Empowering Women's Health: Unveiling the Hidden Power of Hormones with April Jones, ND
In this episode, we embark on an empowering exploration of women's health with Naturopathic Doctor April Jones. Join us as we unravel the intricacies of the hormone harmony journey, delving into not only hormone health but also a wide range of topics that impact women's well-being.
From understanding hormone imbalances like PCOS, post-pill syndrome, and thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto's, Dr. Jones imparts her expertise to shed light on these common concerns. We also delve into the remarkable nuances of the menstrual cycle, fertility optimization, pregnancy support, and the essential care required during the transformative phases of perimenopause and menopause.
Dr. April Jones is a passionate advocate for women's health who shares invaluable insights and actionable advice to empower you on your unique wellness path. To learn more about Dr. Jones and the work she does, visit AprilJonesND.com.
[00:00:07.260] - Candi Broeffle
Good morning and welcome to Green Tea Conversations, the radio show that delves into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine to bring you the local experts who share their progressive ideas and the latest information and insights needed so you can lead your best life. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, publisher of the Twin Cities edition of Natural Awakenings magazine, and I am honored to bring these experts to you. Today on our show in honor of Mother's Day, we are welcoming into the studio Naturopathic Doctor April Jones, who specializes in women's health, including preconception health, postpartum care, and menopause perimenopause. Welcome to the show, April.
[00:00:45.530] - Dr. April Jones
Hi. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to have this conversation.
[00:00:50.010] - Candi Broeffle
We are very excited to have you in this studio. And whenever we get started, Mother's Day is always a great time to talk about women's health and talk about reproductive health as mothers as we're celebrating our mothers. But May is also for Natural Awakenings is also our women's health issue. And so I was really excited to be able to talk to you because I know this is an area that you really specialize in. But before we get into that, I always like to ask people to introduce themselves. Tell us what brought you to becoming a Naturopathic Doctor and what your journey has been like.
[00:01:29.350] - Dr. April Jones
Of course, yes. So ever since I was young, I've always been fascinated by science, human health, everything that fits into the medical sphere. And so when I went to college, my plan was to become a doctor. And so I changed my undergraduate degree in nutrition while also completing my premed requirements. I chose nutrition because while I loved science and while I loved medicine, nutrition was my gateway into holistic healing. That's what I call it. So we've got holistic health, which is like that full body health and nutrition felt like one of my favorite topics. And the beginning of it really sparked my holistic journey. And so after I completed my undergraduate degree, I started working as a health coach. And this was in between the time where I'm supposed to be applying to schools and getting some life experience under my belt. And while I was working as a health coach, I really identified a need in my clients to have more support with their foundations of health. Because I was seeing people with all kinds of medical conditions, from heart disease to people who are trying to quit smoking cigarettes to people who are looking to lose weight or improve their diets.
[00:02:45.060] - Dr. April Jones
And I was essentially coaching them and helping them make really attainable and sustainable goals so they could achieve that. And what I heard a lot of them saying is that, yes, I have this medical condition, but I don't want it to get worse. I really want to work on my lifestyle. And so I felt like there was a need for more medical providers who had the time and space to work with patients on those foundations of health, as opposed to just maybe managing their chronic conditions, which is also so important. And this led me down the path of naturopathic medicine.
[00:03:21.390] - Candi Broeffle
Why Naturopathic as compared to allopathic medicine?
[00:03:25.850] - Dr. April Jones
Yes. So Naturopathic medicine really looks at individuals as a whole. So that's one of our tenets of medicine is treat the patient as a whole, not just their symptoms. And so in naturopathic medicine, we are trained to essentially be holistic primary care providers. We're trained to treat disease, but by looking at people as a full spectrum of health, or looking at them in their full spectrum of health and seeing how that may be contributing to any concerns that they're having. And so naturopathic medicine, also, I got to study nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, exercise, mindfulness, all of these really fascinating things that I like to read about in my spare time. So I thought, if I'm going to go back to school for four more years, why don't I do something that is really going to light me up inside?
[00:04:19.860] - Candi Broeffle
One of the things that I find most interesting, and I did a lot of research myself when I started to get to the age of perimetapause, and I was having issues myself, I was doing a lot of studying, and I was amazed to find out that in allopathic medicine, there's very little information about hormonal health. They don't have a lot of background on hormones. And this is one of the areas that you specialize in, which is hormonal imbalances. So why don't you tell us a little bit about that?
[00:04:56.160] - Dr. April Jones
Of course, yes. So when you think about hormones, what first comes to mind, usually for people is our sex hormones, which are mainly being affected when we're in that perimenopausal and menopausal time frame. But our hormone system is called our endocrine system, and this is the system in our body that controls all of the different hormones. So anywhere from your thyroid hormone to your blood sugar metabolism hormones to your sex hormones. And so I consider hormone health to be one of my areas of expertise because that is something that I'm always taking into consideration when I'm working with patients. And with the endocrine system, it's a very fine tuned machine. I like to call it the Goldilocks system. So with our hormones, our body does a really good job at keeping those in balance when there is homeostasis in the body and when things are functioning optimally. But when one of them gets tipped out of balance, then we may have symptoms. And so this is just a great area to work on. And I feel that a lot of people are coming to me with concerns in these areas because they're not quite feeling their best.
[00:06:06.290] - Dr. April Jones
And so there's a lot we can definitely do from a holistic lens to improve the hormone system.
[00:06:10.960] - Candi Broeffle
So what are some of the elements, I guess you could say, that you tend to help people with when it comes to hormonal imbalances?
[00:06:19.920] - Dr. April Jones
Yes. So I see a lot of women, young women that are coming to me with maybe a regular or painful periods. So they're not getting their menstrual cycle on a regular basis, or they are and it's very painful or very heavy. Also, I see some women who come to me with concerns like PCOS, which is polycystic ovarian syndrome, and that is a constellation of symptoms that becomes a syndrome. And it's very common, a lot of women have it. And this can cause things like irregular menstrual cycles, difficulty with becoming pregnant, unwanted symptoms such as hair growth, hair loss, hormonal acne, things along those lines. So that's a big one. And then another one is just when women are in that stage of wanting to become pregnant and maybe they're having a hard time, there could be something going on with some type of hormone imbalance. So we can look at their sex hormones and see what's happening there.
[00:07:19.150] - Candi Broeffle
So what are some of the ways that you help people in treating it or to get relief from the symptoms of it?
[00:07:27.520] - Dr. April Jones
Definitely. Yeah. So what I always start with is a work up, right? Because it's great to have some objective information on paper, what's going on. Some people come to me with a current diagnosis, some people come to me and they haven't received a diagnosis thus far. So the first step is usually obtaining labs, imaging if it's required as well to get that information. We're wanting to rule out any medical conditions that may be causing their concerns because if there's something underlying, we definitely want to address that. And then once we've identified what's going on, I like to utilize a variety of different treatment modalities based on what the person is going through individually. So some examples of that, coming back to those foundations of health. So we're wanting to work on things like sleep. If somebody isn't sleeping well, the whole rest of their health is maybe going to spiral down. How are people eating? Are they nourishing their bodies with really nutrient dense foods? I always approach diet in a non restrictive lens. So I'm never recommending anything super restrictive or that doesn't fit with somebody's lifestyle. And I think that's important to mention because some people might be scared to talk about diet because they think they're going to be judged or nothing has to be perfect.
[00:08:45.930] - Dr. April Jones
It's all about balance. S leep, we've got diet, we've got movement, we've got stress management. So movement and stress management can go hand in hand. When I say movement, I'm referring to exercise, but I don't like to use the word exercise because some people have that negative connot on exercise as well. Maybe they punish their body with exercise in the past or just haven't found those things that they feel good doing. But movement is so good for us. So it's like trying to find ways we can move our body to feel good. And then stress management is a huge piece, too. So we can use all kinds of things from herbal medicine perspective to help the body adapt to stress. There's different herbs and adaptogens that we can use to lessen the blow of these stress hormones on the body. But then we're also wanting to have some practices in place, whether that's seeing a therapist, going to acupuncture, doing breathing exercises, so really working with the patient on what works best for them.
[00:09:47.780] - Candi Broeffle
Oh, that's great. So when it comes to... You had mentioned PCOS, and that is something that is very common in our culture. I think in the last probably 10, 15 years, I've heard so much more about it. And maybe it's just because of social media where it's so much more people are talking about it so much more. But when I was younger, if there was any female issues going on like that, doctors tended to just immediately put people on the pill and try to regulate it that way. Do you find that you have people coming in who have had that and don't want to use that? Or are they using this in conjunction or both?
[00:10:35.540] - Dr. April Jones
Well, both. Yes, definitely. But I do see a lot of women who have that story. They had irregular cycles, they were put on the birth control pill, they are coming off the pill for whatever reason or maybe still on it. And they're curious about their health. They're worried that maybe their cycles are going to be irregular again, or they're experiencing that they are. And what the pill does is it masks any symptoms, which there's no shame in taking the pill if that's what a woman wants to do. I totally believe in a woman's right to choose what she wants to do. But with the people that I'm seeing, we are either working on supporting their health after coming off the pill and trying to identify if PCOS was the cause of why they were put on it in the first place, or if they know that they have PCOS, there's still so many other lifestyle things we can address to bring down those symptoms.
[00:11:25.230] - Candi Broeffle
So when we come back, we are going to talk a little bit about post-pill syndrome as well. So for people who want to learn more about the work that Dr. Jones does, visit AprilJonesND.com. And that's AprilJonesND.com. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM 950, the progressive voice of Minnesota, and we will be right back.
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, and today we are visiting with Naturopathic Doctor, April Jones. So Dr. Jones, you had started to talk to us a little bit about hormonal imbalances, and we had started to touch on the birth control pill. One of the things that you see people for quite often is post-pill syndrome. What is post-pill syndrome?
[00:12:34.810] - Dr. April Jones
So post-pill syndrome is something that we're seeing a lot of. So what this is is we are seeing this generation of young women who are coming off of the birth control pill. Maybe they've been on it for the last decade. They may have been put on it to address symptoms of irregular cycles, to address painful periods, or maybe they were using it for contracption. And they're coming off of it and they're noticing some symptoms that are unwanted. And so some common things that we see are symptoms such as hormonal acne, which can be really bothersome for a lot of people, irregular menstrual cycles, mood changes. And what's going on is there's something called the HPO axis, which is our hypothalamus, pituitary glands, and ovaries. So it is the connection between these three areas. So your hypothalamus and your pituitary glands are both in your brain. And what they do is they speak to each other and then they send messages down to your ovaries. And this is the connection that comes online when you start your menstrual cycles. So when you first start your cycle, your HPO access is online. I say it's like dial up because it's going to take a while to come on board.
[00:13:51.140] - Dr. April Jones
It takes, on average, about 2-3 years until that communication is strong. And what the birth control pill does is it shuts down that communication because you're taking in these hormones from an outside source. So they call it like an exogenous source, so outside of you. And it's shutting down your own hormone production. And so once you take away this medication, then your HPO access has to come back online and relearn that. So if you're somebody who doesn't have PCOS or a thyroid condition or other things going on that could affect your menstrual cycles, you could go back to your normal cycles and not have any issues at all. So it doesn't affect everybody who's coming up with the pill. But this is when we're going to see those people who maybe have something underlying going on, too. It'll make those conditions show up a little bit more strongly. And so it's a time where I feel that a lot of women could use support and who often are seeking support. And we do a lot of different things to help the bodies detoxification systems get rid of these outside hormones, get those own communication systems working again in the body.
[00:15:08.220] - Dr. April Jones
So there's a lot of things that we can do from a holistic lens to get that back on board.
[00:15:12.990] - Candi Broeffle
I worked with someone who was about 10 years older than me. And in the 80s, it was very 80s and 90s, very common to be put on birth control to help regulate periods. And she had been on the birth control pill for over 30 years. And she was 55, menopausal, and they finally took her off. And it just really messed with her health. I couldn't believe that she'd been on it that long, that they'd allowed her to be on it that long. But I think it just got to be so common for so long that the doctors didn't really pay attention. She wasn't having any issues with it. When they would talk to her about wanting to get her off, she'd say, Oh, I want to stay on it a little longer. And then when she finally did come off it, it really messed up where she was at in her menopausal cycle. Do you work with people who are coming in menopausal or coming into menopause who are still on the pill and having to get weaned off that as well?
[00:16:22.180] - Dr. April Jones
I do, yes. I've seen that quite a few times. And it's supporting those similar systems. And then also in that perimenopausal and menopause, like after menopause, so in that postmenopausal timeframe, we're really wanting to support the other endocrine system. So I know earlier I mentioned, we've got a lot of different hormone systems in the body, right? So the sex hormones are going to do what they're going to do during menopause. The ovaries are no longer able to produce healthy eggs to ovulate every month. So you still have some eggs left, but you're not able to ovulate, so you're not getting that same estrogen and progesterone production. So I think it can be really nice during this time to support the adrenal system and to support the thyroid system. Those are other endocrine hormone systems. And when those are nourished and really cared for, it can make those symptoms during that transition through menopause a lot more smooth and a lot more livable.
[00:17:24.160] - Candi Broeffle
I understand during the break we were talking, and you said last night you did a presentation, or the other night you did a presentation on understanding the menstrual cycle. Why don't you tell us a bit about that presentation, what you shared with people?
[00:17:41.590] - Dr. April Jones
Yes, I'm happy to. So it was really fun. It was a collab between me and one of my colleagues, and we focused on understanding the menstrual cycle as a whole by looking at the seasons. So we have our four seasons, and we also have four seasons of the menstrual cycle. We have this beginning phase, which is going to be menstruation. So that's when you're on your period. We correlate that with winter. We have the follicular phase, which is that beginning phase. We correlate that with spring. So that's right after the period begins. You're getting your energy back as you're starting a new cycle. Then we have the ovulatory phase, which we correlate with summer because during ovulation, a lot of women feel a lot more energy. Testosterone peaks and that gives us a lot of drive and motivation. And then after our ovulation occurs, we have the luteal phase, which is like our fall. And so during the class that we taught, I really focused on first understanding the menstrual cycle as a whole. Because while we learn about this in health class, right, maybe in middle school, we're young and maybe we don't take in everything.
[00:18:55.320] - Dr. April Jones
And it's a quick class. Everybody's just trying to get through it. They're trying to give you the information. But I feel like there's less focus on really having that body literacy and understanding how your cycle works and understanding how you can move through life in a way that is really nourishing to you by paying attention to your cycle. So I think it's a superpower, like being able to know what hormones are highest during each phase and knowing how that may affect your mood and your energy levels and the ability to show up and present for a class or maybe the need to actually retreat and really rest like you would need to on your menstrual cycle.
[00:19:39.920] - Candi Broeffle
So what are some of the bits of advice that you can give people in these different stages?
[00:19:46.360] - Dr. April Jones
Absolutely. So during menstruation, I absolutely think that it is a permission slip to rest. So it's a good time to give yourself time to lay down, if you can have your heat pack move a little bit more slowly, from a mental emotional piece, this can be a good time to dream or plan for the future, but not really make or have the need to take action on that. So menstrual cycle, rest. Give yourself permission to rest. After the menstrual cycle ends and you're in that follicular phase, this can be a good time for you to plan social events and maybe get together with friends. Your energy is like spring energy. It's fresh. You're creative and you're wanting to do projects, so this is a good time to do that. During the ovulatory phase, I feel like that's the most confident phase in the cycle. So that's a good time to if you have a big meeting coming up at work and you need to present, that would be a good time to do it. It would be also a good time to keep that social calendar going. But knowing that you're about to enter your luteal phase, which is your fall, you want to start slowing down a little bit and plan ahead.
[00:21:01.320] - Dr. April Jones
So during the luteal phase, it's normal for women to start to feel a little bit more introspective, a little less social, and a little bit more in tune with what they need. And unapologetic about that. And I think that's one of our super powers, too. So during that luteal phase after ovulation, it's nice to slow down a little bit. You might still have a little fresh energy from ovulation, but as you move closer to the cycle, it's good to slow down and nourish and get ready for that next cycle to begin.
[00:21:29.400] - Candi Broeffle
I just love that.
[00:21:30.970] - Dr. April Jones
Thank you. I love.
[00:21:32.350] - Candi Broeffle
That whole idea because it really does speak to the different seasons and how we show up in the different seasons and just having that time, giving permission to take the time to rest and relax when you can. Now, of course, we also understand that sometimes young moms are not able to get all that rest that they want, or people who have jobs that require a lot of them may not be able to do that. But when you can, definitely do that. So one of the things, and we have about a minute left here before we have to go into another break, but I want to start talking about thyroid support, because that, too, is one of the hormones that people get treated a lot for but don't necessarily understand a lot.
[00:22:25.620] - Dr. April Jones
Yeah. So your thyroid is like a butterfly shaped glands on your neck and it produces hormones, and it's that same system. So your brain talks to your thyroid, your thyroid talks to your brain. And thyroid hormone is responsible for energy metabolism. And so not just metabolism in the way where you're breaking down food, but it's just like there are thyroid receptors all over your body, and it's an essential hormone. So if a woman has a thyroid condition, it's really important to take into consideration those foundations of health that I was talking about before, because that is whether or not she is on medication for it, or if it's something in a family history that she's trying to avoid. Having those foundations of health in place is going to make the thyroid condition a lot easier to live with.
[00:23:11.360] - Candi Broeffle
When we come back, we're going to continue our conversation because I have a couple of other questions about thyroid health. But for people who want to learn more about the work that Dr. Jones does, visit AprilJonesND.com. And that's AprilJonesND.com. To read the online version of Natural Awakenings magazine, visit NaturalTwinCities.com. You can find the podcast of this show on AM950radio.com, on Apple and Google podcast, and anywhere you get your podcasts. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM 950, the progressive voice of Minnesota, and we will be right back. Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today we're visiting with Naturopathic Doctor, April Jones. So just before the break, we were talking about thyroid health, and you were talking about how you help to work with people who come in for different types of thyroid issues. But one of the issues that comes up a lot, and not something that I ever heard about when I was in childbearing age, I guess during that time. But when I was younger, we never heard anything about it. And now you hear about it so much is the Hashimotos disease.
[00:24:39.710] - Candi Broeffle
Can you help us to understand what is Hashimotos?
[00:24:43.580] - Dr. April Jones
Absolutely. Yeah. So Hashimotos is a type of thyroiditis. So it is a thyroid disorder, and it is an autoimmune thyroid disorder. So I see a lot of women with hypothiroidism. So hypo means that it's under functioning. So under functioning thyroid. And one of the biggest causes of hypothroidism is autoimmune disease, which is Hashimotos. And so it was named after a doctor. So that's why it has the name Hashemoto. It was named the doctor who discovered it. But it is an autoimmune thyroid condition. So the body is mistaking the thyroid tissue for a foreign invader, and it is attacking thyroid hormone, and sometimes the thyroid planned itself, right? And so this is why it's so important to not only get a proper diagnosis, because oftentimes, a lot of women are diagnosed with hypothermia without having their thyroid antibodies ran, so they don't know that it's actually autoimmune in nature. And what we know about autoimmune disease is if we really work on reducing inflammation in the body, we can lessen that burden of the autoimmune pathways that are happening in the body. So I think number one, if you have a thyroid disorder and you've never been tested to see if it's an autoimmune cause, then I think that that's really important.
[00:26:06.580] - Dr. April Jones
And then once you have that information, I think that further brings to light the fact that these underlying mechanisms that are causing your immune system to go haywire and attack your healthy tissue really need to be addressed.
[00:26:21.460] - Candi Broeffle
It's interesting to me because I knew a few people when I was in my 30s, a few people who were around my age or even a little older who were on thyroid medication. But as I got older, even people who were a lot younger than me, there's so much more people being diagnosed and being treated with thyroid medication. And so a part of me says, is it because we're just able to diagnose it better? People are more open to understanding it. Doctors are more open to understanding it. Or is it because of our lifestyle? And like you said, if it's an autoimmune disorder and the inflammatory, having your body in an inflammatory state really affects that.
[00:27:05.840] - Dr. April Jones
[00:27:06.450] - Candi Broeffle
What are your thoughts on that? Do you feel like?
[00:27:09.510] - Dr. April Jones
Yeah. I feel like when you look at the medical literature, there's a lot of focus on environmental factors because we know we are being exposed to a lot more toxins in our environment than in the last, I don't know, at least the last 50 years, probably before that. But there's a lot that goes into that and how our bodies function. And so I think that that might be a big cause of the rise in a lot of our autoimmune diseases, especially Hashemato's thyroiditis as well. And so it's not to say that if somebody lives a super inflammatory lifestyle that they're going to develop an autoimmune disease. But what it does is it just weakens the system. So if they're predisposed to developing it because there is a genetic factor involved as well, then it may increase the chances of that happening.
[00:27:59.160] - Candi Broeffle
So one of the things that you really love to do in your practice, I know, is to help women get ready for childbearing years and get ready for that preconception care. So tell us a little bit about what you do in helping women get ready as they're going into that time.
[00:28:19.120] - Dr. April Jones
Yes. Thank you. It is one of my biggest passions is helping people prepare themselves for pregnancy in whatever way they're going to accomplish that. And in an ideal world, we would be able to start preparing for pregnancy a full three months before it happens. And the reason for that is because the egg that you are going to ovulate that maybe will become implanted and a baby will be made starts maturing about three months prior. And so the same with men. Spirm production, a new set of spirm. Spirm is produced a lot more frequently than eggs are in women. But I think the cycle is about 72 to 74 days, somewhere around there. So it's about in that three-month mark, too. So if we have the capacity to be able to really remove toxins from our life, start nourishing ourselves in the way that is going to help us achieve that peak optimal health before getting pregnant, not only is it going to affect the health of your future baby, but it's going to help make sure that you're healthier throughout the pregnancy, and then it will also help with that postpartum phase too. So I really like to think, my biggest words during preparing for pregnancy is just support and nourish the body.
[00:29:34.680] - Dr. April Jones
I don't want it to be stressful because we know that stress isn't good either. But finding those ways where we can really support and nourish all of our cells, all of our tissues, because that's also going to help our reproductive system, too, in preparation for pregnancy.
[00:29:49.840] - Candi Broeffle
So what are some of the suggestions or some of the advice that you give people as far as preparing and looking at their nutrition, looking at the different aspects of their life? What are some of the things that you suggest for them to do?
[00:30:06.030] - Dr. April Jones
Definitely. So I always try to help people get on a really good quality prenatal. There are about a million out there and some are made better than others. So that's a good place to start is like, let's get you on some really great supplements that are going to... I like to think of supplements or a prenatal multivitamin as almost like an insurance package that you're at least getting a good amount of those required nutrients to grow a healthy baby. But then we can bring in diet, too. So with diet, focusing on antioxidant rich, colorful fruits and vegetables, proteins, healthy fat. We want carbohydrates in the diet too, but focusing on those whole grain sources is so wonderful. And then from a stress management piece, like I said, we don't want there to be too much stress. So doing the things that feel really good to you, moving in ways that support your body, dealing with underlying stressors and traumas if you need to, whether that's through therapy or other types of energy medicine to create that mental and spiritual space to start a family as well.
[00:31:08.230] - Candi Broeffle
And so important for that young baby that you are creating within you, that you are growing within you. Yes.
[00:31:16.750] - Dr. April Jones
[00:31:18.100] - Candi Broeffle
Find it really interesting that what we eat in pregnancy is so often what our children want when they get a little older. I remember my son calling me, he was in college and he was in finals. And he said, I cannot figure out why, and this is awful, so don't judge me on this, but he said, I can't figure out why I am hungry for olive and M&Ms.
[00:31:40.580] - Dr. April Jones
[00:31:42.360] - Candi Broeffle
And that's what I would eat if I had cravings of olive and M&Ms. I love that.
[00:31:50.820] - Dr. April Jones
It was probably familiar.
[00:31:51.400] - Candi Broeffle
But I think it has a lot to do with when you felt safe, when you felt nurtured, when you felt cared for, when you were in.
[00:31:58.140] - Dr. April Jones
The womb. Exactly. Yes. So you.
[00:32:01.730] - Candi Broeffle
Also work a lot with people in postpartum care. So what are some of the things that you see in postpartum care that you can really help people in overcoming? Yeah.
[00:32:12.660] - Dr. April Jones
So common concerns I see for women who are postpartum, whether they've just had a baby or they have small children, or even if their children are a little grown sometimes too. But really in that fresh period of time, often a lot of fatigue, some anxiety, maybe a little bit of a low mood, and they're just not feeling like themselves. Their lives have completely changed, whether it's their first baby or they're adding on to their family. It's a lot. It's a lot of pressure on women to be the sole nurturing care providers oftentimes. And so I think that there's a lot of focus on the baby's health after child birth, which I think is essential. We need that. But the support for the new mom drops off sometimes after that first six weeks, unless she's just going to her doctor. And sometimes she doesn't feel like she has time for that. And so I think those are the biggest things that I'm seeing. And oftentimes looking at labs and seeing, are there any nutrient deficiencies? You just were pregnant for nine months. Maybe what was the state of your health before coming pregnant? And sometimes it's really easy fixes, just really easy things that can be addressed through some supplementation, some dietary changes.
[00:33:31.050] - Dr. April Jones
And that includes even for anxiety. There's a million different causes of anxiety, and some of those can be those underlying nutrient deficiencies or things along those lines. Talk a little bit.
[00:33:41.770] - Candi Broeffle
About that because anxiety is such a huge thing. It is.
[00:33:46.680] - Dr. April Jones
Anxiety, yeah, it's so big. And I'm sure you being in the health space and people who are listening probably acknowledge that there was always a lot of anxiety. And then with COVID, it just amplified everything. And we're still learning how to live again. Even though COVID is still happening, we're learning how to read, adjust back to life. So a lot of the causes of anxiety that we can look at on lab testing, we could look at how's the thyroid functioning? How are the sex hormones looking? Are there any nutrient deficiencies? Is the blood sugar balanced? Because if our blood sugar is imbalanced, it can cause all kinds of anxiety. We can look at gut health, too. So we could do stool testing. If there's any type of underlying GI conditions, we can look at that. And then there's also more of the mental emotional piece, which is absolutely going to affect the rest of the body. And so I always like to recommend that if therapy is within the means of the patient that I'm seeing, like getting a really great therapist on board or some other support to make sure that they are taking care of their emotional health, too.
[00:34:50.380] - Dr. April Jones
There's also that piece of focusing on resolving, like I mentioned before, resolving any trauma. Childhood can be really beautiful for some and really traumatic for some, too. So this is a huge energetic experience having a child. And so working through some of those pieces can be really important as well. When we come.
[00:35:12.830] - Candi Broeffle
Back, we're going to continue this part of our conversation because I don't think it gets quite enough information. I don't think it gets quite enough attention. But for people who want to learn more about the work that Dr. Jones does, visit AprilJonesND.com. To read the online version of Natural Awakenings magazine, visit NaturalTwinCities.com. You can find the podcast of this show on AM950Radio.com, on Apple and Google podcast, and anywhere you get your podcasts. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, the progressive voice of Minnesota, and we will be right back. Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today we are speaking with naturopathic doctor, April Jones. So just before the break, we were talking about postpartum care. And I really want to spend a little bit more time on this because I don't think that we give it enough time in our society to really talk about the care that women deserve. Child birth is such a wonderful thing. It's something that many of us plan for, that we hope for, that we are so excited about. But it's also the most taxing thing you can do to your body.
[00:36:38.950] - Candi Broeffle
And that's if you have a natural child birth. But I add to that if you have to have a C section or some other type of care coming into this. I mean, it's completely thrown off your hormones, traumatic thing that has been done to your body, even though it's a natural thing that we all do. But we really just don't talk about it enough. And when I had a child 36 years ago, we would spend many days in the hospital, sometimes up to a week in the hospital. Now people are lucky if they get 24 hours in a hospital. So it's really, really important that people get the care that they need. It can take months, if not years, to start feeling normal again, start feeling like you did prior to having a child. And sometimes you never do go back.
[00:37:25.330] - Dr. April Jones
[00:37:26.220] - Candi Broeffle
The amount of sleep you get and how many children you have afterwards, right? Yeah. So let's talk about that. When people come to you and they're talking to you about what are some of the more serious... You want to make sure that you're getting as much sleep as you can, that you are nourishing yourself in healthy ways, that you are moving. But what are some of the more serious ailments or situations that you see people coming to you with? Absolutely.
[00:37:54.200] - Dr. April Jones
I think that some of the more mind body things that can be going on, we touched on anxiety, which I think is really common, probably one of the most common things I'm seeing in a postpartum lens. There's also depression and postpartum depression, which I think is really serious. And a lot of people might feel ashamed that they're feeling that way. They might feel like something's wrong with them. Why can't they be enjoying this new season of life? And that is nothing to be ashamed of. And there is support out there. So something that I'm always making sure, too, is getting people to the correct referrals if needed. Because if they need to be started on a medication or see a psychiatrist, always wanting to make sure there's a primary care provider on board, too, because I think that it is so important that we are not shaming new moms when they are experiencing postpartum depression and getting them the help that they need. And I think what is really an important aspect of that is a lot of women often aren't feeling like they have the support either, right? The society that we live in, I think there's more attention to caring for new moms because of social media, and I love that.
[00:39:00.340] - Dr. April Jones
There's great books that are being written about it. One of my favorites is called The First 40 Days. There's a book called Nourished. There's so many good books and so many good resources. But I think that a lot of people are feeling a lack of community. They're feeling a lack of support. Their lives have changed. Maybe they're still having to work. Maybe now they're not working and they're at home all day and they're just adjusting to this new season. So I think that making sure that the support system is strong, if you inherently have one, that's amazing. If you don't, there's a lot of really great groups in the Twin Cities area just off the top of my head. I know Blue Ma yoga has some really great postpartum support and New Mom groups and things like that are things that I'm often helping guide patients to outside of the work that we're doing together is helping them find that support. Yes, that's.
[00:39:46.820] - Candi Broeffle
The one thing we can say about social media. It really helps us to get connected in ways that are healthy for us. I do want to say I almost laughed when you said the first 40 days. I'm a leadership coach, and I often recommend a book for new leaders called The First 90 Days. I love that.
[00:40:04.890] - Dr. April Jones
[00:40:05.070] - Candi Broeffle
Looking at your first 90 days of leadership and how quick it goes and how important it is, and we're giving 40 days. 40 days, the first 40 days of having a new child, a complete change to your life.
[00:40:16.750] - Dr. April Jones
Oh, yeah. In every.
[00:40:18.940] - Candi Broeffle
Aspect of your life, and we're saying, hey, here's what's going to happen in the first 40 days. Exactly.
[00:40:23.790] - Dr. April Jones
I know it is truly not enough time to nourish. And I think that it's absurd. It's absurd. The principles on that book are based on more of the Eastern traditions of nourishing the new mom in that fourth trimester stage. So I think that's why they have it in that day span. And in other cultures, they are taking the new mom in and making her stay in bed and massaging her with warm oils and making her warm nourishing foods, helping hold and feed the baby. There are just so many beautiful traditions. And I think that having resources like that is good to think about. In modern society here where we sometimes have to go to work 12 weeks after having a child, what can we do to either nourish ourselves or nourish other new moms in our community, too? Well, I.
[00:41:12.700] - Candi Broeffle
Was a single mom at the age 18 and went back to work 10 days after I had my child. Wow. You're amazing. That is not unusual.
[00:41:22.020] - Dr. April Jones
[00:41:22.840] - Candi Broeffle
That happens even today. It really does.
[00:41:25.990] - Dr. April Jones
It really is.
[00:41:26.930] - Candi Broeffle
We have to do better. We have to do better by our new moms. We do.
[00:41:31.490] - Dr. April Jones
And there's so many cool ideas, all of our moms, yes, of course. New moms, whether it's their first baby or their third, they need support. So there's lots of good resources out there on ways that you can support them. And for moms who maybe don't have those people in their lives, there's postpartum doulas. I'm not sure if a lot of people are familiar with that, but there's a great network of postpartum doulas in the Twin Cities area and even outside of the Twin Cities that are trained to come do lighthouse chores, cook meals. Their jobs vary, but it's really to just be there to support you while you're going through this new time. And I think that that's so wonderful.
[00:42:04.810] - Candi Broeffle
Yes, you need support. Well, we don't have a ton of time left, but we have enough time that we can at least touch on again. We glossed over it earlier about perimenopause and menopause, and I know we don't have a lot of time to get into this as a whole show on its own. But I know that you have some ways that you are supporting your clients, your customers and clients who are dealing with perimenopause and menopausal issues. Absolutely.
[00:42:31.760] - Dr. April Jones
Yeah. So if you are lucky enough to know the age where your mom went through menopause, you can come back 10 years. And that is when that journey is going to start. And so I think that's full information to have. The average age of menopause is about 52 in women. So even if you don't know when your mom went through menopause or she didn't yet, you can assume that in mid 40s is when that transition may start. And what's happening is our cycles are becoming a little bit less predictable out of our usual patterns as those eggs that are left in your ovaries are starting to... I don't like to use the word decline, but as we age, our DNA does get damaged, things change. We get wrinkles, we age, we can see the aging on our body. And so that's happening inside your body too. Those eggs just aren't healthy enough to be able to be ovulated. And so during that perimenopausal timeframe, I think one of the biggest things that we can focus on is having really good routines and really good self care practices, not in a way that feels exhausting or strict or like a schedule, but just really slowing down, tuning in, nourishing ourselves.
[00:43:39.250] - Dr. April Jones
I feel like the theme of this conversation could be nourished, but truly, in every season of life, how can we slow down a little bit. I think that perimenopause, if you think about women who have kids, their kids may be in those teenage years. They may be a little bit younger, they may be a little bit older, and that's a busy time of life. But maybe since you don't have small children anymore, it can be a time where you're taking your own health back into your hands, focusing on yourself a little bit more. And that will definitely help that transition into menopause, be a little bit more gentle on the body. And then in terms of menopausal symptoms that some women have, like hot flushes, some people's metabolism slows down a little bit, mood changes, there's a lot of really great things we can do. I like to call it in my little naturopathic toolbox, whether that's botanical medicine, dietary changes, things along those lines that can also help support the body as well from a more holistic approach. So what are some of.
[00:44:37.610] - Candi Broeffle
The botanical medicines that you just love to be able to help people to be able to support people during this time? Definitely.
[00:44:46.250] - Dr. April Jones
So if there's like hot flushes, there's a lot of different herbs that are used. Black cohosh is one of them. And the herbs recommendations may change based on the woman's personal health history because herbs do interact with different medications and whatnot. So I usually suggest that people do. If you hear black, how harsh, that's great. But maybe check with your provider first before you use it. Things along those lines. And then if we're thinking about the adrenals and focusing on supporting our stress pathways and our cortisol levels, adaptogens. So Ashwood Fonda, Kali Faisal, which is also called Tulsi, those are two of my favorites to help nourish and support that adrenal system as well. Very cool.
[00:45:26.040] - Candi Broeffle
So we have a couple of minutes left. One of the things that I think a lot of people deal with as they're starting in that perimenopause, menopausal time period is they see a lot of either hair growth where you don't want it or hair loss where you really don't want to lose it.
[00:45:42.680] - Dr. April Jones
What is the.
[00:45:44.220] - Candi Broeffle
Cause of some of the hair loss? Yeah. S o some of the.
[00:45:47.300] - Dr. April Jones
Hair loss can be a hormonal piece, too. So we're always wanting to consider thyroid health. Hair loss can be a sign of a high thyroid condition. It can also be a sign of a hormone imbalance where women, we do have testosterone in our bodies, we want to have it. But if we have too much testosterone and if we have too much of a certain form of testosterone called dihydro testosterone, then that can cause that male pattern hair loss that I think a lot of women are seeing in this time frame. There's a lot of lifestyle factors that go into that. And then there's also whether you are seeing a conventional medical provider, they even have pharmaceuticals that can help address that. Or if you're seeing a holistic health provider such as myself, there's herbs that can help bring down that as well. And then something I should also mention is that nutrient deficiencies can cause hair loss, too. And so always wanted to make sure that we're checking those nutrients and making sure that we have all of those building blocks for healthy hair growth, too. Dr.
[00:46:40.600] - Candi Broeffle
Jones, thank you so much for being with us today. You have just been a plethora of information for us. Thank you.
[00:46:48.200] - Dr. April Jones
And it's really been.
[00:46:49.020] - Candi Broeffle
A pleasure having you on the show. Want to invite people? If you would like to learn more about what Dr. Jones does, or if you'd like to make an appointment, visit AprilJonesND.com. And again, that's April Jones N as in Naturopathic, D as in Doctor.com. To read the online version of Natural Awakenings magazine or to check out our complete online calendar of events, visit NaturalTwinCities.com. You can find a podcast of this show on AM950Radio.com, on Apple and Google podcast, and anywhere you get your podcasts. Thank you for joining our conversation today as we awaken to natural health. You've been listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, the progressive voice of Minnesota, and I am wishing for you a lovely day.