Dr. Saru Bala is a licensed naturopathic doctor with more than 45,000 followers on Instagram. She uses her platform to share women’s hormone health and pain relief tips. We talked to her about some of the key issues in women’s health, including menstruation, pelvic floor health, menopause, and more.
Can you share some background about yourself and your work on social media, along with your educational background?
Certainly, I’m a Naturopathic Doctor specializing in women’s hormonal health. My journey began from personal struggles with hormonal issues. I found this avenue because I struggled with this stuff myself, and I really had no solutions from anyone. I was going from doctor to doctor feeling like birth control was my only option.
I didn’t like being on birth control — I felt super anxious, uncomfortable — I just wasn’t myself. When I stopped, I faced painful periods, heavy bleeding, and other hormonal symptoms. I found solutions through my time in medical school, and started making simple lifestyle changes and using supplements. This success led me to share accessible and simplified health information on social media.
What are significant red flags for hormonal health and their solutions?
Painful periods and heavy bleeding are red flags. Pain normalization is an issue. Heavy bleeding indicators include bleeding lasting more than seven days, doubling up on products, and clots bigger than a quarter. Solutions may require therapies that focus on regulating hormones, in particular, estrogen.
For pain, inflammatory levels play a role, often linked to gut health and immune function. Gut issues can be connected to hormonal imbalances; it is important to focus on nutrition, gut health, and movement, while also supporting sleep and stress levels. If you’re able to create a routine around these pieces and implement these small changes over time, most women usually see changes within just three to four cycles!
How do menstrual issues impact fertility?
Irregular periods, endometriosis, and other hormonal issues can affect fertility. Irregular ovulation means fewer chances to conceive. Hormonal imbalances impact the quality of your follicles (eggs) and uterine health. Addressing hormonal issues can enhance fertility prospects.
What about pelvic floor health?
Pelvic floor issues are prevalent across ages and genders — symptoms like pain, incontinence, or heaviness hint at pelvic floor issues (these are also related to hormonal imbalances). If you notice symptoms of incontinence, pain, or pelvic symptoms, you may benefit from pelvic floor therapy.
Can you explain the impact of hormonal changes during life stages?
Menopause is a significant phase; it leads to declining hormone production for women. As egg supply depletes, ovulation also stops occurring, and the fluctuation of hormones no longer continues. This lack of hormonal production can cause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, weight gain, and even loss of bone density. Stress also affects a smooth transition.
A healthy transition is possible through lifestyle changes, especially focusing on liver health, stress reduction, and keeping up with and increasing muscle mass. Although it is a good idea to exercise at all ages, the importance of muscle mass in your 30s is crucial for postmenopausal bone health. Menopause is often portrayed negatively, but better health management now can actually reduce symptoms later on.
Is there anything you want to emphasize or add to the conversation?
Knowing your body and menstrual cycle is so important and understanding your body’s hormonal fluctuations can empower you further in your health journey. This knowledge helps track ovulation, mood changes, and get a better understanding of potential hormonal issues. Being informed on these areas of your health can help improve women’s health management and change the narrative around periods. It’s about being in tune with your body and taking control of your health journey! It’s essential to spread awareness and encourage women to take charge of their health through informed choices and proactive health practices, so we can all feel the best we can instead of feeling stuck in our health.