At least 80% of women will struggle with a hormonal problem in their lifetime…even higher for those with PCOS!
Dr. Aviva Romm joins us on this episode to discuss the root issues of hormonal imbalance and how to restore your body’s natural balance for wellbeing!
You’ll learn how going gluten free can be one of the first lines of approach in hormone intelligence!
We discuss the hidden hormone epidemic impacting millions of women and the reasons behind it such as the birth control pill, medical biases against women, and so much more!
Aviva Romm, MD, is a board certified family physician with a specialty in women’s health and obstetrics, a midwife, and a herbalist! She is one of the nation’s leaders in the field of botanical medicine and the author of 8 books on natural medicine for women. Her upcoming book, Hormone Intelligence: The Complete Guide to Calming Hormone Chaos & Restoring Your Body’s natural Blueprint for Wellbeing, is available anywhere books are sold. After purchasing the book, you can grab your free bonus gift at www.AvivaRomm.com! More resources like online courses & direct help can be found at www.AvivaRomm.com! Follow Dr. Aviva Romm on Instagram @dr.avivaromm!
Join us in The Cysterhood, a community of women learning how to manage PCOS & lose weight, Gluten and Dairy Free! (bit.ly/The-Cysterhood-Membership)
Ovasitol Packets: 15% OFF prc code 292660 (bit.ly/Ovasitol)
Pre-natal for those trying to conceive: 15% OFF prc code 292660 (bit.ly/theranatalcore)
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Lab kits to help you find the root causes of your PCOS! (equi.life/PCOS)
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Welcome everyone to another episode of a sister and her mystery today, we have a Viva rom with us. She is a board certified family physician with a specialty in women’s health and ups, obstetrics of midwife and an herbalist. She has 25 years of experience in midwifery, and she has a Yale trained medical doctorate, a Veeva bridged her interests in traditional medicine with her knowledge of science for over three decades.
She’s one of the nation’s leaders in the field of botanical medicine and the author of eight books on natural medicine for women referred to referred to as the face of natural medicine in the 21st century by prevention magazine and named one of the 100 women to watch in wellness by minds, body green, Ava is redefining women’s health, her upcoming book, hormone intelligence, the complete guide to calming hormone,
chaos and restoring your body’s natural blueprint for wellbeing highlights that it is time for a major paradigm shift in the medical mistreatment of women. Welcome a Viva, such a pleasure having you. Yes. Thanks. You guys. This is so fun. I love your couples patient. That’s great. Thank you. And before the podcast started, we were talking about your husband as well,
who works sometimes in the, in the back end doing some editing and stuff. So it’s really fun to meet someone just like us, basically, who works, who works with their spouse, which Has great times and then not so great. So Yeah, sometimes it’s difficult to separate work and business life, the working life, I should say. Yeah.
It’s like when it’s so true at table, you just want to stop talking about it, but you can’t. It’s so True. We kind of are starting to make some rules, like not in the bedroom in the morning when we’re still in bed. Not at night. I wasn’t, we were working in the garden the other day. I was like,
all right. The garden has to be a no fly zone for work. Like it just has to be. That’s great. I love that. Yeah. You relax while you garden. Exactly. Yeah. And your new book, hormone intelligence. I think it really speaks to a lot of women with PCs, especially there’s a lot of like a mistreatment of women with PSUs.
They are usually diagnosed way too late or are given, you know, treatment treatment options that are not really active to get down to the root cause of their piece choices. So speaking on that, what, what really motivated you to write this book, hormone intelligence, focusing on this aspect as well as others for this book, You know, it’s my inbox and it’s my social media comments.
It’s woman after woman, after woman who has her own unique story, but then there’s a theme, right? And the theme is I got put on a birth control pill when I was 14, because I was having really irregular periods and acne and depression. And now I’m 32 and I’m trying to get off it, but my symptoms keep coming back or I’ve gotten off it and I can’t get pregnant.
Or, you know, I went to my doctor and I was binge eating and having depression. And my doctor just put me on an antidepressant and never checked for PCO. S it’s just like story after story of women, women who are either feeling like something’s not quite right in their body and they’re reading about it on the internet. And they go to their doctor and their doctor either actually says,
or kind of hints at like, where’d you get your medical degree, Dr. Google. And then, you know, and then struggling with symptoms, they don’t know what to do about if they do get a diagnosis. The first thing they’re told is like, okay, you should take Metformin for your blood sugar. You should take spironolactone for, you know,
your hair loss or acne, and you should go on the pill and not all women want that. And, and that’s not always the best solution. I mean, it can be helpful for some symptoms or severe situations. And then the other thing with PCLs is that it’s not like it’s not like just run of the mill menstrual cramps, you know, which are annoying.
And we still want to deal with the root cause of, but I mean, this is a condition that can affect your fertility. It can affect your self-esteem if you’re struggling with severe acne or hair loss, but it can also cause sleep apnea diabetes, like it can be a serious medical condition and women aren’t getting answers. So it’s, it’s you guys it’s it’s women like you,
you know, Tylene who are like, what, what is going on and what can I do? Yeah, Yeah, exactly. I’m sure you’ve seen many patients come in with PCOS. You’re a doctor and midwife and herbalist. And how do you approach it when you have patients like this? I feel like I would be so excited if I walked into your office and you were like,
oh no, you don’t need to take birth control with everything else you can do. I mean, It’s a, it’s a matter of a couple of things. One is, it depends on whether she thinks she has PCOS or knows she has PCOS or just has symptoms. So if she has symptoms, but has no clue about PCLs, then I’ll be very gentle in approaching the conversation of like,
Hey, it could be this, because the last thing I want her to do is go home and read the internet and then be like, oh my gosh, you know, my hair’s going to fall out. I’m going to die of diabetes. And on the way I’ll have children let you like repeat these things on the internet. And this is like,
oh, wow. So I’ll talk with her about that. If she is pretty sure she has PCLs but has never had a diagnosis, then I will either look at criteria and say, yes, this is clearly what it is. Or if it’s appropriate, check some labs and see, you know, does she have insulin resistance? Is there something else going on along with it?
And then if she knows she has PCOM, so work with her and like, well, what do you want? So for example, I had a patient early in the pandemic who had a lot of stress going on in her life. A family member had gotten fatally ill, not with COVID, but with something else during COVID she had to move back home.
She was living with three other women. She couldn’t eat. She felt like she just could not eat like a healthy PCOS oriented diet. She couldn’t not like she was living with me like 20 something year olds. They were all like drinking alcohol. Like she just felt like she really needed was the birth control. What was the birth control pill? Cause acne was just driving her nuts.
It was like really making her yes. So that’s what she wanted. And we talked about the healthy things that she needed to do along the way also, but that, you know, just taking that pill with a low progesterone really helped her acne. And it was like gave her, she felt like it gave her her life back and that gave her the energy to do some of the other things.
But most people who come to me, they want a really more natural I’ll approach. So I’ll look at, you know, it’s interesting. My book is called hormone intelligence, but originally when you write a book, you’re writing, you live negotiating with your publisher, like what the cover’s going to be and what the title’s going to be. And originally I wanted to call my book,
hormone ecology based on the idea that as human beings, we have internal ecosystems and we live in ecosystems. And so, so what I try to do is say, okay, well, what are some of the factors that we know contribute to PCOM, right? Because conventional medicine is like, we have no idea what causes this. Maybe it’s genetic, maybe it’s bad luck.
Maybe it’s both. But we know if we look outside of the box of medicine, like just still, it’s still in good, hard science, but outside of like the MD box, we can look at the field of nutrition. And we know that women with PCOS do better with a more plant-based higher fat, higher protein, lower carb diet. We know that certain factors in foods may cause inflammation that may contribute.
We know that there is like emerging research coming out mean. I’m sure as we speak even new research all the time on the role of the microbiome and how it affects hormone, metabolism and androgens, but also how it affects blood sugar. We know that there are things that you can do about insulin resistance and that that can affect elevated androgen levels. We know that stress can to elevated androgens that can aggravate PCLs.
So there’s all those things. And then also when a woman comes to me, I want to make sure that I’m does she have sleep apnea? Does she have depression? Is she binge eating? Like all the things that may be part of PCLs that people don’t really talk about or acknowledge. So to make sure that I’m touching on all the ecosystems, right?
The outside ecosystems, the stress, the factors that might be affecting her and then her internal ecosystems, like her microbiome, her sleep, her stress levels, her happiness, all that kind of stuff. And then we’ll make a plan. You know, I try to make a plan that is achievable because you know, you can’t throw someone like into the deep end and is some people want to go.
They’re just like, do everything. Let’s do everything. But usually it’s like, let’s start with a couple of things. Let’s start with your diet and let’s start with sleep or stress. And often when we start to get those things online, then the rest comes in and you know, there, there are some supplements that have been found to help too.
So depending on what’s going on for her, I may include supplements as part of my protocol. Things like<inaudible>, NASSA tol N-Acetyl, cystine some botanicals. So that may be part of it, but it may not always be part of it right upfront. I may start with like a simpler lifestyle approach. Yeah. That’s what I do. A lot Of support,
a lot of support and a lot Like, you know, this is not your fault. This is not something you’ve been doing wrong because I think we’re so we’re so programmed to blame ourselves or to think that we’re broken when it’s not, we’re not broken. There’s a lot of factors that contribute to why we have this. Absolutely. That’s something we try to do with our podcast is to really send that message that it’s not your fault.
You’re not broken. It’s not, it’s, it’s not something that you did wrong in your childhood or any time that led you to whatever symptoms you’re feeling. And I love that. How you have a plan because it’s a, it is an ecosystem of change, like you said, and it can feel overwhelming at first, when you have to, you know,
make change that at all these different aspects, but with creating a plan, like you said, it really makes it easier and makes it more achievable when you’re approaching things. One, one at a time It’s so rare to find a doctor like you, that will treat you, treat the patient as an individual and like put into consideration everything that’s happening, you know,
and then treat it one step at a time. Like I said, it’s so rare. We’re going to have a lot of people looking you up after this. We’ll have all your details. Cause I was a midwife first. You know, if I had come into medicine straight away, there’s a whole indoctrination. That’s very different, right? It’s like,
oh, someone has piece. If we learn about PCOS, it’s like, oh, someone has, PCLs give the pill, give Metformin. You could about spironolactone, but that’s kind of the beginning and end of it. Whereas midwife, you know, we, we always see the whole woman and it’s also about being centered on the patient. It’s like,
what does she want? And what does she need? And what’s going on in her life and what is she ready for? What are her preferences? Which, I mean, you learn, you like hear about a little bit in medical school. If you have a good faculty where they’re a little bit about being patient-centered, but it’s not from being a doctor.
That’s, that’s the difference. Most doctors are not learning this stuff. I mean, I I’m aiming to change that, but unfortunately it’s not the standard. Yeah. I’m very curious. What does a mid wife entailed? Because I still think of like the 18 hundreds and 19 hundreds where the midwife is delivering. She’s like, get the bucket, give me water,
get me a towel. That’s all I’m seeing in my brain. But I know it’s like, it’s a lot different than that. I wasn’t feeling the same way Trying to conceive when you’re in the process of baby-making you don’t want to take a prenatal. That’s designed for a woman who’s pregnant. They get expensive and have ingredients you don’t need quite yet. They’re a needle core is a prenatal focused on women who are trying to conceive.
It contains the active form of folic acid folly as well as 2000, I use the vitamin D also it doesn’t have any expensive ingredients that you don’t need until you’re pregnant. Their logics is prenatal. Their natal core is especially for women with PCOS who are in the process of baby-making check the link in the description for our 15% off code. All right, Babe,
let’s take a moment to correct our posture. Take a deep breath and have some peer spectrum CBD. Sure. Hey, sisters CBD can help with acne inflammation, anxiety asleep, and so many other PCs symptoms. I personally take it throughout the day to help keep my stress hormones nice and low. Not to mention I sleep like a baby every night and I don’t wake up fatigued at all.
Now open your mouth please. So I can give you a serving now, hold it for 60 seconds. Head over to pure spectrum cbd.com and use the code. The sisterhood one word for 10% of, can I stop now? Nope. You got 30 minutes. It’s so funny. Cause my husband, I was the midwife for my nephew. And so my husband was at the birth and I,
I was like, babe, go get the hot water, go get. And I felt like I was in a movie cause he was like, the baby’s not coming yet. I’m like the baby’s right here. And then someone else to get the water. It was really funny. So a midwife, I mean, yes. Midwives go back to the beginning of time.
Right? We can trace, we can actually trace the first act of civil insurrection to midwives in the old Testament. That’s how far like midwives go back and even recorded history. Wow. And even further. And then there was a long time in modern history where, you know, like from the early 19 hundreds, until where most bursts, especially if you had money were happening in the hospital,
a lot of people without means still had their babies at home. Midwives have always been the ones, primarily delivering babies and still are in most countries around the world. And yes, I mean, we do have people get, we do have hot water, but that’s usually for perinatal support as the baby’s coming out. But we do all the same with,
depending on what kind of midwife you are, you can do all the same things that a family doctor or OB does, except we don’t. I mean, as a family doctor and OB, you know, you, we do train and things like C-sections and midwives don’t train and doing those, but you train in all the support of normal, healthy pregnancy and recognizing complications and that of complications do happen.
Then that’s when you, as the midwife passed the Baton or the pregnant moms care on the metal, the obstetric team, but Midwest can attend births at home in the hospital and birthing centers and is midwives tend to bring a much more gentle woman centered approach. So we see birth as much more natural and physiologic, if you don’t interfere with it. So people who have babies with midwives tend to have more gentle and more unmedicated,
you know, natural birth, if you will. So there’s a lot of court. There’s also a lot of, you know, all the kinds of things women with PCLs, don’t get from their doctors, dietary counseling, support around exercise, lifestyle, stress management. And it’s all about the whole family, which I mean, I love that you guys are doing this podcast together because you know,
if you have PCLs or endometriosis or a fertility challenge or whatever it is, and you’re in a couple, even if it’s PMs, right. And you’re in a couple one as the person with those things, you want your partner to be able to respond to you in the way that you need to as a partner. If you’re, if you’re, if you know,
if your partners take it out days of the month or struggling with anxiety or fear or symptoms you want to know, you know, and kind of with midwives, we bring the partner. If there is a partner into the experience as well. Oh yeah. That’s so important. So important. So I didn’t know that. So midwives can basically deliver a baby,
just like a doctor absurd. We don’t do midwife. I mean, again, I’m a doctor also, but midwives don’t do things like forceps deliveries. C-sections all that stuff. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And speaking of your husband real quick, is he like, does he have now this, like this knowledge of like women’s health and hormones before he worked with you?
Like I’m sure. Compared to them before? Oh no, he doesn’t. And it was hilarious. Cause you know, as a midwife I would get a call during dinner and I would, I, you know, I was like, oh your water broke. I mean, is there any discharge? And my husband and my kids would be like, mom.
Yeah, no, he’s got a good knowledge now he’s, he’s born with super sensitive and attentive too. He’s very respectful. He’s kind of a guy, if you will. I mean, I, it that’s, that’s all that matters. Just being respectful and like being supportive for personally me now I know like a lot of like, I have all this knowledge in my head about like women’s hormones periods and things like this when I’m with my guy,
friends and, and then they’re joking about their wives and their wives, just hormones I’m in the corner, like shaking my head. I’m like, man, you guys have no idea. So You gotta be the one educated things I talk about in the book. Right. It’s like how as women, you know how it’s like my daughter was visiting at home.
She’s 33, but this was like a couple of years ago. And she’s been with the same guy for eight years now and we were making breakfast and she was a little grouchy about something. And he said, are you on your period? Still ever, like, I am schooling. You don’t ever ask a woman, but you know, all those things we hear,
right. Like, oh, are you just on your period? Or do you have PMs? Are you just hormonal? It’s so funny. Cause I don’t know what to say. Like the day before my period, coincidentally, I always cry about something really. It could be nothing. I could sit there and cry for no reason for like a second maybe for like,
it’s not a whole episode. It’s just like a thing that happens. And it’s so confusing to both me and him. I don’t feel like what’s happening. Like you never cry. Like what happened then the next day my period will start. And it’s like, or like I know, I think for me it’s so important that we start to pay attention to those signs.
Right. Because we everyone’s using apps now. But your emotional changes are your app that your period is coming the next day I used to always, like, I never have struggled with PMs or period pain or anything like that. But it went through a few years kind of like in perimenopause every week, a week, like every month, like one week before my period,
I would get in a fight with my husband. And of course it was his fault. Right. It’s one zit on my chin, like in the same place. And then I was like, dude, I got a zit because we were fighting. And then my period, like then I started to notice that my period came like seven days later. And I was like,
oh, well that was like, cause it was every month. And I was like, oh, this is hormonal changes. It’s not his fault. I’m like, but you don’t tell them that part. I’m the one that was irritable. And I got the zit because my hormones were changing. And I mean, I, if it’s like, it’s so valid in that moment when your PMO scene and you’re like having a breakdown,
it’s so valid and everything you’re saying seems so. Right. And I almost wonder if you are right, but you’re just having a heightened reaction to the thing, your hormones, like I used to have this patient and she would say she came in for hormonal imbalances and some other things that she was struggling with to ask her if she had PMs. And she said,
Nope, but every month, right before my period, I, I tell my husband we’re getting divorced. I was like really funny. But then it was also like, okay, well, if this is also happening every month, like what, what do we need? Is there something here we need to unpack about your filters going down, what’s going on.
Right. It’s like, there is truth in it, but then it amplified. Yeah. Maybe there’s some valid points, but it’s being taken to an unnecessary level for like four days. And then we’re back to normal. And the guy’s like, what was that? Where are we filing the papers lines? That’s the other thing I think about too. Like if I think about all the women who have like really bad period pain or really bad PMs,
if they had two days off of work or life or childcare just to be by themselves and nurture themselves, would they actually be feeling all those things toward other people? Like, would that argument happen or would they snap at their kids or would they just call in sick for work when they actually were just given permission to be a little more self care oriented,
that’s what’s up so important, you know, and me and SciTech, like we come on this podcast as a team it’s, we’re trying to kind of like set an example because it’s so important for the guy to be involved for the partner to be involved with what’s happening. So you don’t feel alone when you’re having cramps and PMs and you feel like you’re going crazy,
but you think you’re right at the same time. And you’re just confused, you know, like everyone needs to know what’s happening. It was like the way the medical model is set up because so many women can’t just go to their doctor and get answers or get a diagnosis. It puts it all back on the woman to figure it all out for herself.
Yeah. And so you’re already feeling alone, you’re struggling with all this and now all the work is on you to figure out the studies or figure out what diet to really eat. And there’s so much noise out there. So doing it together. And it’s really cool that you guys are doing that. Yeah. Thank you. And just going off of what you said,
I think a perfect transition as to the first chapter in your book, you talk about the hidden hormone epidemic and you wrote that 80 of women will face a hormonal problem in their lifetime. And it’s often chalked up to doctors, you know, saying they just take the pill. Do you know like why this is happening? Why this is basically more widespread these days?
Well, it’s interesting. So I wrote that book, you know, the, that chapter long before the pandemic we’re in right now. Yeah. And when you think about it, you know, the pandemic is here, we’re all kind of in it together. And then someday we’ll be past it, hopefully. And we’ll all have gone through that together.
But before the pandemic, like, you know, like you share from the book, 80% of women in the course of their lifetime will have symptoms significant enough to seek medical care or self treatment. Like whether it’s painful periods where they’re taking ibuprofen every month or PMs where they’re miserable every month or taking an antidepressant to all the way up to like 50% of women over 60,
having a hysterectomy. And the thing is that epidemic existed before the pandemic. And it’s still going to be here after the pandemic and from what, what it looks like is that way more women now are experiencing hormonal imbalances. And as an extension of that, everything from a PCOM to endometriosis to really difficult time with menopause, but also, I mean, girls,
as young as seven years old are going into puberty and this is new historically, like we’ve watched the years get lower. We’re seeing women who are much younger going into premature menopause. And so we have to ask ourselves like one, why is this happening? And two, why is it hidden? So the why it’s happening probably has to do with just industrial lifestyles.
Like 70 years ago, our grandparents, you know, if they even lived in the U S didn’t have processed food, they didn’t have antibiotics. Every time somebody got sick or their microbiome wasn’t damaged, apparently studies that have looked at food now compared to food even 60 or 70 years ago, like you’d have to eat four to eight oranges to get as much vitamin C out of an orange now as an orange.
Then it just, it was just different times and not to romanticize it, but people were just using less pharmaceuticals. I think their place in life was a little bit, there was less choice, you know, there wasn’t the internet, it wasn’t so confusing. Go, go, go. And like, I remember when my grandparents, you know, if they had the weekend off,
they had the weekend off, they weren’t working. If they had evenings off, they had evenings off it wasn’t 24 7. So, you know, we’ve had a lot of changes in our society that we know as we, as I shared earlier, can contribute to why we’re having these hormone imbalances. The reason that it’s hidden is I think two reasons, one as women we’ve been taught to be shamed or feel ashamed or embarrassed about talking about our periods or period accidents.
Like every woman I know has had one at some point in her life, whether it’s like her period staying in her bed at night, or like actually in her pants while she’s out, like, it’s just like so many women have experienced that, but we don’t talk about these things as normal they’re seen as embarrassing. So then you start to look at things like,
you know, acne, people are very ashamed of having acne in fertility. People are very ashamed about talking about fertility problems and miscarriage. So where is shame to talk about it. But then even when we do talk about it with our doctor that we’re often just told, oh, it’s just normal. Like, oh, you’re a woman. Period. Pain is normal.
Oh, it’s normal to have irregular cycles sometimes. Oh, this is normal. So then we don’t even know like, well, should we keep talking about it or just keep taking the ibuprofen or, oh, just go on the pill. Women have this all the time, just take the pill. And that’s all considered so normal. So there’s like a lot of factors that you know,
are causing this. And a lot of factors that are keeping it unrecognized. It’s really interesting. Like maybe about five or so years ago, the national institutes of health actually was trying to give away money for endometriosis research. They were trying to get people to do research on and because it’s so understudied, they couldn’t get, they couldn’t get people to do the research.
We know that like the research on pharmaceuticals for women is far behind the level of research on pharmaceuticals for men. So historically everything to do with women’s research has been a really low priority and low agenda. So that doesn’t help the conversation move forward either. Absolutely. The research for PCs has gone down like five to 10% just in the last five years alone.
So it makes me so mad when I hear like statistics like that. And that, like you said, like people were paying people to do research studies on endo and nobody was doing it. That’s such a disservice to women who are majority of the population now. So why aren’t we focusing on women’s health? It’s like, it’s like more than half the population are composed of women.
So we should be doing more research. It Makes me wonder why are they just not interested? I mean, it’s a researcher just like, that makes sense. Right? Because women and the doctorate more than men, women take pharmaceuticals. And so you think even from like a capitalistic perspective, there would be incentive. But I think that people just sort of say,
oh, well, we’ve got the birth control pill. We’ve got spironolactone, we’ve got Metformin, we’ve got diabetes medications. We’ve got antidepressants. So what do we need? Why would we, why, why don’t women care about, they should just take those. We need people like you, we need people like you who are, you know, helping people get down to their root causes,
helping people with lifestyle changes like step-by-step plans, not just like one pill, that’s going to fix quote unquote, fix everything, you know? And like just hearing statistics about like, you know, girls who are experiencing their periods a lot earlier than they used to. And like, I mean, life is changing so fast. Like the last hundred years,
the difference in technology, the difference in our food, the hormones that are put into like dairy and the hormones are just put period into food itself. It’s just, it’s no surprise that it’s going to impact not just women, but like everyone’s hormones at some point. Yeah. Because we know that it’s not just women that are impacted. So we’ve definitely seen an increase.
For example, in baby boys being born with changes in their genitals that have to do with known exposure to endocrine disruptors from the environment. So I think that with women, like when we see conditions that it like there’s too much estrogen, it’s a little more subtle when you see the impact on a baby boy have too much estrogen birth defect, but even there,
it’s not changing industry. It’s really not changing policies that much. I mean, we need, there was a study that looked at salmon in Puget sound. And these researchers were just looking, studying like the impact of like environmental, chemical exposure on salmon and how much environmental chemicals were there. And they found over 80 drugs and environmental chemicals in the salmon and salmon that would go like to our dinner tables to let me tell.
Right. But they had like pharmaceuticals, antidepressants, narcotics, anxiety, medications, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals. And we’re getting exposes all the time, which I think too is, you know, as much as women can take their health into their hands, by making those changes, it doesn’t mean that your PCLs is gonna necessarily magically go away. But if those do contribute to it,
why not avoid any big policy changes because we’re seeing more incidents of these and affecting younger and younger women. And it’s so interesting that they feel, and I’ve read a lot about this, how they think that those small doses, those small instances. Yeah. It’s just a little bit like it’s just in the environment. They think that that’s not a big deal,
but it is because over time you’re eating salmon. How many times a week, how many times a month? And it’s in other things and we’re constantly exposed and it just builds up. And speaking of which I, I was reading in your book, you had mentioned dairy and how the cow is grazing on food that has been or grass, if you will,
that has been exposed to pesticides and all kinds of toxins. And it stores in the animal and then comes out in the milk. And that milk is like a, by-product basically just, it’s like throwing out all of these toxins that it had ingested. And then we are ingesting the milk. And I mean, there’s just so many issues with dairy now.
Yeah. And even in your book, you mentioned gluten-free as well as one of the first steps of, or one of the approaches you take with the hormone intelligence. I know that you don’t recommend it for everyone, but can you, could you talk about some of the benefits that you saw from people going gluten free? Yeah. So with dairy, look,
I live in, I live in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. We’re known for really good organic dairy yogurt, better here. I’m not opposed to eating dairy at all. But I think that for adult women, it’s not necessarily a historically natural part of our diet. And even in the best of circumstances, you know, animals are lactating, they’re producing higher levels of estrogen,
for example. So you’re spoken to get more hormones in animal milk than if you weren’t having dairy then yes, human dairy and animal dairy. A lot of the environmental chemicals that act as endocrine, disruptors, hormone disruptors, bind to fat. And so because there, we have so many fat cells in our breasts and animals do as well. We may become a place where that those environmental endocrine disruptors concentrates.
And so they come into the dairy, even organic dairy is going to have some, because these environmental contaminants are everywhere in the environment. So you can be an organic farmer. Who’s letting your Calgary’s on beautiful grass in your front yard. But if two farms away, somebody is spraying pesticides, it will win drift into that grass. So for women who are struggling with hormone imbalances,
I really do say like, at least for a few months, take it out and see what happens. And a lot of them would say, oh wow. Like I kept getting lumps in my breasts every month before my period or, oh, I was having brain fog or my cycles were irregular or my periods were heavy. And now I feel so much better with gluten.
It’s really interesting. Again, like I live in a place where people raise ancient grains. We have one of the most famous bakeries in the world that does sourdough bread, five minutes or 10 minutes from my house. It’s like where we can get good bread, but there is a pretty strong connection. And even though only a couple of percent of people will have celiac disease for people who truly have celiac disease.
There’s a huge connection. That’s not usually talked about with hormones, fertility problems, increased rates of miscarriage, increased rates of inflammation. We know inflammation can contribute to both PCLs and endometriosis. Nobody has to have gluten all the time. So in my patients, I say, look, you know, chances are, you don’t have celiac. This is something we can test for,
with some blood tests at least to get started, to rule it out. But it’s so easy and low hanging fruit to go gluten and dairy free, gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. Those were the five things that I take out. Like just, just let’s let’s strip these away because processed food, isn’t food, it causes inflammation there.
You know, we talked about gluten, we talked about alcohol really important because it actually increases estrogen in, in humans and sugar causes so much inflammation. And then, especially for PCLs that insulin resistance, you know, that we really want to address. I’ve seen some interesting results with people going gluten free, particularly people who have celiac, like complete reversal of Hashimoto’s people getting pregnant when they were struggling with their fertility,
you know? And it’s not like you can prove that it was going gluten free, but you have someone who’s been struggling with their fertility for three years and has tried everything, including fertility treatment. And they haven’t gotten pregnant. Then they go gluten and dairy free for three months and then they’re pregnant. You’re like, okay, it’s a little hard to not,
yeah. Not just coincidence. You see that enough. So, but also people just tell me they feel better. Like things that they didn’t even notice, they were struggling with like aches and pains or joint pain or feeling a little low grade depression. They’re like, or I’ve had people say, oh, I feel like somebody turned the lights back on or was say like,
oh, the windshield wipers went back on, like on a foggy windshield. Heard all kinds of things like that. Yeah. I mean, For, for many women who who go gluten-free, it, it helps to get rid of that. Some of that chronic inflammation that is resulting from eating the gluten. And of course, like you said, not everyone has to go gluten free,
but one of the things we’d like to talk about is if you don’t try it, for example, for 30 days and see how it helps you, you don’t know because you could be trying everything else, you know, trying a hundred percent of everything you could possibly do, but you just can’t get down to the bottom of it. It could be it’s the gluten or dairy.
So it’s worth trying. Exactly. And you don’t have to have celiac either. There’s non-celiac gluten intolerance, which doesn’t have all the auto-immune component, but it can still cause a lot of irritation in your gut and a lot of the same inflammation. So it’s such an easy thing to do that. I’m like, all right, there’s so many other grains you can enjoy.
Yeah. There’s also a lot of research about now. Now there’s a lot of research about gluten and it’s linked to endometriosis. And there was one study where like 75% of the participants saw a significant reduction in their endometriosis symptoms just by going gluten-free. And I was blown away, like at least tell women with endometriosis when they get diagnosed. Of course it’s not going to work for everyone,
but look how it works for some people. Right. And it’s like, I don’t understand why physicians just say, well, that’s ridiculous. It doesn’t do anything. Or it’s just a fact. It’s like, it’s, we’re not talking about a left arm amputation as an experiment here. We’re talking, take the gluten out for even a few weeks a month.
Like you said, I mean, just see how your period turns out next time. And it’s interesting because it’s like, is it the gluten? Is it the glyphosate from, you know, being contaminated with pesticide herbicide? I don’t know. But even so I’m like just go a hundred percent. I think some people actually, a little bit of studies have come out recently showing that really good organic grain,
sourdough bread may not be a problem. So if I have somebody who’s just like, I can’t go gluten free. I’m like, okay, well then it has to be ancient grain a hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah. That’s what I do. I’m basically like 95% gluten free. And the only time I have a gluten is basically when I have sour a little bread with my sandwich,
From the bakery and order from online, I want to say it’s called Berkshire mountain bakery. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that series that Michael Pollan did he did it for a video series called cooked? Yeah. Yeah. One of the video series. There’s a baker and that’s the bakery. Wow, Good. We’re going to look at their website.
Amazing. Awesome. Great. So before we go, just want to ask you about the sixth vital sign. And then we’ll love to talk about your book. That’s going to be released soon, but what is the sixth vital sign? Like what does it mean? Did you invent this term or concept? No, I wish it’s a good one, but I didn’t.
So basically, you know, we’ve always just kind of assumed that women’s periods. You know, if you have a heavy period of light period, a painful period that, I mean, it could be a sign of a medical condition. And so maybe you get checked for that, but around 2007, and then again confirmed in like 20 13, 20 15 first the American academy of pediatrics and then the American college of obstetricians and gynecologists actually said that for adolescent girls and young women,
the menstrual cycle is a vital sign. Just like our blood pressure, our heart rate, our temperature, our respiratory rate that gives us an indication of whether things are okay or they’re not okay. And then that some people call it the fifth vital sign, but in medicine, there’s heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate, and then pain.
At some point got called the fifth vital sign. They called it the sixth vital sign. So some people say fifth, but according to this, it was the sixth vital sign. And the idea that our menstrual cycles and also other ways that our gynecologic problems show up in our life are not just about us having a painful period, but that they could be a bigger picture of like one,
yes, you could have a medical condition, but two, we have to look at the bigger picture in which that woman lives, her stress, her diet, her gut health, her inflammation status, or you know, her beliefs about her body and her health. So that we shouldn’t just dismiss what’s going on in women’s reproductive health and especially our menstrual cycles as just normal,
but that we should actually look to them for information. So like if you had a fever, you know, you would say to yourself, okay, I mean, is this a virus? Is this a cold? Is this a flu? And you would do the appropriate thing. We don’t just say, oh, I’m having pain. Every period that is making me double up,
take three ibuprofen and go lay in bed with Netflix. No, we’re like somehow that’s normal. So we should admit is like a vital sign. That’s not normal. And instead of just telling someone to take a pill for it, or like what’s actually going on here, right. I mean, it’s a really, it’s a revolutionary concept because it’s the first time that really it’s been acknowledged that we need to not just dismiss these symptoms,
but unfortunately I’m probably one of a handful of doctors that’s even read those papers and know that this is a thing it’s, it hasn’t really caught on as like, okay, a culture shift, you know, a sea change to happen around this. It does. Yeah. We recently, we’ve recently learned about it too. We’ve heard it called the fifth vital sign,
but it follows the same idea of following your menstrual cycle and based on the symptoms, making sure that, you know, you’re, you’ve checked all your boxes that you’re healthy based on your menstrual cycle symptoms, especially considering when you’re going through that, when you’re going through a menstrual cycle, every single month, there are different phases. It makes sense that like you should be looking at those spaces to see how you’re doing,
you know, like how you should be compared to how you are and what you can do to kind of get your body in sync with those Phases. Exactly. Yep. Well, the thing is, most women don’t even really like, we never learn what’s normal or not. So a lot of women think that, you know, changing your pad or your tampon every two hours,
because you’re basically hemorrhaging with your period. Oh, it was just normal or a lot of women think, oh, it’s my period. I’m supposed to be taking two ibuprofen every six hours or, oh, my periods are just irregular. Like, okay. So I skipped a period for three months or I have a couple of chin hairs. Like what’s the big deal.
Like all these things that were either told or normal or earned too embarrassed to ask if they could just add a sentence in textbooks about, you know, when you learned biology in school, when you first learned about if I could just add one sentence and say, if you are having awful periods and symptoms of PMs, don’t take it lightly, investigate your health and try to figure out what’s going on.
Don’t just take an Advil, lay in bed for two days and watch Netflix. You can reverse this. If you just add that, like I’m like a little asterix, it would really change the world. Yeah. If they taught the same thing to boys as well. So that guys don’t have to think these stupid thoughts of, oh, she’s just on her period or she just seeing,
you know. Yeah. Awesome. So your upcoming book, hormone intelligence, the complete guide to calming hormones, chaos, and restoring your body’s natural blueprint for wellbeing. What date will it be released? And where can our listeners buy this book? You can get it anytime now. Cause you can pre-order it. But the book launch date is June 8th and you can get it anywhere.
Books are sold, but even if you go to Amazon or your local bookstore, go to my firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash book, we’re not selling the book, but once you get the book, there’s a really nice set of bonus gifts and some special things so that you can put your book purchase, you can upload a screenshot of it and then get all like kind of unlock all those special gifts.
We’ll we’ll put that in. We’ll put that in. Yeah. We’ll put that in the episode description. So listeners can click directly there and if they want to, if they want more resources from you to work with you, should they go to your website or at any other places? Yeah. Go to my website around.com. And the best way to work with me is honestly through my online courses,
because I put everything into my online courses that I would put into my one-on-one with my practice. I just like start with my book, jump in with an online course. And then if you kind of need to go up the chain to work with me, you know, that can be done. But I find that the, the group experience of women working together to heal their hormone health or healing to heal their gut or their adrenals or thyroid is so powerful.
I a hundred Percent agree. We have a similar support group within RPCs community called the sisterhood. And it’s just really beautiful when we see everyone talking with each other, sharing their experiences, what’s working for them. What’s not. And then there’s a lot of like conversation happening that helps people, Community is so important so that we can shift our culture a little.
Yeah. And also for me, like I don’t have every single condition that I treat. Right. Like I don’t have PCOM. And when I get women together who have PCLs, even though I have all this knowledge and information and experience, some women will say, oh, like I’m experiencing this and this is what I do. And then it’ll be like something so subtle that I wouldn’t even thought of it.
And then another one was like, oh yeah, that happens for me. So I actually also learned so much women who gather in these groups and there’s just a level of support that women can give each other when they’re going through the same thing together. So it’s really nice. And then I become a guide on the journey and can explain, well, here’s why the gluten-free or here’s why,
you know, increasing your fat and protein, but not as much carbs or here’s why myo-inositol might help you, but maybe not you. So it becomes fun for me to do it that way. I like it even more than the one-on-one doctor care in some ways, because I feel like it makes me more part of that group sharing instead of people waiting for me to fix them,
you know, as people talk, they’re like, I want you to fix this. Yeah, totally, totally. It helps us advocates to learn about our audience and what they’re looking for, the information that they’re seeking, that they can’t like, they can’t find on their own. So. Yeah, really good. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us today,
sisters, if you like to work with Dr. Aviva Romm or access for a book, we’ll put all the information in the, in the podcast episode description. But again, thank you for joining us. We’ll be back next week with another episode until then take care. Bye. If You enjoyed listening to this podcast, you have to come check out the sisterhood.
It’s my monthly membership site, where sisters just like you are learning how to move through the stages of DCOS from Sage one cold and alone at the doctor’s office to stage five, nailing the PCs lifestyle collusion, and dairy-free get ready to finally feel in control of your body. Again. Ah,
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