The Whole View, Season 3 Ep 29: Menopause & Symptom Relief with Esther Blum

Welcome Esther Blum to the Whole View! This week, Stacy and Esther breakdown the causes of menopause and offer actionable steps listeners can take for symptom relief. Esther shares her experience and knowledge as an integrative dietician to give as much information as possible about hormones so you can make informed decisions that are best for your health.

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Key Takeaways

Introductions

  • Esther Blum is an Integrative Dietitian and Menopause Expert. In the past 27 years she has helped thousands of women master menopause through nutrition, hormones and self-advocacy. 
  • She is the author of the bestselling book See Ya Later, Ovulator. You may have seen Esther on Dr. Oz, the Today Show, or other TV shows and magazines, frequently quoted on Goop, Well + Good, Time Magazine, The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, In Style, Bazaar, Self, Fitness, Marie Claire, and Cosmo!
  • Esther received a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Simmons College in Boston and is a graduate of New York University, where she received her Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition. Esther is credentialed as a registered dietitian, a certified dietitian-nutritionist and a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), the certification from the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS).
  • She is also a member of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, Nutritionists in Complementary Care, and the Connecticut Dietetic Association.

The Hormone Imbalance & Menopause

  • Menopause is 12 consecutive months without a period. Many women will go 8 to 10 months without a period, and think they’re done with it. Then, boom, they get a flash period and have to start the countdown clock from that period. So, you’re not fully menopausal until you’re 12 consecutive months without a period.
  • Perimenopause ranges, but the average woman goes through 5 to 10 years of the wind down where your ovarian production of hormones declines and eventually switches to your adrenal gland. This produces very low levels of hormone.
  • Women go through menopause biologically where it happens on their own. They can also go through surgical menopause where the uterus and or ovaries or are removed. And you can still replenish hormones even without a uterus. The delivery system is different, and you may wanna replenish it vaginally versus orally or with a patch. Other women go through chemical menopause for medical procedures such as cancer treatment, and they are put on medication to block estrogen receptors from reaching their targeted sites.
  • Esther treats all women, including women who’ve gone through cancer, surgical menopause, or who have had just the traditional, straight-up menopause. There’s treatments for every, even if you can’t go on hormones.
  • The interesting thing is Esther is seeing more and more women who have recovered from breast cancer and their doctors will say to them— your cancer risk is actually very low, and your quality of life trumps your risk of getting breast cancer again, or recurrent ovarian cancer. So they will put women on bio-identical hormone replenishment.

Menopause Symptom Relief

  • This form of hormone replenishment is a micro-dose about a fifth of the dose of a birth control pill. So Esther is not looking to bring your periods back and put you in a place to carry a child when you’re in your mid fifties.
  • Esther is looking to offset the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s, and bringing in hormones do just that. She wants to make sure that women are given all their options. That way they can make an educated choice on their bodies and what is best for them because there’s so much confusion over what. The right thing to do.
  • For example, Esther avoids hormone disrupting chemicals in her daily life. She doesn’t want to accidentally expose herself to high levels of BPA, which we know can affect hormones and health.
  • Sleep, stress, caffeine, and alcohol can all flair menopause symptoms. Magnesium at bedtime can be really calming. Ashwagandha, Skullcap, Holy Basil, and Lemon Balm are just calming herbs. So if you can replace your nighttime cocktail with just a tincture of calming herbs, you’ll take the edge off and will learn to relax but not in the presence of alcohol.
  • You can’t out hormone your lifestyle choices. If you’re drinking a lot of caffeine by day and booze by night and you’re not sleeping well, you know that is gonna be a challenge and no amount of hormones will necessarily fix that.

Topics Discussed

  • The impacts that stress, sleep, alcohol, and caffeine can have on our health.
  • WHY these symptoms happen:
    1. Anxiety is the result of a progesterone deficiency, which can trigger a racing brain and irritability.
    2. Depression is the result of an estrogen deficiency which can affect mood and cognitive function. Low testosterone and progesterone can also be part of this scenario.
    3. Irritable due to both low estrogen and progesterone (and likely insomnia, too!)
  • SOLUTIONS:
    1. Progesterone helps make the calming neurotransmitter GABA to quell anxiety, help you fall asleep easily, and stabilize moods.
    2. Estrogen and testosterone will optimize brain cognition, stellar energy, and sleep.
    3. A protein-rich diet will raise serotonin and dopamine, boost your mood, and stabilize blood sugar to offset irritability.

Want More? Have Questions?

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Note: Stacy and her guests are not medical professionals. This podcast is for general educational purposes and NOT intended to diagnose, advise, or treat any physical or mental illness. We always recommend you consult a licensed service provider.

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