Menstrual Cycle Problems
Many women come to see me because they’re experiencing menstrual cramps or frustrating hormone imbalance symptoms that they want to treat naturally. Menstrual cycle problems range from irregular periods, painful periods, or periods that have disappeared altogether. With medical and functional hormone testing, we can uncover the root cause of the hormone imbalance and treat it using nutrition, stress modification, herbal medicine and/or acupuncture.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) & Hormone Imbalances
Almost every woman understands the hormonal, mood, and symptoms changes that occur at “that time of the month”. Did you know that a more severe form of PMS, called Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder (PMDD), affects 5-10% of women? Whether it’s irritability or low mood, acne breakouts, or other premenstrual symptoms, I help women find the herbal and dietary solutions to resolve PMS and balance hormones.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a collection of symptoms including irregular or absent periods, elevated testosterone, acne or excess hair growth, and as the name implies, multiple cysts on the ovaries. This condition also affects blood sugar regulation and can lead to diabetes and difficulties conceiving a baby. I work with women to help normalize the menstrual cycle, reduce testosterone and its bothersome symptoms, and improve fertility status. With lifestyle and dietary coaching, specific herbs and nutrients, women with PCOS can balance their hormones, feel confident in their body and grow their families.
Stress, Burnout & 'Adrenal Fatigue'
Virtually every woman I see in my practice is experiencing some form of stress that is affecting her daily life, or affecting her hormones and physiology. Symptoms of adrenal dysregulation (or “adrenal fatigue”) include: difficulties falling asleep or getting out of bed in the morning, crashes in energy during the day, trouble concentrating, sugar or salt cravings, feeling exhausted or ‘burnt out’, frequent illness, weight gain around the middle, among others. Our adrenal glands produce cortisol (our stress hormone), which when dysregulated, can cause not only the above symptoms but can also contribute to hormone imbalances, period problems, thyroid problems and difficulty getting pregnant. I provide Adrenal Stress Index testing to understand the status of your adrenal glands and how that might be contributing to your symptoms. From there, I coach women in stress management techniques, provide specific helpful foods, nutrients, and herbs to help enhance resilience to stress and improve energy. This way, women can continue feeling strong and energized with work, family and their athletic endeavors.
An under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) can present in symptoms such as fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, depression, menstrual changes, impaired fertility, among other symptoms. Women are affected 2-8 times a frequently as men are, and occurs more frequently with age. The most common cause of hypothyroidism in women is due to an autoimmune process called Hashimoto thyroiditis. Typical treatments include medication; but there are other important dietary, lifestyle and herbs available that help optimize your thyroid function and improve your quality of life. Other women may have a clinically “normal” TSH value on standard blood tests but still feel poorly; for these women, I investigate thyroid function more closely along with adrenal and female hormones to understand the cause of persistent symptoms. I want to ensure that you have not just “normal” thyroid function, but “optimal” thyroid function, to keep you feeling energized, vibrant and vital. See the “Laboratory Testing” section for more information on thyroid testing.
Many women are educating themselves about the importance of optimizing their health in preparation for a pregnancy. This preconception time is an ideal time to reflect on one’s diet and lifestyle, and make healthy changes to support a vibrant pregnancy and have a healthy, happy baby! During this time, I help to coach women through choosing the best vitamins and supplements they may want to take for their individual needs, as well as diet and lifestyle support. Importantly, it takes 2 people to make a baby. I encourage women to bring their partners in for a fertility and health assessment to ensure that their health status isn’t negatively affecting their chances for conception. I coach partners in dietary, lifestyle and stress management to help both partners feel supported; and provide male partners with natural medicine to enhance fertility and improve sperm quality. Couples who have been trying to get pregnant for a longer period of time may require additional support. Specifically, couples with female partners under the age of 35 who have been trying to conceive for 12 months, or those over the age of 35 who have been trying for 6 months, may require additional testing and fertility support to help with conception and supporting a healthy pregnancy. Making healthy dietary changes, choosing the best prenatal vitamins, and balancing hormone with herbs and acupuncture are some of the ways I help support fertility. For couples undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) through Vancouver fertility clinics such as PCRM, Genesis or Olive, I provide adjunctive care each step of the way to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Once a couple becomes pregnant, I provide naturopathic support with dietary and lifestyle coaching. Additionally, I provide safe and effective natural treatments for common pregnancy complaints (such as nausea or discomfort), and labour preparation with safe, gentle herbs and acupuncture. See “Fertility & Pregnancy” section for more information.
The term “menopause” comes from the root meno (month, menses) and pausis (pause, cessation); in other words it is a pause in menstruation. Menopause is defined by the absence of menses for 12 consecutive months. The period of time known as “perimenopause” is the time leading up to menopause - it occurs between the onset of changes in the menstrual cycle, to the cessation of menses. Post-menopause begins after the time of the final menstrual period, and continues until the end of life. Menopause is a normal, natural life event for all women, except for when it is induced by medication, surgery, or radiation. It is the beginning of a new phase of life, with new learning opportunities, new options, and new adventures. While this is a natural and normal transition, it’s not necessarily a smooth one. Though not a disease, there can be symptoms and health problems associated with menopause. Hormonal fluctuations during this time may bring hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, acne, poor concentration and memory, and unpredictable menses again. My goals as a Naturopathic Physician supporting a women through this life transition are to provide relief from common menopause symptoms, and to prevent and/or treat osteoporosis, heart disease, and other diseases of aging. My approach involves tailored risk assessment and testing, and an individually tailored health care plan that incorporates diet, exercise, stress management, nutritional supplements, herbal therapies, bio-identical hormonal support and/or prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, as needed.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are one of the most common bacterial infections in women, occurring 10 times more frequently in women compared to men. Between 50-60% of women will develop a UTI in their lifetime. I offer in-house urinalysis testing for immediate diagnosis. If you think you are experiencing a UTI, you can book in for an acute visit to get tested and treated. If caught early enough, I can prescribe specific antimicrobial herbs and nutrients to eradicate the infection naturally. I can also use my prescription license to prescribe antibiotics, if required. For women who experience recurrent UTI’s (3 or more UTI’s in the previous 12 months), I help to explore the underlying cause and provide treatments to prevent the return of these bothersome symptoms.
Chronic Yeast Infections
Most women will experience the discomfort of a vaginal yeast infection at least once in her life; others will suffer from these chronically. For women who have tried the over-the-counter solutions but continue to suffer from these symptoms, I help explore the underlying dietary, medication, lifestyle or gut health factors that may be contributing to the reoccurrence of these infections. Using herbal medicine, specific oral and vaginal probiotics, and dietary changes, I provide ways for you to get rid of these symptoms naturally and to prevent them from coming back.
PAP Exams and Breast Health
For many women, seeing a caring practitioner they feel comfortable with is vital to help them feel empowered in their health. I understand how important it is to be able feel and safe to ask questions during health check ups. Come to the clinic, have a cup of tea in the waiting room, then come in for your regular women’s wellness exam, which includes a PAP smear, pelvic exam and clinical breast exam in the comfort of your local naturopathic clinic in the heart of north shore mountains. It is of utmost importance to me to provide you with a safe space, a comfortable experience, and help you to learn about and understand your body.
A Naturopathic Approach to Women's Health
More information coming soon!