You’re NOT Crazy…

“So I’m not crazy?!”

Was the words of one of my patients.

We had just gotten her blood work results back. It revealed a thyroid gland struggling to keep up, elevated thyroid antibodies, and extremely low nutrient levels.

She had been to see her doctor numerous times because she hadn’t been feeling herself. She used to feel great on her current thyroid medication but recently it had become harder and harder to make it through the day. She was crashing on the couch as soon as she came home from work and feeling completely rundown. She was too tired to do any of her favourite hobbies, watch the kids soccer games, or spend time with her husband. She was told repeatedly that all her lab work and testing was completely normal, she was the picture of health! Then she had been told: “you’re just getting older”, “you’re probably perimenopausal”, and “maybe you’re depressed”.*

Not willing to settle for those explanations or feeling like a zombie for the rest of her life, she decided to look deeper. (FYI: If this sounds like you as well, it’s no coincidence. I hear similar versions of this same story almost daily in my practice!) 

I like to tell my patients that YOU are your own expert. You live in your body 24 hours a day. You know how your body feels when you’re tired, or hungry, coming down with a cold, nervous, stressed, (you get the idea). You know what ‘normal’ feels like. You also know when you feel anything BUT normal.

I have watched countless patients with very similar stories look at their labs and say with triumph “I knew it!”

So,

If you’re feeling like no one is taking you seriously, and you’re starting to wonder if it really is all in your head, this is me saying to you:

You’re NOT crazy! 

You can’t find the solution if you’re looking in all the wrong places. Ensure that you’re getting a proper thyroid and nutrient assessment and find a practitioner you trust (and who will take you seriously when you say “I just know something is off”)

Want to know more? Check out what I recommend as a starting point here and here

In honour of your body’s innate wisdom,

Dr. Katie Rothwell, ND

 

*Details have been changed to protect patient confidentiality. Shared with patient permission.

 

What’s in your lube?

Choosing a lubricant is tough. Most women just grab the first one they see and high-tail it out of the store. Because of course, loitering in the lube and condom aisle comparing labels and ingredients for ages doesn’t seem to be anyone’s idea of fun.

Whether you’re using a vaginal lubricant occasionally during intercourse or more daily for vaginal dryness, it’s important to choose the right one with the right ingredients. Not only is the vagina comprised of very sensitive tissue, it also maintains it’s own pH and bacterial balance. Chemicals or harmful ingredients that disrupt this delicate balance can mean more itchiness, dryness, and even an increased risk of potential infections (like yeast infections, UTIs, and bacterial vaginosis). The vaginal canal also contains a vast network of blood vessels, which means anything you put in there can end up anywhere in your body.

Many common lubricants that are available at your local pharmacies and groceries stores are littered with ingredients such as: 

Mineral Oil: A petroleum byproduct (think: vaseline) that can clog pores and may contain impurities.

Glycerin: Has been associated with yeast infections and irritation in some women.

Parabens: Mimics estrogen and can act as an endocrine disruptor. Parabens can contribute to hormone imbalances making your symptoms worse, and have been linked to hormone-dependent cancers.

Propylene Glycol: May cause burning and irritation in some women.

Fragrances and Flavours: Can be a variety of undisclosed ingredients that can be irritating to many women. They have also been associated with allergies and negative effects on the reproductive system.

So what’s a women to do? Here are some options… 

Coconut oil: All natural and so safe you can use it in the kitchen too! Coconut oil can be used as needed for dryness or irritation, as well as during intercourse. Not to be used with condoms.

Natural and/or organic lubricant products: Look for products that avoid the above ingredients and instead use natural ingredients such as: aloe, vitamin E, cocoa butter, coconut oil, or almond oil

Hyaluronic Acid: Is natural to our own skin and connective tissue. It promotes the natural lubrication of the vagina and can improve burning, dryness, and itchiness. This is my go-to option for menopausal women who would prefer a non-hormonal treatment for vaginal dryness.

Vaginal Estriol: Estriol is a hormonal option to be used only under the supervision of a health professional. It’s indicated for menopausal women experiencing vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse, irritation or burning. Estriol is a weak estrogen which means it has a better safety profile and only needs to be used 1-2x per week to maintain symptom relief.

If you’re struggling with itchiness, burning, pain or feeling like the Sahara desert, let’s talk! A Naturopathic Doctor can assess what might be contributing to your symptoms and the best ways to get you relief. Your lady bits deserve it!

Dr. Katie

Resources:

The Environmental Working Group: www.ewg.org

 

Mommy Guilt & Judgement

Do you judge other moms? Do you feel judged too? Check out my latest video and then join me over at my private Facebook group, Guiltless Grace where we’re in mothering thing together 🙂

Dr. Whitney

 

Rooted’s Favourite Things – Holiday Gift Guide

Do you still have some Christmas shopping to do? Our team has put together some of our most loved items of 2017, so if you’re still searching for that perfect gift or a great stocking stuffer, you may just find it below in our top picks!

Instant Pot
Maddie and Dr. Whitney have been loving their new instant pots! It’s a single pot that does the job of seven different kitchen appliances and most importantly, can cook full meals in record time (kind of like a slow cooker on steroids). Use for staples like rice and beans, family favourite soups and stews, and even bone broth!

Essential Oil Diffuser
Dr. Katie has been eyeing up a new essential oil diffuser from Saje for home (and the office!). You can use these anywhere in the home for toxin-free scent and all the benefits of essential oils. Try lavender in the bedroom for sleep or eucalyptus for coughs and colds.

Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook
Laurie is an all-star baker and we always take her food recommendations seriously! This is a vegan cookbook with recipes that never sacrifice flavour. Best of all, they’re easy and simple to put together quick for meatless Mondays or any night of the week!

Intuitive Eating Workbook
Speaking of food, Dr. Kerri highly recommends this amazing workbook for anyone looking to foster a peaceful and positive relationship with food. A wonderful item to gift to yourself or a loved one.

Muse Meditation Device
Dr. Katie has recommitted to her meditation practice and is in love with her Muse! Do you need some extra motivation for your meditation practice and love the techy stuff? Muse is a device that reports brain wave activity while you meditate so you can see the effects of meditation in real-time and track your progress.

Rooted Herbal Teas (stocking stuffer alert!)
Try gifting our grounding herbal tea or “kick-your-cough” blend to your favourite herb tea lover.

Option B – Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, Finding Joy
As Dr. Whitney well knows, life doesn’t always go as planned. This book combines research, stories, and practical advice to make the most of “Option B”.

EcoParent Magazine Subscription
Canadian made Eco-parent Magazine is a great gift for a member of your mom tribe or favourite crunchy couple. Their articles are always fun and inspirational, and never judgemental! From bump, to baby, to parenting tips, this magazine has it all on how to keep your family healthy and happy.

 

That’s the round-up! Hope it inspires some seriously healthy gift giving. As anyone who has seen our snack drawer here at Rooted, some good quality dark chocolate is always a crowd pleaser!

From all of us at Rooted, Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

What’s up with Bee Pollen?

Hey there,
I’ve never taken bee pollen as a supplement however a number of patients have mentioned it over the years so I wanted to see what was up with Bee Pollen?

What is Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen is considered a highly nutritious food because it contains a balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, enzymes, and essential amino acids.
Pollen comes from various plants, including buckwheat, maize, pine (songhaufen), rape, and typha (puhuang)
It’s not the same things as  bee venom, honey, and royal jelly.
Bee pollen contains more amino acids and vitamins than many other amino acid-containing products like beef, eggs, or cheese.

Bee Pollen Uses

Orally, bee pollen is used for general nutrition, as an appetite stimulant, to improve stamina and athletic performance, for premature aging, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), hay fever or allergic rhinitis, mouth sores, rheumatism, painful urination, prostate conditions, and radiation sickness. It is also used orally for weight loss and obesity, bleeding problems including coughing or vomiting blood, bloody diarrhea, nosebleed, cerebral hemorrhage, and menstrual problems. Bee pollen is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) problems including constipation, diarrhea, enteritis, colitis, as a general tonic, diuretic, and for alcohol intoxication.

Topically, bee pollen is used for skin care in skin softening products, and for treating eczema, pustular eruptions, and diaper rash.

 

Safety of Bee Pollen

Bee pollen has been safely used in clinical trials lasting up to 30 days. So that means if you’re using it longer than a month – consult your health care provider and consider cycling on and off of it. Alternating with other products.
There is some concern that bee pollen might have uterine stimulant effects so you may want to avoid it during your period as it might cause a heavier flow. And you probably want to stay away from it if you’re pregnant.
Preliminary evidence suggests that a specific combination product seems to decrease some symptoms of PMS including irritability, weight increases, and edema when given over a period of 2 menstrual cycles.

Dosing of Bee Pollen

An initial theoretical dose is 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon, once per day. The dosage may be gradually increased to 1-2 teaspoons one to three times per day (anecdotal). A spoonful at breakfast, preferably taken with a piece of fruit: the fruit fibers (raw hemicellulose) reinforce the activity of the fresh pollen.

Adverse effects

Hypersensitivity to pollens included in commercial preparations has been observed. Symptoms include allergic reactions such as gastrointestinal upset, rash, erythema, asthma, hay fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. So start small especially if you have allergies or are sensitive to other products.

Pollen Allergies?

Bee pollen supplements can cause serious allergic reactions in patients who are allergic to pollen. Allergic reactions can include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about it, you probably want to chat with your health care provider to double check it’s for you. And then start small.
And if you’re struggling with any of these health conditions we mentioned above, book a free meet the doctor visit with one of us to see how we can help.
Talk soon,
Dr. Whitney
Source – Natural Medicines Database

What Are Thyroid Antibodies?

thyroid antibodies

What Are Thyroid Antibodies?

Unless you’ve been in a biology or immunology class recently, you may not be familiar with antibodies. Antibodies are a normal part of our immune system. Your body makes them in order to “tag” or “mark” foreign bacteria or viruses that are harmful. Once tagged, your immune system can recognize these foreign invaders and fight them off.

The antibodies that occur in Hashimoto’s Disease (or any other autoimmune disease) are different. They are AUTO-antibodies. Which means that they are ‘marking’ your own thyroid tissue. This isn’t good – we don’t want your immune system attacking your own body!

Essentially, elevated thyroid antibodies indicate that your immune system has targeted the thyroid gland for destruction. Over time, this can damage your thyroid tissue and make it impossible for your body to produce its own hormones.

What do Thyroid Antibodies Mean? 

Thyroid antibodies are the most important tests to diagnose Hashimoto’s disease. If you test positive for one or both of these antibodies, you have Hashimoto’s disease.

  1. Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) – present in approximately 90% of those with Hashimoto’s disease
  2. Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb) – present in approximately 80% of those with Hashimoto’s disease.

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend testing your antibodies if you already have or suspect hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s disease isn’t just hypothyroidism – it’s an autoimmune disease, and needs to be treated as an autoimmune disease!

The First Thing You Should Do When You Find Out You Have Thyroid Antibodies…

It’s important to know that Hashimoto’s disease does have a genetic link. So, it’s very common to see Hashimoto’s present in multiple family members (typically females). For that reason, when I have a patient with positive antibodies one of the first things I tell them is to talk to their family. Tell your mother, sisters, daughters, and aunts to have their thyroid antibodies tested as well, especially if they already know they have low thyroid function. The sooner we can identify antibodies and regulate the immune response, the more likely it is that we will be able to prevent damage to the thyroid gland. BUT, just because a relative has Hashimoto’s doesn’t mean you’re destined for it too. Genes only play a part of the picture!

Have more questions about thyroid antibodies? Let me know!

Dr. Katie Rothwell, ND