Sexuality Series: How To Feel Balanced Hormonally – Lisa Hendrickson-Jack [172]



you're listening to the mindful mama podcast episode of 172 today we're talking about how to feel balanced hormonal e with Lisa Hendrickson Jack welcome to the mindful mama podcast here it's about becoming a less irritable more joyful parent I'd mindful mama we know that you cannot give what you do not have and when you have calm and peace within then you can give it to your children I'm your host hunter Clarke fields mindful mom on lent or I help smart thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong connected relationships of their children I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years on the creator of the mindful parenting course soon to be a membership and I'm the author of the upcoming new book raising good human welcome back dear listener so great to be connecting with you once again this week it's always a pleasure and if you're new especially welcome to you this is a special episode a little bit off the normal there are a little bit to the side of our normal subjects I've been diving into some sexuality series talking to kids about sex and this episode is about women and sexuality and specifically about our hormonal cycles so I don't know if you know much about your period or your hormone cycle but I have been learning a lot more recently and wow amazed as a person in the middle of my life how much I had to learn so in this episode I talked to Lisa Hendrickson Jack she's a fertility awareness educator and holistic reproductive health practitioners who teaches women to chart their menstrual cycles for natural birth control conception and monitoring overall health and she has a new book the fifth vital sign and she debunked the myth that regular ovulation is only important when you want children by recognizing the menstrual cycle a vital sign so this is a really fascinating episode for me and I know that you will get so much out of it I want you to join me at the table and listen for some of these important ideas we talked about hormonal birth control how it has downsides that we really need to be aware of how understanding our cycles can help us balance emotionally which is really key and you know when is the best time to have sex we all want to know when's the best time to have sex right I don't know I do well I'm so excited for you to hear this episode but before we dive in I just want to let you know that I just have a few spots left in my mindful mama transformation coaching groups I have two groups they're gonna be running on Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern and Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. Eastern and there's just a couple spots left and I've been talking to so many people about it's really exciting it's a five-month group coaching program where you get youth join a small group of less than a six women or less and you get you and I will get to know each other really deeply you turn into my VIP people we get to really take you from wherever you are wherever your baseline is now to thriving and whether you're needing to learn more about parenting you're learning to learn more about yourself have practices mindfulness practices health compassion practices these are practices and tools and resources that you can take and will be life-changing for a long time for for changing your relationships for potentially the rest of your life it's it's intensive you know it's over five months it's really five months of really taking this time to work on yourself and making measurable changes and a really cool thing is that we just decided to add on that both you and your partner are gonna have access to the mindful parenting tribe the membership program during the duration of the coach that means both of you will get like those 80 amazing modules over 12 weeks get all the lessons the workbook the live group Q&A all that stuff so you get that on top of your small group powerful sacred sisterhood that you'll be learning so much so you're what's cool about this is that your partner can learn along with you it doesn't have to just beat you that has all the tools so anyway if you want to talk to me about grabbing one of those last three spots just let me know email me at Hunter at mindful mama mentor calm or go ahead and go over to mindful mama mentor calm slash group coaching and just sign up we will get you started right away that's mindful mama mentor.com slash group coaching grab one of those last spots all right now on to this conversation with Lisa Henderson Jack Lisa thanks so much for coming on the mindful mama podcast thanks for having me hunter it's so nice to see you again if not in person but it's lovely and you and I met in a lovely place but you I'm so excited for you because you're just coming out with your book the fifth vital sign and it's all about it's all about our cycles or periods and and that right yeah it's like it's so funny because I'm like a really open person but I'm like so I want to know like what got you so interested I want it I want you to take us back a little bit because how does one get to the point where one is writing the book about your your fifth vital sign take me back a little yes why do I talk about and then smells like a little time I had an interesting kind of entry into it as a as a young woman I discovered the fertility awareness method when I was about 18 19 ish kind of first-year University and for any of the listeners who weren't familiar with that it's basically a way to understand your menstrual cycle there's a lot of what's it called the fertility what the fertility awareness method okay okay and so there's a lot of misinformation that were given as as young ladies when we're kind of coming up so many women had the experience of being in school and being taught that every single day of your menstrual cycle essentially is potentially fertile so I remember sitting in my junior high school class and being taught that there were no safe days and basically leaving with the impression that if I were to have sex with another person I would 100% get pregnant like every time and that I know I'm not alone in that and that left me feeling really terrified so when I was ready to when I needed birth control essentially at that point I had actually been on the pill for a couple of years because I had really painful heavy periods so I wasn't on the pill for birth control I was on it because I didn't know how else to manage I was really active a really active teenager and because I wasn't on it for birth control I never took it at the same time and I was a nerd even back then so I read the whole pamphlet and I knew that if I had ever missed a pill or all of that I would always just be really nervous that I would get pregnant because I was taught that I could get pregnant like just 100% of the time so when I needed birth control I actually I feel like I did the opposite of what a lot of women do because I didn't want to be on the pill because at least if you're off the pill like you get your period so you like or not and so you know if you're pregnant it's over B it was – it was actually kind of the reverse because I was like oh no no I can't be on this thing cuz I'll always be nervous and in my mind I was like wait hold on a second so I had back you up a second because if we're you were nervous you wanted to go off the pill when you were started to have sex because you wanted to know if you were pregnant or not but wouldn't you not get your period even if you were on the pill if you were pregnant well granted I was like 18 at the time I was scared that I could somehow get pregnant and possibly not know I was pregnant and oh she's you know also sometimes when I was on the pill like if an event was coming up I would just like maybe take the pill again so I missed my period so there was just a variety of reasons and also because so since I I knew I wasn't consistent like I wasn't going to take the pill at like 8:05 everyday though if I would have woken up one day and taken it at like 9 versus 8 I would have been terrified so in my mind what it occurred to me was that I would always use condoms with the pill 100% of the time and so then I was like well then why use the pill yeah that was my my mindset so right around that time I actually discovered fertility awareness which was really interesting and so I went to this talk at my university and this woman was talking she was actually she's an author and she was reading an excerpt from her book but she mentioned that she learned that there was only a small window of time in your cycle that you could get pregnant and you could actually tell when that was by paying attention to your cervical mucus and your cervical position and I was like like it just blew my mind because I had been taught that all of the days were fertile just so to learn that there was only like a short window of time which is about six days or so in the menstrual cycle it meant that there were times of my cycle when I couldn't get pregnant and then again my logic was like well geez and if I could figure out when I'm fertile I could actually just like really focus on avoiding unprotected sex during that period of time and then kind of use this method so wait a second aren't there people who have gotten pregnant well they've had their period you know aren't there people would like cycles that are all out of whack and get pregnant at weird times well I mean yes it is possible to get pregnant on your um when you have your period so that's kind of just so just to kind of back it up before I answer that question the listeners have a general understanding of the menstrual cycle because this is the problem as women we don't we don't really get it information so in a typical menstrual cycle you get your period and the first day of your truth flow like when you have to go and grab like a pad or something that's day one of your cycle and then you would typically have your period it lasts somewhere between three to seven days in a healthy cycle and then at some point your period would stop and then you would basically start approaching ovulation so as you approach ovulation you would typically have a few days where if you were trying to watch for cervical mucus which we'll talk a little bit about you wouldn't see anything but then as you approach ovulation you actually you're your estrogen levels start to rise and that triggers your cervix to produce cervical mucus so even though we're not taught about it at all like we're only taught about our periods we're basically taught that our cycle is our period and like nothing happens in between but there's as you approach ovulation many women have seen it but they just didn't know what it was so for women who are listening if you've ever had the experience of like you feel kind of like a wetness and you think oh my goodness my periods here and you run to the bathroom and it's not or if you've ever had the experience of you're kind of wiping and it's really slippery and you actually some women will actually see clear stretchy fluid and it looks like raw egg whites or they might see something that looks like creamy white has lotion some women even you know go to their doctors because they see this quote discharged right and they think oh my goodness I'm I've got an infection and then they get an STI test and it's negative so a lot of women and I remember as a little girl like there was a point in my life when I started to actually like notice that there were some days where I'd feel really wet and I remember asking my mom about it and she would just she just told me that like okay we use panty liners now so I started using like but there was no like this is a healthy normal fluid that's produced as you approach I but like this conversation it was completely missing right I think like a big idea about it but no I don't really like I don't really I don't like about to turn 41 like in three days and I don't know I don't really know this no I feel well and we all do because I just stumbled across this so my story is unique because I stumbled across this when I was quite young and so now I'm 36 it's been almost 20 years and I'm like and this is a really you know fun conversation for for me to have Hunter because the fact that you're 41 and like you've never heard about it like that's the reason why I wrote the book that's the reason why I started a podcast like that's the reason why I won't shut up about the menstrual cycle and I'm always talk about vaginas and it's because we have a gap in our education system we're taught a lot of it I remember learning a ton of information on the eyeball some ears and like all little parts but the thing that would you know help us to you know prepare to become moms and to understand how our fertility works to help us I mean we're the kind of we we carry the next generation like this is kind of important stuff and we don't think it would be important for all of us to know this like yeah all we're taught is about the period part that's all so I want to learn more about it now so this estrogen levels rise and this you get the cervical mucus and this is what what's the point of this why yes so cervical mucus is actually the central part of understanding our cycles because of how important it is for fertility so this kind of clear stretchy stuff or like the creamy lotion tea stuff it actually allows the sperm to survive in your body for up to five days so a lot of us have heard that sperm can live in your body for up to five days I feel like that's something we've heard but no one says why but it's not just like across the board any single day of the week it's when you have mucus so basically there's this tight and if you think about it mother nature is really smart your our uterus is an internal organ and so really it shouldn't we should like the public shouldn't have access to this organ all the time that would open us up to the possibility of infections and other things so really outside of this tiny window of fertility our cervix and uterus are basically closed and nothing can enter our vaginas are naturally acidic and therefore sperm can't survive in there for very long and they have nowhere to go there's no access like the door is closed and so it's only as we approach our relation that it's actually open we produce this mucus so mucus has a couple of really neat functions it keeps sperm alive it's the right pH it changes the pH of our vagina like it basically it's like a hotel for the sperm it makes it them all comfortable and they can survive and it's great for them it rapidly shuttles them into the cervical crypts meaning just all of these technical terms but it basically means that it helps the sperm to get to where they need to go and it plays an essential role doing that and without it the sperm can't get to where they need to go so then what happens is eventually your estrogen levels peak and then it's like a feedback loop and so it's like if you have a furnace in your house and like the temperature rises and then it like you know the furnace goes off so when your estrogen levels rise to a certain point then that's what triggers ovulation so then after ovulation your your ovaries start producing progesterone but what happens is your mucus dries up there's changes in your cervical position that you can pay attention to T so if you want to if you're many women are kind of firmly familiar with the idea that your temperature kind of goes up around ovulation and that idea that you can actually track that so what happens is after ovulation progesterone this this hormone that you're making now it causes your body to actually like your metabolism to increase and so for women who are actually like into this and they've got the charting apps or their charting on paper if you plot your waking morning temperature on a graph every day so first thing you know in the morning before you get out of bed type of thing after ovulation your temperature actually rises in the stays high so you can actually see like a bear clear like obvious shift in temperature which is again really neat because this is like science so for all it like you know for all the science nerds it's like there's actually data and information that you can track and it's a cycle so it happens you know whenever you logically like it just happens all you know every time and so then after that you would have about twelve to fourteen days where you'd have none of this clear stretchy mucus in a healthy cycle and then you would get your period again and then like repeat repeat repeat so the I want to know about where PMS fits into the cycle because I know I feel like I can I can track my anxiety like when I wake up in the morning I have sometimes I you know I have anxiety dreams I wake up I feel anxious and then I go and I do my morning practice and I meditate and I help to take care of those feelings but it's clearly something that's kind of like I can really track it to like this happens before my period so is progesterone the cause of that is that what's making me yes well I mean so what's interesting about PMS is that you know the research tells us that up to like 90 percent of women experience some degree of kind of mood changes as they approach their period so it's kind of like well if 90% of women felt tired after running a marathon like would we also call that a disease right so there's some degree of kind of the energetic and emotional shifts that you experience in that phase of your cycle that is normal but there is a point at which we would you know be concerned you shouldn't be like going into like crazy emotional tailspins and feeling like deep bouts of depression and crazy anxiety and like having a like you know what I mean like there's there's some degree of that though that is normal and it's just part of the cycle as women so you know a lot of women will report that they tend to feel more energetic and outgoing around ovulation and they tend to feel a little bit more kind of you know introspective and just the less energetic before their period and so there's yeah you can tell I'm trying to stress like there's a degree of this this is not that is normal but for women who do have like I mean I could definitely see that it's normal you know I'm sure there's you know I know there's people have extry of that but I'm not questioning like whether whether it's normal not but it sounds like you're kind of inviting me to think of it in a different way think of it as an energetic shifter yeah and we can think of it like a continuum and so we're all gonna be on that somewhere but to answer your question if for women who do experience because I think you have we all had that intuitive sense like this is not okay like I'm feeling really ridiculous before my periods coming and I want to know why so for women that typically have more prevalent PMS symptoms like more significant mood swings or significant food cravings some women experience what's called the hyper hydration like bloating like they'll notice like they could you know what I mean like mmm there's there's just specific types of symptoms that's a women experience what that is it's not like progesterone salt but typically women who have more intense PMS symptoms do have more of an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone typically having a bit lower progesterone though they should or having a sharper drop in progesterone as they approach their period compared to women that don't so for instance if you were to look at your progesterone on a graph in a normal cycle you would see that after ovulation it kind of Rises and it's like a half circle kind of so it's like it Rises and then it reaches its peak in the middle so kind of like a week before your period and then it kind of gradually goes down but sometimes women with PMS symptoms they have it like a sharp decline in their progesterone so it is related to hormones and it's it can be related to kind of like an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone and the luteal phase and there's things that you can do about it in terms of like diet and lifestyle things like that like if you don't get enough sleep if you're totally stressed out that can cause your progesterone to be lower if you've got certain vices you know alcohol like drinking coffee all the time and just certain things because it's a hormonal the more stress hormone you produce the less progesterone you have because cortisol like our stress hormone is produced from progesterone so there's a lot of like and so the more stress hormone we produce the more stress you have in your life so less progesterone would would make you more imbalanced you're saying yeah and if you think about it logically I mean I don't know like as a as a busy mom who is you know working on her business and all of that kind of stuff like for a lot of women for pretty much all of us if you think about what our lives look like many of us are very busy we have a lot of demands on our time and as women for some reason like even though men are fathers and they're part of this whole thing like a lot of the household responsibilities and childcare responsibilities fallen to us so there's like a lot of different things that if you think about it could just be regular stressors so I suppose just to kind of point out that sometimes it can be related to some of those things but there are other specific things and that can kind of exacerbate PMS symptoms like yeah giving into the sugar cravings and binging many of us have are more likely if we're going to eat the chocolate it's probably going to be before the period and there's a correlation between kind of those PMS symptoms there's a category of PMS that is called sugar cravings it's all biological so I'm you know it was funny because I was having this conversation with a friend of mine and how it is actually recently that I'm trying to like I'm trying to use my sort of period tracker and track how I feel when I wake up and kind of like figure it all out because I'm not usually very systematic so this is like a whole kind of new thing for me I don't really have enough data but you know we were talking and just I'd love the I love the idea of like wouldn't it be nice if like every once a month we could go away for four days just relax and watch a movie in the middle of the day and like go for walks like have a retreat like every month like in my ideal imaginary world I think that's what I would like during that time and it sounds like yeah we're having this energy shift but like our lifestyle is not shifting well and what's what's interesting so I mean I talked about this in the book I've got a chapter on PMS I also talked about I talked about it in two ways and I thought that was important so I talked about it in the way that like there is some degree of change in our motions and our energy that is normal so I talked about it from that standpoint because they I think it's really important because again that 90 percent like 90 percent of women experience PMS symptoms like we can't call it can't we just like it's not a sickness for women and then kind of part of our natural rhythms and our natural kind of situation here but also understanding that there is a limit to what we can call normal because it's really annoying if you actually are suffering and you have more significant symptoms for someone just to pat you on the head it's yeah I mean but it's what you said when you start paying attention to these things and I think speaks volumes that you have been paying attention to it as a woman who you know is it like if you're cycling naturally like if you don't have if you're not taking type of hormonal birth control that's kind of interfering with your natural cycle or stopping it altogether then as a woman you can't help but notice these shifts like because you just keep having menstrual cycles so if you feel a certain way before your period you're gonna notice that over the years and so it's what you said is really pivotal like you wish that you could kind of go away and basically like retreat and just relax couple of days that is a natural inclination so although we can't always like fully get on a plane and go to Thailand or something and just as women if you track your cycle even if you're just tracking when your periods are coming but the more that you kind of pay attention to where you are in your cycle you can start to get to the point where you can kind of anticipate around when you might be premenstrual and you can start to organize your life a little like in small ways around it you could schedule a day off you could schedule like a block you like blah blah but you could block off your calendar for a day or two around that time or purposely not take appointments and kind of think when am i cycle do I have more energy and actually schedule your interviews and your kind of parties and whatever you're doing around that time and some women do that like it's fully on that like hack your cycle language like some women actually do take this to the kind of further degree and actually do schedule some of their commitments around when they know they typically have energy and things like that in their cycles wow that's amazing I so I want to get to I want to get to hormonal birth control because and I want to talk about that but I want to kind of go back to your story so you're 19 you learn about this fertility awareness method your mind is blown you're like oh my god do you take that radical step of kind of saying well I'm just gonna I'm just gonna go all natural and see what happens did you do that I did so in my case I kind of I was in a really supportive environment so I was able to learn and gain confidence in the method for a couple different reasons so I mean I was on my university campus we had a women's center they were like it was this great kind of feminist like I was like young women on my own for the first time and learning about Eman ISM and sex positivity and the menstrual cycle so it was that kind of one of those like exciting kind of times as a young lady but I did have the resources so at the Women's Center they were kind of aware of this and so I went to the bookstore and bought taking charge of your fertility which is a book by Toni Wechsler that it's the most it's one of the most comprehensive guides where a lot of women who are interested in fertility meds that's where they really get their education and kind of at the beginning and so I bought myself that book I was reading it I at this time it was like the year 2000 or whatever so there was no charting apps like I had just got my first cell phone you know what I mean so I like made myself Excel spreadsheets and was charting on paper and all this and actually back then made a book I was selling until my fairly good this was a thing and so there was also a group of women on my university campus some of whom had specifically been trained so they were trained instructors in this group and they were they used to hold monthly meetings and I think the group is still there and they still do hold monthly meetings and so yeah so I started attending these meetings learned how to chart had the support of people who knew how to do it it wasn't long before I was a member and took training myself and was also teaching women like so this has been going on for long time you really are fertility geeks Wow fertility where's educator put in the proper term but so what happened was like what led me to to this stage that I'm not is that I mean I was quite young and um I then by the time I started having children so yes I was like nineteen years old and I was using condoms in my fertile window and I was fully having unprotected sex outside of my fertile window and not getting pregnant because I understood the fertility awareness method but I'm saying this because there's often this idea that young ladies are too stupid to figure it out and we shouldn't tell them this information because then they're gonna go in and pregnant all this kind of stuff and I just I know that the fertility awareness method is not for everybody so I think that's the first thing what I do think is for everybody is the information so every woman should be taught about our bodies and understand how it works and understand that there's a small window of fertility we can identify it not every woman is going to then use it as a primary birth control method but the information about our bodies is something we all have the right to know but I do share that part of my story very intentionally and tell my age because I want people to know like I was a 19 year old girl and I was able to sort this out in a very responsible way and I do appreciate the comment about sti's because that is one of my biggest concerns with hormonal birth control and how its pushed now how condoms have some how when I was younger condoms were actually we were taught that they were quite effective and with perfect use condoms are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy and also condoms are really your only if you're in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex like it's the only way to protect yourself from sti's so one of the biggest concerns that I have about the kind of push about of hormone hormonal birth control for young ladies is but now they're protected from pregnancy but no one's talking about sti's right so yes okay all right all right so you know I imagine the listener probably some of them are like yes you know you know on board but this is like new kind of radical information for a lot of us who are in that world of like you know just protect at all costs and in every ways to perform so so and then you went on and had to the boys and around that time that I realized like I had by that time I had been using fertility awareness so you know up until the point I had been using fertility awareness for nearly ten years successfully to avoid pregnancy and then when I've decided you know when my husband and I decided to start a family then that was kind of the first time I had ever you know flipped it around the days and but it was around that time I mean I was in my I got pregnant when I was 29 so just approaching 30 and you know at that age a lot of my friends and but there was also a certain you know sect of my a certain part of my friend group and just overall in general I started realizing how many women were struggling with fertility challenges and also nobody knows about their fertility so you have women who are struggling with fertility challenges but at the at the end of the day like we're not taught about our bodies so you have a lot of weight there's a certain percentage of women who are basically timing sex wrong every time because we're told like okay we'll have sex someday 14 of your cycle but we're not robots so that's a myth that all women ovulate on day 14 all the time like it's not actually a real thing and if you if you so in my case I've worked with hundreds of women over the years and seen like thousands of charts and all this stuff so you know it's not a thing most women don't ovulate on day 14 at all and there when that mucus is happening I guess I aside from fertility I'm sure like some listener is probably really interested in fertility but I have a question I think that is more pressing for me is that you didn't have sex where you had sex maybe with a condom when you were in that isn't that point of ovulation aren't you like the horniest like when you're ovulating it's like that's the point of population your body's like yes let's do it like all the drives are like about reproduction at that point right well so I would say yes and and kind of like a little like so a lot of women I think over the years and I know this personally I've had experience personally where around ovulation yes you're often more attracted to your partner and also what's interesting is that around that time you're of releasing pheromones so your partner is also more likely to kind of like fly to sticky paper like all over your situation which is interesting but I mean there has been there's a colleague of mine that was involved in a research study that kind of looked to see when women are more aroused and so basically she in her study she kind of argues like well you know we're not machines like you you can also be aroused around your period and other times your cycle so but with that said yes like around ovulation many women I think in my kind of lived experience like most women do find that that's when they are wanting it more but the thing is that I mean in my case it wasn't it wasn't a bad thing it must have been great switched to like wanting to have babies at that point because but it wasn't but I would say that it's there there's definitely more of a drive but it's not to the point that it's like I'm not thinking it's not this big big big deal because I can also have sex at other times of my cycle I don't know so I see I see I see your point but it wasn't like I only wanted it like I'm ovulating and then like not like outside of it I like didn't want it at all like I so the other thing is that when you're not on the pill so one of the side effects one of the most common side effects of the pill and other hormonal birth control is low libido because the pill is your testosterone by like at least sixty one percent their studies I've got all kinds of studies quoted in my book like over a thousand research citations because I really wanted women to have access to like the science behind this stuff so it's not just like this is what Lisa says but for example you know one of the studies that I quote in the book in the birth control chapter see they measure the testosterone levels of women on the pill versus not and the women on the pill their testosterone was 61% lower so a lot of women experience a little Obito on the pill and the challenge is that like a lot of women also go on the pill when they're like 14 15 16 like by the time you're 16 you don't know yourself enough to know what your normal libido is probably ya know there's a lot of women who may not even know the extent of the impact of their libido until they come off of it and then they their libido comes back and they're like wow so one of the great things about my situation was that I was able to like go through my 20s enjoying just like my normal body my normal libido and just so maybe that's why it wasn't an issue because I did I had a libido and it wasn't moving around my ovulation huh this is interesting now the pill I I do want to talk about the pill because after I had my daughter's I felt like there's no way I'm going back on hormonal birth control at all and I didn't want it because I I'm sensitive like I can um you know a highly sensitive person like I can feel these differences I can feel it kind of changing the way I feel what are what are some of and I know that I've read some crazy stuff about the pill recently so the pill basically stops us from ovulating altogether like no egg is released like you can just go happy on the bill and not have your period right like it's been so long for me now that was almost like hard to remember but and my logical brain says there's gotta have some weird effects on the body so what is what does it do to us that's I think I'll go through as much as I can but I think it's helpful first of all to understand like how the pill works so it's exactly what you said like what is it actually doing to us and I'll just start by saying that there's different types of birth control so most hormonal contraceptives are made of a combination of synthetic estrogens and progestins so when you think of the pill the patch the ring those are typically like these combined synthetic hormone preparations and then you have other types of birth control like we have the IUDs that are progestin releasing and I always make a point of saying that because they are not the same hormones that our body produces so often it's very comforting to hear that you're getting like estrogen and / just like it's not it's like a like some dude made it in a lab and it's not the same chemical structure but anyways so some of the some of the birth control is progestin-only some of its combined the vast majority of hormonal birth control work will all hormonal birth control varieties work in that in a combination of three different ways but not all of them fully suppress ovulation most of them do though so the first thing that they do suppress ovulation interfering with the regular communication that has to happen between our brain and our ovaries so we've got like our hypothalamic pituitary ovarian axis so basically like when it's after your period it's like your brain sends a message to your ovaries and it's like okay guys let's start you know making eggs and getting ready for a Bewley ssin so the pill shuts that down and then because there are certain types of hormonal birth control it for instance the progestin releasing IUD some women do stop ovulation but not all women do so it's like well then if you're still ovulating how could you how do you not get pregnant so the other function is that it hormonal birth control causes your uterine lining to never really get fully developed so the lining is super super thin too thin to for an egg to implant even if you were to a Bewley and then the third thing is that the hormonal birth control keeps your cervix closed like we kind of talked about that how you would naturally produce mucus as you approach ovulation when you're not producing that when you're using these hormones because it actually prevents you from producing for top quality cervical mucus so these three main friends and if you think about that so if it's suppressing ovulation your ovaries are actually where you produce your estrogen and your progesterone and you know a significant amount of your testosterone and as women we produce ninety percent less testosterone than men but the testosterone we produces is very important it plays a key role in our libido low testosterone is associated with an increased risk of depression which is one of the side effects of the pill and our actual like like our actual vagina so our Volvo like our tissues down there our clitoris our bagent opening are very sensitive to these hormones including testosterone so what that means is that to kind of the more like two of the side effects that are associated with hormonal birth control our low libido like we spoke about because of the testosterone but also painful sex and and so for some women the low libido things so for some women how that plays out is like they don't want it as much for some women how it plays out is that it's actually painful and there's a condition of all the Jin you know where a lot of women then internalize that because we're not really told that this could be a side effect of the birth control and so there are women out there who have this issue and it's painful and they end up going through like therapy and all kinds of stuff when it like for some women it's literally just because they took the pill and you're more likely to experience that particular issue if you the earlier you started taking it so if you were you know 14 15 16 when you started taking the pill you're more likely to experience like painful sex okay so if we go on the pill we're more likely to have a painful sex we're more likely to have low libido and increase risk of depression so then we go on the pill we have increased risk of depression so then we go to a therapist and we get on probably some other pills right have other intense effects on us like psychosomatic you know what I mean like all the all the depression pills Wow this is it's like a chain effect it's a similar with it sounds in in sort of a bigger scale like similar to birth and that one intervention is kind of be getting another intervention well and as I mentioned with the teenage girl so there's a study that I kind of point out there in that in my pill chapter where it's like young young women who were on birth control were more likely to be on antidepressants so what's been happening there is that you're going to a psychologist because you're depressed and instead of the psychologist being like are you on the pill because these side effects are not widely discussed necessarily even though there's a lot of scientific literature like this is not like someone making it up there's like tons and tons of research papers that talk about why so instead of like let's we know the depression is one of the side effects of the pill so why don't we had a couple months where you go off that you know use condoms and let's just see if the depression improves like that's the conversation isn't happening instead it's like oh you're depressed let's just put you one yeah another yeah it really strong drugs are can be really hard to get off of – Wow okay any other side effects we should we should know about with the pill well nutrient deficiencies and so and I should say depression and anxiety so there there's a certain percentage of women who develop panic attacks and feelings of anxiety they can kind of show up differently and it's not always like you go on it and you immediately feel this there are there's a certain percentage of women who like go on the pill and they immediately feel a little bit like like just their moods changes so dramatically that they have to come off of it but most women don't fall into that category there's a certain percentage of women so I've interviewed a number of women on my podcast who then kind of share their experiences on it and so they interviewed this one woman who was on the pill for a long time she was on it for eight years and it was like at that time she started experiencing panic attacks and again like she's thinking that there's something wrong with me and I don't know what's going on and she's kind of trying everything eventually googling like what could this possibly be and then in the end she found some information some women saying like the TEL gave me panic attacks and then she went off of it just to see and then she's like him and I didn't have any panic like that was eight years in so how would you know if no one had ever you would never you would never know yeah and so one of those of hormonal birth control is nutrient deficiencies so B vitamins in particular zinc selenium coenzyme q10 and the reason for that is that these hormones imagine like the hormones you can't just shut down woman's reproductive system without it affecting other parts of my body like yeah I'm sure a to what it seems to be the message in like that's the title of my book is the final sign for a reason it's like we somehow think that we can compartmentalize ourselves and this medical model of like take the pill shut down your reproductive system it won't have an effect on anything else but here I am telling you like depression painful sex anxiety nutrient deficiencies so obviously our cycles are connected to more than just our ability to have kids so yeah and your person sees can lead to things like anxiety and depression too because I think that that's all they're all interconnected I mean every part of her body is interconnected well and you basically like that's exactly what I was gonna say so specifically the pill changes the way that we metabolize these B vitamins so folate which is huge because we know that folate is critical for like normal fetal development so it's an issue for us moms these nutrient deficiencies are exacerbated like the longer that you're on it like it's kind of a kind of gradual and maybe you know that's an example of why eight years in you could have this issue where you didn't have it before but in particular vitamin or in particular hormonal birth control has been shown to rapidly deplete vitamin b6 and it increases your daily requirement by like 38 times so it's insane how much like over and above the recommended daily allowance you'd have to take like 38 times the recommended daily allowance to like equal out how much more you need while you're taking it well taking a vitamin buy a supplement is not the same as getting the vitamins you need via your food or the Sun and all those things it's just not the same their body doesn't metabolize those things in the same way they often just you pee it out right yeah and then in the case of depression I just point that one thing out to support exactly what you said is because vitamin b6 is essential for our serotonin production and serotonin is associated with our mood so this depression thing then we've got the lower testosterone and divided like the nutrient deficiencies so one thing I'll point out I mean I could go on about the pill for a long time I think you can tell I spent a lot of time thinking about this and it's kind of controversial right like as a feminist it's like you know what the pill was what gave us our you know sexual revolution and our freedom and how could you be talking negatively about the pill especially when you know in certain political climates that access is being threatened so I want to make my point really clear when I talk about the pill is because I believe that as women we should have informed consent I believe that women kind of fall into three categories like some women sharing all of this would be like oh my goodness this is crazy I don't think that that's for me and they're gonna choose not to take it some women are gonna say you know what for me at this moment in my life this is actually the best option for me control but at least I know about the side effects and then if I ever did experience like a panic attack or if I noticed that my libido was going down and my mood was changing then I at least know so that I could then go off of it or maybe try a different formulation or something like that like that's and then the other option there's a group of women who would just take it for it just as long you know whatever but my thing is like we if we're not told about these side-effects which were not the vast majority of women that I've encountered in my lifetime have not been inadequately counseled about these then when you have because I like at the end of the day like the pill it's not like someone that experienced effects and someone that don't the pill is fundamentally kind of physiologically changing you it's shutting down your ovaries of disrupting the normal function of your endocrine system every woman is affected the only question is how will you be affected like every woman isn't affected in the same way like how it manifests but it we're all affected so informed consent to be clear that it's not like I'm saying like no one should ever use it again but I think that yeah we need to know what it could be doing to us yeah yeah I I agree I think that that is important so so what what would you say to the listener is saying oh my gosh you know I had no idea I had no idea had cervical mucus maybe my hormonal birth control could be affecting me this way but may what what would be a cautious woman's first step for kind of understanding how some of these effects might be coming up in her life mm-hmm I think I mean the first step would be to educate yourself if this is all new to you fortunately there's a lot of great books and resources that are available for women I think women kind of know if if they hear about this and they really gravitate to it they want to learn about fertility awareness so of course you know my book is a good result a great resource taking charge of your fertility by 20 Wechsler is a great resource there are more women speaking out about the a woman Holly Griggs Paul wrote a book sweetening the pill which is a really interesting book sharing about her personal experience on yaz and it's and then you know as you read it you realize it's not just her personal experience a lot of women experienced very parallel kind of things and all of that but there's if this is all new to you I think it's just helpful and reassuring to know that there's a lot of women who've been working in this field for years like take me 20 like nearly 20 years ago I discovered this and I've been teaching I think also it's important to acknowledge the the feelings that can arise typically what I hear from women initially it's like wow this is amazing this is exciting like like it's really fascinating to learn about this and really gratifying but then it's quickly followed by a sense of anger of like well what the heck like this isn't really that complicated so why are we being taught so kind of I think it's important to acknowledge all the feelings that come up around it you know you mentioned like I'm 41 and I didn't know it Serpico because like it's okay to be angry and it's a normal response in terms of like the practical like okay so I'm scared now I've heard all this stuff about the pill I'm gonna research it if you decide at that point that maybe you're wanting to think about other types of birth control again the first step is to educate yourself and to think about what the options are I don't think it's a good idea to just like go off of birth control without and like other options because as long as you're ovulating there's always a chance of pregnancy so it's a little bit of a it's also nervous it's also really common to feel really nervous because of the programming like we're taught that you're going to get pregnant you know from every time you have sex so it can be a big transition for you to kind of just learn that Wow like my cycle works in this way and I can kind of figure this out so even trust it like actually because I was on hormonal birth control when I was younger this like the last you know uh eight years since my daughter Saur was born that's been the only time I've ever had a regular period in my life only time I ever before then it was all out of whack for a lot of room okay so get informed and then maybe just start to don't don't rush it don't dive in just just start to start to understand just start to look at other options if that's what this if that's what you're I wish you know it's we are we are we're kind of at a time talking but this has been really fascinating for me to talk to you Lisa I had I knew would be really you know I think as moms and women like this is part of awareness right this is part of mindfulness is under having the full picture having the information and understanding ourselves like as part of you know we may be doing all these things to be you know to to be helping ourselves feel better struggling maybe with the anxieties and different things and it may be just a very simple answer that is then of course not so simple yeah Lisa thank you so much we're we're so people go go get Lisa's book the fifth vital sign is sound I'm really fascinated and excited to check it out and and where can people find out more about you and the work you're doing well thank you and so the book is available on Amazon and you know other retailers where books are sold um for the listeners if you'd like the first chapter a kind of a sneak peek at the book first chapter for free you can head over to the fifth vital sign book calm and the first chapter is all about why I'm calling the menstrual cycle a vital sign so I think it's it's basically it's like why is the menstrual cycle important outside of having babies like that so the answer lies in that chapter v with a number 5 or s is okay yeah and then I you can listen to my podcast of I'm fertility Friday so if you were to search on your favorite podcast player virtually Friday so it's like I've been doing it for four years so there's like two hydrated 38 or 39 or 40 or something like that episodes on like the menstrual cycle and Aegina my god thank you so much I mean I think that it's such a you know probably when you were a little girl no one you never grew up and said I teach people about their midst I was like but I'm really glad that you had fell into this work and are doing this because clearly we need this information I mean I feel pathetic like I feel like an informed woman generally and I'm like I just got like the you know shown how unimportant I really was I mean oh my goodness so I really I really appreciate that you're that you're doing this work that you've come up on the mindful mana podcast that you're sharing it with us you're share it so that we we can also be informed so thank you thank you very much thank you so much for a V this has been so much fun and it was so nice connecting with you in person a couple months ago and so it's also really nice to be able to connect with you again thank you again thank you so much for listening it's fascinating isn't it I had no idea about the downsides of hormonal birth control about you know a lot of this stuff about our cycles and etc I mean it's really an area that I actually want to learn even more about after talking to Lisa so I hope that you do too and that you are ready to create more balance and your cycles in your life and anyway I hope this conversation has helped you you just want to remind you that I just have three spots left in my mindful mama transformation coaching groups as of the recording of this and it's an incredible it's one of my favorite things I do I get to know you really really well over the course of five months you get to get the sacred sisterhood incredible positive peer pressure and we make changes that last a lifetime to take you from whatever your baseline is to thriving so if you want to grab one of those last spots you can go to mindful mama mentor.com slash group coaching that's mindful mama mentor.com slash group coaching and remember we now have an incredible bonus that you and your partner are gonna both have access to the mindful parenting tribe during that time so it's incredibly valuable valuable program so if you want to talk to me about it email me at Hunter at mindful mama mentor calm or just go ahead and grab those spot that one might not you know I don't know how many are left as of now because I'm recording this few days before but grab the spots at mindful mama mentor calm / group coaching and I will be so excited to work with you would be very cool and I'm wishing you a beautiful week my friend I'm wishing you peace I'm sugar joy I'm wishing you balanced hormones hey have a great week my friend namaste you

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