leaks. But they are really definitely also things that we can just do something about. Yeah.

Andrea  47:30
My estrogen is leaking. I know it sounds like thinking, the whole inflammation conversation, I feel like we could spend a whole hour on that. I'm seeing a functional medicine doctor for the first time. We're having that conversation. So it might be corn that my body doesn't like. I was like, well, that sucks because it's in everything. Right? Like everything. Anyway, that's where I'm at right now trying to figure out what it is.

Okay, I'm going to stop talking because I feel like we're gonna need to do a part two. Did you have anything else that you wanted to add before we close?

Dana  48:09
I just want to give you one little ray of sunshine that you can take away with you. Which is if you find that you are reacting to corn, you know, definitely stop eating corn, let the inflammation resolve. But then why did you start reacting to corn all of a sudden, right? It was because a weakness developed in your digestive system or your immune system became over reactive. And those are both things that you can work to heal, so that then you can eat corn again, right? So my approach is always yeah, maybe we need to stop right now to calm things down. But the goal is to make you more resilient. Corn is a stressor. Can you handle it easily or are you going to overreact to it? So if you if you lose corn, you might get it back, that's all I'm saying.

Andrea  48:55
If you lose corn, you might get it back. Take that one. Put that on a t shirt. Well. Yeah. I don't think that that's what the problem is. Okay, I'll give you the very short version. I've been bloated as long as I can remember. Like, just, it's just how my body is and I didn't realize that it was a thing until my daughter when she was having some gastro problems when she was like seven or eight the pediatric gastroenterologist was talking to us about like, actually, this is how her stomach should look and I'm like, well, that's how mine looks. And it's like that forever and I'm fine. Like I pulled one of those. Anyway, in 2015 I did a Whole 30 which I don't ever want to do again it's another long story for another time. But my I wasn't I wasn't bloated for the first time like ever in my life. So it was something and then I ended up not doing the reintroduction phase so I don't know what it was but I have gone gluten free for 60 days, very strict with gluten free and I was still bloated so it wasn't I didn't feel any different. Also the same thing with dairy and I don't eat a lot of dairy so it's not that and that's what the doctor said. She's like it very well could be corn and I was like, shut your mouth right now.

Dana  50:05
That’s really inconvenient.

Andrea  50:08
So inconvenient. And it's not that I love corn like I like the actual corn kernels or popcorn I could do without, but I didn't realize that it's in everything,

Dana  50:18
Everything cornstarch or corn byproducts. Yeah.

Andrea  50:23
And so I the reason I say that is because you were saying like I may have been able to digest it like earlier like right bloated forever, right? I think that might be it. So who knows, but it's one of those things to where it's just, it's just bloat and like, I don't have like chronic stomach pains or like IBS or anything like that. So it's never been. Anyway, bodies are fun. That's how I'm going to leave this episode. Oh, my gosh, bodies are fun.

Thank you so much. All of this has led me to even more questions. So maybe I'll have you back on. Where can people go if they've heard something that has sparked some curiosity within themselves or if they're looking for… Do you see patients that are out of state? How does that work?

Dana  51:10
So I have an online program and coaching for women in the United States. We’re using natural remedies, and we do some diet and lifestyle and all that we're really focused on those customized natural remedies. So that's yeah, that's where I work. And for anyone who wants to learn more about it on my website, DanaLaVoieLAC.com, we can share a link directly to it. I have a free training that is a crash course on menopause, the first five minute video, it's like, oh, that's how it works. That's how I'm feeling this way. The second one is, you know, just understanding how to create a plan. Like I said, you got the diet, you got the lifestyle, you need the hormone specific remedy. The last five-minute video is hormone replacement therapy versus natural remedies, right, so you can see how they go. And then we do a live training with q&a and interaction about how to use those customized natural remedies. And so it's all for free. There's lots of interaction with me. And I think it puts a lot of the pieces of the puzzle in place. So that's definitely available.

Andrea  52:18
And all those links will be in the show notes. I mean, my advice is just find somebody that that you resonate with that you know, listen to your instincts, not only listen to your body, but listen to your instincts in terms of like where you're getting your information from and @MenopauseMadeEasy on Instagram, right? Okay. All right. That's what I thought. Thank you so much. And I do feel like I'm just scratching the surface here. And I think I'll probably have figured out by the time I'm 65, and like, I'm totally done. But give me another 20 years to figure this out. Thank you so much for being here, Dana and everyone listening. Thank you so much for being here. I am so grateful that you choose to spend your time with my guests, and with me and remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.

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