Your menstrual health says a lot about what’s going on internally. Evaluating your symptoms along with routine lab work can help you get to the bottom of issues like acne, trouble getting pregnant, weight fluctuations, and even anxiety. Dr. Cassandra Wilder has dedicated her life to helping women address the root cause of these issues and coming up with a plan to treat them.
Cassandra took this path after experiencing her own setbacks with her period health, and now she’s using her knowledge and platform to share helpful information about healing. You can learn more about Cassandra and her work here:
About Cassandra and her work:
I studied health and nutrition and then went to Naturopathic school, where I was in absolute awe of the human body. While talking to so many different people during my schooling, I began to realize nearly every woman I knew was struggling with something hormonal. PMS, period pain, acne, low libido, and trouble getting pregnant were symptoms I heard so many women complain of. This inspired me to specialize in hormones and menstrual wellness as a naturopath.
I struggled with my own menstrual health as a teen and sought out the help of a doctor when I was 18. I had irregular periods and sometimes went up to 9 months without a period. I think I had built up in my mind that this appointment was going to be life-changing and I was going to be asked a lot of questions and then given solutions to support my menstrual cycle. I was shocked when my appointment lasted maybe 5 minutes, and I was handed a prescription for birth control. That moment made me realize – wow, women are not being given the support they deserve, and I knew I wanted to be part of the change.
I love being the detective and uncovering the root cause of any symptoms or conditions. I am amazed by our bodies and love figuring out why something is happening. It’s incredible when someone who has been passed around from specialist to specialist and still has no answers begins working with me. After over an hour together reviewing their lab work and sharing my observations and protocol to address their symptoms, these women finally feel so validated and heard. That is such a rewarding moment for both me and the patient.
More about period health and what healing looks like:
Period health is addressing our full menstrual cycle wellness and investigating our symptoms. In a session with me, I combine the patient’s lab work with the things I hear them share about their menstrual cycle. So many women are struggling with symptoms like acne or PMS, and I’m piecing together the story, so to speak. I am trying to answer questions like why these symptoms are happening, where this is coming from, and what imbalance do we need to address to manage these symptoms. After hearing their health history and story, I go through their lab results with them and show why some of their symptoms may be happening. And then, I create a custom protocol to help them see positive changes.
Many women I work with struggle with symptoms like PMS, period pain, irregular cycles, trouble getting pregnant, acne, bloat, anxiety, trouble sleeping, weight changes, headaches, thyroid imbalances, chin hairs, heavy periods, anovulation, and more. Our menstrual cycle is considered the fifth vital sign, so if we look at the health of our period and menstrual cycle as a whole, we can get insight into the state of our hormones. Bringing balance to our hormones and cycle can help us encourage ovulation monthly, improve our metabolism and address nutrient deficiencies. When doing those things, we see fewer symptoms and a better quality of life!
No one wants to be miserable for up to half a month! An estimated 90% of women experience symptoms with their menstrual cycle, and many of these symptoms affect their quality of life. When we can lift debilitating symptoms like period pain or trouble getting pregnant, it can give someone their “spark” back and a renewed sense of self.
I am a massive fan of lab work because it shows us exactly what’s happening internally. It’s also very validating for a patient to see that their symptoms are happening because of X, and it’s not just all in their head. Reviewing lab work with a patient is always very impactful because we can see what’s happening and have a framework to address the deeper root cause. And it gives us something to compare to down the road as we begin our protocol together.
Many women share with me that they “feel heard for the first time in their life.” It’s impossible to feel heard in a quick 7-minute appointment (the standard length of an appointment with a doctor in the US). Instead, I spend an hour or more with each patient and get to really hear their story. I aim for each patient to feel heard, validated, and supported through whatever they’re experiencing and leave feeling empowered with real solutions.
Cassandra’s wellbeing tips:
Honestly, I would say do what you’re ready for. Most women I work with come to me because they’ve exhausted all other options. They’ve been to multiple specialists, tried to get hormone testing done, and feel like they’re still at square one. If you feel like no one is really offering solutions beyond “try birth control” or “try to have a baby, and hopefully your symptoms will go away,”… then addressing your period health with an integrative specialist may be helpful!
Here are a few little gems I wish all women knew:
-A common root cause of hormone imbalances I observe in women is undereating
-Most women would benefit far more from walking and strength training instead of cardio
-Ovulation is essential because it’s how you make hormones like progesterone! Tracking your cycle can help you see if you’re ovulating or not (just because you have a period does not necessarily mean you’re ovulating)
-Protein intake is critical for healthy hormones. Try to ensure every meal and snack has protein in it
-Stress is the #1 root cause for period and hormone imbalances. Your health matters, so have no shame in setting boundaries, saying no, making time for yourself, and reevaluating your priorities
-Hormone testing is precious. If your doctor says no, find a better doctor
Cassandra’s advice and resources:
Your body is not broken! It’s simply calling for your attention. Symptoms are the only way our body can speak to us. And if we do not listen to the whispers of our body, we will be forced to listen to it when it starts yelling! When we approach the body with this mindset, it’s far easier to have compassion for ourselves and seek solutions. Finding a doctor who validates you and listens to you is vital. And you deserve that!
My podcast CYCLICAL has many free resources, but I also really like the podcasts Are You Menstrual and Freely Rooted.
Being completely miserable for one week every month is common, but it doesn’t have to be. Your period is trying to tell you something, so working with a practitioner like Dr. Wilder can help you get to the root issue and resolve it with a toolbox of healing modalities.
Learn more about Cassandra and her work here:
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