Exploring Menstruation 70’s Style

If you grew up in the 70’s this is a must watch retro video – I must have seen this or something like it during my sex ed class in the 70’s.  Notice it’s produced by J&J?!

Here are the highlights:

  • Let me just say “Pad” technology has come a long way!  Next time you go shopping down an entire aisle of menstrual supplies, be grateful!  Gotta give a shout out to the people who develop new products for us. Seriously special panties with elastics, belts and the minipads of the 70’s look like today’s maxipads.
  • I swear to God I have never ever heard of a woman skipping her period because she had a cold!  I am absolutely certain if that were the case half of us would be sneezing all over each other.
  • Love the exercise suggestions to get rid of cramps.  Wow…no cramp I ever had could be remedied with a wall pushup or a sit-up.

  I follow a lot of discussion around menstruation including global cultural difference, individual differences in how women react to having their period and how it is talked about or not talked about within families and whether we react to our period differently over our lifespans. I think it’s fascinating and everyone’s situation is so unique.

Anyway, enjoy the journey back in time…

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C is for Cortisol – Hormone Alphabet

C is for Cortisol

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What a Weekend! Met my Kindred Spirit at PCOS Symposium!

Sasha and I

I had the lucky chance to go to Atlanta, Georgia this weekend to check out the PCOS Symposium put on by PCOS Challenge.   For me it was phenomenal for so many reasons – the best of course is that I got to meet one of my all-time favorite patient advocates and a true hero in my eyes – Sasha Ottey!

Thanks to the internet and social media, we live in an age where we can make friends with people all over the world and yet never meet them.  This weekend I finally got to meet my kindred spirit – Sasha!

Sasha is a one-woman IMG_3836powerhouse  – bringing awareness to one of the most misunderstood women’s health issues – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  PCOS is the leading endocrine disorder among reproductive women and the number one cause of infertility. This life-long syndrome 10 – 15% of women & girls (depending upon which diagnostic criteria is used).  Having PCOS puts women at a severely high risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

IMG_3843Here’s one of the saddest part of all:  With all of the complexities, emotional and physical suffering in women and their families – PCOS receives less than 0.1% of NIH research funding.

I learned so much about PCOS at the Symposium and I think everyone else must have too – it was information overload!  It impressed me that there were people who travelled far and wide to attend.  Costa Rica, Calgary and all over the USA, husbands came with their wives, mothers with daughters and i even saw families there together!   The experts that shared the latest research, the controversies and the different approaches to diagnosing and treating PCOS was simply phenomenal – everything from pharmaceuticals to genetics and hair removal and everything in between! If you can manage to make it to one of these PCOS Symposia I would highly recommend it.  And please, please help spread PCOS awareness where ever you go, wherever you can – I guarantee women with PCOS will appreciate it.

For more PCOS Updates follow Hormone Soup on Hormone Soup on Facebook, Hormone Soup – Twitter & Hormone Soup – Pinterest.


#pcos #pcosawareness #pcoschallenge
























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B is for Bio-identical Hormones – Hormone Alphabet

Bio-identical Hormones

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A is for Aging – Hormone Alphabet

A is for Aging

A is for Aging

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The Twisted Irony of Motherhood

Dark Side of the Full MoonI can’t watch this without crying…it is so personal to me and painful to listen to the stories of other women who have been through Perinatal Mood Disorder.  But at the same time it is so imperative that we hear these stories.  Even though not one of their stories is exactly like mine, I can relate to each and every story on some level:  as a woman, as a mom and as a survivor of the twisted irony of Perinatal Mood Disorder.

Just a reminder Perinatal Mood Disorder includes postpartum and pregnancy and is sometimes referred to as:

Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum OCD, Postpartum Bipolar, Postpartum PTSD & Postpartum Psychosis



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6 of the Strangest Signs of Hormone Imbalance

Burning Tongue Syndrome

Burning Tongue Syndrome

We’ve all heard of the common symptoms associated with hormone imbalance like weight gain, insomnia and hot flashes.  Here are 6 of the strange symptoms that could be a sign that your hormones are out of whack.  Our hormones have a complicated relationship with our Central Nervous System as well as our Cardiovascular Systems, as you’re about to discover.

1. Burning Tongue Syndrome

I am happy to say I have never experienced this less-common symptom of hormone imbalance but for some menopausal women it is their reality.  It is a painful and very uncomfortable sensation which feels (or so I’m told) just like you’ve burned your tongue sipping on a hot beverage.  You probably won’t have any physical signs of a burn in your mouth, but your mouth might feel dry, sticky or itchy and you might even have a metallic taste in your mouth.  Interestingly, for some women it get’s worse throughout the day and feels better at night.  

2. Formication – Crawling Skin Sensation

No, not fornication – formication.  It is the unimaginably horrible sensation of having the feeling of small insects crawling on or under your skin!  It results in itchiness and of course, most of us would scratch. The scratching can lead to damaging the skin. 

3. Tingling Extremities – (known as Paresthesia)

This symptom brings on a numb feeling or ‘pins and needles’ usually in your feet and legs or hands and arms.  I had this symptom after my 3rd baby was born and it would last for only a few seconds each time.  I didn’t have a clue what it was and it was quite scary.  Little did I know at the time, nor did my doctor, that it was associated to the sudden drop in hormone levels. Fortunately for me, when I got my hormones balanced this irritating symptom went away.  

4. Electric Shock Sensation

Can you imagine feeling like you’re being given an electric shock throughout your day?  Well, it is another one of those strange symptoms of hormone imbalance.  Even though they last for only a second – it must be very irritating and unnerving for women who experience them.  Often they are across the head and sometimes the sensation occurs right before a hot flash.  Oh Joy.

5.  Sudden Muscular Weakness &/or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

After my 3rd baby was born, I would suddenly have weakness in my arm that would only last for a few moments but it would happen suddenly so I was afraid of dropping my baby.  Again, for me as soon as my hormones got balanced I was relieved of this irritating symptom.  It may have been a sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which is also linked to hormone imbalance.   

6.  Frozen Shoulder – Adhesive Capsulitis

This is an inability to move one or both shoulders and can be very painful.  It is most common in women and especially women in perimenopause and menopause.  Not all doctors will talk about hormone imbalance on this one.  I’ve heard of doctors who don’t realize it can be related to hormones.  And don’t forget, many other joint problems/pain can also have a hormonal cause. 


There are other causes for all of these symptoms – it is never a good idea to self-diagnose so please discuss these symptoms with your doctor!  

Again, I know many of us with hormone issues discuss these with our doctor, only to be told “it’s in our head” (thankfully I’ve never been told that but I know numerous women who have been) or that the symptoms aren’t related to hormones.  As always, be an empowered patient:  do your homework and advocate for yourself! 




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Thanks for Making My Day!

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all the women who have reached out to me over the past few years!   

You’ve connected with me:

  • when you felt you weren’t being listened to by your doctor, 
  • when you questioned your intuition but really just needed reassurance that you need to trust it all along,
  • when you were at the bottom and felt like you couldn’t cope another day,
  • when you just needed someone out there who didn’t judge and would understand,
  • when you have a simple question or a long complex one,
  • when you had no one to talk to about your low libido or your mental health symptoms,
  • when you needed to know how to find one of those amazing doctors who will listen to you,
  • when you needed validation that you weren’t “crazy”,
  • when you were feeling AMAZING again! 

When I hear from you it brings me back to the days when I had no one to talk with and no one who understood.  You allow me to remember what it felt like to be struggling with these health problems and yet, somehow, still get through the day.   And how grateful I am for being able to be in a position today to let you know you aren’t alone and it can be so much better!   I know that the 5 minutes I take out of my day to send you an email is just a blip in my day but has the potential to be life changing.  I, too, needed just 5 minutes from someone once.  

Healing Hugs to You. 

Have a day as beautiful as you are!  :)

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What is Integrative Medicine Anyway?

Integrative Medicine both saved my life and created a life. That’s a pretty bold statement but it’s my true to life experience.  When I say ‘saved” my life I don’t necessarily mean from a terminal disease like cancer – but rather it provided me with the health I needed to live a life that was abundant and fulfilling and to me that is a life saved.  

When asked to describe the healthcare they want, women describe integrative medicine 


And if it wasn’t for the integrative approach to my health, my beautiful little son wouldn’t be here either.   This is a little boy who has brought so much joy to my life it’s indescribable. Wow – I can’t even begin to imagine my life without him!  What a welcome gift after so many fertility struggles!  No fertility pills – just giving my body what it needed and getting to the root cause by balancing my hormones.  It seems unreal but really it’s pretty intuitive when you think about it.  


At the time, I didn’t know anything about Integrative Medicine, and I didn’t even know that was the type of care I was receiving. I’ve noticed that is the case with many women I talk too. Yet anyone I know that has moved from taking a traditional approach to their health toward an integrative approach is very much like me and would never go back.  It’s why I’m so passionate about teaching people that this type of medical approach exists (and not just for fertility issues).

Only 23% of women know the term Integrative Medicine


So if you’re wondering what Integrative Medicine even is, you’re not alone. When we did a survey of women in Canada I wasn’t all that surprised to find out that only 23% of women knew the term “Integrative Medicine”.  Surprisingly though, when women have been asked to describe the type of healthcare they want – they describe something REALLY REALLY close to Integrative Medicine!  


Let’s be frank, as women, we know what we want – now all we need is to know how to get it! 


Dr. Adam Perlman, from Duke Integrative Medicine, describes Integrative Medicine so eloquently so I’ll let you check out his quick video.  

Check it out! 



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Mental Illness, Endocrine Disorder or Reproductive Disorder?

Our Endocrine System is Connected to Our Brain

Our Endocrine System is Connected to Our Brain
Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

So yesterday was “End the Stigma Day” and I shared my story in my  I am the Face of Mental Illness blog post because I have no shame in having had Postpartum Mood Disorder.  I did, feel ashamed at the time though, so I can relate to why women don’t seek the help that they need. Guess what? I shared my story and the sky didn’t fall in!  It’s freeing in fact.  And if it helps one woman feel less alone then it was worthwhile.  And here’s the thing, I don’t know if it changes anyone’s view of me and I DON’T CARE, if it does they aren’t someone I want in my life anyway.  

The medical community doesn’t recognize hormone imbalances as disorders

I had Postpartum Mood Disorder more than once and didn’t go to the doctor for it until the 3rd time.  It felt different each time and it got worse with each of my pregnancies. In some cases it escalated when I was weaning my babies from breastfeeding. (I rarely hear this talked about and we need to discuss this. But that’s for another day!)


Interestingly, of all the women I know, I didn’t know anyone who suffered from it – how can that be possible?  With prevalence rates being estimated at 1 in 7 women having Postpartum Mood Disorder.  Too many women suffer in silence. The more of us that speak up the better.   


Mental Illness?  Endocrine Disorder? or Reproductive Disorder?

Here’s the thing about my story – my Postpartum Mood Disorder was easily treated by my OB/GYN by balancing my hormones – so was it a Mental Illness or an Endocrine Disorder or a Reproductive Disorder?  The thing is the medical community doesn’t recognize hormone imbalances as disorders, so therefore, it falls under the category of a mood disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM5).  Herein lies the problem – my OB/GYN has had success for many years prescribing hormone therapy to women who have postpartum mood disorder, yet this still isn’t first-line treatment provided or recommended in the guidelines mostly due to lack of enough studies.

Some might call what my doctor does, Experience Based Medicine, but I believe he’s actually an expert in what is actually Evidence Based Practice (EBP) described by Engebretson, Mahoney, & Carlson, 2008 as involving three parts:  

  1. best research evidence
  2. the provider’s clinical expertise,
  3. and the patient’s values and circumstances.

I didn’t stumble upon this doctor – I sought him out which is due to my strong belief in advocating for myself in my healthcare. It’s the same approach to prevent my miscarriages – progesterone wasn’t in the guidelines and probably still isn’t.  So it is a lucky or proactive woman who finds herself with this kind of doctor. 


Mood disorders fall under Psychiatry, Hormone problems fall under Endocrinology and Reproduction falls under Obstetrics!  

 So who’s talking to whom?

I’ve wondered if women thought they might have an Endocrine Disorder or thought of it as a Reproductive Disorder would they seek the help they need?  I believe they would.  Would they get the help they need?  I think the chance is higher.  Do I think it will happen? I have hope in the way of Integrative Medicine – an approach which is on the rise and I believe is growing rapidly.

Although my dream has yet to be realized en-mass I’m not alone in my vision and hope for the future.  Back in 2006, Katon and Unutzer, were speaking about the “interdisciplinary practice of medicine”, such as co-location of Gynecology-Psychiatry clinics which would increase the usage of hormonal treatments for mood disorders and benefit the mental health of postpartum women.  And while they call it the interdisciplinary collaboration – I really think is the integrative approach to medicine.  


To find out more about my vision for women’s health you can check out Open Source Health.  


To read my other Blog Posts related to Postpartum Mood Disorder:

The Happy Mask of Postpartum Mood Disorder 

Could a Blood Test Have Predicted My Postpartum Mood Disorder?

The Cruel Joke of Postpartum Mood Disorder

Love Letter to My Pharmacist – Bioidentical Hormones for Postpartum Mood Disorder

Postpartum Anxiety – I Thought I was Dying – Part One

Postpartum Anxiety – I Thought I was Dying – Part Two

40% of Women Cannot Identify the Full Spectrum of Perinatal Mood Disorders

Eat FAT and Other Tips for the Best Postpartum Mental Health

Postpartum Thyroid Disorder

Is Half a Postpartum Plan Better Than No Plan At All?

Are Women’s Health Issues Being Painted with a Mental Health Brush?

My Postpartum OCD

Maternal Mental Health – Make it Your Business


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