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Episode 26: Empowering Women to Regain Control of Their Hormones

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“We are really excited to flip the narrative on midlife women’s health. Women deserve more and we deserve to enjoy this part of our lives to the fullest and rock menopause,” shares Dr. Polly Watson, functional medicine OBGYN and menopause specialist. Dr. Polly was inspired to work in women’s health after witnessing her mother’s frustrating care experiences with her own OBGYN when she went into early menopause at 38. Dr. Polly was further inspired by her difficulties advocating for her own health when her PCOS diagnosis was invalidated by her doctors.

Being in traditional women’s health, Dr. Polly found that clients were coming to her with bags of supplements and questions she did not know the answers to. She made the decision to fill those educational gaps and became licensed in functional medicine to better help her clients. Through her member-based functional medicine practice, Dr. Polly flips the script on menopause and shows women how to reclaim their power over their health.

Menopause has a bad reputation and many women fear the transition because they lack understanding of what it really involves. Tune into this week’s episode of The Catalyst to learn more about menopause, the immense role of hormones in women’s health, and how functional medicine can help meet the needs of women that often fall through the cracks in traditional Western healthcare.

About Dr. Polly Watson Founder of Hormone Wellness MD:

I’m Dr. Polly Watson and I help women redefine midlife, and empower them to restore their hormonal health so they can regain their energy, sexual health and mental strength.

I focused on menopausal medicine early in my career and sought out additional training through North American Menopause Society as well as International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. Despite this extensive training, women were still coming into my practice with questions I didn’t have the answers to. For one thing, they were taking tons of supplements that were not covered in my education.

Seeking to address this gap, I started attending conferences in integrative medicine and functional medicine. This was a totally different way of practicing medicine. Traditional medical training divides the body into systems and assigns specialists to each system. In Functional Medicine, the complex connections between systems are explored to address whole person health. As a gynecologist and menopause specialist, looking at the whole person makes so much more sense. Working with women, we can’t balance healthy levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone without also addressing blood sugar, stress, the gut microbiome, and the patient’s ability to detox.

As I started practicing functional medicine after getting certified by IFM in 2019 I realized that embracing the complexity of whole person health can easily leave patients overwhelmed. In 2021 I started “open office hours”, a weekly group visit where patient selected topics are researched, presented and archived for member support at any time. This has been a total game changer in terms of my ability to serve my patients needs and to utilize my own time as a solo doctor.

In This Episode We're Talking About:

  • How we are surrounded by negative messaging around aging and menopause. Let’s flip the narrative on midlife and help women become the strongest version of themselves during this time.
  • Cultural messaging promotes the idea that women are at mercy of their hormones.
  • Women deserve accurate, clear information about midlife health. We live 1/3 to 1/2 of our lives in menopause. This isn’t a time to “just soldier through”. This is a time when women should be taking up more space in their own lives to cultivate the best version of themselves.

Quotes:

  • “I’m really inspired by my own journey, my mom’s journey, and trying to create a space where women are heard so that they can get some power back in that relationship.” (5:00-5:17 | Polly)

 

  • “Instead of having the transition to menopause being the beginning of the end, could we flip this and say, ‘Hey, this is a great transition. I have given my body a chance to be a reproductive female, a nursing mother, and all of these things. And now this third to maybe half of my life, my body is mine again.” (11:13-11:41 | Polly)

 

  • “Let’s make this be about women rocking this second chapter of their lives, rather than ‘Oh, well, you’re over 40. You’re gonna be fat and tired. It’s all downhill from there’.” (12:17-12:28 | Polly)

 

  • “The thing that I love about functional medicine is that the patient gets their power back. I can’t go home with them and tell them when to go to bed, or what to put on their plate, or that it’s time to meditate now. When they reclaim responsibility for their own care, and they reclaim their responsibility for making these health affirming choices all throughout their day, then they get their power back.” (23:03-23:33 | Polly)

Links for this Episode:

Connect with Dr. Polly Watson:

Connect with Dr. Lara Salyer:

Thank You For Listening!

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About The Catalyst Host, Dr. Lara Salyer:

I worked as a family physician for 15 years until burnout changed the trajectory of my career. I realized I wanted to start a holistic functional medicine practice in my rural hometown and made it happen. In addition to practicing functional medicine, I now mentor practitioners who are looking to change their paths in healthcare by using what I refer to as the “Catalyst Roadmap”. I share each step of this framework with listeners so that they may apply it to their careers, relationships, personal goals, and projects. 

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