genneve CEO Jill had a chance to sit down with Dr. Lora Shahine, reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist at Pacific NW Fertility.
Dr. Shahine explains what a “reproductive endocrinologist” is and why someone might seek out her care if they’re trying to start or add to their family.
How does a couple know it’s time to visit a specialist? Dr. Shahine explains the impact “Dr. Internet” has had on her practice. She gives some guidelines around when it’s time to get help in getting pregnant.
What are the different fertility paths? How do you choose between IVF vs pills to promote ovulation vs insemination? Dr. Shahine explains both high tech and low tech treatments, as well as how she and her patients determine the roadmap to achieve desired goals.
How does Dr. Shahine judge where to start with a patient? It starts with the patient’s story from her own point of view – what she’s experienced so far, what she’s tried, what her goals are (soccer team vs one kid). Hear from Dr. Shahine how new technologies have opened up lots of new options.
There are a lot of myths surrounding fertility and how much science can do to promote it. Dr. Shahine gives us the truths around making babies and the wonders – and limits – of technological intervention.
Making a baby requires having a good egg to start with. Dr. Shahine lets us in on what makes an egg “good.”
Where do you see innovation? Dr. Shahine explains the importance of mitochondria in reproduction and how new research may allow us to move healthy mitochondria from a young egg into an older egg to give the egg that youthful energy.
What is it with age anyway? Dr. Shahine explains why Mick Jagger can have a baby at 72 but most women’s peak reproductive years are over by age 40. Chromosome imbalance is the largest cause of miscarriages, and the older the egg, the likelier the chance of this happening.
Dr. Shahine answers those questions you’ve always wondered about: How do sperm live and die and what happens to them if they’re not ejaculated? What happens to unused eggs? Why don’t women who’ve been on birth control pills – and therefore not ovulating – have a “reserve” of eggs?
“My job has very high highs and very low lows,” says Dr. Shahine. How does she help women cope with the feelings of shame, guilt, and failure that often (and wrongly) surround miscarriage? There’s lots of cause for hope, she says, and a big part of her job is convincing women and couples to stay positive.
So, how does she help women stay positive? Dr. Shahine is a huge believer in education and knowledge and grounding hope in the possibilities that science and nature provide. She talks about the importance of self-care and how women so often struggle to prioritize themselves appropriately.
Does stress affect your fertility? Dr. Shahine wants people to understand that while there is a mind-body connection, stressing about stress is the wrong focus. She gives great tips on how to shift thinking to healthfulness, mindfulness, and being present and positive.
Dr. Shahine wants to change the conversation from guilt and shame to knowledge, empowerment, and support. Awareness will lead to funding for more research and more innovation around fertility, so it’s important to have open conversations.
Your takeaway? There’s so much fear and pressure around fertility, says Dr. Shahine, yet there are options for those who are finding it difficult to conceive. Have hope.
The experience of menopause differs from woman to woman, but in our conversations with women, one thing seems nearly universal: the more information a woman has, the more in-control she feels over her body and her transition.
The problem? Because menopause is still so taboo, many women struggle to ask questions and get answers.
Dr. Anna Garrett has been a clinical pharmacist for over 20 years, working in a variety of practice settings. Happily for us, she discovered along the way that working with women in midlife is her true passion. Dr. Anna offers her clients a variety of services including hormone balancing, weight loss, and GeneSNP testing. Her health coaching is designed to help women in perimenopause and menopause escape from hormone hell and feel amazing in their bodies so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond.
Dr. Anna is a Doctor of Pharmacy and Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist. She is also a Certified Intrinsic Coach®, and has studied through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.
Clearly, Dr. Anna has answers on midlife and menopause. So we asked her some questions.
We asked Dr. Anna how she got started on the path of working with women in midlife and menopause. Dr. Anna shared with us how seeing women floundering and not living life to the fullest prompted her to go into practice helping women reclaim their bodies, lives, and selves.
What do we mean by “hormones,” “hormonal” and “hormone management”? These are kind of important terms to a woman in or approaching menopause, yet most of us are a little unclear on what they really mean. Dr. Anna educates us on hormones, their interactions, and the impacts when they’re out of balance.
We wanted to understand the difference between traditional HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and B-HRT (bioidentical HRT). So we asked. Dr. Anna tells us what they are, how they differ, when they’re called for, and the “laundry list” of lifestyle changes women should consider first before you go down the HRT road.
In this part, we asked Dr. Anna to take a little deeper dive into the differences between HRT and B-HRT. She gives us some great details on the risks and benefits and some of the factors to consider if a woman decides to pursue hormone replacement.
OTC progesterone is available and does have some benefits, but Dr. Anna schools us on the risks of self-medicating without the oversight of a health care professional.
How do you know if seeing a professional coach/consultant like Dr. Anna could help you? She explains the profile of an “ideal client” – eg someone who is dealing with hormone challenges and is ready to “do the work” necessary to feel better.
You’re ready to consult someone like Dr. Anna – how do you go about it? What’s that first appointment like, what expectations should you have? Dr. Anna has a range of possible paths to feeling better in your body, depending on where a woman is in her journey, what symptoms she’s experiencing, her financial circumstances and so on.
Women may not even know that they’re in perimenopause or menopause, and when symptoms are gradual, they may not even realize how poorly they’re feeling compared to how they could feel. Dr. Anna speaks to the issues women face in getting properly diagnosed and treated and offers suggestions how a woman can prepare in the years before midlife to be their own best advocate. Don’t have the joy sucked out of your life when what you’re experiencing can be solved, she advises. Oh, and don’t rely on your Facebook group for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Dr. Anna shares stories of women who got their “midlife mojo back.” When hot flashes and body image issues threatened their quality of life, Dr. Anna helped them get balance and perspective back.
I’m sold, let’s work together – so what does that look like? Dr. Anna talks about why she thinks six months is the right amount of time to do the serious work of getting your body balance – and your mojo – back on track. And because hormone fluctuations know no borders, Dr. Anna talks a little bit about how and why she set up her business to be able to help women globally.
Dr. Anna takes on the issue of shame surrounding menopause and aging. “It’s not like anyone gets to opt out of this!” she says; don’t suffer needlessly, don’t be ashamed, enjoy the wisdom you’ve earned and celebrate this special time of life.
One piece of advice for listeners? Find someone to reach out to, Dr. Anna says. Your problems can be solved, so don’t suffer them needlessly.
To learn more about – and from! – Dr. Anna, check out her website at drannagarrett.com.
For more great content on menopause, midlife, and feeling fabulous in your body at every age, join us at genneve.com.
Jill talked with Dr. Patricia Van Santen, a California-based licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Dr. Patricia works with many women in midlife and menopause, and her patients have found great relief in her formulas and treatments.
Because many Westerners are still unfamiliar with the practice of Chinese medicine, we asked Dr. Patricia to share her learning and expertise with us.
Dr. Patricia got started working on bodies because, as a professional dancer surrounded by other professional dancers, she was familiar with bodies and the complexities thereof. She told us about how art, physicality, health, and celebration of movement came together to lead her to her current practice.
As a dancer and choreographer, you experience the world in different ways than other people, Dr. Patricia says. Hear her thoughts on how we should all, like dancers, learn to listen to our bodies to stay healthy or help ourselves heal.
How do we know we’re listening to our bodies and hearing them correctly? Dr. Patricia says to “start by listening to your doubt.” Hear how to do it and why it works.
How does your tribe help you be in the moment, listen, and thrive? There’s power in the help and support only your tribe can provide.
Dr. Patricia introduces us to the fundamental differences in approach to menopause between Western and Chinese medicine. Many women all over the world have found relief in both traditions, so it’s worth exploring all the options.
How do you change your health when you can’t really change your circumstances? You may not be able to change your job or move to another climate, but Dr. Patricia shares other, smaller changes you can make to bring your life and body into better balance.
To give us an example of what a consultation might look like, Jill shared her long-standing issue with night sweats. Dr. Patricia takes her through how she might identify the underlying issues and create a personalized formula to address them.
Once the formula is determined, what next? Since presumably your local drugstore won’t be able to provide, where do clients go to find the items they need? Dr. Patricia lets us in on the best ways to source the solutions. (hint: Oriental Medical Schools pretty much rock this)
How do Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture complement each other, and what other components should we be integrating into our self care?
Many Westerners are unfamiliar with Chinese medicine and acupuncture – Dr. Patricia shares how she brings her patients to a place of openness and trust.
If someone is looking for a practitioner of Chinese medicine, how should they go about finding one? What questions should they ask, and where do you even start?
How do you establish expectations when patients are impatient for solutions? Dr. Patricia lets us in on things women can do any time to start the process of feeling better.
Dr. Patricia advises us on what all women over 40 should be doing to nourish themselves inside and out. Observe yourself, she says: what makes you feel better or worse? What in life brings you joy? Do what Mae West used to do, Dr. Patricia says, and start your day positively. Walk, observe, be present.
How do we learn to embrace and celebrate midlife? Disentangle yourself from the notion that only fertile women are productive and useful, Dr. Patricia says, because you have a great deal yet to give.