The Reproductive Continuum

I recently had the pleasure of treating a 16 year old woman with Chinese Medicine for the first time.  After initially stating her health was 'fine,' I soon learned she was under a lot of stress, and her cycle had been heavy and painful for a few years.

I was so delighted to teach her about her estrogen and progesterone, how stress effects our hormones, and how exposure to xeno-estrogens can effect our cycles.  I learned that she had gotten her first cycle quite young, and was soon due to visit a gynecologist who, her mom suspected, would put her on birth control to 'fix' her heavy cycle.  Her mom had had the same experience as a teenager.

It made me think about how we now having two generations of women being offered the Pill at an early age.  It also made me think about how this well-meaning mom wanted to help her daughter, but didn't know much herself about the menstrual cycle worked, or how to fix it naturally.

On the podcast recently, we talked about perimenopause with Andrea Thorpe.  The next week we heard from Dr. Jolene Brighten, who walked us through thyroid disorder, from fertility to post-partum.

What do all these various stages from first periods to births to waning periods have in common?  They are all on a continuum of our reproductive years.

Linking these stages is something I'm very passionate about as an educator and practitioner. This first came to the forefront for me as I suffered through some post-partum depression.  Coming out of it, I knew I wanted to help prevent suffering for other women!

The lightbulb went off again as I began to specialize in fertility.  I met so many wonderful women, who were suffering so much.  Sure, they were suffering because of an unrealized goal of becoming pregnant.  But there was something else going on, and I think that was a lack of understanding and trust in their bodies, sometimes coupled with an inability to find meaning in their lives sans the baby they expected.

This is when I took a step back to approach women's health as a whole.  

  • How can I prevent a women from getting into postpartum depression?  
  • How can I educate a woman about her cycle, so that her teenage daughter can learn from her?  
  • How can I inspire a woman to eat healthfully, whether she's trying to conceive or not?  
  • How can I help break stereotypes of what a woman needs to be in our culture, so a woman can be whatever bad ass way she wants?

It's been about one year this I took this step back, and it feels good to finally be stepping forward with a clearer mission in how I can serve you.  

Another thing I really value is collaboration, and thank goodness, because I'm not sure how I'd reach the lofty goal about educating as many women as possible about their health without some help!

I love interviewing experts on the podcasts, hosting guest bloggers, and hosting online summits.  Look for more of that to come in the coming year.  I've even grabbed a new url (not yet constructed), Women's Wellness Collaborative, to further grow that community vibe.

Thank you for being a part of this community, as we grow and learn together!

What have you learned about your own health continuum?  Please share below!