On July 10, we published Part 1 of our conversation on Naturopathic Medicine with Dr. Jane Guiltinan, recently retired Dean of the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University.
In Part 1, we asked Dr. Guiltinan to give us a sort of Naturopathic Medicine 101 – since many of us are unfamiliar with the practice, we wanted to know what it was about, how it worked, and how we could find a qualified naturopathic doctor (ND).
In Part 2, we dug a little deeper into what being treated by an ND is like and the advantages this practice has for women in midlife and menopause.
Here’s what she told us.
1:18 What is my first Naturopathic Medicine appointment going to be like?
We’re quickly becoming convinced of the benefits of Naturopathic Medicine, so we asked Dr. Guiltinan what we could expect from that first appointment. How long will it take, what kinds of questions will we be asked, what should we walk away with? Some of the process will seem very familiar, she told us, like filling out insurance forms, but expect a much longer appointment and a more in-depth conversation about lifestyle, diet, underlying causes – not just the complaint you came in with. PS: there may be “homework” to prep for your next appointment!
“I’m a very strong believer in shared decision making and that this is a partnership.”
5:33 Honesty is the path to recovery – how to share ALL THE INFORMATION with your Naturopathic Doctor
Working with a naturopathic doctor is most effective when you have open and frank communication, we discovered. There’s no help claiming you eat healthfully if you really don’t. NDs are looking for the root causes of your concerns, so hide nothing! Chances are your ND has been trained to develop a relationship based on trust and to listen without judgment.
6:26 The “meaty” stuff about menopause – what do women in midlife want to know?
According to Dr. Guiltinan, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a cause for concern because many of us aren’t sure of the risks versus the benefits. So many women turn to their ND for information about bio-identical HRT which is considered “safer” and more “natural” in some circles (though research studies don’t necessarily support this belief). Dr. Guiltinan goes into the details on HRT, the length of time considered safe, and who qualifies as a good candidate.
11:00 Where do we get the idea that bio-identical hormones are safer?
Uh….let’s just say that while everyone is entitled to their opinion, and lay people can be extremely well informed, it’s probably best to check with a qualified medical professional before making a decision. An ND can be a great partner in helping you determine the healthiest, more effective path through midlife and menopause.
12:17 What can an ND do for me if I can’t utilize hormone replacement therapy?
Women with a history of breast cancer or other risk factors aren’t good candidates for HRT; what options do they have to manage menopause symptoms? Women in this category have many options, says Dr. Guiltinan. Diet, lifestyle changes, adding herbs and supplements like black cohosh or maca: all of these can be very helpful in making menopause easier, and your ND can work with you to balance all the factors and reach your healthiest you. (Bonus: maca may help rekindle a limp libido….)
15:09 That’s a lot of herbs. Which one works best?
If you’ve ever braved the “supplement” section of your grocery store, you’ve likely seen a bewildering array of choices: pills, powders, teas, creams … so many configurations, dosages …. Help? We asked Dr. Guiltinan how we can make informed decisions. Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA the way prescription medications are, so there is plenty of snake oil on those shelves, she told us. She gave us some great tips on how to determine which providers are legit and what questions to ask producers.
18:03 How long are we going to be meeting like this?