The Hormone & Mental Health Connection

By: Dr. Keara Taylor, ND When it comes to addressing and optimizing mental health, it is vitally important to take a holistic approach, which may include looking at and addressing your hormonal health since hormones and mental health are intrinsically linked. As we know, PMS or premenstrual syndrome, is composed of both physical and psychological symptoms, which include low mood, anxiety, mood swings, social withdrawal etc. that occur in the two week period prior to menstrual bleeding and affect daily functioning. PMDD or premenstrual dysmorphic disorder is defined in the DSM-5 and includes severe mood and physical symptoms (1). We see an increase in low mood and anxiety in peri- and post-menopausal women (2). All of this shows us that mood changes can be linked to shifts in hormones, such as a decline in estrogen, and sometimes a rise in progesterone or progestogens, which can then affect neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, and dopamine(3). A good way to determine whether hormones are affecting your mood symptoms is to track your symptoms along with your cycle. There are many free apps out there that make this very easy. If you are undergoing a hormonal transition, for example, pregnancy, post -partum, or perimenopause, then it may be worthwhile to work with a health care practitioner who can help you determine whether your hormones are having an effect on your mental health. The importance of a proper diagnosis cannot be stressed enough to ensure that you get the proper care and treatment that you need (4). […]

By |2023-04-28T10:08:52-04:00January 28th, 2020|Hormone Health, Mental Clarity, Mind Body Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, ND Editorial, Nutrition, Post Natal Care, Self Care, Sexual Health, Women's Wellness|Comments Off on The Hormone & Mental Health Connection

The Importance of Thyroid Health

By Dr. Keara Taylor, ND Are you feeling tired or sluggish?  Have you been experiencing a low mood, weight gain or difficulty losing weight?  These are all symptoms that potentially point to an issue with your thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in the neck and controls many vital functions of the body including energy levels, metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate. The thyroid gland can be overactive (hyperthyroidism), or underactive (hypothyroidism), although hypothyroidism is more common.  Additionally, women are more likely than men to experience a thyroid issue at some point in their life.  Some other symptoms of hypothyroidism include: cold intolerance, constipation, brain fog, irregular periods, heavy periods, infertility, high cholesterol, hair loss, and fluid retention. […]

By |2023-04-28T10:28:02-04:00March 19th, 2019|Anxiety, Fertility, Naturopathic Medicine, ND Editorial, Pain and Fatigue, Post Natal Care, Women's Wellness|Comments Off on The Importance of Thyroid Health

Massage Therapy & Women’s Health

Interview with Leigh-Anne Best, Registered Massage Therapist Leigh-Anne is one of the talented team of RMTs at Innate Wellness. Both as an RMT and as a mother, she has tackled many women’s health issues including pelvic floor health, pregnancy, labour and postpartum health. She is a wealth of information on how massage can be used for women specific concerns. We asked her to help us understand a little more about how this wonderful modality can be used for health & healing in women. Q1: How can massage therapy help to address women’s health? Massage Therapy is well known for its ability to promote relaxation, reduce stress and muscle tension, as well as for its role in rehabilitation and injury prevention. However, there is less of an understanding of the benefits of massage as a holistic approach to women’s health issues. What most people don’t know is that Massage Therapy is an effective modality for treating women’s health issues, including irregular menstrual cycles, menstrual disorders like PMS and PMDD, but also for aiding with fertility issues. Additionally, massage is an excellent means in which to support the ever-changing needs in women’s bodies during pregnancy, in preparation for birth and during labour, and, most importantly, as part of the postpartum picture for healing. […]

By |2021-06-01T01:02:03-04:00March 6th, 2018|Fertility, Innate Wisdom Practitioner Q&A, Massage Therapy, Post Natal Care, Women's Wellness|Comments Off on Massage Therapy & Women’s Health

Blocked Ducts: A Common Breastfeeding Challenge

By: Taya Griffin, IBCLC – Taya Griffin is a Toronto Based International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She prepares mothers for their breastfeeding journey in the prenatal period and provides in- home and hospital postpartum breastfeeding support. She can be reached at  The breastfeeding breast is amazing!  Indications of the first changes it will go through begin as early as weeks into pregnancy. Breasts can feel tender and sore, the areola may darken and the Montgomery tubercles around the areola may become more raised. Many mothers also begin to see a crust-like formation on the nipples. This crusting is a minute amount of colostrum which is seeping out ever so slowly and drying on the tip of the nipple. Milk production doesn’t truly begin until the placenta is delivered. The progesterone and estrogen levels drop and milk production begins. After the milk has transitioned from colostrum to more mature milk, in and around the seventy two hour mark, one of the most common issues with breastfeeding breasts that I see as a Lactation Consultant (after sore nipples and low milk supply of course!) is blocked ducts.  […]

By |2024-05-14T03:56:10-04:00October 17th, 2017|Post Natal Care, Self Care, Women's Wellness|Comments Off on Blocked Ducts: A Common Breastfeeding Challenge

Self-Breast Examination

By: Dr. Angelina Riopel, ND Self-breast examinations are a very important part of self-care, as women need to know what normal is so they can detect changes in the quality of their breast tissue. “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” John Hopkins medical center WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? “Normal” breast tissue will vary between women and change throughout the month due to the menstrual cycle. Note what your breast tissue feels like during the different stages of your cycle, as breast tissue is sensitive to hormonal fluctuations and can lead to breast tissue changes. Important changes to note and if any of the following are observed please seek medical evaluation: New lumps. Most breast lumps are not cancerous but should be examined by a medical professional for evaluation. Changes, irritation or redness in the breast tissue, skin and nipple Dimpling or thickening of the breast skin Discharge from the nipple […]

By |2017-10-17T17:07:19-04:00October 17th, 2017|Post Natal Care, Self Care, Women's Wellness|Comments Off on Self-Breast Examination

Natural Pregnancy Free Spring Lecture Series

Join us for our free Spring Lecture Series on Pregnancy. Each week, one of our practitioners will be speaking on their area of expertise. T Whether you are thinking about getting pregnant, are already pregnant or are preparing for delivery, complementary care can be a great support! Contact us at Innate Wellness Naturopathic Medical Centre to learn more! 416.760.9424. Sign up to reserve your spot - space is limited. If you are just thinking about pregnancy and are curious about fertility check our Free Spring Lecture Series on Fertility at our Annex Location Week 1: Naturopathic Support for Pregnancy and Beyond! with Dr. Kathleen Regan, ND Dr. Kathleen Regan, Naturopathic Doctor Wednesday, May 4rd, 7-8pm, 5 Quebec Avenue, Toronto Dr. Regan offers naturopathic support for moms-to-be through nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, supplementation and acupuncture. Wondering how your nutrition requirements change throughout pregnancy? Which herbs are safe to take and which are not? Are all pregnancy vitamins created equal? Join Dr. Regan for a short talk and open Q & A on all your pregnancy questions. Week 2: The Pregnancy Diet—Healthy Eating for Mothers To Be with Liane Wansbrough, CNP Liane Wansbrough, Holistic Nutritionist Wednesday, May 11th, 7-8pm, 5 Quebec Avenue, Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Liane Wansbrough is passionate about good food and helping you understand why it’s important to feed yourself and your baby well. As a mother of two children, Liane found most information about eating for pregnancy overwhelmingly focused on the negative: avoid this, avoid that. Her approach to diet is to educate women about how to capitalize on the many positive things food can do to promote health at critical points during a baby’s development. Join Liane and learn the key [...]

By |2019-04-08T19:51:39-04:00March 1st, 2016|Fertility, Post Natal Care, Upcoming Events at Innate|Comments Off on Natural Pregnancy Free Spring Lecture Series

Acupuncture, Fertility & Labor with Matthew Richardson, R.Ac.

Matthew Richardson, Registered Acupuncturist at Innate Wellness, High park, is an experienced acupuncturist who has spent a lifetime studying martial arts, Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. One thing many people don’t know about Matthew is his experience in fertility, pregnancy, labor and delivery. Wondering about how acupuncture can help fertility? Concerned about the labor and delivery process? Matthew has personal experience and many tips to help you conceive and deliver your baby on your terms! Matthew Richardson, Registered Acupuncturist Q1. For those of us that don’t know – what exactly is acupuncture and how does it work? This is the most common question I get, and the hardest one to answer. The textbook kind of answer is this : Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medical practice that has been practiced, passed down and improved on for over 2000 years and involves the insertion of very thin sterile stainless steel needles into very specific points on the body. The stimulation of these points have the effect of regulating blood pressure, reducing pain, regulating the nervous system and promoting proper organ function. These combined effects are useful for treating any pain, symptom or disease of the body. Put simply though, acupuncture stimulates the body to heal itself. Health is a state of balance.  Your best health comes from you, and acupuncture is the means by which we can improve the body’s function when it has lost balance. As a side note, when people ask me about acupuncture I often suggest they come in to experience a session. There is a look that people have when you ask them to do something they have never imagined themselves doing before like acupuncture. I don’t [...]

By |2019-04-08T19:51:40-04:00March 1st, 2016|Fertility, Innate Wisdom Practitioner Q&A, Post Natal Care, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Women's Wellness|Comments Off on Acupuncture, Fertility & Labor with Matthew Richardson, R.Ac.

Breast Massage for New Moms

with Patti MacGregor, RMT The postpartum period is a time of many physical and emotional readjustments. After childbirth, a woman’s body undergoes many structural and physiological changes in order to heal from the rigors of labour. Adapting to life with a new baby that demands 24 hour care can be extremely difficult, for a new mom often this means little to no time to look after herself. Though it may seem impossible this is the time that massage therapy can be most beneficial. A mom who takes regular care of herself through massage is also better able to care for her baby. When the mother feels good herself, it is easier to meet the needs of her newborn. […]

By |2019-04-08T19:51:44-04:00April 21st, 2015|Massage Therapy, Post Natal Care|Comments Off on Breast Massage for New Moms

Recovery from Female Hair Loss

I was reading Gwenyth Paltrow’s new cookbook, “It’s all Good”.  Gwenyth speaks about the impact that adrenal burn out had on her health. She shares how holistic medicine and healthy eating helped to restore her well-being. I noticed looking at her pictures that her hair was thin and dry, not the usual beautiful Gwenyth hair.  I could relate to all of this!  I myself have experienced a prolonged period of stress where I lost too much weight, was burned out, anxious and half of my hair fell out. While I was going through this period of ill health I spent much time running tests and trying different things in order stop the gobs of hair from falling out daily in the shower. I tried everything to get my shiny, never thick, but full head of hair back to its glory days.  I am happy to say that things have turned around and I have a lot of short baby hairs growing in – a sign of new hair growth.  AND shampooing my hair is no longer a traumatic experience! There are many reasons for female hair loss or thinning.  Firstly we have to differentiate between hair breakage and actual hair loss.  Hair breakage occurs due to over-processing and blow-drying which results in split ends and hair breakage.  Whereas actual hair loss occurs when hair falls out from the root.  Hair loss will be noticed when shampooing as handfuls of hair will fall out.  Or you my notice that your brush is full of hair a lot faster than it used to be.  We are talking about hair loss here, not breakage. Causes of hair thinning or loss  Nutrient deficiency A number of nutrients need to be [...]

By |2016-11-08T11:32:50-05:00September 11th, 2013|Post Natal Care, Self Care, Women's Wellness|Comments Off on Recovery from Female Hair Loss

What can Naturopathic Medicine do for Postpartum Depression?

1.    Nourish the body and balance blood sugar with nutrition 2.    Balance Hormones with diet, herbs, and supplements 3.    Nurture Yourself – You deserve it!  4.    Address unexpressed feelings and your need for support There has been recent media attention to the severity of postpartum depression following the tragic death of Winnipeg mother, Lisa Gibson and her two children.  A study recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that women living in urban areas of greater than 500,000 people were more likely to experience postpartum depression with social support being cited as one important factor. Depression following birth can range from the ‘baby blues’ to postpartum depression to the more serious postpartum psychosis.  Around 80% of women will experience some form of baby blues following delivery up to two weeks. 10-15% will go on to experience something more severe. Individuals who are at risk include those with the following issues: History of depression or postpartum depression History of moderate to severe PMS Family history of postpartum depression Traumatic experience during birth Sleep deprivation Lack of marital support History of abuse Poor relationship with close family members particularly a parent Lifestyle stress Lack of emotional and social support after birth Hormonal imbalance in the thyroid gland, with progesterone or estrogen Depending on the severity of a woman’s condition, conventional medical treatment may be necessary and should be sought out immediately. However for milder forms of depression there are many naturopathic therapies that can help prevent (during pregnancy) and ameliorate depressive symptoms after birth. 1.    Nourish your body and balance your blood sugar with nutrition Improve vitamin and mineral status: during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the growing baby places a high demand on the mother’s nutrients. A woman can become quite [...]

By |2019-04-08T19:52:12-04:00August 12th, 2013|Post Natal Care|Comments Off on What can Naturopathic Medicine do for Postpartum Depression?
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