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Genneve wants to empower women to feel confident, sexy, and happy in the face of hormonal change. Join the conversation!

Nov 9, 2017

If you like beer – especially craft beer created and brewed by experts who love what they do – you’re really going to enjoy this podcast.

If you’re dealing with menopause symptoms, you’re going to love it.

The Portsmouth Brewery is the kind of place where you want to become a regular: amazing beer, great food, the kind of social atmosphere that’s perfect for spending time with friends and unwinding after work or on a weekend. (Hint: go on Tuesdays, and you can take part in “wooden token” day.)

Lately, they’ve been in the press a lot. A LOT.

They’ve created a beer called Libeeration, a gruit designed, as their website says, “specifically for women experiencing menopausal symptoms and to celebrate the liberating aspects of this stage of life.”

That sounded awfully good to us, so we gave them a call. And they agreed to tell us all about it. So if you’ve got some time, pour yourself a glass of your favorite brew and join us.

Come to genneve.com for more information. 

Oct 31, 2017

As we near the kickoff to the holiday season, we wanted to know how concerned we should really be about the amount of sugar we’re consuming. You hear words like “toxic” and “addiction,” as well as “harmless” and “fun” when it comes to sugar and sugar consumption. So which is it?

The American Heart Association says women should get no more than 25 grams (6 tsp) of added sugar a day, and 36 grams (9 tsp) for men. However, according to SugarScience, a publication from the University of California at San Francisco, the average American gets 82 grams of sugar (19.5 tsp) every day.  

We’re eating a lot of it. But when it comes to our health in midlife, is sugar really that bad for us?

To find out, we called up Dr. Anna Garrett, who talked to us before on getting your mojo back in midlife. Dr. Anna is a certified coach and Doctor of Pharmacy, and her mission in life is helping women get their hormones – and their lives! – back in balance.

Here’s what we learned:

1:17 Can you really get addicted to sugar?

“Sugar actually works on the same centers in the brain as cocaine and nicotine.” So, yeah. Addictive and dangerous. Find out the process of addiction in your brain.

2:23 Is giving up sugar a fad?

Fat used to be the demonized ingredient when it came to obesity and poor health. But did the Big Sugar lobby play fast and loose with the facts to make it appear like fat was the bad guy?

4:25 Does sugar affect hormonal health?

Sugar disrupts insulin, creating chaos with your hormones and possibly contributing to estrogen dominance. And that’s just not good.

5:42 What about heart health?

Sugar wreaks havoc here too, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Anna explains.

6:40 How the heck do I give up sugar?

Cutting out sugar is tricky. Dr. Anna gives her recommendations on going “cold turkey” versus “cutting back.” HINT: sugary drinks should probably be first to go.

7:37 Ok, fill me in on the drinks…?

Some drinks, like milk, have natural sugars. Avoid the ones with added sugars like agave or syrups. And bad news, y’all: wine is a problem.

8:40 Where does sugar hide in food?

Sugar is super sneaky, so even capable label readers may miss a few. Dr. Anna tells us what to be on the lookout for.

9:20 Artificial sweeteners: OK or no?

I’ll give you one guess. Yep. Not good. Dr. Anna tells us why artificial sweeteners may actually sabotage your good intentions. But there are ways to make it less bad for you ….

10:45 Withdrawal. What do we have to expect?

There are definitely withdrawal symptoms, just like with other addictions. Dr. Anna gives us the info on how we’ll feel, how long it’ll last, and how to manage it best.

11:58 How long does it take to break free?

If you’re truly serious, you can get to great in 7 – 10 days, says Dr. Anna. She tells us how to go about a sugar “detox” the best way.

13:10 What do you eat, if not sugar?

Dr. Anna gives us insight into her healthy diet. We’ve decided we want to be her when we grow up.

14:02 After the detox, can I bring some sweetness back?

Starchy veggies like beets or sweet potatoes and healthy carbs can be invited back, but for those folks for whom sugar is an “avalanche” food (ie, triggers binge eating), refined sugars should probably be eliminated entirely and permanently.

15:17 Halloween sugar-avoidance tips?

The holidays are coming and most of us are about to be awash in sugary treats. How do we handle it? Dr. Anna has some great ideas on how to be thoughtful about what we’re eating. Autopilot is only good for airplanes, folks; never for food.

17:36 How do you get your family on the bandwagon?

It’s tough to do this right: you don’t want to be the “anti-fun committee,” so explain why you’re doing what you’re doing, include the family in meal planning and prep, and start training taste buds early!

Are you ready to reduce your sugar intake? It can be a tough road, so consider getting help from a coach like Dr. Anna. We’d love to hear how it goes for you! Please share your successes and setbacks with us in the comments  or on genneve’s Facebook page or Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group.

 

Oct 27, 2017

Mona Lisa Touch: You probably haven’t heard of it, but if you’re a woman in midlife, you might want to take a moment to hear about it. This “fractionated CO2 laser,” we hear, can return vaginal tissue to a pre-menopausal state with just a few 3-to-5-minute treatments.

That can mean a return to sex that’s pleasurable instead of painful and an end to mild urinary incontinence.

Because we have no idea what a “fractionated CO2 laser” is, but we wanted to know more, we contacted a provider of the service here in Seattle, Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su.

Dr. Rebecca maintained her own ob/gyn practice and taught Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Washington before decided to take a position with Swedish Medical Center as an OB Hospitalist. In 2016, she opened RenuvaGyn to start offering Mona Lisa Touch to women in menopause.

She knows what this laser is and what it can do for women who are suffering with vaginal atrophy, mild incontinence, and painful sex. Here’s what she told us:

 

1:45 How did you end up here, doing this?

Dr. Rebecca traces her path to Seattle and RenuvaGyn and the Mona Lisa Touch, and why she feels like women deserve to have a robust sex life, even after menopause (shocking!)

4:35 Why choose the Mona Lisa Touch?

Some women can’t use hormones or prefer not to. The MLT gives those women a great option. 

6:50 What does the Mona Lisa Touch device look like?

Kind of like a photocopy machine with a screen, according to the doc. She explains the process which is nothing at all like making copies.

8:11 How does it work?

The laser reawakens cells that start rebuilding and re-hydrating the vaginal area. The thicker layers, rebalanced pH, and returning healthy bacteria bring that bit of the body back to pre-menopause. She also gives us a timeline for when to get going – hint: the sooner, the better.

10:47 It’s not just for painful sex

Yes, it’s good for sex, no question. But it’s also good for the itch and the dryness.

11:29 Sooooo…. Does it hurt?

Because it doesn’t go as deeply into the tissue as facial laser treatment or hair removal, it’s less painful than either. A topical numbing cream takes care of any pain that might occur with the procedure. No flaking or peeling, either, woot!

13:20 What keeps women from getting the procedure done?

The MLT sounds amazing – why aren’t more women doing it? Cost, says the doctor. It’s not covered by insurance (of course!), so women pay the costs out of pocket.

15:10 When women hear about it, do they want it?

Cost aside, women are often a little fearful about the procedure, but when it’s done, the usual response is, “that’s it?” Doctor  Rebecca goes into what the office visit is like, and it sounds pretty darn easy.

(not all "vaginal rejuvenation" procedures are created equal. read up on why you may not want to keep up with the kardashians)

16:53 About that incontinence?

For mild incontinence, the MLT can be very helpful in a couple of ways. Dr. Rebecca takes us through the advantages. Also good for post-baby women in addition to women over 50, so spread the word!

19:05 Can you be my ob/gyn?

Mona Lisa Touch (and menopause care generally) doesn’t quite yet pay the bills; Dr. Rebecca is also a OB Hospitalist at Swedish Medical Center, helping with labor, delivery, c-sections, etc. The MLT fulfilled her need to work with women on an ongoing basis. She talks about how doctors are paid and why it doesn’t favor doctors talking with women about menopause issues.

23:14 What’s the process for women who want MLT?

Dr. Rebecca says there’s no physical prep to be done, but it’s good to do some research and know what to expect. One place to look is her own site and blog on renuvagyn.com.

For women who cannot or prefer not to use hormones to treat vaginal dryness and painful sex, the Mona Lisa Touch may provide an excellent, effective, low-risk alternative. You can search for a provider in your area from the Mona Lisa Touch website.

Have you had or would you consider a laser treatment to deal with vaginal atrophy or incontinence? Share with us (anonymously, if you prefer) in the comments on the genneve blog, or you can join the conversation on genneve’s Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve’s closed Facebook group.

Oct 20, 2017

Mary Slagle is a SaaS Sales Specialist for MINDBODY, Inc. Working in the field of wellness, and for a company filled with mostly twenty-somethings, Mary was feeling as though she had missed out on the chance to join in on the activities and fun they all enjoyed. With five grown children and four grandchildren, her dream was to be more active and healthy.

While prospecting for new clients, Mary came across Health and Lifestyle Coach Lara Dalch's website and program for a Vibrant Healthy life. She realized it was exactly what she was looking for, in a wholly unexpected way.

In this podcast with Jill, Mary and Lara tell us how they partnered up to help Mary feel balanced and successful in all aspects of her life.

1:54 Why a coach?

Mary is a high-achieving, got-it-all-together kind of gal. Why would she need a coach? Because being driven and having a full life is terrific, but it can also be stressful. Lara helps her prioritize and spend her time and energy right.

2:56 What struck you about Lara’s services in particular?

There are lots of coaches and coaching programs out there. We asked Mary how she knew Lara was the right partner for her. According to Mary, The “Get Out of Your Own Way” worksheet, plus the chance to consult with Lara for free, opened her eyes to where she was in life. She was settling, she realized, and that just wasn’t right.

4:37 What does it mean to “get out of your own way”?

Lara’s online worksheet was born from watching women sabotage their lives and their opportunities to live more vibrantly. Check out the ways Lara sees women block their own dreams and futures.

6:15 Finding awareness

There must have been a moment when you realized you weren’t living the life you wanted. What was it like when your eyes were opened? Mary talks about when she realized she was giving so much to her professional life, it was leaving her powerless in her personal life.

7:44 How does the workshop help women realize how much better their lives could be?

The workshop is a “sliver of hope” that things can change, says Lara; it’s a glimpse into that better, more fulfilling life. Whatever your goals are, there are paths to achieving them – Lara helps her clients realize first, things can be better, and second, here’s how we’ll get you there.

10:21 First, the commitment, then the work

What did the day-to-day work feel like? Lara and Mary talk about the dangers of The Grand Plan and the sanity of setting reasonable goals.

12:35 Set big goals – be ready to adjust

As Lara says, “Feeling well means something different every day.” It’s important for highly driven women to train their brains to notice what’s going well, to celebrate the small steps as much as the big victories. As Lara told us later, there are two critical steps here. Step one: honor how you're feeling and be compassionate with yourself. Step two: redirect your attention to what's going well. Listen to find out how.

14:12 Honeymoon’s over. Now what?

We asked Mary about the low points. What were they and how did she get over them? In a house full of food that wasn’t healthy for her body, constant denial was grinding her down. Mary describes how she and Lara developed tools that allowed for some indulgence but kept her choices under her control.

16:06 Tools? Do tell!

We could all use tools like that! Mary talks about how Lara’s program allows for 24/7 access to the whole history of their journey together through video. Being able to go back to critical touchpoints along the way really helped Mary stay on track.

18:00 Pulling clients out of the pit

We asked Lara how she realizes her clients are struggling and what she does when they need a boost. So, what’s “new and good” with you?

18:58 How does coach stay positive?

“There’s always something” that shifts the client and the coach back into a positive mindset, Lara says. Sometimes they have to talk a while to find the good, but there’s always something.

19:39 How do you know when you’re “done”?

We asked how the program finishes and Mary is sustaining her progress. The program is designed to be finite, Lara says, though there are options to continue. But high-performing women like Mary tend to get through the material quickly and are ready to fly solo pretty fast. From her side, Mary didn’t want to say goodbye, even though she was “soaring”! So she’s opted to keep Lara in her corner, through check ups and check ins to keep her moving forward. Will she finally join that CrossFit group? Stay tuned!

23:30 Is this now a way of life, or is it still work to keep moving ahead?

Life makes it tough to make the right choices sometimes (e.g. a cruise ship full of ice cream and pizza), so negotiations continue. But now, Mary says, she has the tools to make judgement calls and control her own decision-making (like spending candy bar money on better “indulgences”).

25:47 The coach’s perspective on a client’s success

“It’s such a pleasure to see her thrive,” Lara says. No surprise there. 😊

If you’re looking to get out of your own way and feel vibrant and fulfilled, take a look at Lara’s website or find a coach near you.

For those who think you should be able to do this on their own, you may well be able to, and that’s great. But also think about all the other times in life when you’re willing to call in expert help – is fixing your future to be more fulfilling less important than fixing your car?

If you’ve utilized the services of a coach for career, fitness, lifestyle changes, nutrition, etc., we’d love to know how you found your coach and how the partnership worked for you. Please feel free to share in the comments on genneve.com. You’re also welcome to join the conversation on genneve’s Facebook page or Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve’s closed Facebook group.

Coming up soon on genneve’s podcasts: nixing sugar with Dr. Anna Garrett, just in time for Halloween; brewing up something special for menopause with the Portsmouth Brewery; and learning more about the innovative Mona Lisa Touch with Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su. Stay tuned or subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud so you never miss an episode!

Sep 27, 2017

Pelvic pain during sex, pain from the pelvic region generally, incontinence, prolapse – these do NOT have to be your “new normal.” There are treatments out there to help you manage, even solve, many of the issues related to pelvic floor dysfunction.

One solution might mean taking a long look at your choice of birth control ….

Rachel Gelman DPT is a clinical specialist and branch director at the Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco. She specializes in the physical therapy management of numerous pelvic pain disorders, including bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction. We talked with her about some of the sources of pelvic pain, including the surprising news that hormonal birth control may be part of the problem.

1:27 what’s your approach to pelvic pain?

Rachel says she deals with pain from the “ribcage to the knees,” specifically focusing on the internal muscles of the pelvic floor. We asked her exactly what that meant. The list is surprisingly long – clearly this part of the body is responsible for a heck of a lot and needs proper care and attention.

3:13 how do hormones impact our pelvic health or cause pelvic pain?

Rachel also focuses a lot on the impact of hormones on that part of the body. Given that midlife and menopause are a time of enormous hormonal changes, we wanted to understand that better. Rachel explained to us how the sensitive tissue of the vagina and surrounding area are affected by estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

(here’s a fun way to increase pelvic health: get yourself an Elvie)

6:06 “no good birth control method” – what do you mean?

So, what does that mean for women who take hormonal birth control? Especially women who’ve been on the Pill for a long time? Rachel says there’s no truly perfect birth control; oral contraceptives are effective, but it increases sex hormone binding globulen. The take away: the Pill can negatively impact some very sensitive tissue, so if you have a choice, consider carefully when choosing it as your contraceptive method.

8:44 please explain pain in the vestibular tissue?

So, what exactly is vestibular tissue, and why is it so impactful if this area is inflamed or otherwise unhealthy? Rachel gives us a sort of private-area map and explains the consequences of hormone imbalance here and what can be done about it.

10:52 how can you tell where pelvic pain comes from?

So, we asked, how do you know when pain is caused by hormonal imbalance as opposed to some other concern? You have to look at all the puzzle pieces, Rachel says; she takes us through how she puts them together to figure out what’s going on and how to fix it.

14:43 how do patients find you?

How do patients find you? Is it mostly by referral? She gets a lot of referrals, Rachel says, from ob/gyns, urologists, etc., but a lot of patients simply find her on the Internet. So, shortcut Dr. Internet: if you’re having a particular problem and not getting a solution from the doctor you’re seeing, ask for a referral to a specialist.

15:50 is age a factor in pelvic pain?

Do you see more older women, or do you see these patients more often? Her practice is pretty evenly distributed, Rachel says, because pelvic issues aren’t limited to age, but yeah, no surprise: age does have impacts as hormones change. So if you’re getting older and have never seen a pelvic specialist, it might be time: avoid problems in the future by being proactive!

17:29 what should patients be doing between visits? is there anything they can do?

What kind of self-care should women be doing between visits to a specialist like Rachel? It depends on where you are, Rachel says; are you already in pain and need help relaxing or releasing? She gives her patients things to do between visits to help them learn to treat themselves, and that’s a Very Good Thing.

18:19 so … about that Squatty Potty®….

“We as humans were not meant to sit on the toilet to have a bowel movement.” Ooooookkaaaaaay. Not giving it up. Just sayin’. Fortunately, says Rachel, there are ways to adopt the optimal BM position without resorting to squatting in the woods. Phew! She explains why not excreting correctly can actually be pretty bad for you.

(speaking of toilets, do you know how much urination is normal for you?)

20:10 before we let you go, what else should we know?

“Kegels are not the answer to everything,” Rachel says. They can be good for you, but they don’t solve every issue. Best not to self-diagnose a kegel deficiency – if you’re having problems with painful sex, incontinence, bowel dysfunction, there’s help, there are resources. Seek them out and get your standard of living back.

If you’ve had issues with pelvic pain or other issues related to pelvic dysfunction, would you share with us how you managed it? Let us know in the comments below, or hit us up on genneve’s Facebook page or Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve’s Facebook group.

More about Dr. Rachel Gelman: Rachel is a Bay Area native who received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Washington in Seattle and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Samuel Merritt University. As you heard in the podcast, she’s passionate about women’s and men’s health and strives to promote quality education regarding pelvic health both in the clinic and in the community. We appreciate her sharing her wisdom and expertise with us!

You can follow Rachel directly on social media at @pelvichealthsf on Instagram or @RachelgDPT on Twitter.

Sep 18, 2017

So, do you know what fascia is?

We weren’t entirely clear, nor did we know what a big role it plays in movement, flexibility, and stability, and, when inflamed, in joint pain and stiffness. A single, continuous structure from head to toe, the fascia surrounds and wraps all our internal parts. So if it’s hurting, you’re hurting.

Jennifer Mason, owner of Vitamin Chi, knows all about fascia, the care and feeding of. A licensed acupuncturist, Jennifer specializes in neck and shoulder pain and menopausal symptoms. So we grabbed her for a conversation about acupuncture, fascia, trigger points, and using Chinese remedies to bring our bodies back to health.

1:19 We love the name “Vitamin Chi.”  What is Vitamin Chi and what exactly do you do there?

According to Jennifer, good health is “an everyday thing,” and acupuncture, herbalism, and so forth tend to be a bit esoteric for people. She wants to make Chinese medicine available and accessible for the uninitiated so we can all enjoy the very best of health.

2:30 Fascia – sooooooo, what is that, exactly?

Picture your favorite sandwich meat in a sandwich bag. The meat is your muscle, and the sandwich bag is the fascia, says Jennifer. In the simplest terms, it’s a giant network within your body connecting bits together, and communicating between, so it lends itself well to treatment via acupuncture.

4:08 Why does fascia sometimes get problematic?

One of the properties of fascia is it remodels itself, says Jennifer. If we don’t move for a while, we need to stretch and move to discourage it from getting too “set.” So if you’re experiencing pain, don’t wait to seek treatment.

5:28 What’s the role of fascia?

The whole body is connected, and while work on fascia is good for joint pain, treating the body as a holistic network is critical. Jennifer takes us through trigger points and why the pain you’re feeling in one point of your body may not have started there.

7:05 How does acupuncture work?

There are points in the muscle where electrical differences are greatest, and if an acupuncturist can find exactly the right point with the needle, the muscle “resets,” according to Jennifer.

8:30 How does the needle actually relieve pain?

The needle goes right to the “motor point” and communicates up the fascial line to the brain, says Jennifer. Additionally, acupuncture takes into account other important components of chronic pain such as emotion and inflammation. She explains how acupuncture targets all the pain levers to provide relief.

10:23 Needle-phobes. Whattya gonna do?

Jennifer admits to us that she “chickened out” of her first acupuncture appointment. But these needles are “as thin as kitten whiskers” she says, and just as effective for making us feel better. She lets us in on how she helps her patients relax into the experience.

12:07 What is cupping, and is just for Michael Phelps?

This “super-low tech” treatment is great for myofascial release and also Instagram posts, says Jennifer. It feels good and helps relieve pain by pulling inflammation out of the muscle.

13:46 Reiki: what is it and how does it work?

This most gentle form of healing comes from Japan and uses the life force of the practitioner, channeled into the patient, to treat chronic pain. “It doesn’t make sense to me,” Jennifer admits, but it changed her life. She tells the story of how she discovered the effectiveness of reiki during a very difficult time.

15:07 How do you incorporate reiki into your practice?

First, relaxation and readiness, then the practice of channeling the healing energies. Jennifer takes us through how she guides her patients through the experience.

16:38 What preparation does the reiki practitioner need to deliver the treatment?

“We all have an innate healing power,” Jennifer says, but we don’t all know how to tap into it and harness it correctly. Learning to be a practitioner takes practice and calm and leaning into the flow.

17:37 Why the new focus on women in midlife and perimenopause?

Jennifer says, women are silently suffering, and if you ask the right questions, you find there’s so much need for help. Chinese medicine approaches the body differently, it’s open to some different ideas about what’s truly happening and how to manage symptoms. “We can get very specific and treat all kinds of things,” Jennifer tells us. “I’m very excited.”

19:12 How do you help women understand they should practice self-care and get help?

“It’s not a selfish act to take care of yourself,” Jennifer says. In fact, when a woman is running on empty, it’s harder on everyone. It’s important to do what’s necessary to heal. And self-care doesn’t have to mean coming to the doc all the time – it may be about recognizing unhealthy patterns and finding tools to correct them.

In addition to being an acupuncturist, Jennifer is a Reiki Master Practitioner and has been using Chinese herbs for health since childhood from her grandparents’ herb shop. Her passion is to help people find healthy solutions in their daily habits, diet, and practices. And tacos. She loves tacos. Find out more about Jennifer Mason and her practice on her company website, Vitamin Chi.

Have you had experience with acupuncture, cupping or reiki? We’d love to hear how it worked for you, so give us a shout in the comments below, on genneve’s Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve's closed Facebook group.

Sep 11, 2017

 

Pelvic floor health impacts your quality of life, whether you know it or not. Actually, when it stops being healthy, you’ll know it.

Peeing, pooping, sexual satisfaction – being successful at these things requires a healthy pelvic floor, and as we age, the muscles that make up that floor can weaken. Because it’s so important to keep this “hammock” of muscles strong and responsive, we talked to physiotherapist Dr. Susie Gronski, “your doc for all things down there.” She gave us the low down on our down-unders: what happens when things are out of whack and how to get them back.

Have a listen to part I of this conversation, “to your pelvic health, our talk with dr. Susie Gronski, part 1.” Then continue on below, where Jill talks to Dr. Susie about pain, the role our pelvic floor plays in our sexual health, and the Big Os:

1:18 Orgasms, pain, and pelvic health

Experiencing sexual pleasure all the way to orgasm can be more challenging for women, and nearly impossible if there’s pain involved. We asked Dr. Susie how women can relieve the pain and get their desire back. Spoiler alert: help is out there. Dr. Susie fills us in on bringing pleasure and intimacy back into our lives.

6:08 Dr. Susie’s 6-day course for pelvic health

In this hands-on (yep), one-on-one course, Dr. Susie teaches students to explore their bodies, interpret what they see and feel, and ultimately, treat and heal themselves. With Dr. Susie’s expert guidance, students learn what the muscles look like, what they do, and how to heal the pain they’re experiencing. Transformation is tough, says Dr. Susie, and everyone should have a support system to get through it.

10:22 Giving your body 6 days

We wanted to know how the course worked – is it in-person, or can it be done virtually? The six days are in person, Dr. Susie says, because it’s necessary to touch the person, show them how to touch themselves, what to feel for, what they’re feeling when they find it, and so on.

11:15 What do women need to be mindful of when it comes to pelvic health?

Dr. Susie says, remember, you’re not the only one who leaks in Zumba class! Incontinence and other issues are common, and there’s help. Also, it’s not all about kegels; there’s a network of things happening throughout your body, so it’s important to learn beyond kegels. Finally, Dr. Susie reminds us that we can’t be shy when seeking help. It’s your quality of life on the line – get over your “vagina phobia!”

Here’s to happy private parts!

Thanks again to Dr. Susie for her expert information on how to keep or regain your healthy pelvic floor. You can find more from Dr. Susie on her website.

Have you had professional help and training to regain pelvic floor function? We’d love to hear about it and how it helped you get your quality of life back. Please share with us in the comments below (you’re welcome to comment anonymously), email us at info@genneve.com, or let us know on genneve’s Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve’s closed Facebook group. 

Next up on the genneve podcast calendar, Jill talks with acupuncturist and owner of Vitamin Chi, Jennifer Mason, about your fabulous fascia – what it is and how to keep it happy. Stay tuned!

Sep 5, 2017

Do you know how critical your pelvic floor muscles are to your overall health?

Very.

Most of us are only aware of our pelvic floor during times of pleasure (contractions in the pelvic floor are what men and women feel in orgasms). But when your pelvic floor is weak, you may suddenly be aware of it for entirely different reasons: pain, incontinence, prolapse, sexual dysfunction, even discomfort just sitting.

Clearly, keeping this area of the body healthy is central to your quality of life.

To learn more about what below-deck problems are possible and how to head them off before they happen, we talked with Dr. Susie Gronski, licensed doctor of physical therapy and a board certified pelvic rehabilitation practitioner. In addition to knowing a lot about your private parts, she’s also a certified health coach. As she says, she’s the doctor for “everything down there” and signs her emails, “In loving wellness for your pelvis™

Here’s what we learned from the “down-there” doctor:

1:30 What is a “physiotherapist for your private parts”?

Your nether regions have muscles – they aid in “pooping, peeing, and sex,” says Dr. Susie. She gives us the low down (ha ha) on the pelvic region and how a physiotherapist can help keep all that business functional and healthy.

2:52 What are the basic things we need to know about that area (and are too squeamish to ask)?

Your pelvic floor is kind of like the base of a cereal bowl, Dr. Susie tells us, only no cereal bowl in the world does as much as this one. Hear the connections, functions, impacts, and responsibilities of these bits.

4:42 Why don’t we know more about that region?

Let’s face it: we didn’t grow up talking with our parents about that part of our body once we successfully managed potty training, so we’re a little shy and squeamish. “We don’t focus on any part of our body unless we’re getting signals to focus there,” says Dr. Susie, especially that part of our body. And sadly, those signals are usually negative.

6:22 What are the common problems with pelvic floor muscles?

Pain with intercourse, abdominal pain, discomfort or pressure in that region are quite common, and many of us don’t know to associate that pain with pelvic floor health. That’s why it’s important to know the possibilities.

8:14 It seems like a lot of problems start in the pelvic region, if not the pain?

Many problems definitely start in our pelvic region, Dr. Susie says, then spread to other parts of the body as pain. Learn how your body communicates stress or dysfunction – symptoms might show up in one area when the roots of the problem are somewhere else.

10:15 How do you approach clients to keep them comfortable?

Clients don’t know what to expect except that someone’s about to “assess their private parts.” Yep, that’s a tough one. Dr. Susie talks about how she communicates with clients to keep them comfortable and feeling safe while dealing with the issue at hand. So to speak.

12:05 What does treatment look like?

Depending on the trigger(s), the treatment can take lots of forms, and Dr. Susie looks at all the possible causes. Pain isn’t just about body parts, it’s about the patients’ psyche, social constructs, all the things that weigh in on our lives. The treatment has to take all those factors into account to be effective, she says. Also, butt gripping. Yeah, you need to hear about that.

15:24 Shouldn’t I basically be doing crunches ALL. THE. TIME?

Nope, says Dr. Susie. Because science (which she explains in a super-friendly lay person way, hoorah). Basically there are lots of ways you can mess yourself up by keeping your abdomen tense, and Dr. Susie gives us the details. Hefty price for a six-pack. 

Now let’s talk about orgasms

Oh, look at that – we’re out of time. Come back to genneve for part 2, and you’ll get the FAQs on the big O. 

 

Dr. Susie is currently in private practice in Asheville, North Carolina specializing in holistic men’s pelvic health. Dr. Susie is also the author of Pelvic Pain: The Ultimate Cock Block and the creator of a unique hands-on training program to help men with pelvic pain become experts in treating themselves

Learn more by visiting drsusieg.com

Aug 29, 2017

Egg freezing is still a relatively new option for women and couples wanting to delay pregnancy for a few years.  

We wanted to know more about this fascinating procedure that – hopefully – allows younger women to freeze their eggs, then have babies, safely, at a later date.  

So we sat down with Dr. Lorna Marshall of Pacific NW Fertility. Dr. Marshall, practicing specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, co-founded the clinic back in 2005 and has been helping couples start or build their families ever since.

In the first part of our conversation with Dr. Marshall, we learned more about the science and history of in vitro fertilization (commonly known as IVF), fertility medicine, and her own path to reproductive medicine. In part 2, we talked about the cultural changes that come with women having more family planning power.

1:07 – vacation days, corner office, egg freezing: family planning as benefit

The number of women seeking family planning options has “shot up through the roof,” Dr. Marshall says, at least in part because some large companies are offering egg freezing as a benefit of employment. How has that changed the demographic of women who are coming in to ask about egg freezing?

2:08 – I’m 43, what do I do now?

Dr. Marshall tells us about the realities of egg freezing. Big one: ya gotta do it when you’re young.

3:29 – It only happens in the movies

Or to movie stars. Dr. Marshall says not to be fooled by celebrities having babies in their late 40s or even early 50s; chances are they used donated eggs, not their own. It’s important to understand the realities of science and bodies, including their limitations.

4:05 – I’m here; what happens now?

When  woman comes to the clinic, what happens? Dr. Marshall gives us the guided tour from testing to egg supply explanation to talking options when the results are in. Hear the process.

7:19 – Answering patients’ questions

When it comes to fertility, it’s critical to manage expectations. Doctors may not be able to give a woman an answer on if she’ll be able to have a baby – there are just too many factors. Find out what impacts fertility and how docs work with women to best reach their goals.

9:19 – Have my eggs been frozen too long?

Because the science of vitrification of eggs is still so new, Dr. Marshall says, some things just aren’t known yet, like, do frozen eggs have a – for want of a better term – “implant by” date? What stresses the egg? How long are vitrified eggs viable, and does the faster-freeze process put the eggs at risk?

11:14 – Egg storage: what does it look like, how does it work?

Big tanks hold racks and racks of eggs, sperm, and embryos at the Pacific NW Fertility clinic, Dr. Marshall says. Some fertility clinics don’t store on site, but Dr. Marshall’s clinic has chosen to.

12:25 – The nitty gritty: how much does it cost?

As you can imagine, egg freezing isn’t cheap. And many insurance companies won’t cover “elective” egg freezing. With egg retrieval and the medications it takes to do the process, women can expect to pay $14 – 15,000 for a single cycle. That’s not the cost of establishing a pregnancy, Dr. Marshall reminds us; just the process of freezing.

14:07 – Not a decision to be made lightly …

The best age for freezing eggs may be a woman’s 20s, which is not usually when women have the money to have their eggs frozen. The cost may be changing for cancer patients, at least, Dr. Marshall says, with some state legislatures working to make insurance companies cover fertility preservation. Will insurance ever cover truly elective fertility preservation?

17:08 – Making babies: what do you love most?

We wanted to know what made Dr. Marshall want to come back to work every day. Her biggest reason probably won’t surprise you, but, she tells us, the growth and changes in the field have also kept her engaged in her work. “I’m in the heart of society, doing this,” she says. “Every day I’m successful, and every day I fail or feel like I fail.”

19:15 – Egg freezing is still in its (wait for it) infancy, so do your homework

Because this procedure is still so new, it’s important to work with a clinic that’s actually made some babies from frozen eggs, Dr. Marshall says. There are lots of clinics that simply haven’t gotten to the “thawing and making babies” part yet. She lists some questions women should ask before choosing their clinic.

22:00 – By the numbers: your chances of making egg freezing work

Like much about a woman’s body, her chances of making a baby may be wildly different from another woman’s chances, even at the same age, says Dr. Marshall. She shares with us some numbers of chances of success based on age of mom and number of eggs retrieved.

Would you consider freezing your eggs in order to delay pregnancy? Why or why not? We’d love to hear your thoughts; please share in the comments section, email us at info@genneve.com, or let us know on genneve’s Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve’s closed Facebook group.

Next up: Dr. Susie Gronski, doctor of physical therapy and certified pelvic rehabilitation practitioner. We talked with Dr. Susie about sexual wellness and enjoying your sex life, even post-menopause. Be sure to stay tuned to genneve.com for that conversation, or subscribe to genneve on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or Google Play, so you never miss an episode.  

Aug 28, 2017

Back in May of 2017, we spoke with Dr. Lora Shahine of Pacific NW Fertility about fertility, in vitro fertilization, the stigma of miscarriage, and having hope.

The podcast was so popular, we returned to the clinic to talk with one of Dr. Shahine’s colleagues, Dr. Lorna Marshall, about another fertility preserving option: egg freezing. Once reserved for women about to undergo cancer treatments that would destroy their ovaries, egg freezing has become a popular way for healthy, younger women to delay pregnancy while pursuing a career.

Dr. Marshall is a practicing specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, serving the Seattle community for over 25 years. In this first part of our two-part podcast, Dr. Marshall spoke with us about the history and science behind freezing eggs. We’ve been freezing sperm for ages; why did it take so long to learn to freeze an egg, and what are the risks?

For the answer to that and other questions, listen up:

1:22

How does one become a reproductive endocrinologist/fertility specialist? For Dr. Marshall, her medical career paralleled the history of IVF, so it must have been destiny, she says. She shares her story of how her interest in fertility medicine grew as the science, ethics, and practice got more and more fascinating.

2:29

At first, fertility was uninteresting to her, Dr. Marshall says. The success rates were low, there wasn’t much doctors could do to help. Then IVF started to get really interesting…

4:42

Have patients changed over time? Not so much, Dr. Marshall says; they’re still “everyday folks.” But formerly couples came in only after they’d been trying for a very long time. Nowadays, couples are willing to try a more complicated route sooner. The big barrier to fertility treatments hasn’t changed: money.

6:54

In the past, Dr. Marshall says, fertilization specialists dealt almost entirely with couples who were infertile. Now, they have a whole separate clientele of women and couples who are looking for ways to postpone pregnancy.

7:51

We were curious to know what a woman who elects for fertility preservation looks like. Being able to elect for egg freezing is very new, Dr. Marshall says, only around since 2012. So we’re still discovering what women might want this option.

9:57

So what makes eggs so darn hard to freeze, compared to an embryo? Dr. Marshall explains how, previously, egg freezing was reserved for women who had received a cancer diagnosis and would likely be infertile after treatment. Such a small audience meant there wasn’t much opportunity to learn, and that slowed advancement of techniques.

13:08

Professional societies considered freezing eggs “experimental” until January 2013, finally lifting the designation because enough successes had been recorded. Four years later, egg freezing is still not advised as an elective procedure, just for cancer patients or for other special circumstances.

14:54

For anyone who might feel regret for not having chosen an egg-freezing option when they were younger, Dr. Marshall is quick to reassure them that it would not have been possible. “No regrets,” she says. All those fortunate celebrities getting pregnant at 50 probably aren’t doing it with their own eggs.

In part 2 of this conversation, Jill and Dr. Marshall talk more about the women who are electing to freeze their eggs as a way of postponing – but still having the option of – pregnancy and family. Hear about global corporations offering egg freezing as a “benefit” to female employees and how society’s approach to fertility is changing.

If you’re looking for more information about fertility and options for family planning, you can visit Dr. Marshall and her colleagues at Pacific NW Fertility.

Would you consider freezing your eggs in order to postpone pregnancy? Why or why not? We’d love to hear your thoughts; please share in the comments section of email us at info@genneve.com or let us know on genneve’s Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve’s closed Facebook group. 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 10, 2017

Jill Angelo, CEO of genneve, sat down with holistic health coach Amanda Giralmo of WellthieLife to talk about food, chronic inflammation, and how we can make better food choices to support our health.

 

1:11
Discovering our life’s true path often starts with fixing a problem within ourselves. For Amanda Giralmo, founder of Wellthie Life, bringing herself back to health and wholeness after a difficult divorce helped her uncover her passion for leading others to their best selves. She tells us how she found the strength to take that journey.

3:24
Did she feel she needed permission to take that journey, considering it meant taking time off and focusing on herself? We asked her how she came to that very necessary decision.

4:39
The experience brought her to where she is now, helping others as a certified holistic health coach focused on lowering inflammation. So, we asked her, what is inflammation, what causes it, and why is it so bad for us when it becomes “chronic”? Amanda explains the importance of the gut microbiome and how long-term inflammation damages the good bacteria we depend on for optimal health. (Ever heard the expression “leaky gut”?) What are the long-term consequences of inflammation?

9:22
Chronic inflammation caused by eating the wrong foods can be constant, if you consider how often we eat. Fifty million people – at least – suffer an autoimmune disease in the US. Knowing the right foods to eat for our bodies can help us avoid that fate, Amanda says.

10:26
So what are the symptoms? So many people have chronic inflammation due to eating foods they’re sensitive to, so clearly we’re not all as in-tune with our bodies as we should be. How can we know we need to change?

11:49
How does this condition start? Amanda tells us that formation of a healthy gut goes all the way back to how we’re born and our very first food. She also tells us what we do as adults that can cause inflammation besides eating the wrong foods.

14:25
As Amanda knows from her own personal story, stress is a major cause of inflammation. She talks about how stress affects us and what happens when we’re not able to “rest and digest.”

15:25
OK, so we’re chronically inflamed. If that inflammation isn’t reduced or eliminated, what can happen? The consequences can be pretty dire, Amanda warns us. Hear why you want to reduce that inflammation, like, yesterday.

16:17
What’s the difference between a food allergy and a reactivity or sensitivity? Both are signs of chronic inflammation, Amanda tells us, but allergies may be easier to detect. Because sensitivities can be slow and sneaky, we tend to just live with the discomfort for years. Amanda gives us the simple diagnostic.

17:34
Does aging have anything to do with inflammation? Yes, says Amanda, particularly in women, the lack of reproductive hormones makes chronic inflammation more apparent in women in midlife. She tells us the thinking around the intersection between inflammation and menopause.

18:34
Amanda has developed a three-phase program to help her clients eliminate harmful foods from their diet. Through the program, clients heal their bodies by identifying what causes the reactivity and learning to avoid or manage those triggers – with Amanda providing resources, guidance, and support throughout.

20:57
The program takes time to work through: Amanda gives us an idea of how long it typically takes to begin healing the chronic inflammation. And you don’t get to cheat, she warns us: eating a trigger food will set your body back to start.

21:55
It’s not an easy process, but the results can be well worth the effort. Amanda shares with us a client’s experience of losing weight, regaining energy, and generally feeling like embracing life again.

24:40
The role of “coach” gets interesting when the goals are so intensely personal. Amanda tells us about keep clients honest and their need to confess and apologize when they cheat or backslide. “I’m just here to play support and accountability,” Amanda says, “It’s all about what they need to do for themselves.”

25:09
If you need Amanda, how do you find her? The quickest way is by going to her website: wellthielife.com. (It’s a great place to find a whole lot of information, incidentally.) The initial, 50-minute consultation with Amanda is complimentary. It’s important to find a coach who’s a good “fit,” Amanda tells us, so choose your coach carefully.

 

Jul 27, 2017

Think eating disorders are limited to teenage girls? Nope. Teens, men, women, transgender people, all races and ethnicities, active duty military, and  – disproportionately – women over 50. As eating disorders have the highest fatality rate of all mental illnesses, it’s critical for everyone to know the warning signs and seek help if needed.

Jill, genneve CEO, spoke with Julie Duffy Dillon, Registered Dietitian, Eating Disorder and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Specialist, and Food Behavior Expert, about the reasons women suffer disordered eating in midlife and what they can do to avoid or correct unhealthy eating.

In part 1 of “making peace with food in midlife and menopause,” listen as Jill and Julie talk about what Julie calls the “food peace journey” and how, as individuals and as a culture, we’ve gotten so far away healthy eating behaviors. In part 1, Julie introduces us to the idea of “intuitive eating” and how our society’s food rules (never eat before bedtime, for example) and misunderstanding of symbolic hunger have made us less healthy, not more.

Julie is trained as a mental health counselor and supervises dietitians and other health professionals to use weight-inclusive and attuned-eating strategies, so listen in as she tells Jill how we can all get on the road to food peace.

 

1:30 What are the warning signs that my eating has become seriously disordered?

Does food have too much power in your life, Julie asks. Do you find yourself thinking about food all the time? If so, it might be time for some intervention. If you’re avoiding situations and people because you fear the food involvement (pizza night with the family, for example), your situation may be bordering on dangerous.

4:20 How are eating disorders impacting women in midlife?

Eating disorders run the gamut, Julie says, but some women in midlife do have a particular vulnerability due to the shift in estrogen. We don’t yet understand the exact cause and effect or who might be more likely to develop a food disorder, but because every woman experiences changes at this time, all women should be on guard against unhealthy eating habits. There may be a biologically useful reason for those 15 pounds at menopause, by the way, and unhealthy consequences to fighting the gain.

[More from Julie on why eating disorders in women in midlife are so common.]

9:40 Do our bodies fight against weight loss?

Yep, says Julie. Our bodies don’t understand weight loss “on purpose,” so it starts going into survival mode, shutting down systems and sending hunger signals. Julie goes into some of the physical and emotional repercussions of overly restricted eating. Dieting is pretty counter-productive, according to Julie, so maybe don’t do it. There are better ways to be healthy.

[Speaking of potentially unhealthy dieting, read Julie’s thoughts on intermittent fasting.]

14:34 Advice for women who want to eat AND live?

Stop fighting your body, Julie says. Celebrate the gifts you have to give, value your body and its wisdom.

What great advice! Our thanks to Julie for sharing her wisdom and expertise. If you want more Julie (and who wouldn’t?), check out her website and podcasts. And if you suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome, be sure to download her free ebook, Your First 3 Steps Toward Food Peace with PCOS.

Stay tuned for our next podcast with Amanda Giralmo, owner of wellthielife.com. This awesome holistic health coach is telling us what causes inflammation, how our bodies respond (hint: it ain’t good), and the changes we can make to reduce, avoid, and correct inflammation. Be sure to check back here and also subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Google Play so you never miss an episode.

When do you feel your best? At a certain weight, when you’re exercising regularly, when you eat a particular way, or only when the planets are in some kind of mystical alignment? We’d love to hear how you strive to be your best and what works (or doesn’t) for you. Please share by emailing me at shannon@genneve.com (I’ll share your ideas, but never your name), posting on genneve’s Facebook page, or joining Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve’s closed Facebook group.

 

Jul 26, 2017

13% of women over 50 engage in eating disorder behaviors.” - National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders

Weight gain at midlife can be as distressing as it is common, leaving many women searching for ways to shed the unwanted weight. But are a few extra pounds really worth the pain and suffering, or worse, risking a dangerous eating disorder? Wouldn’t it be better to make peace with our bodies and our food?

Jill talked with Julie Duffy Dillon, Registered Dietitian, Eating Disorder and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Specialist, and Food Behavior Expert, on how she’s partnering with people on their Food Peace journey. Julie is trained as a mental health counselor and supervises dietitians and other health professionals to use weight-inclusive and attuned-eating strategies.

Here’s what she told us:

1:37 What is the “food peace journey,” and how did we get so far off track?

What is the “food peace journey”? Julie says we’re “born knowing how to eat,” but somehow our natural set points for hunger and fullness have gotten confused as our culture’s definition of beauty have narrowed. How did that happen, and how do we get our original “default settings” back?

3:59 Why is it so hard for us to have a healthy relationship with food?

Why is it difficult for adults, including women over 40, to have a healthy relationship with food? Sixty percent of adult women engage in “pathological weight control,” Julie says, and feel guilty about eating or getting pleasure from food. Hear from Julie how our fat-phobic, youth-obsessed culture damages how we think about food and our bodies and how rejecting that cultural attitude becomes a radical act.

6:34 Intuitive eating and letting body cues dictate what and how we eat

Julie talks about coaching women up from “diet rock bottom.” Acknowledging damaging cultural expectations, admitting our old ways of thinking and acting don’t work, deciding our own path to food peace – these help us realize we are the experts on our bodies, Julie says. And that allows us to reclaim our body’s natural cues. Learn how.

9:29 What “food rules” do we follow and why should we ditch them?

Don’t eat after sunset; stay under 1200 calories a day; don’t eat carbs, but clean your plate. We set a lot of rules for our eating that may or may not support good health. Julie goes into some of our many food rules and why so many of our “shoulds” … shouldn’t.

12:01 Distinguishing real hunger from “symbolic” hunger

Many of us have gotten so far into disordered eating, we don’t recognize our own body cues anymore. Julie helps us reconnect with our needs, whether it’s a need for fuel or whether we’re actually trying to feed a “symbolic” hunger instead.

14:01 Why do we experience symbolic hunger?  

Why do we eat when we’re not hungry? Julie says there are lots of reasons to eat outside of physical hunger, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if there’s more to the hunger, if there’s an underlying cause that needs to be addressed, then it might be time to find a Julie. Eating outside of hunger shouldn’t be shameful or an opportunity to judge someone, Julie says. She details questions to ask yourself when you think your hunger might be symbolic and unhealthy.

But wait, there’s more food peace ahead!

In Part 2, Jill and Julie talk about how we can be more conscious of our own eating, and how eating issues seem to disproportionally affect women in midlife. How do we know when our eating has become problematic, and what can we do about our approach to food?

Stay tuned to genneve for the second half of this podcast, and be sure to follow us on iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundCloud, so you never miss an episode.

Julie owns Birdhouse Nutrition Therapy, central North Carolina's premier source of eating disorder treatment and prevention. She also produces and hosts the weekly podcast, Love Food. Learn more at JulieDillonRD.com.

Jul 17, 2017

On July 10, we published Part 1 of our conversation on Naturopathic Medicine with Dr. Jane Guiltinan, recently retired Dean of the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University.

In Part 1, we asked Dr. Guiltinan to give us a sort of Naturopathic Medicine 101 – since many of us are unfamiliar with the practice, we wanted to know what it was about, how it worked, and how we could find a qualified naturopathic doctor (ND).

In Part 2, we dug a little deeper into what being treated by an ND is like and the advantages this practice has for women in midlife and menopause.

Here’s what she told us.

1:18 What is my first Naturopathic Medicine appointment going to be like?

We’re quickly becoming convinced of the benefits of Naturopathic Medicine, so we asked Dr. Guiltinan what we could expect from that first appointment. How long will it take, what kinds of questions will we be asked, what should we walk away with? Some of the process will seem very familiar, she told us, like filling out insurance forms, but expect a much longer appointment and a more in-depth conversation about lifestyle, diet, underlying causes – not just the complaint you came in with. PS: there may be “homework” to prep for your next appointment!

“I’m a very strong believer in shared decision making and that this is a partnership.”

5:33 Honesty is the path to recovery – how to share ALL THE INFORMATION with your Naturopathic Doctor

Working with a naturopathic doctor is most effective when you have open and frank communication, we discovered. There’s no help claiming you eat healthfully if you really don’t. NDs are looking for the root causes of your concerns, so hide nothing! Chances are your ND has been trained to develop a relationship based on trust and to listen without judgment.

6:26 The “meaty” stuff about menopause – what do women in midlife want to know?

According to Dr. Guiltinan, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a cause for concern because many of us aren’t sure of the risks versus the benefits. So many women turn to their ND for information about bio-identical HRT which is considered “safer” and more “natural” in some circles (though research studies don’t necessarily support this belief). Dr. Guiltinan goes into the details on HRT, the length of time considered safe, and who qualifies as a good candidate.

11:00 Where do we get the idea that bio-identical hormones are safer?

Uh….let’s just say that while everyone is entitled to their opinion, and lay people can be extremely well informed, it’s probably best to check with a qualified medical professional before making a decision. An ND can be a great partner in helping you determine the healthiest, more effective path through midlife and menopause.

12:17 What can an ND do for me if I can’t utilize hormone replacement therapy?

Women with a history of breast cancer or other risk factors aren’t good candidates for HRT; what options do they have to manage menopause symptoms? Women in this category have many options, says Dr. Guiltinan. Diet, lifestyle changes, adding herbs and supplements like black cohosh or maca: all of these can be very helpful in making menopause easier, and your ND can work with you to balance all the factors and reach your healthiest you. (Bonus: maca may help rekindle a limp libido….)

15:09 That’s a lot of herbs. Which one works best?

If you’ve ever braved the “supplement” section of your grocery store, you’ve likely seen a bewildering array of choices: pills, powders, teas, creams … so many configurations, dosages …. Help? We asked Dr. Guiltinan how we can make informed decisions. Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA the way prescription medications are, so there is plenty of snake oil on those shelves, she told us. She gave us some great tips on how to determine which providers are legit and what questions to ask producers.

18:03 How long are we going to be meeting like this?

Perimenopause and menopause can affect a woman’s life for years. We wanted to know how long, typically, Dr. Guiltinan worked with clients to help them reach and retain optimal health. Like all things menopause, it varies with the woman and at what stage she came in for help, the Doc told us. The goal is to find what works as quickly as possible, get them on the path to health, and then only see them when things change.

19:25 What about those other hormones, progesterone and testosterone?

We talk a lot about estrogen in menopause, but progesterone and testosterone (yep, women produce small amounts of testosterone) also change during this time, and the difference in levels can be felt. There are dangers to taking some hormones without others – the ideal is to keep the body in the optimum balance – so testing by a professional is critical.

21:44 What else should women know as they travel the menopath?

“Menopause is not a disease,” says Dr. Guiltinan. Even though we talk about “symptoms,” it’s a natural and normal part of life, just as periods are. And here’s a news flash: “You don’t have to do anything about menopause if you don’t feel bad.” Crazy, right? If you’re not having symptoms that interfere drastically with your life, great! Carry on and enjoy your life.

Next week we talk with nutritionist Julie Duffy Dillon on “food peace,” so be sure to stay tuned to genneve.com!

 Dr. Jane Guiltinan recently retired as Dean of the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. A practicing naturopathic physician for thirty years, Dr. Guiltinan graduated from Bastyr in 1986, and has served as a clinical professor, medical director and dean of clinical affairs during her tenure there. She was the co-medical director for the first publicly funded integrated health clinic in the United States, the King County Natural Medicine Clinic. She served on the board of trustees for Harborview Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center and part of the University of Washington Medicine system for twelve years and was the first naturopathic physician on the board of a large public hospital. In 2012, she was appointed by Kathleen Sebelius, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the Advisory Council of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a center within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Guiltinan’s practice is focused on women’s health, primary care, disease prevention, and wellness promotion.

Jul 10, 2017

Your body is powerful.

We don’t just mean for lifting weights or doing hard physical work, though women’s bodies can certainly do that too.

We mean your body is a powerful healer. Given the right conditions – good food, enough rest, movement, etc. – your body has “an innate capacity to restore itself to health.”

Naturopathic medicine is the practice of providing ideal conditions and removing barriers for the body to get on with what it does so well.

If you’ve ever wondered about naturopathic medicine or considered seeing a naturopathic doctor (ND) but just weren’t sure what to expect, Dr. Jane Guiltinan, recently retired Dean of the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University, explains it all.

In this Part I of our two-part series on naturopathic medicine, we talked with Dr. Guiltinan about what naturopathic medicine is, how and why it works, the state of naturopathic medicine in the US, and how to find a qualified ND.

1:38 – What is naturopathic medicine?
Most of us on team genneve are new to the idea and practice of naturopathic medicine, so we asked Dr. Guiltinan to explain the difference between naturopathic medicine and what we consider “traditional” western medicine.

Dr. Guiltinan described how we often get in the way of our body’s natural ability to heal itself. Naturopathic physicians both treat and educate patients to get them to health and maintain optimal health going forward.

4:35 – Why “doctor as teacher” is so empowering for patients.
Naturopathic doctors teach their patients to become an integral part of their own healing and health. Docere, the Latin word for “teacher” is a founding principle of naturopathic medicine. Dr. Guiltinan explained why it’s so powerfully healing to put patients in charge of their well-being.

6:20 – What it means to be aware of your own body.
In the western-medicine tradition, many of us are taught to hand over control to medical professionals – one outcome being that we’re often ignorant about our own bodies. How do NDs work with patient to bring them back to an awareness of their bodies? Dr. Guiltinan said all NDs practice very active listening, which can educate both the doctor and the patient. Hear how. (bonus: margaritas are NOT off limits)

8:10 – Preventing illness before it happens
Most western medicine focuses on the treatment of illness or injury. Naturopathic medicine is also about maintaining wellness, and in an ideal world, says Dr. Guiltinan, people would visit their doctors before problems appear. NDs are working to shift our mindset from “cure” to “prevention,” and it’s a powerful sea change.

10:40 – Yeah, but are they “real” doctors?
Naturopathic doctors are unevenly credentialed and recognized across the US, and many of us aren’t sure if NDs are “real” doctors. Dr. Guiltinan takes us through how a true naturopathic physician is educated, licensed, and credentialed.

15:08 – Dr. Guiltinan’s evolving practice and career.
Dr. Guiltinan has been practicing naturopathic medicine for more than 30 years, and during that time, her practice gradually evolved to focus on women’s health. Most of her patients now are women in the menopausal transition and beyond, looking for ways to maintain health as they age.

17:26 – What do women in midlife want “fixed”?
Because she has such a depth and breadth of knowledge on women in midlife, we asked Dr. Guiltinan what symptoms women in that category come to her to “fix” most often? Classically, it’s hot flashes, she told us, but naturopathic medicine can help treat a wide range of symptoms, including headaches, dry skin, vaginal dryness, weight gain, joint and muscle pain, and depression, among others.

19:25 – Why women consult an ND
Why do women come to NDs? For a variety of reasons, Dr. Guiltinan told us: they’ve exhausted “conventional” options or they want a more natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or, in many cases, they just don’t feel well but aren’t sure what the problem is.  

20:44 – How to find the right ND for me.
So, we asked Dr. Guiltinan, if I think a naturopathic doctor might be able to help me, how do I go about finding the right one? Do NDs specialize? NDs don’t have recognized specialties the way conventional medicine does (neurologists, dermatologists, etc.), but practices often evolve around a natural focus, such as women’s health, she told us, so it’s worthwhile asking the questions to determine if an ND has a focus on the area you need.

22:18 – Is my ND legit?
I’ve decided I want to talk with an ND, we told Dr. Guiltinan. Now what do I do? Depending on your state’s regulations, some people may be able to call themselves “naturopaths” with little formal training or licensure.

To be sure you’re getting someone qualified as an ND (whether they’re able to call themselves “doctor” or not in your state), be sure they graduated from one of the seven accredited doctoral programs in North America. States that have licensing have a state record of licensed NDs, as well as professional associations. Washington state, for example, has the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians. If your state doesn’t have licensing standards for NDs, you can find a credentialed naturopathic practitioner in your area on The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians site.

In Part II, we explore with Dr. Guiltinan some specific ways naturopathic medicine can help women in menopause. You won’t want to miss it.

Check in next week and subscribe to genneve on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher, so you never miss an episode.

Dr. Jane Guiltinan recently retired as Dean of the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. A practicing naturopathic physician for thirty years, Dr. Guiltinan graduated from Bastyr in 1986, and has served as a clinical professor, medical director and dean of clinical affairs during her tenure there. She was the co-medical director for the first publicly funded integrated health clinic in the United States, the King County Natural Medicine Clinic. She served on the board of trustees for Harborview Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center and part of the University of Washington Medicine system for twelve years and was the first naturopathic physician on the board of a large public hospital. In 2012, she was appointed by Kathleen Sebelius, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the Advisory Council of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a center within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Guiltinan’s practice is focused on women’s health, primary care, disease prevention, and wellness promotion.

Jun 29, 2017

Modern sexuality is … complicated. And talking about our sexual health, even with a doctor, can be awkward – awkward enough that many of us will avoid it, even when we have a problem that needs solving.

Enter consultants like Bianca Palmisano, owner of Intimate Health Consulting, who’s helping doctors, nurses, and other medical and health care professionals speak openly and non-judgmentally to their patients about issues of sexuality.

genneve CEO Jill Angelo talked with Bianca about sex, sexuality, and why it's so darn hard to have those important conversations. 

1:50
“Sex positivity” means understanding sex and sexuality as a normal, healthy part of life with a wide range of modes of expression. We asked Bianca if the notion of sex as a positive part of life is gaining some traction in a culture that has an often unhealthy approach to sex.

3:25
What are the trends out there when it comes to sex positivity and women in midlife? Bianca has good news for us – one, the medical profession is innovating on give women “more options in the toolkit” for treating menopause symptoms that impact intimacy, and two, more sex educators are talking about sex at midlife and helping women understand the physical and emotional changes at menopause.

6:27
So, if it’s a good idea to talk about these things with your doctor, how do we start the conversation? Bianca talks about how she provides both medical professionals and patients with strategies for starting, continuing, and finishing the conversation satisfactorily.

9:16
How can women get educated about healthy sexuality? The problem with a taboo subject is that …well, it’s taboo. So, not much info. Except there is. Bianca says you can look beyond your doc if that person isn’t someone you can go to, and she gives some ideas on places to look for answers.

11:22
So what is “sexual health competency” and why do medical professionals need it? “Knowing how to have conversations in a way that puts your baggage on a back shelf,” says Bianca. We all have ideas and opinions on sexuality and what we feel is “right” or even “normal” – how and why should you shelve those when talking with patients?

13:25
Why is good sex so important? Bianca talks about the dynamic between sex and relationships. But relationships can get thorny in midlife, given all the life-stage stresses and physical changes, so how do we stay intimately connected to one another?

15:00
How do women initiate conversations about sex with their partners? Probably not when pulling out the condoms in the 10 minutes before Johnny comes home from soccer practice, Bianca says. Hear her ideas on a better way to bring it up.

16:30
Women in midlife often experience some profound changes in their sexuality. Careers are solid, kids are grown, the house is settled on its foundations … are you? Bianca addresses how some women make important decisions and have major revelations about themselves, their lives, and their sexuality.

Want to learn more about sexual health? Visit Bianca’s website, Intimate Health Consulting, and these other sexuality experts: Walker Thornton, Joan Price, Melanie Davis, PhD, and Dr. Myrtle.

Bianca Palmisano is a sex educator and medical consultant serving the DC community since 2012. As the owner of Intimate Health Consulting, she specializes in training healthcare providers around issues of sexual health, as well as LGBT, sex worker, and sexual assault survivor competency. She also serves as the Community Outreach Chair for the Metro DC PFLAG Board of Directors.

Palmisano is the primary author of "Safer Sex for Trans Bodies," an outreach and education guide for the trans community sponsored by Whitman Walker Health and the Human Rights Campaign. She has been a guest lecturer at George Washington University, Johns Hopkins, and University of Chicago.

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This podcast originally appeared on genneve, the solution for women in midlife and menopause. Join us for more great conversations, information, and answers.

 

Jun 12, 2017

Women can be awfully good at getting in their own way.

We have the skills, the knowledge, the drive, we’re ready to realize our dreams … and yet. We flail, we stall, or worst of all, we sabotage the success we so desperately want. How can we identify what we’re doing wrong and get on the path towards achieving our goals? Sometimes we just need a partner.

We found that partner in Lara Dalch. Lara is a health and lifestyle coach to "women on the rise" – women who crave practical tools for feeling healthy, confident, and powerful again so they can have the career and life they really want. 

As a former entertainment marketing executive and busy entrepreneur, Lara understands the challenges of balancing good health with a busy schedule and is passionate about helping women harness the power of good health to fuel their lives through a practical, “whole life” approach to health 

Lara is a regular contributor to popular health and wellness website MindBodyGreen and has been a featured speaker at Microsoft, Flywheel Sports, Orangetheory Fitness, the University of Virginia, and the University of California, Berkeley. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia, is a Certified Pilates Instructor, and received her training to practice health coaching via the State University of New York and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

1:26
Lara has had a very colorful and non-traditional career path. We asked her, how do you go from working at Comedy Central to health and lifestyle coaching? Perhaps not surprisingly, her own hectic lifestyle was the inspiration behind helping others get control of theirs.

3:01
Lara gives us a few more details on how her own improved life was her light bulb moment. “I stopped falling asleep at my desk!” Now she helps others be fully present – and awake – in their lives and work.

5:18
We wanted to know, how do clients know it’s time to seek help? If you’re saying things like, “I’m exhausted all the time,” or “My food is a disaster,” or if you feel like you’re just not “showing up” in work and life the way you want, you might need a Lara. 

7:17
Lots of women (and men) undoubtedly fit the criteria of needing a Lara. What keeps us from getting the support we need? Lara says, “They’re afraid they’re not going to show up for themselves.” Hmmmm… having a great idea, getting all excited and prepped, then just not moving forward. Sound familiar?

20:00
Asking for help is often seen as a sign of weakness in modern times. But Lara says it’s one of the most courageous things a high-achiever can do. Lara takes us through the many ways we show we need support and the benefits of getting it.

21:30
On the surface, we should be getting healthier: we have more knowledge, more health care and treatment options…so why are we feeling so bloody awful? First, there is such a thing as “too much information” – Lara tells us how to stop looking outside your body when the answers lie within.

23:40
Lara sees herself as a “partner” in achieving optimal health and wellness – a partner to her client but also to the network of other supports in a woman’s life. Often we have tons of advice from lots of expert sources, but we’re missing the "practical know how" piece. It’s great to have a nutrition plan; even better if you know how to follow it.

25:00
Women over 40 have different challenges than their younger sisters, and they often seem much less doable in our 40s than they did in our 20s. According to Lara, there’s no reason to think you can no longer achieve your goals just because you’re older. The magic pixie dust that’ll get you there? Time.

27:02
Lara actually really enjoys working with women in the 40s and 50s. She gives us the low down on the special gifts women in midlife bring to the table.

27:58
We all know it’s true, even if we can’t seem to make it happen: women who are successful are those who are focused on integrating self-care into their lives. In her talk on the Five Powerful Habits of Women on the Rise, Lara details what successful women have in common. Here’s the good news: it’s all stuff you can have too. Lara shares the details.

30:52s

Finally, we asked Lara what a woman should do if she’s considering finding herself a coach. “Be open to going a little out of your comfort zone,” Lara tells us. Openness to experimenting, tuning into your body in a new way, making the decision to move forward toward your goals, those are the beginning to your healthier, more fulfilled future.

Want more Lara? Get her free guide to discover your unique way of getting in your own way when it comes to eating healthier, exercising more, getting more sleep, and kicking the habits that have gotten you out of shape and out of sorts.

 

Thank you to The Riveter for lending us the space to record today’s podcast! The Riveter is a new collaborative workspace built by and for women. The doors of the first location opened on May 1, 2017 with more to come. A community that amplifies women’s big ideas through shared resources and innovative connections, The Riveter offers dynamic programming in beautiful, light-filled spaces and invites members to focus on self-care with daily yoga and meditation. In a culture that embraces the glorification of busy and ignores self-care, The Riveter is a new way to work. If you’re in Seattle, be sure to check it out!

May 22, 2017

genneve CEO Jill had a chance to sit down with Dr. Lora Shahine, reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist at Pacific NW Fertility. 

01:40  
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.

02:32
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.

4:54
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.

07:00
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.

09:25
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.

12:34
Making a baby requires having a good egg to start with. Dr. Shahine lets us in on what makes an egg “good.”

13:40
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.

14:28
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.

17:29
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? 

19:40
“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.

19:50
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.

23:41
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.

26:39
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.

29:20
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.

You can find out more about Dr. Lora Shahine on the Pacific NW Fertility website or by following her on Twitter: @lorashahine.

May 8, 2017

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.

1:25
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.

3:40
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.

6:05
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.

8:50
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.

11:30
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.

13:12
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.

14:55
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.

18:10
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.

21:48
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.

24:14
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.

27:00
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.

28:36
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

 

 

 

May 3, 2017

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.

1:30
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.

3:40
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.

5:20
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.

6:00
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.

7:55
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.

10:45
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.

12:50
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.

14:20
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)

17:30
How do Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture complement each other, and what other components should we be integrating into our self care?

19:07
Many Westerners are unfamiliar with Chinese medicine and acupuncture – Dr. Patricia shares how she brings her patients to a place of openness and trust.

21:03
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?

22:20
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.

23:35
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.

26:46
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.

If you’re looking for a practitioner near you, visit NCCAOM.org, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. To learn more about Dr. Patricia, visit her website.

 

Apr 21, 2017

We got to talk with Michelle Combs, blogger at RubberShoesInHell.com, writer for Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and others. Michelle’s hilarious and honest approach to the perils of midlife and menopause make her a welcome voice in an often depressing conversation. She talked with us about how she keeps her sense of humor in a time of absurdity.

1:17

What was the origin of “Rubber Shoes in Hell”? Michelle tells the story of needing an outlet for her writing and finding her path via an instant messaged conversation between cubicles.

2:34

How is talking openly about the absurdity of midlife a kind of release? Like many women, Michelle embraced midlife as a time to be more open and genuine about who she really is. She makes a convincing argument for why knowing we’re all going to die can be oddly freeing.

4:04

We hear it all the time from women: build your tribe. Michelle shares her thoughts on the importance of gathering around you people who “get” you and support you, no matter what.

5:45

Tribes don’t always gather in person; online communities can be every bit as powerful and important. Michelle has a robust online tribe at her blog, and tells us about the experience of “hosting” that conversation on Rubber Shoes.  

8:26

Menopause is a challenging time, and our culture’s “suck it up, buttercup” approach to it isn’t particularly helpful. We asked Michelle how she manages to honor what women are experiencing while keeping the humor intact.

9:38

Finding her voice: has she? What does it sound like? What does she have left to say, and please o please, will she keep saying it?

11:00

What’s her favorite menopause story? Yeah, Michelle didn’t know she was in menopause until it was over. She tells her story of “battening the hatches” to prepare, as only she can tell it.

14:06

Why Michelle digs the aging process. Except eyebrow hairs. She really doesn’t like wiry eyebrow hairs.

15:06

Michelle gives advice to younger women – advice she admits she herself would have ignored as a 20- or 30-something. It’s perfect.

 18:09

Are women supporting each other the way we should? Michelle gives her thoughts on why she’s hopeful about the future.

19:02

What’s next for Michelle? For a woman who doesn’t have plans, she’s got a lot of… plans. Hear how she’s gotten where she is and where she’s going from here. Also, writing books is hard.

21:05

How to find more Michelle: read her blog at Rubber Shoes in Hell, see her do standup at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, check out her articles on Huffington Post.

For more great content, and lots of midlife and menopause solutions, visit us at genneve.com.

Mar 3, 2017

According to the United Nations, “International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

Globally, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a pretty big deal. Many countries observe the day with special traditions and celebrations, some even declaring it a national holiday.

However, in the US, observance of International Women’s Day has been quite modest. While most consider the US fairly progressive in terms of women’s rights and equality, the truth is gender equity is actually losing ground in the States, and there’s more reason than ever for the US to recognize IWD and its mission.

Two Washington women are working to make IWD a much bigger deal in Seattle: in 2016, they convened a gathering of about 80 women; this year, International Women’s Day Seattle has already outgrown one home, and the event is still a week away.

Team genneve is planning to attend (and volunteer, so look for us!), and we hope you’ll join us. We’re even more excited about the event after having the chance to sit down with organizers Kate Isler and Nickie Smith and talk about why International Women’s Day is important and why the work of feminists and feminism isn’t done.  

Event details: Facebook event page

Date/Time: Wednesday, March 8, 4.30 – 9 PM

Location: Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave

Tickets: available from Eventbrite.

Feb 6, 2017

We had the pleasure of talking with Lynette Sheppard, author of Becoming a Menopause Goddess and “scribe” and moderator of the Menopause Goddess website and blog. Lynette and her goddesses are tackling the lack of knowledge and awareness women have when approaching the “Big M.” Lynette spent more than 10 years as a  Nurse-Manager and head of Intensive Care and Coronary Care units in Santa Rosa, California. She knows her way around healing and the human body and is a terrific translator of medical-speak.

“Was what was happening to me normal?
My entire life was turned upside down.”

2:07
Lynette started providing menopause information 15 years ago. We were curious how she came to the realization that there was such a lack of information for women entering menopause. Like so many who carve out a new path, Lynette discovered the need when looking for herself. She quickly realized there weren’t many resources to help her understand her own “weird” symptoms. She described her unique journey from knowledge seeker to knowledge provider.

3:17
It takes a pretty big impetus to get someone to change their life track, so we wanted to know, how did menopause turn her life upside down? Lynette describes her overwhelming symptoms (including shingles!!) and how lack of knowledge made the experience so much worse.

5:11
We asked Lynette: So what was the start? Was there a moment when you said, “I’m going to take this on” and start not only finding out the information for yourself but sharing it with other women who are equally confused and concerned? The origins of Menopause Goddess lie in “a slumber party with a focus,” Lynette told us. Hear about that first Menopause Goddess gathering, how it led to the blog/book/website, and how you can host a gathering of your own.

“Just to find out that we were not alone, that all of us had been sort of
hit upside the head by menopause, was a huge relief.”

7:56
With so many years of Menopause Goddess research and writing behind her, we knew Lynette had some great remedies and solutions to share. So we went straight for the good stuff: what unique menopause remedies could she let us in on? She shared with us the biggest, best, most powerful remedy of all.

9:15
How did the group shape the blog and what sort of information and resources do you make available? According to Lynette, as the information started to come together in the group, one of their number suggested writing a book. There was simply too much information (and too much need for that information) not to share, so first there was a book, then the blog which “took on a life of its own.” Lynette tells us how her experience as a nurse really helped inform the Menopause Goddess and how, 15 years in, the blog is taking a new direction.

12:02
We wondered how the Menopause Goddess blog had affected Lynette personally. Had it changed her approach to her own experience? The blog “had us ask questions we would never have asked ourselves,” Lynette says. Learning how the menopause experience can be so different from woman to woman or even for the same woman from hour to hour made her more accepting of the experience, she says. Hear why that approach has worked better for her.

12:46
What are some important lifestyle changes that can help ease the menopause transition and help us thrive in the many years that come after the change? Lynette lets us in on some hard-earned knowledge about how to live now to live better later.

“Eat well, move, and love well.”

15:54
So what are some weird symptoms you’ve heard about? we wanted to know. Ever heard of “Burning Lip Syndrome”? Nope? Us neither, and neither had Lynette until a reader asked her about it. The remedy will surprise you! On a more serious note, a woman’s immune system can take a plunge during her menopause transition, and Lynette lets us in on what can happen and why we need to be doing what we can to boost our immune systems, no matter our age.

19:10
Most of us know the major menopause symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, irritability. But that’s not all we should be prepped for. Lynette gives us the rundown on the five “forgotten” symptoms you should know about before they happen to you. Bonus: she also has great tips on how to manage the symptoms and reclaim your life.

23:50
With so much talk about symptoms, it’s easy to understand why so many women dread this phase of life if they think about it at all. What, we asked Lynette, is there to celebrate – if anything? There’s plenty to enjoy, says Lynette. Hear the good news that she and her goddesses discovered from each other and in their own lives.

“Menopause will set you free, but it will really piss you off first.”

26:26
The Menopause Goddess blog has a very loyal following and continues to attract new readers; what’s made the blog so popular? “Plain talk,” Lynette says, and translation of medical information. It’s the “distilled wisdom” of many many women sharing their experiences and knowledge. That broader community is a wealth of riches for new readers to discover.

27:47
What’s the most important thing our listeners should know to survive and thrive during this time? According to Lynette: Treat yourself the same way you’d treat a pubescent teenager: with plenty of patience and understanding. Lynette lets us in on all the ways you can and should take care of yourself during trying times.

30:12
Where can we access all this wisdom? Lynette gives us the relevant places to dive into the wealth of information she and her goddesses have accrued over the years.

Jan 25, 2017

In this podcast, genneve CEO Jill had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Angela Jones, award-winning ob/gyn, media professional, and author. She’s delivered thousands of babies and answered hundreds of thousands of questions on every aspect of her profession. From menses (first period) to menopause and beyond, Dr. Angela has the answers, so we jumped on the chance to ask “Menopause 101” questions we have and have heard from you.

If you’re not always entirely sure what’s going on with your body, if you’re concerned what you’re going through isn’t “normal,” or if you want to be ready for what might lie ahead, Dr. Angela has guidance, reassurance, and answers for all.

2:04

One question we hear a lot is, what exactly is the difference between “perimenopause” and “menopause”? Dr. Angela gives us the lowdown on the definitions, what women might experience during these phases, and how to get a ballpark idea of how long the process might take for you.

4:06

So what exactly is going on in our bodies during these phases? Dr. Angela filled us in on the science of what’s going on in there.

5:10

Because the experience of menopause is still such a taboo subject, women don’t always know if what’s happening to them is “normal.” We asked Dr. Angela what we should know to take care of ourselves correctly.

6:26

Dr. Angela speaks specifically to the question of thyroid disorders, the symptoms of which can be mistaken for symptoms of perimenopause.

7:04

As we age, we may need to do a little more “maintenance” to stay healthy and vibrant. Dr. Angela talks us through some of the tests we should do or do more often as we get older to ensure we’re in the best of health.

8:30

Dr. Angela gives her recommendations on “lifestyle modifications” and why these can act as preventative medicine. As she says, the right diet and exercise will take you a long way.

12:08

When we hit our 40s, is it time to change up our birth control? First things first: “If you don’t want to get pregnant, you need to be doing something!” But you do need to be sure your birth control is right for you, and Dr. Angela gives some tips on how to move forward.

15:20

But low-dose hormonal birth control can have other benefits for the over 40s in addition to avoiding pregnancy, and Dr. Angela fills us in on how birth control can help alleviate or moderate perimenopausal symptoms.

17:20

We asked Dr. Angela to “coach” us on how to talk to our doctors, what information we need to have ready when we walk into our appointments, and what questions we should ask. Because women are often embarrassed to talk about their bodies, even with their ob/gyn, Dr. Angela has some best practices for getting the information you need.

21:40

Why is there so much shame and embarrassment about this completely normal phase of life? “I have no idea!” Dr. Angela says, but she offers some ways we might move forward to celebrate this time of our lives rather than dread it.

25:12

How does Dr. Angela feel about using supplements or other methods to manage menopause symptoms? While our doc adheres pretty firmly to ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) standards, she says, “Go for it!” to patients who want to try acupuncture, black cohosh, or other alternative treatments. However, Dr. Angela does want anyone trying something new to follow important guidelines, which she outlined for us.

28:10

Need to find a new ob/gyn? Dr. Angela gives her insights on how to find a doc who’s current, certified, and reliable.

30:15

Dr. Angela offers her concluding thoughts about how to thrive during menopause. As she told us, “Aging doesn’t scare me, and it shouldn’t scare women. Women should be embracing the aging process.” Like a bottle of fine wine, Dr. Angela says, we’re just getting better.  

Learn more from Dr. Angela by checking out her “SAY WHAT” blog and podcasts at askdrangela.com.

Dec 6, 2016

What happens at the intersection of hormones, mental health, and sexuality? 

“You’re supposed to enjoy sex, and if you aren’t, why not?” 

Dr. Lucy Puryear is an Associate Professor in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine. She is also Co-Director of The Menopause Center at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.

Dr. Lucy works with patients to treat psychiatric conditions during pregnancy and postpartum, perimenopause, infertility and reproductive loss. Because our hormones can have profound impacts on women's physical and emotional health, we invited Dr. Lucy to share her expertise with gennevers.

00:48:06 
"Woman's advocate" Dr Lucy explains the services she provides for women, specifically women with mood/anxiety/emotional issues tied to reproductive events and hormonal changes.

02:30:00 
Women’s hormonal health—and particularly how it relates to their psychological health—wasn’t given much attention in the US until the early 90s. Dr. Lucy explains how her own experience helped her discover her passion. As a young woman seeking relief from PMS symptoms, she says, "I remember feeling very patronized" by male physicians. "That was probably a pivotal moment in my life.”

07:03:00
Why are women’s issues still so taboo? According to Dr. Lucy, the answer is threefold: hear how cultural stigmas against women generally, mental health, and female sexuality all combine to make women’s hormonal health one of our biggest and most resistant taboos.

09:48:00
How are women’s sex lives and libidos affected by their hormonal changes? Even physicians will shy away from talking with women about their sexuality, says Dr. Lucy. “Women just don’t get asked.” Hear why she makes it a point to ask her patients, why it’s so critical to have these open and frank conversations, and how she’s helped women and couples get their sex lives back.

13:07:00
“Sex is going to happen every Saturday at 2 when the kids are in bed.” So much of what women suffer through during hormonal change is truly “normal,” says Dr. Lucy, so there’s no reason to feel shame or fear. Once women understand vaginal dryness or drop in libido are natural and common, they can drop the shame and focus on the fix. Hear Dr. Lucy’s strategies (like planning sex or “hotel” sex) for bringing intimacy back into relationships.

16:43:00
Including partners in the conversation. Because coupling usually requires, well, a couple (at least!), Dr. Lucy does sometimes talk to her patients’ partners. She explains how bringing in intimate partners often results in better solutions.

19:20:00
Is there a generational difference in how we talk about sexuality? Are younger women more open to the conversation? Hear Dr. Lucy’s thoughts on the differences—and similarities—among generations of women.

20:20:30
Was it good for you? Are women demanding (and getting) great sex? Or are we there out of obligation and to preserve a relationship? Dr. Lucy shares her thoughts on women, sex, and expectations of pleasure. “You’re supposed to enjoy it, and if you don’t, why not?” says Dr. Lucy. “There are things you can do to make that better.”

22:55:00
What are the biggest obstacles in her work with women? Stigma. Mental health issues are still seen as a weakness and our cultural discomfort stops women from getting help. Hear how lack of trained medical professionals and adequate health care coverage are making it even harder to find relief. 

26:35:00
What do women need to know? What’s out there, what’s coming up? Hear Dr. Lucy’s thoughts about a female Viagra, genital plastic surgery, and why we need to be careful that women’s health advances are truly “advances.”

30:50:00
What’s one final piece of advice you’d give to our women listeners? Hear from Dr. Lucy what she wants women to understand about their health, what she wants women to expect from their healthcare professionals, and how they can empower themselves to feel their best.

genneve is committed to helping women feel fabulous in their bodies as they age. Join us at thegspot for great information and women-to-women stories!

 

 

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