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How Humans Heal

Dr. Doni Wilson struggled for decades to solve her numerous health issues and heal her body. With focused determination, she healed herself and in doing so, discovered the Dr. Doni Stress Recovery Protocol ™. On this show, you’re going to hear from Doctors, nutritionists, and experts along with Dr. Doni who will give practical advice and wisdom to help you heal your body. This is How Humans Heal!
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Now displaying: August, 2023
Aug 31, 2023

In this episode I'm going to be talking about birth control pills (also known as oral contraceptive pills) and the information that I feel is important for everyone to have, especially those of you who are considering taking the birth control pill or are already taking a birth control pill. This topic is important because a lot of this information is often not shared by the providers who are prescribing these pills. It's really necessary to understand everything before you make any decision about what to take for your health.

One of the things I want to talk about are the risks related to taking the birth control pill, including risk of HPV related cancers (like cervical cancer) and nutrient deficiencies associated with the use of “the pill.” I also want to help you understand how it's possible to feel good and balance your hormones and ovarian function naturally if you have reached a point in your life where you don’t want to take the birth control pill anymore.

It is estimated that more than 10 million women in the United States alone are taking the birth control pill. These are prescription medications, and they are synthetic hormones. When these pills are made, they're made with chemical versions of estrogen and progesterone. You can get a birth control pill that's only a synthetic form of progesterone, but most people take what are called combined formulas that contain synthetic estrogen and synthetic progesterone.

When we make a hormone synthetically it signals to our bodies, but it doesn't signal exactly the same as natural hormones or bioidentical hormones. So, I want to emphasize that when I'm talking about birth control pills, I'm referencing synthetic hormones and the risks associated with those types of hormones versus bioidentical or natural hormones, like naturally produced estrogen and progesterone, or bioidentical estradiol, for example, or estriol, and progesterone formulas that are sometimes used for fertility and perimenopause.

Our bodies recognize bioidentical hormones. They know exactly what they are and they know how to respond to them in a healthy way. When we take a synthetic hormone, it can have a slightly different effect in our bodies and that's why there are side effects and risks associated, especially with longer term use.

If you're taking synthetic hormones on a short-term basis, the risk of health issues is lower and as the length of time increases, the risks increase. Sometimes you may need a birth control pill for a short period of time and that may not be as concerning. It's also known that the risks tend to decrease the longer you are off the birth control pill.

Why Are So Many Women Taking Birth Control Pills?

What I find in my practice is that for most women (I would say definitely greater than 50%), the pill is not just being used for birth control. They're more often prescribed by gynecologists for regulating the menstrual cycle in some way.

Most women, when they go in to see a gynecologist, it’s usually to get help with irregular menstrual cycles or maybe perimenopausal symptoms, PCOS or endometriosis, or perhaps you have PMS symptoms or even PMDD, higher anxiety or depression and fatigue, bloating, severe cramps or heavy bleeding and acne during your period. All of these symptoms can happen because of hormone imbalances related to the menstrual cycle. And often times the first thing a gynecologist or other practitioner will prescribe is a birth control pill.

What the birth control pill does is it takes over for your ovaries. It literally turns off the ovaries, so your ovaries are not making estrogen and progesterone on their own. You are relying solely on the synthetic estrogen or progesterone that you're swallowing in the birth control pill. This is why if you miss a dose, you could have breakthrough bleeding or other symptoms like headaches, nausea, etc. because these hormones are signaling to your body every day.

Birth control pills can regulate the menstrual cycle, decrease bleeding, pain and acne for a lot of women, which can help them keep up with their daily life. At the same time, it’s absolutely false to think that the only option to help with menstrual related symptoms is to use a synthetic hormone pill.

There are a lot of things we could do to help with those symptoms and support your body naturally to address them without necessarily having to use a synthetic hormone pill. Now, if your priority is to prevent pregnancy at this point in life, maybe the birth control pill is a good option, but there are also other options for contraception that don’t require to take a synthetic hormone. I’ll discuss them more later in this episode.

What Are the Risks of Long-Term Use of Birth Control Pills?

Nutrient deficiencies:

Birth control pills can end up depleting our nutrients. This is especially true of some of the B vitamins like B2 or riboflavin, B6, B12 and Folate or B9. All those B vitamins can become deficient with use of birth control pill. Also, vitamin C and vitamin E can become deficient. Minerals like magnesium, selenium, and zinc can also be affected. This is why it is important to take a good quality multivitamin if you are on the birth control pill. If you would like to learn more about high-quality multivitamins, you can watch Episode 167 of How Humans Heal here.

One of the ways to know if it's a high-quality multivitamin is to look at the ingredient list. Look at what form of folate is in the product. We want it to say “Methyl Folate” (or 5MTHF) instead of Folic Acid. If the label says Folic Acid, it's not a high-quality product. Then look at the B12, if it says Cyanocobalamin, it's not a high-quality product. It should say Methyl Cobalamin instead. This way you know you're getting active forms of the B vitamins. If a company is putting in those active forms of B vitamins in their products, they're much more likely to be a professional grade company that's invested in getting the nutrients that you need.

It's also important to be doing regular blood work to identify nutrient deficiencies. And it's important to do the right tests to get the correct information. That’s why it's so important to

have a practitioner who can guide you. I guide each of my patients on how to get the correct blood work and what the results mean. For example, it's not that helpful to only measure folate in the blood - we need to be measuring homocysteine.

HPV and Cervical Cancer:

Furthermore, I believe that one of the connections between HPV risk and birth control pills is related to the nutrient deficiencies. In cases where HPV is persisting and resisting treatment, I recommend doing blood work because I often find nutrient deficiencies exist. When you have low antioxidants and low B vitamins, that already increases the risk of HPV related abnormal cells and cancer risks. So, an important preventive step you can take is to make sure you're meeting your nutrients needs and monitoring your blood levels.

There are many studies connecting birth control pills to cervical cancer risk. One study in particular shows there's a 10% increased risk of HPV causing cervical cancer with less than five years of birth control use, and a 60% increased risk for five to nine years of use, and a doubling of the risk with 10 or more years of use.

If we talk about hormonal IUDs, there is also an increased risk with cervical cancer whereas the copper IUD does not have that risk, so the risk does seem to be related to the synthetic hormones. There are studies where the researchers try to identify exactly what's happening – there are multiple mechanisms besides the nutrient deficiencies where these synthetic hormones also are signaling to the immune system locally and the way that our body manages cells even at a local level on the cervix.

Cardiovascular Issues:

Birth control pills are also associated with increased risk of certain cardiovascular issues including heart attack, stroke, as well as blood clots in general (like DVT which is a blood clot in your leg). I really want you to know the associated risks so that you're monitoring for yourself and deciding intentionally, is this a risk that I'm willing to take?

One of the things that increases the risk of stroke with birth control pill use is having an MTHFR gene variation. If you want to know more about this gene variation you can watch Episode 29 of How Humans Heal here. MTHFR is a gene variation that affects our ability to activate folic acid into folate and it already carries a risk of stroke, so when combined with a birth control pill it elevates your risk of stroke even more.

How To Promote Healthy Ovaries Function After Having Taken Birth Control Pills

So, what I encourage you to do is weigh out all the information against the reasons why you’re taking the pill, and what would be the criteria for yourself for how you will decide when you want to stop using the pill.

Then you will want to make a plan for how you're going to prepare your body for coming off the pill, so that you can transition to healthy ovary function. You want to be addressing the

negative effects of the pill and start addressing your health in general before you stop the pill so that when you stop, you have a safety net there for yourself. You want to create a healthy environment so when you stop the pill your body is ready and your ovaries are ready to start functioning again.

When our bodies overall are functioning at our best, that's when our ovary function is going to be at its best too. Our ovaries can pick up on so many signals from our environment, like any kind of stress signals. We should be especially careful with new diet plans, whether that's intermittent fasting or a ketogenic diet, or if you're going to do some more exercising.

Exercise and diet are important for healthy ovary function but if we overdo it, that can also inhibit our ovary function. If we fast for too long, or we aren’t eating enough, or we are exercising too intensely, it will decrease signals to the ovaries and then the ovaries are not going to ovulate or produce hormones as optimally.

We need to focus on optimizing what I call your SelfC.A.R.E. C is for clean eating, A is for adequate sleep, R is for recovery activities, and E is for exercise. This is the foundation of health in general, but definitely the foundation for healthy ovary function, including fertility.

Clean eating includes things like managing your blood sugar levels, eating protein every few hours and identifying inflammatory foods. If you are experiencing inflammation issues, I suggest doing a food sensitivity panel that I use in my office. It is my favorite because I can see any sensitivities to dairy proteins, gluten, eggs or other foods that you may not even realize like almonds and bananas for certain people can be inflammatory.

When we ingest inflammatory foods, that inflammation affects our whole body, including ovary function. I can't tell you how many cases of women have come into my office where we identify the inflammatory foods and we start healing the digestion, healing leaky gut, balancing their biome, and all of a sudden, the ovaries start working better.

One of the key hormones to balance when it comes to optimal ovary function is cortisol. Cortisol is our main stress hormone and if cortisol is too high or too low, it inhibits healthy ovary function. So that means we need to know what your cortisol function is up to - we can measure cortisol morning, midday, evening, bedtime through the urine or saliva and we can see what is your cortisol up to.

Is it too high at certain times of the day or is it at too low at certain times? And wherever it is then we can use the correct herbs and nutrients to get it back on track again. If you would like to know if your cortisol and adrenaline are out of balance you can do a home test that you can order here.

I describe this in my latest book: Master Your Stress Reset Your Health. In this book I describe how to individualize SelfC.A.R.E., how to know what's happening with your cortisol as well as your adrenaline levels according to what I call your Stress Type. If you would like to know which stress type are you so you can start recovering from stress you can take the Stress Type Quiz here.

This even helps with perimenopausal symptoms, and it helps with postmenopausal as well. So even once the ovaries calm down and they go into menopause, we still need your adrenal glands to be functioning optimally because now you're even more reliant on your adrenal glands to help you feel good.

It's also important to have optimal neurotransmitter levels so this is serotonin and GABA and dopamine. It may come as a surprise that chemicals in the brain have anything to do with optimizing your ovary function, but they are incredibly interrelated. Neurotransmitters can also be measured in urine, and I offer those tests through my office, and you can then balance your neurotransmitters using precursor nutrients.

It can be scary to think about coming off the pill, as a doctor and as a woman, I completely understand this fear. What I can tell you is from my experience and from my patients’ experience, it's absolutely possible to help rebalance and prevent menstrual related symptoms with natural approaches, nutrients, and herbs without having to rely on synthetic hormones.

What Are Some Contraception Alternatives to The Birth Control Pill?

My recommendation for non-toxic alternatives includes the nonhormonal copper IUD and the fertility awareness method, which includes tracking your ovulation and menstrual cycles so you can either avoid sexual activity or use condoms in the time frame where you are most likely to conceive. You can also measure your basal body temperature on a daily basis where fluctuations determine when you able to conceive.

I will host a future episode for those listeners who are interested in learning more about how to conceive.

I hope this episode has been helpful for you and understanding birth control pills more and understanding their connection especially to HPV and cervical cancer risk, as well as some of the other conditions that we talked about today.

I invite you to reach out if I can be of more help or if you have any questions, and definitely if you are in a situation where you're working on fending off HPV.

I've been helping women with their health now for over 23 years. I'm a naturopathic Doctor, as well as midwife. I love helping women with understanding their bodies and what they can do to support their bodies to be as healthy as possible, as well as to prevent things like cervical cancer.

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach to addressing HPV, including why healing leaky gut is essential, you can find my HPV Recovery Guide here. If you would like more help getting HPV to negative, and are really committed to erasing it from your life forever, you can sign up for the upcoming 5 Days to Heal HPV Workshop here or my Say Goodbye to HPV 12-Week Program here.

If you’re interested in a safe and effective body, mind and spirit detoxification that will actually make you feel better and that you can do without affecting your daily routine, you can check out my 14-Day Detox Program here. The Detox Program includes a gluten-free, dairy-free meal plan, along with a protein shake (the protein shake is included), as well as videos to guide you every step of the way.

If you want to learn more about how stress and trauma have affected you, in terms of your cortisol and adrenaline levels, and how to recover so that you can get back to feeling your best, you may want to read my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health.

To know your Stress Type, which is your unique cortisol and adrenaline levels based on how stresses have affected your adrenal function, you can take the quiz I developed. You can find the Stress Type® Quiz in the book and on my website.

If you’re ready to start rebalancing your cortisol and neurotransmitters, to help your adrenals reset after stress exposure, you can start by ordering this home test kit. And you can also sign up for my Stress Warrior Online Program to guide you here.

You can also subscribe to my newsletter, where you'll receive a newsletter from me every Thursday with the latest episode and additional resources and tools for your success with achieving optimal health.

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here.

Be sure you sign up and subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode of How Humans Heal. I love having you here with me and I would love to hear from you on other topics you'd like to learn more about.

We're here to help you!

Connect with Dr. Doni: 

 

Facebook HTTPS://FACEBOOK.COM/DRDONIWILSON  

Instagram HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/DRDONIWILSON  

YouTube HTTPS://YOUTUBE.COM/USER/DONIWILSONND  

Weekly Wellness Wisdom Newsletter: HTTPS://DOCTORDONI.COM/WWW  

 

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Additional Resources: 

 

If you want to work on your gut health and microbiome you may want to sign up for my Heal Leaky Gut Program (https://doctordoni.com/leaky-gut-program) where I teach you how to heal leaky gut with my proven protocol. 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach to healing HPV you can find my new HPV Recovery Guide here (https://doctordoni.com/ddpp/hpv-guide/). 

 

If you are tired of this virus and are really committed to erasing it from your life forever, you can sign up for my Say Goodbye to HPV 12-Week Program here (https://drdoni.lpages.co/hpv-12-week-program/).

 

You can also sign up for my Stress Warrior Program here (https://doctordoni.com/stress-program). 

 

Also, if you want to learn more about how to recover from stress so that you can get back to feeling your best, you may want to read my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health (https://doctordoni.com/master-your-stress/). In the book, I also share the quiz I developed to help you identify how stress has affected you specifically by knowing your Stress Type. You can also take this Stress Type Quiz online (https://doctordoni.com/quiz/stress-quiz/)

 

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here (https://doctordoni.com/work-with-me/)

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are product links and affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no cost to you. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

 

Aug 24, 2023

In today’s episode I get to introduce you to my friend, colleague, and mentor Dr. Tori Hudson. Dr. Tori Hudson has been in practice as a Naturopathic Doctor for almost 40 years in Oregon. She is a nationally recognized naturopathic physician, speaker, educator, researcher, clinician and the first woman in the United States to become a full professor of naturopathic medicine.

She is also the author of the Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness, and has served as a Medical Director, Associate Academic Dean, and Academic Dean at the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM). Most recently, she has released her new book: The Menopause Companion.

In addition to founding and running her own clinic, A Woman’s Time, Dr. Hudson is the founder and co-director of the Naturopathic Education and Research Consortium (NERC), a non-profit organization for accredited naturopathic residencies. She currently serves as the program director for the Institute of Women’s Health and Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Hudson also co-founded Vitanica, a supplement company offering formulations based on her decades of clinical experience.

Today we talk about women's health later in life and how we can help women in new ways using a naturopathic approach and natural medicine.

How Has Women’s Healthcare Evolved Over the Last 20-25 Years?

There's been a considerable shift in menopause management. Specifically, the rise and fall, and rise again, of menopausal hormone therapy.

Natural medicine started to gain more recognition in the late 80s’. Dr. Michael Murray was very influential in bringing to light the botanical medicine research out of Europe and other parts of the world. Dr. Tori attributes to him the initiation of an awareness of the world of botanical medicine research and the influence it has had on naturopathic practice and the development of integrated physicians. The shift began in using supplements to both reduce the risk of disease and treat disease.

Women's health in particular is seeing an immense expansion of options, which can be fantastic, but also more confusing to navigate.

People are now able to research different approaches online and they're able to access different practitioners. So, women are more likely to say “I want something different” or “I don't just want a cookie cutter suggestion”.

Today, patients are more informed and have more opportunities to be informed. They come more often with their own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Most the time that can lead to a collaborative process of determining their treatment plan.

Women today have a lot more tools to help themselves. They have new ways to get what they need from their healthcare providers, and they have a lot more ability to question if they really need a treatment or procedure.

Dr. Tori loves when a patient comes in and asks for a second opinion. Recently, she had a patient asking her if she really needed a particular surgery for her bladder and she was able to reassure her that surgery was the necessary next step.

Naturopathic doctors are trained to recognize the value of conventional medicine and how to incorporate that into a natural approach and a naturopathic medicine context. It’s important to recognize that every paradigm has its strengths, and every paradigm has its weaknesses.

That’s what is unique about the modern naturopathic physician - we can really help patients navigate the best opportunities for their healthcare.

Naturopathic Medicine as an Individualized Approach for Menopause

Perimenopause starts at least a decade before the period ends and then comes post menopause. So, for women living till their mid-80’s it’s really most of their lives.

It’s a lot of years of our lives to be navigating hormone shifts, and potential symptoms and health issues, and women really do need help navigating that. Especially because there's still not enough research, and the information that is available is not always consistent and can be confusing.

Dr. Tori reminds us that there's rarely a one size fits all approach, which is the beauty of naturopathic medicine. We try to individualize the approach for each person. If there are 10 different women who have hot flashes, there's going to be some recommendations that are common for them all, but there's also the nuance of suggestions that match for the rest of their health.

So, hot flashes occur in a context of: does the patient have arthritis, what's their risk for diabetes, do they have high blood pressure, what's their risk for Alzheimer's? There is the quality-of-life issues which can be fairly simple to resolve, and then there's the disease prevention issues and the disease treatment issues which need to be addressed.

A naturopathic doctor should help you look at the big picture and then help gather the information to help you make the best decisions possible about what to take and how to support your health.

Navigating The Ladder of Intervention in Women’s Health

Dr. Tori’s new book outlines what changes might be happening in your body, how to ask the right questions of your health care provider, what might be problematic in the world of tests and treatments, and more.

She compares it to a map, as opposed to a strict sequence. There are many options for how to get on from point A (where you are starting) to point B (feeling better). This is important because we are all coming to the table with a different set of cards, and we may all have similar pathways to navigate, but at the end of the day, each of our approaches needs to be individualized.

It is tempting to talk to other women and hear a particular intervention that worked well for them, but your menopausal journey will probably look very different from your friends’ or even your family members’ journey – and what may have worked well for them, may not have the same impact for you.

It's great to share stories and share experiences with other women, but no one else’s experience will be your exact prescription.

That’s where the ladder of intervention becomes helpful. On this ladder you can consider where you are starting and what makes sense in your case. Consider what symptoms you are experiencing, what your family history predisposes you to, your own medical history, and what you’ve already tried to help you see where you should begin.

The beauty of this process is to determine the most minimally invasive intervention we can introduce that will lead to the intended improvements. It’s not just a hierarchy for all circumstances, as in we do not always start on the first rung of the ladder. Each person or situation will have their own hierarchy.

Maybe you’ve already been implementing diet and exercise but still experiencing night sweats, or hot flashes, or have osteoporosis. In these cases, we move up the ladder of intervention to see what steps are needed to produce the necessary changes.

Multitasking Herbs for Menopause

Since our body is an ecosystem, symptoms do not usually occur in the singular. Taken together, the totality of symptoms can provide a more complete picture of what herbs might be most helpful.

Dr. Tori refers to these combinations as twofers, three-fers, and four-fers. For instance, if a woman is experiencing hot flashes we will also ask, is she struggling with her mood, does she have achy joints as well, or is she experiencing memory issues.

Then we look for herbs or formulas that will cover the most issues for a specific patient. Black Cohosh, for example, has by far more research than any other single herb, but that doesn't mean it's going to work for everyone. Maybe curcumin will be the remedy for someone who has hot flashes as well as joint pain.

Better Understanding of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Is hormone replacement therapy right for you?

Women are often hesitant about hormone replacement for one reason or another, as it can feel drastic. There's newer research that's helping us, even as providers, become more comfortable with hormone replacement therapy.

If you have been following a treatment plan, and you’ve tried herbs and formulas that can help with perimenopausal symptoms, but you’re still experiencing night sweats or vaginal dryness and your symptoms are not improving, then we can start talking about some form of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

It's important to understand the benefits and the risks of menopausal hormone therapy. Age will be one of the most important determining factors. How old is the patient, when did she become menopausal, does she have other coexisting health issues or what other coexisting health problems does she have, and what are her risks for what Dr. Tori calls the big three: Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, and Alzheimer's Disease.

Additionally, there are three buckets of information that are important to evaluate: what are your quality-of-life issues, what diseases are you at increased risk for, and what conditions or diseases do you already have. All of that informs the decision making on the benefits and the risks of menopausal hormone therapy.

If you're within the first ten years of your last menstrual period, less than 60 years old, you haven't had breast cancer, a stroke, or clot, or DBT, then the risks of hormone replacement therapy are negligible. There are a few other risks to consider, like fatty liver, but those are the fundamental considerations. From there we can determine whether menopausal hormone therapy is safe for that person.

The risk of breast cancer from going on menopausal hormone therapy is very low if you’re in the group just described. In fact, it is much more likely to get breast cancer if you drink alcohol every day, smoke, you don't exercise and you're overweight.

There are very few women for whom systemic menopausal hormone therapy is actually contraindicated. There are cautions on delivery methods, for instance if you have a gallstone, we shouldn't give oral hormones, and if you have fatty liver or elevated triglycerides, we shouldn't give oral, but we can give transdermal hormones instead.

It’s important to work with a practitioner who understand all the options, delivery methods, and ways to customize your dose based on your health.

What About Local Estrogen for Vaginal Health?

Vaginal estrogen can be a miracle worker for some women. Vaginal estrogen for the purpose of local vulvovaginal problems doesn't increase the risk of anything if it's done properly.

Typically, it is prescribed for local dryness, itching, irritation, painful sexual activity, and/or leaky bladder. In these cases, it’s often a waste of time to attempt vitamin E, moisturizers, or lubricants. You can skip up the ladder of intervention to vaginal estrogen since it is still very minimally invasive.

There are, of course, still instances where caution should be exercised, for instance if breast cancer is or was present. In that case, a non-hormonal option would usually be the beginning recommendation. But even gynecologist societies and menopause societies say you can use tiny doses of vaginal estrogen safely in a breast cancer patient for vaginal symptoms in many cases.

A low dose of vaginal estrogen has also been found to be helpful for women who tested positive for HPV and have abnormal cells on their pap smear. With vaginal estrogen, you're improving the vaginal biome and that means you can prevent bacterial vaginosis or vaginal infections. We're finding that the vaginal biome and the species of lactobacilli living in the vagina help fend off HPV as well.

Vaginal estrogen gets you a healthier ecological environment and balance of microorganisms. A healthy vaginal biome relies on healthy estrogen levels in the cells.

We might first notice vaginal dryness most acutely during sex, but vaginal dryness can be an indicator of other health issues and affect more than just your sex life. Local estrogen can be a preventive medicine that can help with vaginal dryness and a range of other health issues as well.

The dryness and discomfort put you at an increased risk for vaginitis, urinary tract infections, possibly HPV, bladder leakage, and overactive bladder. You can prevent those things from happening most of the time by using a small dose of vaginal estrogen twice per week. So, it's not just for sexual comfort, it's related to your overall bladder and vaginal health as well.

What Are Some Good Supplements for Menopause and Women’s Health?

As we mentioned before, Dr. Hudson co-founded Vitanica, a supplement company offering formulations to support women’s health. Some of my favorites are:

Black Cohosh: The most effective formulation I’ve ever come across for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

Chaste Tree Berry: An herb that supports ovulation and helps with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, breast pain associated with the menstrual cycle, infertility, and perimenopausal menstrual changes.

Slow Flow: A formula of herbs and nutrients for heavy menstrual bleeding.

CCDG Blend: Tried and true for HPV cases, CCDG contains curcumin, coriolus mushroom, DIM and green tea, all in one.

Cranstat Extra: Herbal and nutrient formula for bladder infections.

Candidastat: To support a healthy biome and prevent yeast overgrowth.

I’ve been working with these formulas for 23 years (Dr. Doni speaking), and I’ve seen time and time again how helpful they are for women. That’s why I recommend them in my practice.

As always, I am here and would love to help you wherever you are in your health and menopausal journey. I’m licensed to help with hormone replacement therapy in several states. Please feel free to reach out with any questions so we can get started on improving your life and your health, together!

If you want to reach out to Dr. Hudson and learn more about how she can help you, please make sure to check out her website. Also be sure to check out Dr. Tori’s new book, The Menopause Companion, to learn more about how to navigate this process of perimenopause and post menopause, from finding the right practitioner or set of practitioners who can guide you along your journey, and the right questions to ask to take steps in the best direction.

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach to addressing HPV, including why healing leaky gut is essential, you can find my HPV Recovery Guide here. If you would like more help getting HPV to negative, and are really committed to erasing it from your life forever, you can sign up for the upcoming 5 Days to Heal HPV Workshop here or my Say Goodbye to HPV 12-Week Program here.

If you’re interested in a safe and effective body, mind and spirit detoxification that will actually make you feel better and that you can do without affecting your daily routine, you can check out my 14-Day Detox Program here. The Detox Program includes a gluten-free, dairy-free meal

plan, along with a protein shake (the protein shake is included), as well as videos to guide you every step of the way.

If you want to learn more about how stress and trauma have affected you, in terms of your cortisol and adrenaline levels, and how to recover so that you can get back to feeling your best, you may want to read my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health.

To know your Stress Type, which is your unique cortisol and adrenaline levels based on how stresses have affected your adrenal function, you can take the quiz I developed. You can find the Stress Type® Quiz in the book and on my website.

If you’re ready to start rebalancing your cortisol and neurotransmitters, to help your adrenals reset after stress exposure, you can start by ordering this home test kit. And you can also sign up for my Stress Warrior Online Program to guide you here.

You can also subscribe to my newsletter, where you'll receive a newsletter from me every Thursday with the latest episode and additional resources and tools for your success with achieving optimal health.

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here.

We're here to help you!

Connect with Dr. Doni: 

 

Facebook HTTPS://FACEBOOK.COM/DRDONIWILSON  

Instagram HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/DRDONIWILSON  

YouTube HTTPS://YOUTUBE.COM/USER/DONIWILSONND  

Weekly Wellness Wisdom Newsletter: HTTPS://DOCTORDONI.COM/WWW  

 

-

 

Additional Resources: 

 

If you want to work on your gut health and microbiome you may want to sign up for my Heal Leaky Gut Program (https://doctordoni.com/leaky-gut-program) where I teach you how to heal leaky gut with my proven protocol. 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach to healing HPV you can find my new HPV Recovery Guide here (https://doctordoni.com/ddpp/hpv-guide/). 

 

If you are tired of this virus and are really committed to erasing it from your life forever, you can sign up for my Say Goodbye to HPV 12-Week Program here (https://drdoni.lpages.co/hpv-12-week-program/).

 

You can also sign up for my Stress Warrior Program here (https://doctordoni.com/stress-program). 

 

Also, if you want to learn more about how to recover from stress so that you can get back to feeling your best, you may want to read my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health (https://doctordoni.com/master-your-stress/). In the book, I also share the quiz I developed to help you identify how stress has affected you specifically by knowing your Stress Type. You can also take this Stress Type Quiz online (https://doctordoni.com/quiz/stress-quiz/)

 

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here (https://doctordoni.com/work-with-me/)

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are product links and affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no cost to you. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

 

Aug 17, 2023

In today's episode we talk about gluten. What it is, the symptoms that it can cause (and how it may be involved in health issues you may be experiencing), how to know if it's an issue for you, and what to do about it.

Gluten has been something that I've been researching and learning about for more than 20 years. When I was in my training at Bastyr University in the 90s, it wasn’t well known that gluten could cause so many health issues. At the time, I, myself was dealing with health issues, including severe allergies and migraines, and I was trying to figure out the cause. I really wanted to understand how my diet and the food I was eating were influencing my health, and so I tried every diet and did every kind of test on myself to try and figure out the cause of my health issues.

It wasn’t until after having graduated from Naturopathic Medical School that I finally did a test that was able to identify that gluten was an issue for me. And so, I started avoiding gluten and immediately started feeling better. My allergies decreased, the migraines lessened, and I started to feel better in general, so discovering that I have a sensitivity to gluten really helped me.

As of now, I have been avoiding gluten for over 20 years and have helped thousands of patients to discover that gluten is an issue for their health as well. I became an expert resource on the topic of gluten and gluten sensitivity, lecturing at professional conferences across the U.S. and being interviewed by the media on numerous occasions.

In the process, I learned so much more about the trouble that gluten can cause. And in helping my patients I discovered that it is not just important to identify gluten as an issue, but also how to recover from gluten exposure. This is important because many patients come to me saying they are already avoiding gluten, but they haven’t started to feel better yet, and so it’s key to know how to do a full recovery from gluten in order to reset your health and to heal.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is found in certain grains, including barley, rye, spelt and wheat. This protein acts as a binder in recipes, to hold foods that we make with these grains together, and to make them chewy, like the dough in the process of making bread for example. Without gluten, the dough would just crumble and fall apart easily.

Gluten is made up of two smaller protein molecules: gliadin and glutenin. I find that it's helpful to understand that these protein molecules are made up of amino acids, just like all protein. When we ingest protein, in general, it is broken down by our pancreatic enzymes into amino acids which can be absorbed into our bodies.

The issue with gluten is that humans, in general, are not able to completely digest gliadin (in gluten) and the related prolamins (from wheat, barley, and rye) due to their high glutamine and proline content. That means that when we consume gluten, some amount of it will not be digested, and can become a trigger to our immune system.

It's also important to know that there's a whole spectrum of possible reactivities to wheat and gluten, and to understand that we don’t all react the same. A person’s immune system might be more reactive to gliadin than glutenin, for example, or vice versa. Some people may be equally reactive to both. Others may be more reactive to wheat, which is a larger molecule than gluten. It can be helpful to understand exactly what is triggering your immune system so you know what to avoid specifically.

When Is Gluten A Problem?

Anytime we eat a food that we don't digest well (like a larger amino acid chain or protein molecule) it has the potential of causing health issues, especially if that undigested food is able to get through the intestinal lining to where our immune system exists, ready to protect us from foreign substances. Our immune system picks up on proteins (remember that viral proteins, like all proteins, consist of amino acids!) and triggers an inflammatory response to attack the protein.

This is what can happen with gluten, because we don't digest it well, and because gluten itself opens spaces between intestinal cells, and gets through to where our immune system thinks it needs to protect us from it.

Our immune system releases cytokines (which are inflammatory molecules) to try to protect us. Cytokines are important because they help us heal but if our intestines are being constantly bombarded by gluten and cytokines, there will be constant inflammation, and this can end up causing damage to our cells in the long run. Damage to the intestinal cells is called intestinal permeability or leaky gut.

For most people, eating gluten occasionally is not a problem. It is more likely to be an issue when we consume gluten all the time. If we're not paying attention, we could even be exposed to gluten in every meal. Some people may be having gluten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Gluten is often added to products and recipes, even when we don't realize it.

Besides the grains mentioned above, gluten is added to condiments, recipes and packaged foods that we wouldn't even think would have gluten in them. Some breads, for example, may even contain 10 times more gluten (as an added ingredient) to make them fluffier and chewier.

In fact, in the United States we're exposed to more gluten than anywhere else in the world because of the “added gluten” in products, intended to increase sales of these foods.

If you are wondering why gluten is such an issue now, it's because we're getting so much more exposed to it than ever before. Additionally, there are other factors, such as that most wheat,

especially in the United States, is grown with exposure to a pesticide called glyphosate. Glyphosate is know to damage to the intestinal cells. When you combine the negative effects of glyphosate with the increased exposure to gluten, it makes sense why we are seeing an increase in gluten-related health issues.

What is Celiac Disease and How is it Different from Gluten Sensitivity or Wheat Allergy?

Let’s start with wheat allergy. A wheat allergy is when your immune system is creating IgE antibodies to wheat, similar to when someone is allergic to peanuts. Someone with wheat allergy is likely to develop symptoms within minutes to hours after eating something containing wheat. The symptoms include itching, irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat, hives, itchy rash or swelling of the skin and nasal congestion. This is different from Celiac disease.

Celiac disease (CD) is a chronic digestive and autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine. The disease is triggered by eating foods containing gluten. Celiac can cause long-lasting digestive problems and keep your body from getting all the nutrients it needs. It is an autoimmune condition meaning your immune system is not only trying to protect you from gluten (gliadin), but also from your own intestinal cells. It is thought that at first the immune system is reacting to gluten, and then begins to attack nearby proteins, including an enzyme in intestinal cells called transglutaminase enzyme or tTG. This process ends up damaging the intestinal cells, causing severe leaky gut.

About 2% of the population is considered to suffer from Celiac disease. There is a genetic correlation for this disease. We have been able to identify that people who have the genes that are called HLA DQ-2 and HLA DQ-8 have an increased risk of Celiac disease. Those people also have an increased risk of non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.

Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS or gluten sensitivity) means a person has a reaction to gluten but doesn't have the autoimmunity condition, so the immune system is not attacking their own cells. It is much more common than CD and is thought to occur in at least 6% of the population. Both CD and gluten sensitivity have a lot of health issues associated with them.

What Are the Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity and CD?

One of the most common symptoms, especially in children, is a stomachache. GERD/reflux, gastritis, nausea, bowel changes, and abdominal pain are all associated with gluten sensitivity and CD. Headaches are also common. So, if you get a lot of headaches paired with digestive discomfort, you could be suffering from gluten sensitivity.

At the same time, it’s important to consider that only about 50% of people with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have digestive symptoms. Many people come in saying they do not have digestive issues. In fact, with gluten issues it is much more likely to have neurological symptoms, like anxiety, depression, neuropathy, or other neurological issues. The inflammation is going from your digestion straight to your nervous system.

Other symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, decreased focus, memory loss and sleep issues. Not only that but gluten can cause aches and pains whether that's joint pain, muscle pain (that might be considered fibromyalgia), and can cause nutrient deficiencies because of the damage to intestinal cells.

When we have damage to our intestinal cells, or leaky gut, we're not going to be able to absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat, so we become more likely to have nutrient deficiencies. The most common deficiencies are iron, vitamin D and B vitamins. It may go as far as developing anemia. So, if you have anemia or iron deficiency, you could be suffering from gluten sensitivity. It also can cause canker sores, skin rashes, menstrual issues (including fertility issues), and perimenopausal symptoms.

One of the most common issues I find related to gluten is that it increases our risk of infections of all different types - viral infections, bacterial infections, and yeast infections. If you're getting recurrent infections, whether that's sinus infections or bladder infections, vaginitis, skin infections, eye infections and even persistent HPV, it can all be related to gluten.

How Can You Know if You Have Gluten Sensitivity or CD?

At least one in four people are thought to have some degree of gluten sensitivity. So, how do we test for it? How do we know if we are sensitive to gluten?

For Celiac disease, the standard way to diagnose it is with an intestinal biopsy so, you would need to go into the gastroenterologist to have an endoscopy and biopsy. With the biopsy, they're looking for damage to the small intestinal cells caused by the autoantibodies.

There is a blood test that shows anti-gliadin antibodies and antibodies to tTG. These tests are part of a Comprehensive Celiac Panel, and can give a sense of whether Celiac exists, but for an official diagnosis of Celiac disease it is necessary to do the biopsy.

For non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, the standard is to avoid gluten for a period of time (usually at least three weeks) and monitor your symptoms. If you feel better when you eliminate gluten fully from your diet, then you could have gluten sensitivity. Then you can try re-introducing gluten to your diet and see if you feel worse to confirm if gluten is affecting you.

What I find really helps to identify gluten sensitivity is an IgG and IgA food panel. Not all IgA and IgG food panels are as accurate at identifying reactions to gluten, so I recommend using the lab that I have tested and found to provide the most accurate results. You can order this test through my office here. It's a finger poke so you can do it from home anywhere in the world and mail it in. With this test, we can also check for other food that your body may be reacting to – it tests for 96 foods.

It is also possible to test for gliadin antibodies in a stool test. The stool test that I recommend to my patients is called the GI Map from Diagnostic Solutions. It is a highly sensitive test for gliadin antibodies in the stool and can identify if your immune system is trying to protect you from gluten.

These tests can be helpful even for someone who's been avoiding gluten as they can tell you if your system is still trying to protect you from it based on your current diet. If this is the case, you may want to take a closer look at your diet so you can identify if gluten is sneaking in somehow.

What Is Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut is a short way of saying intestinal permeability. The mucous lining of our intestines is designed to absorb water and nutrients from our food into our bloodstream. The intestinal cells are lined up next to each other and our body grows new intestinal cells every day. Those intestinal cells can be damaged by stress, injuries, medications, toxins, and gluten. When the intestinal cells are not as healthy, the intestinal lining allows undigested food to “leak” through, causing an inflammatory reaction by our immune system.

When we're under a lot of stress, our body is not able to keep up with making new healthy intestinal cells, leading to increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut. Other causes of leaky gut include surgery, physical stress, lack of sleep, exposure to toxins (like pesticides and toxins from gut bacteria), eating non-organic foods, alcohol, caffeine, and gluten.

Gluten causes damage to the intestinal cells by triggering the inflammation that we mentioned. It also increases a substance called zonulin which is a protein that signals to open the spaces between the cells. So, gluten is literally signaling through zonulin to cause leaky gut. Then it gets through to the other side of the intestinal lining and that's where our immune system is hanging out waiting to protect us.

So, the immune system triggers even more inflammation. And that inflammation doesn't just stay in the intestinal area, it can go anywhere in the body which is why it can cause such broad symptoms. It goes to our nervous system, our joints, our skin, etc.

That inflammation then overwhelms our system, causing more stress. So, not only does the stress from our external world make us more likely to have leaky gut and a reaction to gluten, but gluten and the inflammatory response cause more internal stress. And so, it becomes this vicious cycle or snowball effect where it compounds, and you end up with more and more health issues.

By doing the food sensitivity panel that I mentioned we can get an assessment of the degree of leaky gut that you may have. To me, that is the real question – is leaky gut mild, moderate or severe.

Gluten can also disrupt our microbiome. We've discussed the importance of the gut microbiome in prior episodes. Microbes living in our body are important for maintaining our health in general, our immune system, our nutrient absorption, our neurotransmitters production, etc. If you would like to learn more about how important our microbiome is and how you can get yours back to balance, you can watch Episode 169 of How Humans Heal here.

Are Gluten Sensitivity and HPV Related?

Through many years helping people with gluten sensitivity, and also helping people with HPV, I have been identified a pattern. Gluten causes leaky gut, and it disrupts the gut microbiome. A disrupted gut microbiome leads to a disrupted vaginal biome, and this causes vaginal inflammation. Vaginal inflammation and a disrupted biome increase the risk of HPV.

Also, gluten and leaky gut cause nutrient deficiencies. We know that nutrient deficiencies increase risk of HPV and abnormal cells, and decrease immune function, so it is not able to protect us optimally.

Yes, we can work on healing leaky gut, rebalancing your biome, addressing nutrient deficiencies, and supporting your immune system to protect you from HPV. But if we don't take gluten out of your diet, it's just going to recur. It will happen again and again, and that's why I spend so much time in my programs and working with patients to help them successfully eliminate gluten from their diet and fully recover from gluten sensitivity.

If you have tested positive for HPV and are ready to get it out of your life for good, I encourage you to join me for an upcoming 5 Days to Heal HPV Live Online Workshop. You can learn more and sign up here.

Gluten and Autoimmunity

There is also a correlation between autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s, and gluten sensitivity. When there’s a reaction to gluten and the immune system starts to protect you from gluten, it can also begin to attack nearby tissue.

That’s what occurs with Celiac disease and tissue transglutaminase (tTG). Similarly with Hashimoto’s, the immune system starts to protect the person from their own thyroid cells.

Research shows the relation between gluten sensitivity, leaky gut, chronic inflammation, disrupted microbiome, and disrupted cortisol levels all leading to a likelihood of developing autoimmunity diseases.

So, if you're dealing with an autoimmune condition, then I would say it’s important to take a look at gluten sensitivity as an underlying cause.

How Can We Recover from Gluten?

Step one is avoiding gluten, and that's an important step. I have so many resources on helping people avoid gluten I have developed over the past couple of decades. I have written about gluten and how to avoid it in all of my books. I've created recipes and menu plans because I want you to have support. It doesn't have to be a difficult thing if you have the right support.

I also like to emphasize that it doesn't need to be an overnight change. You don't have to be stressing yourself trying to avoid all gluten by tomorrow. I wouldn't try to do that. I would look at it as a learning opportunity. Start by finding replacements for common foods in your diet.

It’s also important to know that most gluten-free products still contain carbs and sometimes more carbs and more sugar than the products containing gluten, and so you don't want to just switch from a gluten filled product to a gluten free product and end up disrupting your blood sugar levels. That's not a good idea either.

What we want to do is use this as an opportunity to go more toward a balanced diet where you're having adequate protein, adequate healthy fats and a nice balance of healthy fruits and vegetables, which, by the way, are already gluten-free. We have a lot of food options available that naturally don't have gluten in them. We just need to remind ourselves to choose those foods instead of those containing gluten, or high carbs and sugar.

I can help you to start shifting your diet so you have the support you need. I have many programs that help people with this every day. The Stress Warrior Program, for example, including my Stress Remedy 21-day meal plan, that guides you on exactly what to eat for a healthy gluten-free diet.

The next step is healing leaky gut. You need to help your body rebuild your intestinal cells. Yes, our body grows new intestinal cells every day but when your body has been constantly bombarded with gluten, and if you've developed severe leaky gut and a disrupted microbiome, then it's going to take some time for those intestinal cells to heal.

Often patients tell me they have been avoiding gluten for years, but they still don’t feel good. I find that is most often because they have not adequately healed leaky gut. Healing leaky gut involves getting the right enzymes, nutrients and herbs to help your body digest your food better and grow back new healthy cells, decrease inflammation and reestablish a healthy microbiome.

If you want to learn more about my protocol to heal leaky gut, you can watch my FREE Heal Leaky Gut Masterclass here. If you are ready to fully heal, you can join my Leaky Gut Online Program here. It includes a food sensitivity panel and support to address your results.

Step 3 is to address nutrient deficiencies. It's important to do the right blood test to identify if you have iron, B vitamin, vitamin D, and/or other nutrient deficiencies. These tests are not usually included in standard blood work, but they are tests I can help order so that you get the right information. When you get the right nutrients back into your body and into your cells, you’ll be able to fully recover from gluten exposure and improve your health overall.

The last step of gluten recovery is to fully reduce inflammation. Remember that gluten is triggering so much inflammation through your whole system, and even if you're avoiding gluten, that inflammation may still exist, especially if you have leaky gut.

To decrease inflammation, we need to look at the food sensitivity panel and see if there are other foods in addition to gluten that may be causing inflammation. By avoiding the highly reactive foods, while taking steps to heal leaky guy, you can drop inflammation levels for good. Taking anti-inflammatory herbs and enzymes can help speed up the process. And, of course, we need to address imbalanced cortisol levels in order to fully resolve inflammation.

It's about developing a strategy that is unique for your body and the symptoms you are experiencing. We need to understand your health issues and do the right tests to find out what your body needs and how to support it in the best way possible.

For those of you who have more severe reactions to gluten, including Celiac disease, and you feel restricted by having to avoid gluten so strictly, and if you potentially have other types of autoimmunity, you may want to consider something called helminthic therapy. This is something that I can talk with you about and help you with as well as it has been shown to reduce severe reactivity to gluten.

Personalize Your Recovery From Gluten

I want to emphasize that not everyone has to avoid gluten 100%, and not everyone has to avoid it forever. We really have to take it on a case by case basis, and understand how is it reacting in your body, and how it has affected your health, and then help you recover fully.

As I mentioned, stress of all types can trigger leaky gut and gluten sensitivity, as well as autoimmunity, and then gluten causes more stress from within the body. Stress then disrupts the HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis), adrenal function, and both cortisol and adrenaline levels. A perpetual cycle of stress ensues. This is why I consider recovery from stress to be so important for reversing health issues.

If you want to learn more about how stress and trauma have affected you, in terms of your cortisol and adrenaline levels, and how to recover so that you can get back to feeling your best, you may want to read my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health.

To know your Stress Type, which is your unique cortisol and adrenaline levels based on how stresses have affected your adrenal function, you can take the quiz I developed. You can find the Stress Type® Quiz in the book and on my website.

If you’re ready to start rebalancing your cortisol and neurotransmitters, to help your adrenals reset after stress exposure, you can start by ordering this home test kit. And you can also sign up for my Stress Warrior Online Program to guide you here.

If you’re interested in a safe and effective body, mind and spirit detoxification that will actually make you feel better and that you can do without affecting your daily routine, you can check out my 14-Day Detox Program here. The Detox Program includes a gluten-free, dairy-free meal plan, along with a protein shake (the protein shake is included), as well as videos to guide you every step of the way.

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach to addressing HPV, including why healing leaky gut is essential, you can find my HPV Recovery Guide here. If you would like more help getting HPV to negative, and are really committed to erasing it from your life forever, you can sign up for the upcoming 5 Days to Heal HPV Workshop here or my Say Goodbye to HPV 12-Week Program here.

To read more blogs about gluten and leaky gut, you can find them here.

You can also subscribe to my newsletter, where you'll receive a newsletter from me every Thursday with the latest episode and additional resources and tools for your success with achieving optimal health.

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here.

We're here to help you!

Connect with Dr. Doni: 

 

Facebook HTTPS://FACEBOOK.COM/DRDONIWILSON  

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Weekly Wellness Wisdom Newsletter: HTTPS://DOCTORDONI.COM/WWW  

 

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Additional Resources: 

 

If you want to work on your gut health and microbiome you may want to sign up for my Heal Leaky Gut Program (https://doctordoni.com/leaky-gut-program) where I teach you how to heal leaky gut with my proven protocol. 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach to healing HPV you can find my new HPV Recovery Guide here (https://doctordoni.com/ddpp/hpv-guide/). 

 

If you are tired of this virus and are really committed to erasing it from your life forever, you can sign up for my Say Goodbye to HPV 12-Week Program here (https://drdoni.lpages.co/hpv-12-week-program/).

 

You can also sign up for my Stress Warrior Program here (https://doctordoni.com/stress-program). 

 

Also, if you want to learn more about how to recover from stress so that you can get back to feeling your best, you may want to read my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health (https://doctordoni.com/master-your-stress/). In the book, I also share the quiz I developed to help you identify how stress has affected you specifically by knowing your Stress Type. You can also take this Stress Type Quiz online (https://doctordoni.com/quiz/stress-quiz/)

 

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here (https://doctordoni.com/work-with-me/)

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are product links and affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no cost to you. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

 

Aug 10, 2023

In today’s episode I'm excited to introduce you to Chauncey Harrison. Chauncey holds a license in Creative Arts Therapy, specifically specializing in Movement Therapy. Additionally, she has completed her Masters in Social Work and is working towards her License in Social Work.

Chauncey’s passion is helping people recover from severe and persistent mental illness, substance use disorders, mood disorders, trauma, and interpersonal issues through creative arts therapy. Her therapeutic style is to meet clients where they are and use a strength-based approach to empower clients.

She is collaborative throughout the therapeutic process, working with clients to achieve their goals by using both verbal and non-verbal (dance, movement, art, and drama) tools to help them recover.

Today we talk about dance movement therapy and how this type of therapy can help people process emotions and recover from stress and trauma. I especially enjoyed talking with Chauncey based on my experiencing both a researcher of stress and as a dancer. I have found dance to be an amazing medicine for me.

Psychotherapy That Goes Beyond the Mind

Psychotherapy can be more than just working on the mind. A lot of times what people experience in terms of mental health support ends up being focused on the mind, and being aware of our thoughts, versus what could be stored in our body. There is a connection between the body and the mind, they are not two separate things. We are whole beings in body, mind, and spirit, and when one of those is not aligned, or is out of balance, the others will be affected too.

It's a beautiful practice to look into our thoughts and understand them. That’s an important part of therapy, in general. In today’s modern world it’s unavoidable to be bombarded with so much information that it can end up being overwhelming. Our minds are always racing with new thoughts that we sort of forget that we are living in a body. So, it’s important to take the time to return to the body. To unwind and practice mindfulness focusing on the body. When you're returning to the body it can be a practice of mindfulness in itself of bringing you back into the present and what's really going on and tuning in.

Your body really does keep the score. It really is aware. It's where we store emotions and so tuning into that can be an incredibly impactful and empowering tool for people to start to understand and work on this connection to the body. It can really help bring back more clarity and connection to a full integration of self.

Many times, we are not able to really listen to our body with compassion and to create healing from that place. There can be real disconnections between the mind and the body. People are

surprised when they find out that our bodies can be part of therapy. This can also feel incredibly vulnerable because typically we've formed more unconscious ways to defend ourselves with our words. It feels more exposing for many people to be considering what our body has to say, so trust is such a huge part of the work here.

How Does Dance Movement Therapy Work?

Part of what we're doing in dance movement therapy is 100% play. There's a lot of therapy in play. There’s also a lot of exploring what’s possible and trying to expand the full range of movement. That's huge for people. A lot of times people are really quick in their movements, or quite indirect in their movement, and they stay in a very small kind of sphere. In that case, we can start playing with what it’s like to feel bigger. To expand that sphere and expand in the space where we’re moving.

This also impacts our experience as humans and the ways that we relate to one another. If we're always relating in one movement repertoire, it can be limiting. Typically, it's helpful to have a full range of movement options. We might not even be aware that we're just moving in that one repertoire.

Dance and movement have been around since ancient times. It has been used for entertainment, storytelling, religion, and healing. There's so much research on how healing it is to our nervous system to move in general. Many people can relate to the experience of being in a bad mood and going for a walk and starting to feel better, or going to the gym and feeling less angry about that issue was bothering you, or having a little dance party in your room and realizing it's not that big of a deal. This has to do with the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters that are activated by that movement.

There is a lot of people where stillness is really present in the movement, where it feels really painful to move. And dance therapy is about meeting people where they are. You don’t have to do a specific amount or way of movement. It’s about being present and listening and observing how things develop without any kind of judgement. And then to maybe explore and just start playing with it and expand it when it feels appropriate. It's about following what someone is bringing into the space and really watching and seeing what's appropriate for them.

You can get these insights into a person's patterns simply by looking a little bit more closely to what's going on with their response to the movement. And there is so much restoring movement too, whether it's memories or what it brings up for you in that moment.

Certain movement patterns that have been more codified can be restored in people's bodies, energizing or relaxing them for example. Movement plays so many different roles in our lives.

Is Dance Movement Therapy a Kind of Somatic Therapy?

Somatic therapy, sometimes known as body psychotherapy, is a therapeutic approach that places importance on what we experience in the mind and the body, as well as the connection between the two.

Again, with dance therapy, it’s very important to meet the person where they are and where they are coming from. Certain diagnostic labels can be really helpful, and sometimes not so much. It’s about exploring feelings and emotions through movement while not being attached to a specific label.

And as we mentioned before, mind and body are one whole thing, and they influence each other. If someone is suffering from gastro-intestinal issues because of anxiety, it's real. A lot of our emotions reflect in our stomach. This shows us how mind and body are connected. It proves that we can feel emotions on a physical level.

Sometimes people are led to believe that something's only “in their head” or they’re making it up and it’s not real. If you feel it or experience pain or discomfort of any sort, it's real. We have to acknowledge and validate that, because it’s a crucial part of the healing process.

We have to be able to connect with our feelings and emotions and how these relate to what we feel in our bodies. A lot of the time we suppress our emotions. We aren't taught how to have awareness for them and how to just be present to be able to process them or just be present with them. If you want to learn more about this you can watch Episode 165 of How Humans Heal - Emotional Healing: A Pathway to a Better Life here.

Part of what dance movement therapy and creative arts offers is this nonverbal processing of feelings and emotions. You may not even know what you’re feeling, and it could be very uncomfortable, but we can start with a sensation and maybe we can put that into an image. What would this image look like? Can we draw it on a piece of paper? Is there a sound that goes with it? And this can be so helpful to process our emotions and get more information about what they are related to.

This can make people feel vulnerable, even just asking for help can feel vulnerable, let alone trying to listen to what your body wants to tell you. We don't know what we're going to find out, so it feels vulnerable in that way. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is a process that is unique to each individual and that everyone has a different pace and process.

It’s about going at your own pace and discovering little by little what your body is trying to communicate. It's not like you will come out of the first session in shock and lose track of your original existence. You’re discovering information slowly and then you can integrate that information into your daily life. It’s about providing a safe space and empowering people to tune in and listen to their bodies and connect with themselves.

Dance Movement Therapy and Yoga

The body has so much information for us, we just have to learn how to listen and access it. Some of Chauncey’s original connection to dance therapy was through yoga and what it did for her. And yoga is a form of movement that is used for healing not just on a physical level but a mental and emotional level. It’s also a way to experience the mind and body connection.

There are so many different types of yoga and different ways to enter the practice. For some people it could be through the physical practice and for others through reading the books and doing self-study or meditation. It’s always about what moves you and what speaks and resonates with you and where you are in life. Speaking about movement, some of the movements and postures in yoga can create a space for a lot of healing and release.

There’s so much research now backing up just how impactful yoga is for health, not only mental but also physical, including reducing inflammation for example. It’s not just about flexibility and balance. With all this neurological research, we also have a lot more proof of the mirror neurons and the impact of them. In dance movement therapy, there’s this technique called “mirroring” where you bring someone else's movement into your body, so that you're sharing the movement together and it’s so impactful.

There’s definitely some overlap between yoga and dance movement therapy but there are also beautiful differences in those practices. There are a lot of dance movement therapists who are yoga teachers and there are a lot of yoga teachers that seem to have a dance background or a dance movement therapy background too.

Using Dance Movement Therapy to Treat Chronic Illness and Pain

We know dance movement therapy can help with anxiety and depression, but it can also help with physical pain and trauma. As we mentioned, the body and the mind are connected and there are many chronic illnesses that can be traced back to unresolved trauma and stored emotions. Using the movement therapy lens, there might be unresolved traumas and things held in the body. Someone can come in because they think they’re depressed and then there's a lot more that we're unpacking and we're looking at during therapy.

Likewise, if someone comes in with a chronic illness or chronic pain, they can process and explore and find out what the source of the illness is through dance movement therapy.

So often in the mental health field what people hear is that there's a chemical imbalance and that they need medication, not to say that medications aren't sometimes appropriate and necessary and helpful, but it’s important for people to know that there are other tools that they can use to heal. It’s about opening up the possibilities for people so they don't feel stuck.

Whether it's through movement therapy, talk therapy or a mix of both. There are also art therapists, drama therapists, music therapists, etc. There are many creative arts therapists out there, it’s a matter of finding what works for you. And there’s research behind all of these different techniques that show how they are all therapeutic and can help us heal.

Recovery from stress and trauma can help with so many health issues, including anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain, digestive issues, autoimmunity, and recurrent infections, as well as HPV, and can help decrease risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia, and more.

If you want to reach out to Chauncey and learn more about how she can help you, please make sure to check out her website or her Instagram @refresh.psychotherapynyc. She and the other clinicians in her clinic offer both in-office and virtual sessions.

if you want to learn more about how stress and trauma affect us, and how to recover so that you can get back to feeling your best, you may want to read my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health.

In the book, I describe what I refer to as SelfC.A.R.E. based on your Stress Type. C stands for Clean Eating, A for adequate sleep, R for recovery activities, and E for exercise. I share the research behind how C.A.R.E. works in a daily routine to help us process stress. And why it’s important to choose C.A.R.E., including movement/exercise, that matches for your body.

To know your Stress Type, which is your unique cortisol and adrenaline levels based on how stresses have affected your adrenal function, you can take the quiz I developed. You can find the Stress Type® Quiz in the book and on my website.

Then, if you’re ready to start rebalancing your cortisol and neurotransmitters, to help your adrenals reset after stress exposure, you can start by ordering this home test kit. And you can also sign up for my Stress Warrior Online Program to guide you here.

If you’re interested in a safe and effective body, mind and spirit detoxification that will actually make you feel better and that you can do without affecting your daily routine, you can check out my New 14-Day Detox Program here. In the Detox Program I teach you to connect with yourself, and use mind-body tools, such as biofeedback, to process emotions.

For the most comprehensive support to recover from stress and trauma, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here.

We're here to help you!

Connect with Dr. Doni: 

 

Facebook HTTPS://FACEBOOK.COM/DRDONIWILSON  

Instagram HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/DRDONIWILSON  

YouTube HTTPS://YOUTUBE.COM/USER/DONIWILSONND  

Weekly Wellness Wisdom Newsletter: HTTPS://DOCTORDONI.COM/WWW  

 

-

 

Additional Resources: 

 

If you want to work on your gut health and microbiome you may want to sign up for my Heal Leaky Gut Program (https://doctordoni.com/leaky-gut-program) where I teach you how to heal leaky gut with my proven protocol. 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach to healing HPV you can find my new HPV Recovery Guide here (https://doctordoni.com/ddpp/hpv-guide/). 

 

If you are tired of this virus and are really committed to erasing it from your life forever, you can sign up for my Say Goodbye to HPV 12-Week Program here (https://drdoni.lpages.co/hpv-12-week-program/).

 

You can also sign up for my Stress Warrior Program here (https://doctordoni.com/stress-program). 

 

Also, if you want to learn more about how to recover from stress so that you can get back to feeling your best, you may want to read my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health (https://doctordoni.com/master-your-stress/). In the book, I also share the quiz I developed to help you identify how stress has affected you specifically by knowing your Stress Type. You can also take this Stress Type Quiz online (https://doctordoni.com/quiz/stress-quiz/)

 

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here (https://doctordoni.com/work-with-me/)

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are product links and affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no cost to you. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

 

Aug 3, 2023

In today's episode we're going to be talking about joint hypermobility. This is a topic that's important to me both clinically and personally because I was diagnosed with it a few years ago. What I find is that joint hypermobility is much more common than previously suspected, and there is so much we can do to help with the symptoms of pain, anxiety, fatigue, and more.

Joint hypermobility is sometimes referred to as joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS) or hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD). It shows up a little bit differently in each person and is not well known by practitioners, which means that many people with hypermobility have seen numerous practitioners without receiving a diagnosis.

When they do receive a diagnosis, they are often told that “there is no cure,” which can make it seem as though there is nothing that can be done to help. That is simply incorrect. I’ll be sharing more why that is my perspective in this episode of How Humans Heal.

First, it is important to understand the various potential symptoms of hypermobility, so that you can start to understand how they are interconnected and unique to each person. That will also help us to understand why the approach needs to be individualized as well.

Mainly I want listeners/readers to know that I’m here as proof that it is possible to feel good, to be out of pain, and to thrive even when you tend toward joint hypermobility.

What is Joint Hypermobility?

Joint hypermobility is considered a connective tissue disorder. Connective tissue involves our skin, joints, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Hypermobility syndromes are associated with joint instability and chronic pain. If you or someone you know has been experiencing joint pain and/or muscle pain for long periods of time, this is something to consider and to talk with your practitioners about, especially those who are experts in hypermobility, so they can help guide you.

Although it has been improving in recent years, still there is very low awareness for joint hypermobility amongst practitioners. I believe that is for two reasons: 1. it's a relatively newly identified condition. It was first described in 1967; 2. It’s considered to be a rare condition, otherwise known as a “zebra”in medicine, meaning that if someone comes in with joint pain, practitioners are more likely to think of the most common causes for joint pain before thinking of hypermobility syndrome. Research indicates that about 3% of people have joint hypermobility, but I actually think it's higher than that and is more common than we realize.

Now, joint hypermobility may or may not be part of another diagnosis called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which includes joint hypermobility, with unstable joints that dislocate easily, as well as stretchy skin, easy bruising, wounds that are slow to heal and leave wide scars, hernias and organ prolapse. There are thirteen different types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, some of

which involve the blood vessels and digestion. To be diagnosed with EDS requires a genetic analysis to identify collagen-related gene variations.

The important thing is, if you feel joint pain or discomfort, you should start taking action now, regardless of it being hypermobility syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. You have to start taking steps to protect yourself and prevent it from causing further health issues.

To me the awful thing is that so many people who are diagnosed with joint hypermobility or with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are told it's a genetic condition and that there’s nothing they can do, or that all that can be done is manage the pain.

To me, that is unacceptable. As a naturopathic doctor, and as someone with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I can tell you there are so many things that help me feel better, and that help me prevent symptoms and health issues associated with hypermobility. There's so much you can do about it. I'm not saying that there's a cure, but by understanding it and by being proactive, you can get yourself out of pain and prevent health issues associated with hypermobility.

How to Know if You Have Joint Hypermobility

Our joints and a lot of other parts of our body are made of collagen. Collagen is so important for joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, intestines, and more. We all make collagen slightly differently. If the way your body makes collagen makes it a little more stretchy, then you may have very flexible collagen and hypermobile joints. But remember, it's a spectrum so not everybody with hypermobile joints can do extreme movements. The best way to identify if you have joint hypermobility is to do a Beighton score test, which is a nine-point scale related to range of motion of joints in the body. The higher you score, the more flexible your joints are.

The Beighton test starts with evaluating if you can touch the floor with your hands with your legs straight; this gets you one point. Next is evaluating if you can hyperextend your elbows. If your elbows can extend beyond making your arm look straight, then you get one point for each elbow. Same thing with your knees, so when you stand if your knees bow backwards, that's hyper mobility of the knees, and that's one point on each knee. Then there's the fingers - a classic is to measure if your thumb can reach all the way to your forearm and another is if you're little finger can point back more than 90 degrees from your hand, these are one point each.

And there are other signs too. If you notice other joints that can move more than other people's or they move out of position easily (or dislocate), that's also a sign that you may have joint hypermobility.

What Are the Symptoms Related to Joint Hypermobility?

Anxiety: There are other symptoms that can be related to joint hypermobility like fatigue, anxiety and even depression. Anxiety is highly correlated with hypermobility, research shows that 70% of people with hypermobility have anxiety, and people with anxiety are likely to have joint hypermobility as well.

Neurodivergence: Hypermobility is also correlated with depression and what's called neurodivergence. Neurodivergence is associated with differences in social preferences, ways of learning, ways of communicating, and ways of perceiving our environment. It is often associated with autism, ADHD and Tourette's syndrome. Neurodivergent individuals may be more sensitive to our environment emotionally, chemically, and physically. The nervous system is more sensitive and perceptive, and that can relate to being in chronic pain.

Chronic pain: The reason for pain is caused by joints being slightly out of position, triggering muscle spasms and fascial restrictions. With hypermobility, it is harder to identify where our body parts should be in space because the joint range of motion is greater. Our nervous system also has a different perception because our joints are more flexible and it’s not so clear when motion should stop, making it less likely for our joints to automatically or naturally be in an optimal position. We have less of an internal guidance system. Luckily it is possible to learn proprioception (where your body parts are in space), and by practicing body position and posture, we can prevent joint dislocations.

For someone who has collagen that's not so stretchy, this is easier because their joints are not allowing for further movement. If you have hypermobility, your joints will not tell you where to stop and so we have to train ourselves to know where our body is healthiest in space in order to decrease our pain and other symptoms. Muscle strength can also help keep our joints in place.

Bruising & Palpitations: Now, with joint hypermobility, and especially with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, you could have symptoms of easier bruising, palpitations, and/or a heart murmur, such as mitral valve prolapse (which is when the heart valves do not close properly between each beat, allowing blood to flow backwards).

Digestive Issues: You may also experience issues with the digestive tract, like constipation or diarrhea, and it may be considered IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. You may be diagnosed with IBD, which is inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or other forms of colitis. Hypermobility also makes it more likely that you will have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Dizziness: Joint hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can also be associated with dysautonomia. Dysautonomia is a disorder of autonomic nervous system function. The autonomic nervous system is in charge of involuntary functions, such as breathing and our heartbeat. It also has to do with our response to stress. Dysautonomia involves an imbalance in the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) parts of the autonomic nervous system. It can cause dizziness, fatigue, and weakness, especially when under stress.

It can also be related to POTS, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which is a condition in which a reduced volume of blood returns to the heart and brain after standing up quickly. When you have hypermobility, you have very flexible collagen, and this makes it harder for your blood vessels to get the blood to your brain, so you feel dizzy for a few seconds until your body can catch up by increasing your heart rate. It can make you feel like you are going to faint, or actually cause you to faint.

Symptoms from Stress: Also, stress makes all these symptoms harder to manage. If you've been under a lot of stress, maybe going through a loss or stress at work, or stress in your relationship, or trauma of some sort, then your autonomic nervous system will be affected and not work smoothly. The sympathetic nervous system carries signals that put your body's systems on alert, while your parasympathetic carries signals that relax those systems.

We need a balance of the two. We need our bodies to be able to do a stress response and protect us from danger, but we also need our bodies to be able to turn off the stress response and go back to calm. When we're under constant stress, our bodies have a harder time flexing between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. That's when the autonomic nervous system starts having a harder time, and we start becoming more susceptible to infections (HPV, EBV, etc) and toxins, especially for those of us with hypermobility.

Mast Cell Activation: Another issue related to joint hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is mast cell activation syndrome or MCAS. Mast cells are present throughout our bodies and secrete chemicals during allergic reactions, histamine in particular. Symptoms include episodes of abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, flushing, itching, wheezing, coughing, lightheadedness, rapid pulse and low blood pressure. Mast cell activation (and histamine) can also be related to headaches, like migraines, as well as neuropathy, symptoms of vulvovaginal pain, vaginitis and urinary/bladder pain. Autoimmunity, like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions, like ankylosing spondylitis and SAPHO, are also related.

MTHFR and Methylation Issues: A recent study associated hypermobility with MTHFR gene variations. MTHFR is the gene that manages the conversion of folic acid into folate, and folate is the active form of vitamin B9. Of course we all need B9 along with all the other B vitamins to help us in so many processes, including having healthy connective tissue. If we don't have enough folate, and if we don't have healthy methylation, this is going to affect the way our body creates collagen.

If we know that MTHFR is associated with hypermobility, and we know that not having enough folate and effective methylation affects your connective tissue, then we can do something about that. We can make sure you have adequate folate, and we can make sure you have effective methylation, in order to help protect your connective tissue and prevent pain and other health issues.

If you want to learn more about this, I encourage you to go listen to Episode #145 of my podcast: Efficient Methylation and its Impact on Our Health as well as my Free MTHFR Masterclass.

What Can We Do to Help Our Bodies if We Have Joint Hypermobility?

It is possible to help your body rebalance and correct where it needs help. To me, it's about understanding your biochemistry, and understanding your body's tendencies, and giving your body what it needs to heal and rebalance, which usually comes in the form of dietary changes, nutrients, supplements and herbs.

A lot of people feel stuck with their symptoms and the need for medications. With joint hypermobility, the main issues are joint and muscle pain, so one of the first treatments recommended is a pain medication, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While offering temporary relief, they have a lot of side effects and can't be taken long term, plus they're not really solving anything, in fact, they might be making things worse, so that's not really a solution. Neither are steroidal drugs for pain as they also have negative effects on our bodies. Additionally, medications prescribed for hypermobility symptoms, such as anti-depressants and benzodiazepines, create dependency and have withdrawal symptoms.

To me, it's not enough to tell people with joint hypermobility that the only option is pain management. There is so much more that we can do. There are ways to manage pain by actually decreasing inflammation and using natural substances that don’t have side effects. It is also possible to start helping your body alongside the use of medications when you are working with an expert who understands the interactions and is able to guide you.

Physical therapy, massage therapy, myofascial therapy, acupuncture and exercises for posture and strength (such as Pilates) can help reduce the symptoms. It is important to make sure the practitioner or trainer understands what joint hypermobility is and the special needs that your body has because when you have joint hypermobility, you are more likely to suffer from injuries.

The approach needs to be completely different. It’s not about increasing flexibility or increasing intensity too much. And It’s also NOT going to help to stop exercising all together. It IS about doing the right type of exercise, in the right amount and frequency, for your body.

For me Pilates has been extremely helpful. It helped me to learn joint position and posture, and to gain strength without causing injury. Ballroom dancing also helps with posture and strength.

Myofascial release therapy has been hugely helpful as it can release the restrictions in the connective tissue. If you want to learn more about myofascial release therapy you can watch Episode #166 of How Humans Heal: Myofascial Release Therapy - Bringing Your Body Back to Alignment. Also in Episode #170 you can learn about how to get rid of joint and muscle pain using natural remedies.

Acupuncture and especially acupuncture that's using electrical stimulation can also help address the trigger points and motor points in the muscles, so it is a great option too.

Paying attention to your body, your posture, and your strength every day is a must if you have joint hypermobility. You can’t just get a massage once a year or go to physical therapy only if you get injured. You have to have a weekly plan to help relieve the symptoms and prevent injuries. If you don't keep up with that routine of managing your body and your joints, that's when you are more likely to find yourself in pain and at a greater risk of injuries.

Dietary changes to reduce inflammation, testing for food sensitivities, healing leaky gut, addressing the gut biome are all things that can help. If there is leaky gut and imbalanced gut biome, you have a source of inflammation from within your gut, and that's causing inflammation through your whole body which is going to increase your likelihood of pain.

Our biome is so important. It's not just about having a bunch of bacteria or probiotics. It's about having the right balance and how these bacteria communicate with our immune system and our nervous system. If you would like to learn more about how to balance your microbiome you can watch Episode #169 of my podcast: Getting Your Microbiome Back on Track.

It is also essential for anyone who has hypermobility to measure your cortisol and adrenaline levels. Hypermobility makes it more likely that your nervous system and adrenal gland function are disrupted by stress. It's more likely that you're going to have neurotransmitter imbalances, and either too high or too low cortisol and adrenaline, or what I call the stress types (the five most common disruptions of cortisol and adrenaline).

That's what I wrote about in the Master Your Stress Reset Your Health book. If you want to find out if your cortisol and adrenaline are out of balance, you can order my home test kit here. You can also take the Stress Type Quiz online and sign up for my Stress Warrior Program to guide you to optimize your cortisol and adrenaline (adrenal health) here.

We also need to do specific blood work so we can understand exactly how hypermobility is affecting you and if you have nutrient deficiencies. If you have hypermobility and inflammation and nutrient deficiencies, it could snowball into various health issues. This is why we need to look at the big picture, see the interconnections, and then guide your body through the steps to heal and prevent more health issues.

The best treatments for hypermobility are from what I would consider a naturopathic approach. It has to do with giving your body what it needs to heal in terms of food, nutrients, plants, herbs and other natural approaches. We need to make sure you are consuming adequate amounts of protein – learn more about that here. We can support the body to heal itself by working on the root causes of problems and solving them.

If you want to work on your gut health and microbiome you may want to sign up for my Heal Leaky Gut Program where I teach you how to heal leaky gut with my proven protocol. Keep in mind that 50% of people with leaky gut, have zero digestive symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to do the food sensitivity panel I recommend.

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach to healing HPV you can find my new HPV Recovery Guide here. If you are tired of this virus and are really committed to erasing it from your life forever, you can sign up for my Say Goodbye to HPV 12-Week Program here.

You can also subscribe to my newsletter where you'll receive a newsletter from me every Thursday with the latest episode and additional resources and tools for your success with achieving optimal health.

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here.

We're here to help you!

Connect with Dr. Doni: 

 

Facebook HTTPS://FACEBOOK.COM/DRDONIWILSON  

Instagram HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/DRDONIWILSON  

YouTube HTTPS://YOUTUBE.COM/USER/DONIWILSONND  

Weekly Wellness Wisdom Newsletter: HTTPS://DOCTORDONI.COM/WWW  

 

-

 

Additional Resources: 

 

If you want to work on your gut health and microbiome you may want to sign up for my Heal Leaky Gut Program (https://doctordoni.com/leaky-gut-program) where I teach you how to heal leaky gut with my proven protocol. 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach to healing HPV you can find my new HPV Recovery Guide here (https://doctordoni.com/ddpp/hpv-guide/). 

 

If you are tired of this virus and are really committed to erasing it from your life forever, you can sign up for my Say Goodbye to HPV 12-Week Program here (https://drdoni.lpages.co/hpv-12-week-program/).

 

You can also sign up for my Stress Warrior Program here (https://doctordoni.com/stress-program). 

 

Also, if you want to learn more about how to recover from stress so that you can get back to feeling your best, you may want to read my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health (https://doctordoni.com/master-your-stress/). In the book, I also share the quiz I developed to help you identify how stress has affected you specifically by knowing your Stress Type. You can also take this Stress Type Quiz online (https://doctordoni.com/quiz/stress-quiz/)

 

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here (https://doctordoni.com/work-with-me/)

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are product links and affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no cost to you. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

 

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