Most women live decades of their lives away putting up with many physical annoyances such as the discomfort of menstrual cycles, body ache, insomnia, swelling, and anxiety. Yet they continue to function doing what they’re supposed to; pushing themselves through it all.
Their name is way down in the list of the people they take care of—children, parents, partners, and so on. It’s not until they experience complete well-being that they realize the burden they were carrying.
In this blog, we cover the highlights of a conversation between Dr. Nisha Chellam Board Certified Internist and Founder of Holistic ICON, and Dr. Marilyn Glenville Ph.D., a registered nutritionist the founder of Glenville Nutrition, talking about the various phases of a woman’s life and how we can change the underlying physiology by changing the lifestyle and the pattern of eating.
You will learn about:
- Pre-menstrual Syndrome—All Questions Answered
- The Barriers on the Path to Healing
- The Increasing Rate of Menstrual Abnormalities in Young Women
- Advice for Tampon Users
- Effect of Pregnancy on Women’s Health
- Role of Alcohol in Fertility
- An Outlook on Perimenopause
- The Possible Osteoporosis Epidemic
- The Mindset You Need to Regain Your Health
- How to Eat Healthily?
- How to Stay Consistent?
Get your notepads ready and keep reading!
Who is Dr. Marilyn Glenville?
Dr. Marilyn Glenville Ph.D. is the founder of Glenville Nutrition, a registered nutritionist, psychologist, author, and broadcaster. She focuses on the natural nutritional healing of many chronic problems that women face—from menstrual irregularity, PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, infertility to menopause, and osteoporosis. Helping women understand and naturally manage these diseases.
Pre-menstrual Syndrome—All Questions Answered
What is Pre-menstrual Syndrome?
Pre-menstrual syndrome is a change in a woman’s emotional and physical health 7 to 10 days before her menses.
PMS involves a cluster of symptoms such as:
- Water retention
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Food cravings
The timing of the symptoms is more important than the symptoms themselves in this situation as the symptoms are varied and can be diverse from month to month.
Is it abnormal?
Certain symptoms that notify you of your periods are normal. However, when it affects your quality of life—physically and emotionally—that’s when it becomes abnormal. If a woman faces major personality shifts that affect her relationships, the syndrome can turn into pre-menstrual disorder; a psychiatric disease.
Is Pre-menstrual Syndrome heritable?
While there might be some genetic snips that put you at a high risk of hormonal imbalance, understand that it’s the habits that run in the family, not the condition.
There could be a genetic component, but there are also patterns of eating in how the family eats together. PMS is something that a woman can take control of. You can heal the symptoms by making lifestyle changes.
What can help with PMS?
Foremost, sorting out blood-sugar levels and get them under control.
This is the crux of hormonal imbalances—from the cortisol, progesterone to the thyroid; everything gets disrupted with fluctuations of blood sugar.
The Barriers on the Path to Healing
- Not trusting the process: The first step to healing is to believe that it is going to be worth making the effort to heal yourself.
- Dependence: A person can be prescribed as many pills to control symptoms, but that’s not the goal here. Doctors can give as many solutions, but it’s you who has to make the effort and take the action. Make better choices daily.
- Change is hard: Most women seem to choose to belong to a community over feeling alienated as they change their lifestyle to a healthy one.
- The Victim Treatment: Psychologically, part of the reason people want to stay in that phase is for comfort’s sake. Somehow it suits them to stay where they are rather than to move out of it. Without their even knowing, the disease has become their identity. They want to receive everyone’s sympathy and support.
The Increasing Rate of Menstrual Abnormalities in Young Women
Nowadays, younger women ages 18 to 25 are facing more health-related issues — irregular menstrual cycle, gut-related issues, anemia, skin problems, etc. It’s an accumulation of lifestyle factors, stress, eating processed food, and the lack of exercise that are normalized. People rarely eat home-cooked food now.
Everything that’s impinging on them at such a young age. Plus, the endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment, in the toiletries, pesticides, etc. All of it differs from what women were exposed to a couple of generations ago.
Advice for Tampon Users
Lifestyle-wise tampons may seem useful but they act as a dam and stop the blood from flowing when it’s supposed to.
- Use organic cotton pads instead of tampons for regular use.
- Before spending money, consider the presence of chemicals in the tampons or pads you use. The presence of chemicals such as dioxin in the paper used to produce them can have a carcinogenic effect.
- Sometimes leaving the tampon in for too long can cause a toxic shock syndrome which can be fatal.
- Start choosing the products you use as meticulously as food the food you eat. Try going as close to nature as possible.
Will changes in lifestyle and diet save you from all these chemicals in the air and products?
We are always going to be up against things we can’t control, yet we can always make better choices. Having a healthy diet, a sleep schedule, regular exercise, and good mental health help provide our body with all the tools it needs to fight against anything alien that enters the body.
Learn to handle the stress, move away from processed foods, be aware of all the chemicals you put on and inside yourself to help your body function and fight efficiently.
Role of Alcohol in Fertility
Alcohol affects fertility negatively. It also may also have such a major impact on women’s liver and hormones that they may have to bear for the rest of their lives.
As generations have changed, the consumption of alcohol in younger girls has significantly increased. Binge drinking as a practice of socializing has become common, but it comes with long-term consequences. In terms of pregnancy, the quality of the egg gets affected too by regular consumption of alcohol before pregnancy, even if you quit drinking while you’re pregnant.
What Does Pregnancy Do to Women?
After giving birth, the female body changes significantly.
Often times pregnancy leads to depletion of resources from a woman’s body. Priorities change and she puts up with those symptoms for years while the baby grows.
Dr. Chellam asks her female patients when was the last time they felt well and the answer in most cases is before childbirth. On asking the age of the child, the answer usually is 20 to 25 years. Meaning she has spent decades being unwell.
An Outlook on Perimenopause
As the biological clock ticks, women go through another transition in their 40s: the perimenopause.
For most women, perimenopause comes with irregular periods, fatigue, insomnia, vaginal dryness, lower libido, mood swings, and anxiety. The quality of life post-menopause depends on how motivated you are to make lifestyle changes to sustain your health in this stage. The quality of life matters more than longevity.
“Healthspan is more important than lifespan.”
— Dr. Marilyn Glenville
The Possible Osteoporosis Epidemic
One out of two women will have osteoporosis after they are 50, says Dr. Glenville. Osteoporosis is becoming more common in younger women. A lifelong lack of calcium results in diminished bone density causing osteoporosis. The reason behind this can be the raging Vitamin D deficiency as Vit-D is crucial for the absorption of calcium.
Women reach their peak bone mass around the age of 25 to 30. Research shows that regular consumption of colas and fizzy drinks containing phosphoric acid increases the risk of fractures in girls as young as 8 to 16 years of age. These young girls aren’t even reaching their peak bone density by the time they’re supposed to.
The major factors that have a tremendous impact on women’s bone health are:
- Lack of Vitamin D
- Consumption of Cola & Fizzy Drinks
- Processed foods
- Lack of exercise
- Consumption of alcohol at a young age
Note: You can’t go overboard with exercise either. Running 9 miles a day causes dilution of calcium off the bone to neutralize all the lactic acid produced with muscle activity.
Ultimately, it’s all about moderation.
The Mindset Needed To Regain Your Health
People must understand if they want to move towards something better, they have to abandon the beliefs they used to have. They should leave old mindsets and habits for them to move forward.
Change is scary for everybody. Look at this as a phase of growth. Be ready to make all the changes it takes for you to become healthier, even if you haven’t made them already.
How to Eat Healthily?
- Eat healthy 80% of the time and the rest 20% the body can cope up with a little treat. It’s all about moderation.
- Look at it as a way of eating that becomes a way of life. It’s not a quick-fix diet, but developing eating habits that transform our health so we can continue like this in the future. This is a long-term solution where the body can heal itself.
- On rare occasions, like a holiday or birthday party, for instance, treat yourself. Your body will cope with that.
How to Stay Consistent?
Remember that the disease starts decades before the diagnosis. Understanding this time frame will help you be patient and consistent with your journey.
For instance, if a person is smoking a cigarette, they don’t get lung cancer. However, if they smoke cigarettes for 30 years, the potential to get lung cancer is high and no one’s surprised. But with lifestyle changes, eating a couple of salads, and exercising for a month, if people don’t see the needle move they get discouraged and give up.
It’s important to understand that it takes years to gain that weight or earn that health condition, you most likely need a year or two to undo it and progress on the healthy path. Just be patient with yourself.
Book Recommendations by Dr. Glenville
- The Natural Health Bible for Women by Dr. Marilyn Glenville
- Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin
Want to listen to a more detailed version? Click on the link below to listen to our latest podcast by Dr. Nisha Chellam, Board Certified Internist and Founder of Holistic ICON, and Dr. Marilyn Glenville Ph.D., a registered nutritionist, psychologist, and author, on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/Gveknp0hO-I
Hoping this blog was helpful, in case you have any questions related to women’s health, please drop us an email with your question and a brief about yourself at https://holisticicon.com/contact/ or email@example.com, and we will get back to you shortly.