Tag: women’s health
Spend time hanging around alternative health spaces, and you’ll undoubtedly come across seed cycling. This popular protocol aims “balance women’s hormones” and help with all sorts of issues related to sex hormones and the menstrual cycle. Proponents use seed cycling for everything from PMS symptoms, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), and irregular cycles to PCOS, infertility, ovarian cysts, and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Testimonials abound from women who credit seed cycling with changing their lives. No shortage of holistic doctors, naturopaths, dietitians, and bloggers promote it as a helpful tool, or even a miracle cure, for women. There are also plenty of skeptics.
When you think about perimenopause and menopause, you probably think of hot flashes (aka hot flushes), night sweats, trouble sleeping, perhaps weight gain. These are the most well-known symptoms, but there are many others that your doctor and your mother probably never told you about.
Research shows that most women, and even many medical professionals, don’t know how to recognize the signs of perimenopause. This is partly due to a lack of education and understanding about what perimenopause entails, but it is also because the signs and symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can be ambiguous.
Perimenopause and menopause comes with a complex web of physical, psychological, and social symptoms.
The treatment usually prescribed by doctors, hormone therapy (HT), is controversial and not appropriate for some women. I won’t get into the HT debate here—Mark did a great job covering the pros and cons recently. Suffice it to say that HT isn’t the answer for everyone, and it’s not a panacea by any means.
Whether or not they choose to go the HT route, many women desire additional support during perimenopause and beyond. For the sake of keeping this post from becoming a novella, I’m going to focus on mind-body therapies today.
For many women, menopause can introduce new health challenges. In addition to the symptoms that perturb basic quality of life like hot flashes, headaches, night sweats, and irritability, menopause is also associated with higher risks for serious health concerns like osteoporosis, cognitive decline, and metabolic syndrome. This has made the standard treatment for menopause—hormone replacement therapy, or HRT—a multi-billion dollar business.
A few weeks ago, I explored the benefits and risks of HRT. It has its merits certainly, but it’s not for everyone. Today’s post is for those people who want to try something else. Say you’ve waded through the morass of HRT research and would prefer a different route. Or maybe you’ve actually tried conventional or bioidentical HRT and found it just didn’t work for you. Whatever the reason, you’re probably interested in using “natural” products if you can swing it and if it’ll actually help.
From time to time, my wife Carrie pops in to answer questions from readers requesting a Primal woman’s perspective. Today, we’re updating a post she a while back regarding hot flashes and menopause. This topic continues to generate a lot of interest, so we wanted to ensure that the info here is up to date. Enjoy!
Hi, everyone! Thanks for the opportunity to offer my perspective on living Primal. I love this community and always enjoy contributing!
Every “keto for women” forum abounds with stories about menstrual cycles gone haywire in the first few months of keto. Common complaints include:
Irregular menstrual cycles
Sudden changes in menstrual cycle length, especially periods lasting much longer than normal
Keto critics love to cite these stories as evidence that keto isn’t good for women. After all, for premenopausal women, menstrual cycle activity acts as a barometer for overall health. Menstrual cycle disruptions are usually a sign that your body is under some kind of stress.
The Primal Blueprint classically recommends against legume consumption, but that stance has softened. Legumes aren’t bad in and of themselves. Many people have intolerance issues with them, and unresolved gut barrier leakiness or FODMAP intolerances can make legumes a painful, often cacaphonous indulgence. But the category of legume itself is not a simple thing. Some legumes are better than others. Some people will tolerate one legume but not another. So where does soy fit in?
Hydration seems like it should be so easy: drink some water, go about your day, the end. Back in this blog’s early days, and when I first published The Primal Blueprint, my hydration advice was simple: drink when you’re thirsty. Over the years, however, my thinking on the hydration issue has become more nuanced. When I updated and expanded the most recent edition of The Primal Blueprint in 2016, I expanded on that basic advice to include more details about what we should be drinking and how much. For the most part, I still think that “drink to thirst” is a sound strategy for the average person. Your body has a built-in, well-regulated thirst mechanism that will keep you from becoming dehydrated in normal circumstances. However, some folks, like the endurance athletes in the crowd, would be wise to take a more intentional approach. Benefits of Proper Hydration and How It’s Regulated Hydration is a critical component of optimal health. Digestion, muscle contraction, circulation, thermoregulation, and neurologic functioning all rely on having appropriate fluid balance in the body. Your brain and kidneys are constantly working to maintain optimal hydration status. When you become even slightly dehydrated, several things happen. First and foremost, your blood osmolality (concentration) increases. Dehydration can also cause a decrease in blood volume and, often, blood pressure. The brain and kidneys sense these changes and release hormones and hormone precursors designed to restore homeostasis. For example, the pituitary gland releases an anti-diuretic hormone called vasopressin, or AVP, which tells the kidneys to hold on to water. Blood vessels constrict. Most importantly, a brain region known as the lamina terminalis initiates the powerful sensation we know as thirst. Pay Attention to Your Thirst! For most people, proper hydration is as simple as 1, 2, 3. 1) Tune in to your body’s thirst sensations and respond accordingly. 2) Tailor your fluid intake to your individual needs. Rules like “drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water” or “drink half your body weight in ounces” are all well and good, but they might not be right for you. There’s not a lot of scientific support for those nuggets of conventional wisdom. Some days you might need less or considerably more. 3) Make appropriate adjustments for exogenous factors like climate and exercise. When it’s very hot, or you’re sweating buckets during some long endurance event, it’s best to stay on top of hydration rather than waiting for thirst to kick in. Don’t Become Waterlogged You can have too much of a good thing. While I’m all about the trend of carrying stainless steel water bottles everywhere we go for environmental reasons, there’s never any call to drink literal gallons of water. In fact, drinking too much can bring about the dangerous condition of hyponatremia, where excess fluid compromises the all-important sodium balance in your blood. Hyponatremia can quickly become debilitating and even fatal. You may have heard the news stories of novice marathon runners losing consciousness after over-hydrating or radio station … Continue reading “Do You Know How to Properly Hydrate? It’s Not as Straightforward as You Might Think”
One of the more common questions we get in the Keto Reset Facebook community is, “How do I break through a weight-loss plateau?”
Stalls are frustrating. You’re cruising along on your Primal or Primal + keto diet, and then all of a sudden, you hit a wall. Let’s be clear: this is a totally normal and expected part of the weight loss process. Weight loss is never linear. There are always downs, ups, and flat spots.
In fact, if you’ve been losing weight for a while, and then you stall out for a week or two, I wouldn’t even consider that a plateau necessarily. Your body might keep losing weight on its own if you give it time and don’t stress about it. Still, I get it, you’re eager to kick-start the weight loss again.
We have unparalleled abilities to peer inside our bodies and take detailed snapshots of physiological processes and the state of our health. We can measure the hormones in our blood, the cholesterol in our veins, the nutrient deficiencies we may have. We can go deep. But it doesn’t always make sense to take that deeper, more detailed look at the numbers. It gets expensive, for one. It gets intrusive. Our doctors may be resistant. And it can provide a bit too much of a close look when a broader view might suffice.
When do more detailed tests make sense, though? What kind of scenarios call for a second, deeper look at our numbers?