Hair Loss: A Common Female Health Concern

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Did you know that hair loss is a common female health concern.  This is something that I find many women that seek my help for the first time are struggling with.

Normally we should lose about 100-150 strands of hair a day.  Some women notice that the number of hairs they are shedding gradually increases to an amount that is not typical for them.  Other women notice their hair volume feels less, or thinner, than in the past.

The clinical term for an alteration in the hair cycle, leading to excess shedding is known as Telogen effluvium.  The causes of this state include excess emotional or physical stress, hypothyroidism, dieting or malnutrition, anemia, adverse effect from some pharmaceutical drugs and chronic illness.  Having a diagnosis of telogen effluvium does not necessarily lead to an effective hair loss prevention pill.

Many women wonder if taking vitamins will help slow the progression or prevent hair loss.  However, most women need an individualized approach to find an effective solution.

Here’s a review of why digging deep and getting to the fundamentals of health is the best way to cure, reverse and address this concern.

  1. Emotional or Physical Stress 
    • Hi, I’m a North American Woman.  I’m certain we’ve met.  You, know… I’m the multi-tasking juggernaut.  I got 99 daily duties and a bubble bath ain’t one.
    • The daily demands that women face are at an all time high.  The emotional and physical stress this puts on our bodies can alter our body chemistry, the way we absorb nutrients and the balance of our physiology.  This has many inward implications with regard to health, and an outward expression of that can be hair loss.
  2. Hypothyroidism
    • An underactive thyroid can result in increased hair loss.  However, women who have not been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, or who have normal thyroid tests, can also experience hair loss related to thyroid health and function.  There are many effective non-prescription options for thyroid support.
  3. Dieting, Malnutrition, Anemia
    • A deficiency in the amount of nutrients taken up by the body can cause structural components, like hair and nails, to become weak.  When calories are restricted, this can lead to a reduction of the supply of the essential building blocks required for hair structure.
    • Anemia can be a symptom of poor nutrient absorption due to poor digestive function.  Women with poor nutrient uptake can also lack the essential building blocks for hair structure.
  4. Pharmaceutical Drugs
    • Certain prescribed and over the counter (OTC) medications can cause hair loss as a side effect.  If you are required to take a prescription medication due to a health concern, there are often natural options that can be safely done alongside a prescribed medication to lessen their side effects.  When it comes to OTC medication, consider consulting a Naturopathic Doctor to discuss natural alternatives that can reduce the need for OTCs.
  5. Chronic Illness
    • Many women suffer with chronic health concerns such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, skin conditions and/or allergies.  Did you know that the root cause of these illnesses can also be the cause of hair loss.  Tackling a chronic health concern may seem daunting, but there are ways to help optimize health.  Improved hair quality is just one reflection of balanced health.

If you are seeking a non-prescription approach to improving the quality of your hair, or if you have any questions or would like more information about this topic, feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

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Exhaustion & Burnout: Accepting New Lows?

tired woman with coffee and air horn

tired woman with coffee and air horn

Was your summer restful?  Did you recharge your batteries while soaking up the sun and enjoying time in the great outdoors?  Feeling ready for the change of seasons and change of routine that September brings?

Hopefully your answer to those questions is: Yes!  Bring on Back To School and the Canadian Winter!!  But for some, that might not be the case.

Is it possible that some North Americans find the summer to be more stressful?  That’s what this report claims.

The media often reports on how stressed, burnt out and exhausted we are.  People often admit their busy schedules make them feel tired and run down.  This can happen even during our warmer summer months, and is typically worse in the winter.

Seeking help for fatigue with the medical doctor can be lost in translation because there is often not enough time for this discussion and/or unless there is a treatable concern there isn’t a medication for fatigue.  That being said, many people who are on medication for a treatable concern can still struggle with nagging fatigue.  In addition, many people are found to have normal test results and are otherwise healthy but also fight exhaustion.

It seems that we have come to accept fatigue as a new normal.  Surrendering to it as we continue to take on the go-go-go of our lifestyles.  Is this really how it has to be?  Drag ourselves out of bed, feel that mid-day slump, count on that coffee as a pick me up and then crash at night* (* but chances are many exhausted people don’t sleep well, either).

What do I say to all of this… a loud and resounding: SNAP OUT OF IT EVERYONE!  

Living in an exhausted, fatigue, sleep deprived, hair falling out, burned out state does not have to be your new normal.

Create a state for yourself that includes optimal health.  This is possible for everyone.  If you have a lot to do in your life and want to live life to the fullest, your energy level is a game changer.  There are many factors that can help optimize energy and improve resiliency.

Here are my TOP 5 focal points for fatigue:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Body chemistry (i.e. acidity levels vs alkalinity levels)
  3. Digestive Strength & Nutrient Absorption
  4. Stress Protection
  5. Thyroid/Adrenal Balance  (Note: Did you know that people who have had normal thyroid tests can still need thyroid support?)

Putting these focal points into perspective and determining how they fit into your health picture is something Naturopathic Doctors do everyday with their patients who suffer from ongoing fatigue.  We are a pretty unique group of health care provider who will take on this comprehensive approach to help you.  From there, designing strategies that are a good fit, and providing guidance along the way as people work towards optimal health, is how we help reclaim their best expression of health.

Feeling like you need a boost?  Feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca for more information about how Naturopathic Medicine in your health care can help.

 

Mindfulness + Marriage

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The way mindfulness connects to health concerns is always on the forefront of my mind when I talk to patients.  So naturally, I was intrigued when I read an article about how mindfulness impacts a marriage.

This article, “Why women leave men they love – what every man needs to know” was written by a counsellor named Justice Schanfarber, who is located in British Columbia.  It was a fascinating piece about the husbands and wives who have no major dysfunction in their relationships yet find their bond eroding.  The article focused on why people who love each other find they drift apart and lose connection along the way.  As distance grows there is a lack of togetherness and over time a marriage can fall apart.

This is a prominent marital concern given our modern day pace. Some marriages make it through and some do not.  His article is a reminder about how it’s the little things that happen every day that can hold something bigger together, like a marriage, just like it does health.

Schanfarber writes:

“While many situations are complex, there’s one profoundly simple truth that men need to know. It’s this – Women leave men they love.

They feel terrible about it. It tears the heart out of them. But they do it. They rally their courage and their resources and they leave. Women leave men with whom they have children, homes and lives. Women leave for many reasons, but there’s one reason in particular that haunts me, one that I want men to understand:

Women leave because their man is not present.”

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Although this article is directed towards husbands, it certainly can certainly apply to both husbands and wives.  Mindfulness between spouses can contribute to the glue that keeps them together and the nourishment needed for the love they have.

This is a great article to read, share with your spouse, read with your spouse or share with a friend or family member who may relate.  It could make a difference in your life or theirs.  To read the whole article, click here: Why women leave men they love – what every man needs to know.

If you want to work on mindfulness with me, join me for tujawellness’ 30 Day Meditation Challenge.  Just like healthy eating, learning to be present and mindful requires practice.  The more familiar we become with mindfulness the easier it is to make it part of everyday.

The 30 Day Meditation Challenge Is Out!

The 30 Day Meditation Challenge calendar is out!  I’ll be helping to kick off the challenge by guiding a 5 minute mediation on Day 1!

Just 5 minutes of meditation can change your day.  See how quick, easy, simple and effective it can be.  Sign up here: The 30 Day Meditation Challenge.

For those signed up for the Premium Meditation Experience, I will lead a 10 minute meditation and will post the schedule when that comes available!

Join me in meditation for February and bring mindfulness, peace and a wellspring of other benefits to during the month.

Check out the calendar here:

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Dr. Laura’s Health Goals for 2015

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Do yoga on a tree stump in the mountains? That would be nice… I’m starting with just doing more of it. 🙂

 

I believe that it is the little things we do 365 days a year that keep us feeling great – body, mind and spirit.  However, it is always fun to consider a few attainable health goals for the new year.  It’s hard to not think of a new year as a fresh start.  So why not recycle, restart, refresh or renew some healthy habits?

Here are the simple healthy little things I’ve resolved to continue working on this year…

1) Drink More Water

Ahhh… water.   You and I are best buds.  Let’s keep it going this year.

2) Get A Regular Shot Of Yoga

The deep breathing and stretching from yoga significantly impacts how I feel physically and emotionally.  I find my joints feel better, my posture is better, my mood feels lighter and I can more easily adapt to the ups and downs that come my way each day.

Before having my first child five years ago I did yoga almost everyday.  After having my darling eldest, I lost that thread for a while and I have been working my way back to a regular practice.  In 2014 I did more yoga than in prior years and I noticed that I felt significantly better when I consistently practiced.

So here’s to 2015… more yoga for me… My Sunshine Vitamin.

3) Skin Brush Before Bed

I have had such positive feedback about those who have taken up skin brushing since reading my blog posts about it or my latest WO Magazine article.  I’m with you!  It’s such a great thing for our health.  This one’s staying in the mix with my bedtime routine.

4) Daily Dose of Fermented Food / Probiotic Supplement

This fall I made my first batch of probiotic rich, homemade fermented sauerkraut.  I’ve been enjoying a serving of it almost daily.  I just picked up two more healthy looking cabbages from the grocery store for my next batch.  My hope is to keep it going year round.

If sauerkraut isn’t your thing, taking a good quality (health food store variety or professionally recommended) probiotic is a great alternative.

5) Stay In The Moment

A patient told me today “Some days seem to go by so slowly until we look back and we realize how fast time has gone.”  Ferris Bueller once said “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around for a while you might miss it.”  I truly feel that savouring the moment and being in the present is so important.  There is so much beauty in the world and in our lives that is ever so subtle.  It is easily missed when we are hurried or caught up in our day.  When we slow down and clear our minds of the “static” we can take this beauty in and be part of it.

This goes beyond the awesome moments.  Enjoying the easy, breezy, fun in life is a given.  It is equally important to stay grounded, aware and appreciative of even the difficult or mundane things in life rather than rushing through or wishing these moments away.  Even these moments have purpose.

Slowing down and staying in the moment is a very challenging path, but I am going to keep working on it this year.

What are the healthy little things that you are working on this year?  I’d love to hear from you, so post a comment and let’s support each other in our journey toward our best health.

Wring Out The Stress: The Holidays are coming!

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Before you “Ring in the New Year” take time to wring out the stress.  The change of pace this time of year inevitably effects everyone in some way.  Some feel it more than others.

During the “regular” (i.e. non-Holiday) weeks of the year I feel my best when I get a weekly dose of yoga.  I always hope that the holiday bustle doesn’t sway me to skip my stretching because it can start to make a big difference in the way I feel, my energy, my sleep and my management of stress.

Stretching is a very effective way to release tension and detoxify the muscles, joints and organs.  When we combine that with deep breathing, even for just a few minutes, this can significantly balance our stress hormones (aka cortisol).

Taking in a regular yoga class is great, but there are some very simple and easy stretching exercises that you can do at home.  Check out this great example: How To Stretch The Toxins Out Of Your Body.

In the upcoming weeks and months, be sure to watch for more posts that feature the simple, easy, yoga inspired strategies that help detoxify and reduce stress.  These days I’m all about making the old school new again…those yogis truly knew what they were doing.

 

Diane Von Furstenberg: Health & Aging

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Style icon Diane Von Furstenburg has penned a new book about her life experience called “The Women I Wanted To Be.”  She includes a part a very inspiring part about her philosophy on aging as she looks back over the years of her life.

It was refreshing to read her honest recollection of her attitude about aging in each decade of her life.  Now, at the age of 67 she says this about aging:

“Youth is wonderful; it’s exciting because it is the beginning of life. But it is essential to learn from the past and look into the future without resentment.”

After she was diagnosed with cancer in 1994 she became more health conscious and began eating clean, included regular activity and did things that nurtured herself.  This has helped her maintain stronger vitality and fulfillment into the present day.

She also talks about how she views her appearance and talks about aging gracefully:

“In my older face, I see my life. Every wrinkle, every smile line, every age spot….Your wrinkles reflect the roads you have taken; they form the map of your life. My face reflects the wind and sun and rain and dust from the trips I’ve taken. My face carries all my memories. Why should I erase them?”

Read the whole excerpt from her new book “The Woman I Wanted To Be” posted by the Huffington Post here: Diane Von Furstenberg Shares Her Philosophy on Aging in an Excerpt From Her New Memoir