Alright, ladies, I hope you had an amazing Easter. I know I did. It was wonderful. It reminds me of all of the promises God has made for my life and that I need to stay in faith and just know that he’s got me I it just it keeps me going. It’s been a hard season or hard few seasons, I’m sure that you guys are feeling the same way, like everyone I’m seeing is struggling in some way.
You know, my dad recently developed blood clots in his lungs. That can be life-threatening. That was very scary. He has been in the hospital three times because every time he goes home, he relapses and it’s been a real struggle for me to watch him be in the conventional medical system. They did a great job of taking care of him acutely (handling the emergency situation.)
When it comes to long-term chronic issues or getting to the root cause of an issue. They just don’t know how to do that. What we found was every time my dad would go home, he would relapse. That got me thinking and wondering what is going on at home that is making him sick. He has chronic lung disease. What is driving that process because he gave up smoking over 25 years ago. He shouldn’t have chronic lung disease, right?
I realized that he had mold in his basement that was triggering his lung disease. He can’t be at home without steroids and oxygen. So we needed to take care of the mold issue. If you’ve heard my other episodes with Bridget Danner, and Dr. Diane Molar, you know that mold is a complicated issue, it’s hard to figure out and diagnose, and then take care of. So I spent the weekend helping my parents with their home and dealing with that whole mold situation. He’s improving so I’m optimistic, but what I wanted to point out was, that takes a toll on me, because that’s a lot of emotional stress and more physical stress, obviously.
Stress Drives Inflammation
But all of that emotional stress drives inflammation. So what I see on a regular basis with my patients, is, women in this sandwich situation, where they are, raising their children, even if your kids are grown at this point, they’re still causing you a lot of emotional stress just because you worry about them as a mom, and then on the other side, you have your parents who are getting older, and I’m seeing more and more women who are taking care of their ailing parents.
It seems like the pandemic has really pushed that process of chronic disease, sped it up, and caused so many new issues. So you are self-sacrificing, you are not taking care of yourself, because you’re taking care of your mom or your dad, while you’re trying to juggle your life. You’re taking care of your kids, oh my gosh. Some women add on a career on top of that, and it’s exhausting. Your adrenal glands will shut down. So just on my soapbox for a minute, I want you guys to not underestimate or discount, the major, major impact that has on your health that’s driving all kinds of inflammation.
It’s really important. If you are one of these women, take time to rest, restore and repair. You really do need to take time for deep breathing, getting away and doing nothing, getting massages, soaking in the tub, and having quiet time with your brain to process everything that you’re going through.
If You Don’t Make Time to Process, Your Brain will Find Time… When You’re Trying to Sleep
If you don’t process it, your brain will file it all the way. Then it will want to process it when you try to go to bed. It will open those files at bedtime and remind you oh, you didn’t deal with this, you didn’t deal with that and you didn’t deal with this. Even if you figure out how to sleep through that, whether it be medicated sleep, alcohol-induced sleep, or whatever. Those files in your brain still need to be dealt with and if they’re not, they will come out in other ways.
So that’s just my little tangent because I am frustrated. I’m really frustrated with conventional medicine right now and my dad being sick and dealing with it. The piece I didn’t even explain was his doctor didn’t want to test for mold. His doctor didn’t want to test for adrenal fatigue, even though he’s been on multiple rounds of steroids which shut down your adrenal glands. My mom asks why they didn’t want to test. The truth is, if doctors say, no, you don’t need to do that test. It’s because they don’t know what to do with the results. That’s the honest truth. They don’t know how to order that kind of test and they don’t know what to do with those kinds of results.
If you have a doctor that is open-minded and willing to learn and be inquisitive, that’s amazing. And I would encourage you to talk to them about that. But unfortunately, what I hear all the time is Nope. There’s no reason to test that. Nope, that’s not the problem. Nope, that’s not important. Oh, that’s not a thing. That’s the worst answer of all. If your doctor is closed-minded, they’re no longer willing to learn and investigate, you should probably find a new doctor. So that’s what drove this episode today red flags that you get when you go to the doctor because I just saw a patient this morning, and we talked all about this.
There are warning signs when you’re at your doctor’s office that gives you that gut instinct of, this is not where I belong. This person is not going to help me actually heal and get well. The biggest ones I see are either being outright dismissed, like I mentioned, that’s not a thing. We don’t need to test for that. Stop looking at Google, that kind of stuff.
Red Flag Number 1 – Being Dismissed by Your Doctor
Being dismissed by your doctor is a big red flag. If your doctor is dismissing you, you need to find a new doctor. If your doctor is close-minded and doesn’t want to hear about new science out since they did residency 20-30 years ago. They can’t practice the same way. You need to find yourself a new doctor. So I started thinking, what else are the big red flags for women.
Red Flag Number 2 – Using Bandaid Solutions and Not Looking at the Root Cause
If your doctor wants to use birth control pill to solve all your problems, that’s a huge red flag. Birth control pills should only be used for birth control. If you’re struggling with your weight, and they tell you to eat less, or exercise more, and they don’t look at your adrenals, and your thyroid in detail, and your blood sugar, and actually evaluate your situation, you need to find a new doctor.
If they offer antidepressants when you do not have depression, that is a red flag. You do not need antidepressants, when you are tired. This is super frustrating to me because now the North American menopause society and the American colleges of OBGYN, now recommend antidepressants for menopausal symptoms! Here you are in a time period of your life where your hormones are declining and so you are prone to developing insulin resistance and weight gain from all of that insulin. You’re in that sandwich period where you’re stressed out because you’re taking care of your parents and your children and you’re doing your job and all of the things that’s a driving stress. You go to the doctor, and they tell you that hormones are dangerous, which is another red flag, or they offer you antidepressants for those symptoms, which inevitably, will cause you to gain another 20 to 30 pounds, which will make you feel even worse which will drive up your insulin resistance and blood sugar issues and you will be even more miserable and then you might actually develop depression.
If your doctor is handing you antidepressants Think twice before you get on those. They have a lot more side effects. Another huge side effect is tanking your libido just ruining it so you gain weight and you have no libido left, which you barely had already at menopause. So that is one of the worst medications a menopausal woman can take if you’re doing well on it. Thank goodness and if you need it for depression, that’s a whole nother story. We can talk about ways to handle those side effects. But unfortunately, most women don’t actually need it for depression.
The other big one is they put you on something like a PPI, a proton pump inhibitor Protonix, Nexium, OMAP resolve for heartburn and they leave you on it. If you’re on the medication for more than three to four months that needs to be reevaluated. There’s a reason your stomach is making too much stomach acid and that needs to be addressed. It’s usually a diet and lifestyle situation. It’s usually a gut microbiome issue. You usually have the wrong bacteria living in there and not enough enzymes to get your food out of your stomach and into your intestines in a timely manner. Putting someone on a statin for years and years for your cholesterol issue without figuring out what’s going on.
Elevated cholesterol is not a statin deficiency. There’s a reason these levels are changing for women, most commonly, it’s the changes in your hormones. Did you know cholesterol is actually the backbone ingredient that’s used to make your sex hormones? Your body uses cholesterol to make estrogen-progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and aldosterone. It needs cortisol. Imagine, you go into menopause, and you’re no longer making all of these hormones that you used to make, your cholesterol is probably going to go up because you’re not using it the way you used to. That isn’t necessarily bad in and of itself.
Cholesterol is much more complicated than that. And we’ve dumbed it down. And we’ve really given it a bad rap. And so it’s important that you go to a functional or integrative practitioner who understands the importance of cholesterol, and what all those numbers actually mean, because they’re there, it’s not just bad and good. It’s not that straightforward. Statins don’t fix the problem, they cause me many other problems. The biggest one is mitochondrial dysfunction. They wipe out your your CoQ 10 levels, and you can’t make your energy without that. So Statins really caused a lot of damage to women over time.
Red Flag Number 3 – Being Told That Synthetic Hormones and Bioidentical Hormones are the Same
Doctors who say that synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones are the same and there’s no difference. That’s a red flag. If they want to give you Premarin or something else made out of conjugated equine estrogen, or Prempro, which is methoxy, progesterone, or norethindrone. Those are synthetic progestins. Those act completely differently in your body. That is not what you want. You need a prescriber who understands the difference between the forms of hormones. That’s a really important key because it changes the risks associated with taking those medications.
Red Flag Number 4 – No Discussion of the Menopausal Process
I heard this one last week. There was no discussion about the menopausal process. It wasn’t, “how do you want to go through and transition in this time? Do you want to transition naturally? Or do you want to try some bioidenticals?” They were told, yep, it sucks to age. Some doctors joke about it. That is not acceptable medical care from a doctor to a patient, that is ridiculous. For doctors to either ignore the discussion or to blow it off like it’s a joke. That’s a huge red flag. You need to find somebody who will listen to you and actually give you the risks and benefits and alternatives of all the safe, good options out there.
Red Flat Number 5 – Your Doctor is Quick to do Surgery or Procedures
Another red flag is your doctor is quick to do surgery or procedures. Those should be a last resort. I’m hearing more and more about women in their 30s having their gallbladders removed. It used to be women in their 40s would have gallbladder dysfunction. The problem is you need your gallbladder. If you’ve had it removed, you can do your best to function without it. It stores your bile, but your Bile is really important to move your cholesterol around and to move your estrogens around, and all of your hormones that are cholesterol-based. If you don’t have enough bile to transport that, you’re going to end up with estrogen dominance, which you know, is another issue.
The other piece of it is bile helps transport toxins out of our body that our liver has worked so hard to remove out of our bloodstream. If we don’t have this transport mechanism to safely get things to our stool, we’re going to struggle, we’re going to have more symptoms and more issues. If you have gallstones, you need to ask why? Why is my bile not moving in and out of my gallbladder? Why are things so stagnant? That I’m forming stones? That’s the difference between functional medicine and conventional medicine. Functional medicine isn’t just trying to put the bandaid on the problem. It’s asking why and trying to figure out that and fix that problem. So don’t be quick to sign up for surgery. I know a lot of surgeons who love to do surgery, and that’s going to be their solution every time.
If you get a doctor who rarely does surgery, they’re often not very good surgeons. They’re timid, they’re indecisive, they don’t have good decision-making skills or good operating techniques. It’s really important if you do have surgery, that you think about these things. Is my surgeon, a good surgeon? Do they do this on a regular basis? But is this all they do? We put too much trust in our doctors. I hate to say that as a doctor, but it’s the truth. I really want you to be your own health advocate or get a friend, family member or someone to be a health advocate for you. Ask them to go to appointments with you, ask these questions and help discern, the right decisions for you. Go with your gut instincts. If things don’t feel right, there’s a reason for that. We as women have been taught to ignore all of our instincts, and we really need to get back to listening to them, and going with our guts.
So those are my major red flags. So what are you going to do about it?
What to Do Next
Get a Health Advocate
Like I said, get yourself a health advocate. If you’re uncomfortable doing it for yourself, or you’re not sure what questions to ask some people aren’t confrontational, they don’t want to question the doctor because it seems disrespectful. That is an antiquated notion, I want you to get that crap out of your head, that is old school. Doctors need to be questioned, they need to be held to the fire. They need to be able to explain to you why they’re doing something. If your doctor cannot give you a reasonable explanation of why you need to continue taking medication or have surgery, or not have a lab draw or something like that. Like they need to have a good explanation that sits well with you and that you’re comfortable with. So I just want you to find someone like that.
Consider a Functional Medicine Practitioner
You might have to go down the road of looking for a functional medicine practitioner or an integrative medicine practitioner or a naturopath. Those are wonderful actions and they’re becoming more available. It’s getting easier to find practitioners because they are able to be licensed in other states and do virtual visits. The barriers really are coming down. Get yourself educated as much as possible. Listen to podcasts, watch summits, and conferences.
Read books, every woman should read Eat Fat Get Thin by Dr. Mark Hyman, we should not be afraid of fat. It’s an essential part of our vitality as a woman. So I recommend everybody read that book, bare minimum. Start there. Mark Hyman is an amazing resource for all things functional. So while you’re looking for a new practitioner, you can also do your own investigation, you can order your own labs, you can go to Ulta Lab Tests and order your lab work. You won’t know how to interpret it necessarily and I don’t encourage you to do it and not have someone to work with to look at them, but it’s a good starting point, especially if your doctor really refuses to do anything and you know, you need those tests.
Stop Snacking All Day
Another thing just stop snacking all day. It’s a really easy thing that you can start to incorporate (or stop incorporating) is those snacks. Get your blood sugar under control because blood sugar roller coasters cause us to have concentration issues, mood swings, and sleep issues. We wake up at two or three in the morning. So many things from blood sugar imbalance. It causes us to make poor decisions the rest of the day. We have no energy and it’s a slippery slope.
Even if you can’t get any help from your doctor, you have to do that basic stuff.
You have to clean up your diet.
You have to get rid of this snacking.
You have to get the sugar out of your day.
You have to move your body with purpose every day.
You have to stop and process your mental thoughts.
Before you try and get any deeper do the basics I just listed above.
That’s a Wrap!
So I hope this was helpful. I feel like I was on a little bit of a rant. But I’m really frustrated that every single day I see women that tell me the horrible things their doctor says or does. Even though I keep hearing it, and I’ve been hearing it for years, it doesn’t get old, it just gets me angrier because our system is broken and it seems to be getting worse. The amount of apathy is just becoming so increasingly high. I think it’s because doctors are overworked. I was there. I understand they’re just as unhealthy as you are and you’re going to them asking them, how do I fix this?
They don’t know. Otherwise, they would have fixed themselves already. I have no doubt the majority of your physicians are just as frustrated with their weight and their fatigue. Their lack of energy, their lack of concentration, their sleep deprivation, joint pain, all of it. Your physicians are struggling like you and they don’t know what to do about it. So don’t be mad. It’s time to just find another solution. Right?
So I hope this was helpful. Listen to your gut. If your doctor is saying the things we’ve talked about today, start looking around my favorite resource is ifm.org. You can look up practitioners all over the country and find somebody trained in functional medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. That’s what I went through and that’s an excellent resource.
You can always reach out to me if you feel like you want to work with me one on one at drtabitha.com. Start taking back control and realizing that ultimately, the answer lies within you. Take control.