In this episode, we're going to talk all about HRT, or hormone replacement therapy.
We're going to talk about why it might not be working for you,
what you can do to help it work better for you, and what you can do instead
if taking it's not your jam.
What's up, sisters? Welcome to the Period Whisperer podcast.
I'm Bria. I'm your host. If you're new, I'm so happy you are here.
I'm your perimenopause and menopause sister, your holistic trainer,
hormone specialist, translator of your female body.
I'm a recovering people pleaser and hustle addict turned body whisperer and hormone decoder.
And I am here to help you de-stress your body, decode what it is saying,
become the CEO of it and own your own health, energy and weight loss again.
This show is for you, the overwhelmed, overworked, underappreciated step woman
woman who dreams of a body they feel strong, energetic, and sane in.
The woman who knows that she shouldn't just wave the white aging flag and believes
in a body and life of peace, love, and purpose.
But you don't just know how to get there yet. So if you are stuck in your body,
your energy, your life, you are in the right spot.
Let's lean in and learn what our bodies are saying to us.
Hey there, sister. How are you feeling in your body today?
Drop on in there. Let me know. And what can you do?
What do you need more of? Or what do you need less of?
Sometimes just being aware of those things can be the first step to healing
that we've been missing. It can just give us so much information.
But I'm so excited that you're here today. I want to talk all about out something
that I have been getting more and more questions about lately,
which is HRT, hormone replacement therapy, and perimenopause,
and what you need to know.
So we're going to dive into why it might not be working for you,
you know, if you are already taking it, you know, what you can do to help it
work better for you if you are taking it and you want to stay on it,
and of course, what you can do instead if it's not for you or you're not there yet.
So I'm pumped. Let's dive in. Let's get into it. And let's talk about, first of all, what it is.
So HRT, you know, is the name we often hear around, which is hormone replacement therapy.
It can come synthetically. It can come in bioidenticals. But in essence,
what it is, is it's helping supply more hormones to your body as our body declines in these hormones.
Remember that perimenopause is our reverse puberty. So when we go through puberty,
our main sex hormones start to increase so that we're able to reproduce.
And we have a regular cycle that is what essentially allows us to actually,
you know, conceive and carry a baby.
And perimenopause is that reverse puberty transition. It's just the opposite.
So those hormones that have been at, you know, peak reproductive levels for
years are starting to decrease.
And, you know, I just, I want to always throw it out there, first of all,
hormone replacement therapy, I am never here to tell you to do something,
like to take something, a pharmaceutical or not.
I think what is, I really, what is really important, you know,
my philosophy on Western medicine is that, you know, it's a miracle,
right? There are some miraculous things.
I'm super grateful for it. And before we get to the point of needing to take
something or even while we need
to take something, because I don't believe anyone should suffer, right?
If you can take something to bridge a gap, if you, you know,
obviously if you need emergency surgery, if we need something,
if we need those miracles, it's amazing that they're there.
But we want to make sure we do our part and that we're creating a body that,
you know, only needs those things in case of emergency and that is in the most
optimal place to receive that help even,
which I think is so very important, right? Right.
If we aren't taking care, aren't setting ourself up, aren't creating those health
foundations, then we might go to our health care practitioner and we might,
you know, take something and not actually be able to get the benefits of that thing.
So I wanted this to be a conversation around, you know, what it is,
how it helps and why, again, why it might not be working for you.
So for optimal and balanced hormones, right, we know we're going through this transition.
It's a sensitive time, right? All transitions are sensitive times.
I think this is so important to, you know, call out because,
like, they always say some of the most stressful times in life are,
you know, when you're getting divorced or when you're moving or when you're
switching jobs, you know, all transitionary periods.
Because it feels like the ground is shaky beneath us, right?
Nothing is solid. When our life is solid, then we can often handle a little
bit more, but it requires a lot of energy to, you know, handle a transition.
It's like, you know, walking across a really shaky bridge takes different energy
and different coordination and different cognitive focus than just walking down
the street or on the sidewalk on solid ground, right?
Right. So, you know, at that very core level, it feels like we're on shaky ground.
That's what's happening in this.
And so we also become really sensitive. Right. You're walking across a shaky bridge.
You need to be focused. You need to be aware of your surroundings.
You need to be, you know, have like all systems firing so you don't fall off that shaky bridge.
Right. So so it is a more demanding time. We recognize this.
But it doesn't have to be a time where all things fall apart.
It can actually be a really powerful time when we look at this transition.
We can recognize the gifts that perimenopause gives us, right?
Which is, you know, this fog of being subconsciously driven to reproduce starts
to clear and we can actually really tune in to ourselves.
We're really driven during this time to pay attention to our body,
to let go of the things that haven't been serving us, to process through the
things that we haven't had time for because because we've been so busy,
you know, building a family or raising children or building a career or wanting
children, all of these things.
Now we have this gift of clarity, right, of clarity and opportunity to thrive.
And there's so much confidence and empowerment that comes along with this.
And I really want to highlight that and remind you.
And, you know, a big part of my mission is to educate, of course,
and help us, you know, normalize these conversations and understand what's going
on in our body because we are so vastly undereducated on, you know, the female body,
you know, that is like statistically speaking,
we know that there hasn't been enough research,
there hasn't been enough focus, there hasn't been enough funding on the female body.
And also just remove the stigma around it.
Like, let's get to understand it. But also, I really want to empower you to
take this opportunity, you know, grab this bull by the horns and run with this sucker, right?
Like, let's ride off into the second half of our lives feeling freaking awesome.
And I hope that that stirs something in you. If it does, I know you're my kind
of person, like, I want to live.
I want to feel amazing. I want to squeeze everything there is out of this life,
whatever that looks like for you.
So all that to say, we're going through this transition time,
and in the first half of perimenopause,
Really, it's, you know, we often see more of what we call a progesterone issue, right?
Our progesterone is our shy hormone, and it is very, very sensitive.
You know, anytime things get a bit chaotic, it almost kind of pulls back.
It's dominated really quickly by cortisol and stress.
And we can all be very honest that regardless of the trauma you grew up with,
which we all have, you know, the last five years navigating COVID has been traumatic for everyone. one.
And even if we don't think we've been stressed out, we have.
It's been, you know, it might be a hidden stressor in us, but it is there.
Some of us know, some of us have learned to operate very well through a lot
of stress, but it doesn't mean it's not having an impact on the body.
But so much is going on, right? So we're going through all of this piece.
And this stress piece, you know, regardless of the trauma,
regardless of COVID, regardless of who you may may have lost or what you may
have experienced with your children or difficult things in your relationship
or in your career in the last few years.
And a lot of times we forget, right? We want to recognize and honor that we've been through.
We're going through an added workload. So now we have this excess stress happening
and our hormones are super sensitive to that.
So it shows up in the first half of our perimenopause, you know,
35 to 45, 48 as more of a progesterone issue.
We're not making, you know, the progesterone's being suppressed a lot by the
excess cortisol, throwing off that balance, wreaking habit, causing all of these
issues that so many of us have, inability to lose weight, brain fog,
energy issues, you know, the anxiety,
mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, all the things.
And then later in perimenopause, as we kind of get closer to the second half
of it, we more are dealing with just not enough of those hormones in general.
So we're also dealing with an estrogen issue.
So then we can have both of these issues and an imbalance at the same time.
So you can imagine, you know, not only are we going through this transition,
but then we have an imbalance which adds extra work to the body.
And this is why we can be so exhausted all the time, right? Right.
And and so something, you know, especially when we are not making enough hormones,
that's when we can, you know, consider something like hormone replacement therapy
because we're like, well, I don't have enough of these hormones.
So they're designed to help us with that piece and provide, you know,
supplementation there for that.
But for optimal and balanced hormones, we have to consider three functions.
Reductions right so in order to have these balanced hormones we have
to one have enough of the we have to look at the production
of the hormones right like i was talking about we need to have enough of
these hormones and second though we
need we need to look at the body's ability to actually break down and metabolize
these hormones so is my body producing enough of these hormones and and for
that it can be you know a genetic piece it can be where we're at in perimenopause
And it can be the choices and the stress that we're making,
like the stress that we're experiencing in our lives that are inhibiting the production, right?
And so we do want to make sure we're doing some of that underlying work so that
we're allowing the body to produce what the body can produce on its own.
Once we, you know, so we've got this one piece of like, is my body producing
or capable of producing that amount of hormones?
Hormones and then we need to look at is my body able
to break down and metabolize these hormones
right because it's great that we have hormones but if we're not producing if
we're not we're not sorry if we're not metabolizing them
then it kind of doesn't matter that we have all these hormones it's not
really doing much for our body so if we
and for that we really need to look at our gut microbiome and our liver our
liver manages the lion's share of metabolizing of our hormones its Its job really
is to metabolize them from being fat-soluble to being water-soluble so that
we can poop them out. We can evacuate them out every day.
And the liver's got a lot of jobs at the same time.
So we want to make sure, you know, the liver can get congested really quickly.
It can get overworked really quickly, depending, again, on our lifestyle habits
and on what's going on in the metabolic chaos of the body.
So we can take all of these. We can have all of the hormones that we need,
but maybe there's a breakdown in our gut microbiome.
We're having some issues there, so we're not able to metabolize it there.
Or in our liver, we're not able to metabolize it there. And then the third function
that's really important to look at is the ability of our cells to take in these hormones.
So that's really important because if your cells are, you know,
dealing with a lot of like toxicity, you know, a lot of issues with,
you know, from endocrine disruptors, they can't even handle it.
So then we're not actually receiving the amount of hormone that we need.
So there's three key pieces of the puzzle here.
And the challenge that we can run into, whether we're taking hormone replacement
therapy or not, whether we need it or not, is that HRT only addresses the first function.
It only addresses the production, right? It's not actually addressing,
you know, are you metabolizing it?
Are you able to receive it into your cells and use it to take in these hormones?
Hormones so our production like it's
really valuable if we know those other two pieces are solid and
then we also know that we're doing the things and
our body isn't able to produce that amount anymore and it's impacting our life
that's when we know okay it's i've done my work it's time to make sure i get
that you know that extra help right it's like sometimes it makes me think of
in high school i really struggled with calculus oh man it was so hard All right.
You know, there's going to class, there's paying attention in class,
there's trying to do the homework, and then there's asking for help.
So I was, you know, my lovely parents were paying for a tutor.
And although, yes, I was going to class because I wasn't one to skip class,
but I wasn't paying attention in class.
I wasn't trying to do the work. So it made going to the tutor to learn more about calculus,
you know, a little moot because it was really challenging for that tutor to
teach me calculus when I hadn't been paying attention to even the things that
I was supposed to be learning or even trying it on my own.
So we see this as well, you know, in our body.
It's really great, like go ahead. It's great to like be able to buy something,
invest in something, you know, have something as support.
It's great for support. But you have this underlying work that's your responsibility
to do as well in order for it to actually sink in, in order for it to actually be valuable.
Otherwise, you're kind of just taking something for nothing.
And we all know that there's an opportunity cost to everything.
So you better make sure that you're ready for that and that it's the right opportunity
cost for you, right? You don't get something for nothing.
When you take something, it does have a reaction in the body.
There's going to be things that that creates.
And we want to make sure that it is worth every little bit of whatever could
go wrong or whatever impact it also has on the body.
So we want to make sure all of these pieces, because again, if it's only addressing
number one, you might, maybe you're on hormone replacement therapy,
or maybe you're thinking about taking hormone replacement therapy.
And this is why I have, I have a lot of clients coming to me and they have been
on it for the last, you know, even six months.
And it's often we see maybe in a bit of an improvement in sleep and maybe a
bit of an improvement in mental clarity, but that's it.
And there's still and that's what's wonderful if that's making the difference
in moving the needle for you but if you're coming to me that usually means there's
still other issues that aren't being rectified so it's not fully working for
you so this this episode's really for you guys who are thinking about it want
to know more about it or are on and it's not really working for you.
And you know if so if you're still struggling to
release weight which is a lot of what we see struggling to
build muscle struggling to feel like energized in
that vitality to really you know
reduce those hot flashes to improve your libido and
so on unless we do the work to
help our body heal and improve functions
two and three it it's it's it's not fully able to work for you the same way
it is so if you're on and it's not working if you want to know how to make it
work Or if you want to know what else you can do to make sure you're taking
care of functions three and two and therefore giving yourself the best.
The best opportunity to create your own hormones or be ready to receive hormones
properly and get the most out of that hormone replacement therapy if you need
to take it, then we want to look at some of those key pieces.
So I wanted to give that to you guys today. Let's talk a little bit about some
of the things that we can do.
And, you know, look, on one hand, we can look at these to-dos,
and a lot of the times people are like, I don't want to do it. Like, that's not sexy.
Sure. It's not sexy to not, you know, it's really nice to be able to just like
buy something real quick or like get, you know, get something and get that quick fix situation.
But we do all know the beauty, the excitement, the drive, the self-worth,
the confidence that comes from when we really get into our own selves and we do the work.
There is something so liberating, so exciting for me when I do the work and I see a result, right?
When I really do it, when I honor a process.
And not only that, but it really builds that confidence and your body gets to
reap the benefits of that for a lot longer, right? right? A quick fix means a quick unfix.
Whereas when we do the work to heal ourselves and we really focus in on a growth
period of health, then whatever, however much time you spent in that growth
period of health, even if you stopped doing that things, you get to reap the
rewards of what you sowed?
Sown? What you've sown? Sorry.
For the same amount of time, right? And we see that in weight loss and muscle
loss and muscle gain and weight gain because, you know,
If you go all in on a workout and nutrition program for three months and then
you do absolutely nothing and revert back, it'll take about three months to get you back.
So there's so much value in taking the time to know your body and really take advantage.
Because remember, perimenopause is a gift. It's happening for you and not to you.
It's your opportunity to change the things that you do not want to carry in
the second half of your life now that you have wisdom.
So what does it look like to start helping your body improve functions two and
three and therefore create space for number one to heal on its own or receive
the hormones that it might need if it can't make those things itself anymore?
Number one, it's looking at healing and supporting your microbiome,
right? Your microbiome's in your gut.
It's the thing that actually, you know, helps metabolize and break down certain hormones.
It makes sure it fights sickness that's in there.
It digests our food. It makes sure that, you know, it can actually digest the
protein that we need so importantly that it can fight bugs and all of these things.
So, of course, some of those key things that we look at are eliminating foods
that are too toxic on the body.
So really pulling back on things like alcohol, processed sugars,
processed flours, and any other known food sensitivities that you have,
alcohol, caffeine, things like that.
So pulling those pieces out and focusing on really good whole foods,
lots of micronutrients, you know, lots of veggies that work for you and good
fats and all the whole food pieces that you hear me talk about all the time. Number two.
We want to look at eliminating known stressors. So other stressors in our life,
right, can really make an impact.
So if you are working out to an excessive amount, if you're doing high-intensity
workouts for long periods of time and your body's not able to recover or you're
not seeing results from those,
right, then we know you're in what we call a catabolic state.
So the body's actually breaking down and not anabolically building up,
which is what we want when we're trying to do these things. We're trying to strengthen and expand.
So we want to eliminate known stressors in our life that we can,
looking at our movement, looking at our sleep quality, you know,
looking at our pleasure sources, and of course, anything in our life that we can do without.
And sometimes that's, you know, that's taking a look at the content we're taking
in all the time that might be adding stress to us.
Sometimes that's, you know, taking a step back from relationships that maybe
are adding too much stress in our life. So eliminating known stressors that we have control over.
Number three is eating for your specific metabolic type.
So this is an interesting one, and I'll have to do its own episode on it,
but everybody falls into one of two categories in our metabolism,
in our ability to break down food.
And this is why we can see, you know, people promoting like a keto diet,
which is really, really heavy on fats and proteins and almost no carbohydrates, and do really well.
And also the other people trying that type of eating and doing very poorly.
This is why we can see vegans who are thriving and people who are eating vegan
and look like they're sick.
Because we do have a different type of metabolism.
So understanding your metabolic type and knowing whether you are a fast burner
and need slower burning fuels like high protein and lots of good fats,
or whether you know that you are a slow-burning, slow burner,
we call them, and you need faster-burning fuels to feel really good,
which would include more complex
carbohydrates and maybe less intense proteins and less intense fats.
So knowing that can really help because eating the wrong thing can add a lot of stress to your body.
And you'll know this, I think, because if you eat, you know,
a high-protein, high-fat meal and you feel a little sick or nauseous after or
you're eating, you know, complex carbohydrate meal and you're hungry two hours later,
we know that we want to dig a little deeper into that area.
Number four is detoxing your food, your beauty products, your cleaning products, right?
We have all of these things that we use every single day that do have like whether
it's pesticides or chemicals on them that are what we call endocrine disruptors.
So they're adding a stress load and disrupting the hormones of your body and
they really impact our cellular health, our ability to actually take in and
you house the hormones in a very healthy way.
So taking a good look or doing a deep dive, maybe starting with things like,
you know, looking at the Dirty Dozen or the Clean 15, which are lists you can
Google really easily online, and opting to choose organic where you can.
Maybe it's the next time you run out of the cleaning products in your house,
looking for, you know, a toxin-free, chemical-free type of cleaning product,
likewise with your beauty products.
So starting to make those small changes. is, look, if you are one of those all-in
people and you can just do it all at once, go for it.
But I find even just the step-by-step, the making those changes makes a huge
difference. And it's not sexy, right?
Well, it can be. It can feel very exciting and sexy when you get to buy a whole bunch of new stuff.
But it can feel like it's not a big deal, but it is a big deal. It makes a difference.
Remember, perimenopause is almost more about the straw that breaks the camel's
back. There's a death by a thousand cuts happening here.
So we want to heal up all of those cuts and not be in a position where one little
straw is going to break her back in this process.
Okay, the number five, do I have that one, two, three, four?
Yeah, number five is learning to cycle your food and workouts with your menstrual
cycle if you still have one.
So if you are bleeding regularly or irregularly, if you're not postmenopausal.
Whether you're on birth control or not, we do want to take a look at making
sure that we are choosing the right workouts and choosing the right nutrition for our phase.
Because if we're not, then we're adding stress on the body. And if we are,
then we're adding fuel to our body. So we don't get to kind of sit in the middle, unfortunately.
We want to make sure we're going in the right direction, the compound effect
of small decisions that are growing.
And the final tip is slowing down and working on your relationship to stress.
You know, I get to work, I'm so lucky to work with some amazing women,
you know, in Midlife Mojo, in the Perimenopause Posse, and also in my one-on-one clients.
And, you know, for some people, the answer, the work that we need to do and
the answer we need to start with is definitely in focusing on sleep.
For some people, it's definitely focusing on movement and nutrition.
And for some people, they have these perfect food plates, we would call them,
but it's stress and their relationship to stress and understanding how to move
with stress in their life. That is the thing we want to do.
So I'll just repeat those one more time. Healing and supporting your microbiome,
eliminating known stressors, eating for your specific metabolic type,
detoxing your food, beauty, and cleaning products, learning to cycle your food
and workouts with your menstrual cycle if you have one, and slowing down and
working on your relationship to stress, calming that autonomic nervous system.
This is so, so important.
So if you have been listening to this and I listed out these things and you're
like, I don't know how to do that, well, keep checking out the podcast and check
out my Instagram because I do talk about these things. Make sure you're on my email list.
But if you are trying things and you cannot seem to be consistent or you need
a deeper dive, I really want to encourage you to reach out and schedule a call
and hop on a one-on-one assessment call with me so I can give you a consultation,
point you in a direction, and see if there is a program that's gonna be the
right fit to coach you through this.
Because sometimes what we need is more direction, right? We need clear, clear steps.
And sometimes what we need is support and motivation and coaching, right?
Someone to help us get through the hump, the hard parts, create consistency
and actually implement, right?
It's all great when we know what to do, but if we cannot do it,
it's kind of useless information for us.
So make sure that you check down in the show notes, that you hop on and schedule
a call with me and reach out if I can help in any way because this is your opportunity to unlock.
Everything that you need inside of you to feel better than you ever have and
make the second part of your life the best part of your life.
And now is your moment to do that. So if anything I've said has hit home,
please reach out. Know that I'm here.
Thank you for being here. And now is your time to be more in your life,
sister, and not just less on a scale. We'll catch you next time.
Thank you so much for joining me on the Period Whisperer podcast.
I want to encourage you to reach out to me directly and message me if there
are topics or things you're struggling with so we can address those right where you are at.
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