Dr. Debra Muth, certified naturopathic doctor and women's health specialist joins the podcast. Dr. Deb talks to Jeanne about hormonal changes, insomnia, feminine energy, and what to expect from your body when turning 40.
Dr. Debra Muth is a certified naturopathic doctor with more than 20 years' experience in functional medicine and specialises in women's health and hormones. Dr. Deb talks to Jeanne about her unique journey how embracing her feminine energy enriched her life.
Jeanne asks Dr. Deb your burning questions on turning 40. Together the explore hormonal changes that occur during this time, changes in our bodies, emotions and sleeping patterns. Dr. Deb also explains perimenopause and what the signs are that can indicate a start to this.
Jeanne, as many women in their late thirties have burning questions about what they can expect from their bodies in the next decade and Dr. Deb empathically and expertly explains all we need to know.
For more information:
Dr. Debra Muth: Podcast | Instagram | Serenity Health Centre | Facebook
Jeanne Retief: Blog | Podcast | Shop FIGGI Skincare
[00:00:00.250] - Jeanne
Hello, FIGGI goddess, and welcome to another episode of the My FIGGI Life podcast. I'm very pleased to introduce Dr. Deborah Muth to you today. And I'm so excited that she's going to be talking to us about women's health and hormones and just the changes that we go through and that our bodies go through. To introduce her, I would like to give you a brief bio and background. Dr. Deb, a Naturopathic doctor and priestess, is on a mission to teach women how they can use their feminine energy to build the life and the business they desire. After using all her masculine energy to grow the Midwest's largest integrative medical clinic, serenity Health Care Centre, along with six other businesses, she realized there was something missing for her. And at age 50, she realized that she left behind her feminine energy. During this process, after feeling lost and far from feminine, Dr. Deb sought out how to embrace her feminine energy. That's why she created the Phoenix Factor Coaching program and she restructured her life with feminine energy. The successful life Dr. Deb created forced her to create a truly feminine, balanced life. And I'm so excited to talk to you about this change and this feminine balance.
[00:01:24.130] - Jeanne
Welcome to the My FIGGI Life podcast.
[00:01:26.750] - Dr. Deb
Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.
[00:01:29.450] - Jeanne
One of the things that interested me the most about your profile is the talk of the feminine and the masculine energy. Can you maybe give us a little bit more background to that? Especially what you mean when you say you are using more of your masculine energy and wanted to use more of your feminine energy?
[00:01:48.790] - Dr. Deb
Absolutely. So, I've always been what I would say, more tomboyish, that masculine, wanting to be outdoors, playing sports, and doing all those types of things. And it's a great energy to have. It's what helps me build six businesses and that running from that testosterone, that drive, that energy that conquering the world and just kind of pushing, maybe even shoving people out of my way to do what I wanted to do and get what I wanted to get. And I realized that there's this whole feminine side that's softer, that's more gentle. And I have that approach with my patients, but I do not have that approach in my business. In my business world, I was like, get out of my way. Get it done. I'm telling you what to do. If you don't do it, get off the train. There was just no compassion in my business side from my patient side. And my patient side is very different because I'm very soft, I'm very compassionate, I'm very understanding. And I recognized one day that I started having that same energy with my family. And my husband would say, I'm not one of your employees. Stop talking to me like that.
[00:03:07.520] - Dr. Deb
And I went and when he said it enough times, I was like, oh, okay, this is a different type of relationship we're having, and I'm treating him like I treat my employees, and it made me realize that I wasn't treating my employees very well either. And I had just really lost my femininity. I didn't remember who I was as a woman, and honestly, I don't know that I ever knew her. Maybe when I was 16, but then after that, I kind of felt like I lost who I was as a woman because I was so driven in that masculine world. And, like, your past background in mind, most of it's a male dominated world. And as a woman, when you're fighting in that world of medicine or any other corporate structure, you have to fight alongside of the men, and I think oftentimes you have to prove yourself even more. And I was on a mission to prove myself, but I lost myself in that transition.
[00:04:02.820] - Jeanne
I love the way that you are so honest, and you say you lost yourself in the transition and what your husband had said to you, and you were also realizing you may not have been treating your employees that well. I think so many times we don't say these things because we're so afraid of admitting mistakes that we've made or things that we could have done better. So I'm so glad that you were so honest and so open about that. And I agree with you because I think that was a lot of what happened to me when I decided to start FIGGI. I was in a really difficult place, and as you also described, you felt like something was missing. So for you, it happened at 50. What was like the moment that told you, okay, something has to change. This is not how I want to see my future going from here.
[00:04:56.350] - Dr. Deb
I recognized pretty quickly. My husband and I have been married 33 years this year. This has been a very long marriage. We were high school.
[00:05:05.570] - Jeanne
Congratulations. Thank you.
[00:05:07.490] - Dr. Deb
I've known my husband since I was 14, so we've grown together throughout our whole life. And I think what really made me think I've got a change is I saw our relationship turning into something very different than I wanted it to be. I saw us more as business partners and partners in the world, but not as passionate lovers anymore. And I felt like it's like any other relationship that's been around for a long time. You get stagnant, and you get stale, and you get comfortable, and I didn't want that anymore. I wanted the passion back in our life. And I realized that as much as I wanted to blame him for it, it wasn't his fault. It was my fault. It was me always being preoccupied with my business or my career or my grandchildren or something else. And I wasn't giving him the time that he deserved, nor was I giving our relationship the time that it deserved. And at 50 over the years, I've treated a lot of menopausal women, and I watched women do this over their entire life. And at 50, they get this AHA moment and all of a sudden feel like their relationship isn't serving them anymore.
[00:06:16.670] - Dr. Deb
And usually, it ends in a divorce. And I still loved my husband so much, but I realized that I wasn't present for him in the relationship the way I wanted to be. And that's what made me realize I needed to change and I needed to find myself again. But I also knew I couldn't do that by myself. And that's when I embarked on the priestess program in Mallorca, because I felt like that was my first step into finding who I was as a woman again.
[00:06:44.310] - Jeanne
Tell us more about that. What is the priestess program? Yeah.
[00:06:48.000] - Dr. Deb
So, I studied with Sofia Sundare in Majorca. I spent ten days in Majorca, Spain, with her, and it was an all-women’s program. It was the first time I had ever gone to an all-women’s program. And I'm sitting here thinking, oh my God, I'm going to be with women for ten days, and I don't really like women so much. I do much better with men than I do women. And I was scared and nervous and excited at the same, and I had no idea what to expect. And so, we got there and we did a lot of shamanic healing and going inward and figuring out and healing the parts of us that have been lost over our lifetime from childhood all the way up to the current age that we were. And we learned how to freely embrace every part of being a woman, whether it's the child, the mother, the slut, the business person, whatever it was. We learned to embrace that because we all have parts of that in us, but we're afraid to use them, we're afraid to call them out. We did these activities for ten days. We did relaxation, meditation.
[00:07:59.600] - Dr. Deb
We had silent time from 10:00 at night until 10:00 the next morning where we couldn't talk to each other. We just had to go inward and be with ourselves. And if you've never done it, it's kind of a scary thing to be quiet for that long inside your head with your own thoughts. And I met some wonderful women. I made some beautiful friendships. I got to see femininity at its essence. Some of these women were much like me. They were more in their masculine side. Some of these women were extremely feminine, and you could tell they embraced being a feminine woman from childhood, like they were very comfortable with it. Some of us were not so comfortable with it, but we've learned so much about ourselves. And I healed a part of myself that I was hoping to heal. But there were things that came up that I never even realized I was still carrying around with me, or things that had hurt me in my lifetime. I never even realized it. I was so disconnected from who I was as a person when I got there. When I left, I felt so connected with myself.
[00:09:05.780] - Dr. Deb
And I felt okay to be connected to some of the feelings that I had. Because it's so easy to walk around and be disconnected from your feelings. It doesn't hurt that way. But when you go through these transitions, you're feeling everything good, bad, and ugly. And you have to be comfortable with that. And that's what the Priestess program taught me.
[00:09:25.080] - Jeanne
It's so easy to sometimes blame outside circumstances or think the fault is with somebody else, or it's because of this or because of that. But once you realize that there are some things that you can change within yourself, because other people share in your energy, and whatever you put out there, they feel too, and they react to that. So, it's so interesting to also hear you say that you are also an expert in women's health and hormones, amongst many other things. So, I wanted to ask you especially all go through changes in our lives. And I think especially when you roll over into the next decade, there's always something new that comes with that. But I've seen a lot of women in my age, the late 30s, going into their 40s, that have this kind of it's more than a restlessness. It's more than like a pre or a midlife crisis. It's this realization that something is missing or wrong or you need to change something. Why do you think that happens so much, especially in this kind of stage of your life?
[00:10:35.560] - Dr. Deb
I think there is a hormonal component to it. Definitely about age 35, we start losing progesterone naturally. And progesterone is a very calming, very euphoric hormone. It makes us just go, whatever, who cares? I can roll with it. And so, when we don't have that, I think that starts that disruption process. That's a big part of it. We also lose a hormone called pregnan alone, which is a precursor hormone from very high up in the brain. We make all of our hormones from something called the hypothalamus and the pituitary in the brain. They're like the divas of the hormone world. They help us make everything. And then we make pregnan alone. And when that falls, that starts to shift a lot of our hormones. And I think when we're younger, all these hormones are flooding through us at 16 1718 in our early twenty s. And they really drive who we are and what we do and our passion. And then when we get to be 30 and we start losing some of those hormones, we start to shift again, and we feel different. We have a lot of insomnia. Some women have more anxiety and irritability.
[00:11:40.420] - Dr. Deb
And I think some of those symptoms that come from that loss of hormones is what triggers in us to say there's something wrong, what's going on? I need a different path. And I think, too, from an emotional standpoint, I think as women, naturally we take a lot of direction from important people in our lives. And so, it's harder for us sometimes to say no. I even remember for myself, I was 16 and made a comment to my mom that I wanted to be a hairdresser. And she told everyone around us that I was going to be a hairdresser. And I didn't have the guts to tell her at 18, that's not what I wanted to do anymore. And she had already made my path and started my education and all of that. And I couldn't tell her, like, I don't want to do this. I really want to be a lawyer. And when I finally said something, my dad said, well, you're not smart enough to be a lawyer, just go to be a hairdresser. And now here I am. And he was very proud of me. But I think sometimes it's hard for us as women to speak up for what it is we really believe in and what we really want.
[00:12:45.830] - Dr. Deb
And it's easy for us to get pushed down throughout that lifespan. But by the time we get to be 30, we're more who we are. We're stronger in who we are. We embrace who we are a little bit better. Hopefully we're surrounding ourselves now with people that support us instead of putting us down. And I think that all plays a role. And especially if you're a parent in your early 30s now, you're caring for someone else, which adds a little more stress, but also adds a little bit more pressure to you too, saying, you know what? You've got to be this person for your child. You want to set a good example. And so there's this huge restlessness that comes with, what am I going to do? What am I going to do with my life? How am I going to be? And I'm even seeing it younger now, too, where people in their 30s are feeling like half their life is over, even though it's not. We're going to live to be 100, probably most of us. But I think we're used to saying, oh, my life is over at 60. I'm not going to be able to do the things that I do.
[00:13:43.270] - Dr. Deb
So, at 30, you're starting that midlife restlessness of who am I going to be? What am I going to be? I don't have a lot of time to do all of it. And I think that's a lot were.
[00:13:52.910] - Jeanne
It stems from, you've made it so clear from your explanation. Also, it has to do with a little bit of everything. It has to do with your emotional growth, your spiritual growth, your hormones, maybe whatever is going on psychologically. And I'm always so interested in that way of seeing things because I have panic disorder. And I honestly and truly believe that your health and where you are at whether it's a good or a bad place, everything plays into that. How you feel spiritually, how you feel physically, how you take care of your mental health. It's all connected. Obviously, Father Time has something that he throws in the works for us.
[00:14:35.660] - Dr. Deb
Like you said, we lose a few.
[00:14:37.600] - Jeanne
Hormones and all of that, but it's also connected. I'm turning 38 this year. I've gone through these changes that we've now discussed, and I've also been noticing that I've always been an incredibly active person. I love yoga, I love doing my physical exercises, but I've been really struggling. The last, I would say, year, it's like I don't have the physical stamina that I used to have. It's like my body is just saying, no, not no, you can't exercise at all. It's just you can't do it at this level anymore. Is that normal? Does that happen when you approach 40?
[00:15:24.390] - Dr. Deb
It should not be a normal thing. We should be able to still do all of those things that we love if we're getting the rest and the recovery that our body needs. Can you run like you were 20 again? Probably not at 50. At 40, you're cutting down a little bit. Not a lot, but a little bit there. But again, when we were 20, we didn't have all the responsibilities we have at 40. And so when we're trying to do that same stamina and that same degree of activity that we did when we were even ten years younger, if we're not taking into consideration all of the other things that we're doing in life too, that's usually what gets us a setback. And sometimes what ends up happening is there will be different deficiencies in the body between nutrients or hormones that just don't allow us to recover quite the same way. When we're 20, we have a lot of growth hormone, and growth hormone is amazing for recovery, but unfortunately, at 20, we start to decline already. So by the time we're 30 or 40, we only have about a fourth of the amount of growth hormone left in our body that we had when we were 20.
[00:16:35.330] - Dr. Deb
And so that makes recovery a lot more difficult. And so if you can replace things like growth hormone with homeopathic remedies, and some people actually use real growth hormone, but there are some homeopathic remedies you can use that work really well to replace that growth hormone in the body, then you'll start having that recovery happen more naturally like it did when it was 20.
[00:16:55.780] - Jeanne
And when you're talking about recovery and giving your body time for recovery, I would assume a big part of that is getting enough and quality sleep.
[00:17:04.860] - Dr. Deb
Absolutely. Quality sleep is huge. And we've now seen research show that lack of sleep is related to obesity and dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, all of those things. And so many women struggle with sleep starting about in their mid-30s, they start to struggle with sleep. And part of that is from the lack of Progesterone, because Progesterone makes us go into that deep REM sleep. And so if we're deficient in Progesterone, we're going to have a harder time with that deep REM sleep. So that can be a big part of it. But sleep is huge. You should be getting about 8 hours of good, solid sleep at night. Most people, if they're using a Fitbit or an aura ring, they're going to find that they're not sleeping as well as they should. They're not getting a lot of deep REM. And the nice thing about those tracking devices is that you can see what things are disrupting your sleep. So maybe one glass of wine is fine, but two glasses of wine, it kills your REM sleep. And you start to find those things. And then you can make decisions of your life based on what is happening to your body.
[00:18:06.720] - Dr. Deb
Once you have that information, we call it biohacking. Once you have that information, you can bio hack your way right up into being 100 still feeling as amazing as you did at 30. You just need to know what's causing you to be off balance with things.
[00:18:21.140] - Jeanne
I know I have never been a good sleeper. That's something that I really struggle with. With my anxiety and disorder, it's a lot worse. And I know that's my biggest trigger. If I'm not sleeping well, I know that something bad is about to happen. What are the things that we can do to sleep better? Because I know many women that struggle with this. I try to have a really good bedtime routine. I try to not have any screen time at least an hour before I go to bed. But what can we do on those nights that you just can't sleep? It's like if you get so stressed because you can't sleep, you're trying so hard to sleep.
[00:18:58.580] - Dr. Deb
And then the more you look at the clock, the worse it gets and the more stress you have, right? So, I think you've got a great bedtime routine started already. Reducing the screen time, using a blue light blocker on your screen. That's huge. Epsom salts baths are really nice. Some people use essential oils like lavender. They'll put it on a tissue and put it underneath their pillow and that helps to relax their mind. Some people it's reading. There's lots of great apps these days that you can listen to, like Calm. They have night-time bed stories that you can do. I think that's a big part of it. And then I think unloading whatever is in your mind. Typically, the reason we don't sleep is because our mind doesn't shut off. And when we're thinking about things, our biggest thing is like, oh, this is so important, I have to remember it for the morning. And then you keep thinking about it because you're afraid you're going to forget it in the morning. And if you get up or keep a nice little notepad next to the bed and write down that thought so it's out of your head, and then you're not obsessing about it while you're trying to sleep.
[00:20:00.730] - Dr. Deb
That's a great thing, too.
[00:20:01.920] - Jeanne
And that happens a lot. Like the moment you put your head on the pillow, you remember everything in crystal clarity that you were supposed to do that day that you did not do.
[00:20:12.130] - Dr. Deb
Yes. Part of that is because it's probably the first time your mind's been quiet all day. We don't give ourselves time for the mind to just be quiet before we go to bed. We're racing and doing right up until the time we go to bed. And if we can give ourselves some time, even just 1015 minutes before we go to bed, to lay down and just close our eyes and let our brains wander a little bit, then a lot of those things will come to you if you have that quiet time to begin with. But if not, then just get up, write them down, and then lay back down. And then, you know, like, okay, I don't have to worry about forgetting it in the morning because it's right there. I'll remember it in the morning. It'll be there.
[00:20:48.140] - Jeanne
In terms of what we can expect effect in our late 30s, going towards our 40s, what kind of hormone changes are we going to start seeing? And what kind of effect will how will that manifest in our bodies?
[00:21:02.270] - Dr. Deb
I love that question. So in our late 30s, when progesterone starts to fall, oestrogen will stay pretty consistent until we're about late 40s, early 50s, before it starts to fall. So most of the things you're going to experience are going to be coming from a lower progesterone, or what we call oestrogen dominance, meaning you just have more oestrogen, and then you have progesterone, and that's coming from that gap of progesterone falling. So one of the first things you start to see is sleep disturbance. You can't get to sleep. You can't stay asleep very well. You will also start to be a little bit moodier, a little bit more irritable. PMS tends to ramp up a little bit during this time. So oftentimes people will have more symptoms around the week before their period. Anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, moodiness, breast tenderness. Those are very common symptoms. The anxiety and the panic typically come simply because oestrogen is so high and progesterone is lower. You'll also start to see if there's a big gap between oestrogen and progesterone. More mid abdominal weight gain, we call it that kind of soft, fluffy middle. The muffin top is a good description if you need something to picture in your head that comes from that imbalance between the oestrogen and progesterone.
[00:22:20.970] - Dr. Deb
And those symptoms will vary from person to person depending on diet. The more processed foods you have, the worse your diet is. Typically, the worse those symptoms are, the cleaner your diet is, the better the symptoms are or the less they are. As you approach your mid to late 40s, that's typically when you'll start to see hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, you're probably going to experience some decreased sex drive and more of a desire issue than anything. Once you get going, you'll be fine. But to think about sex, it's usually starting to leave our brains a little bit. In your later 40s, it might become a little bit more difficult to reach orgasm. You might have to work at it a little bit harder, have a little bit more vaginal dryness there. Especially as oestrogen starts to fall, we'll see more of that happening for some women. They have more breast development in their 40s because of oestrogen and progesterone being off balance. If we're seeing more disruption with testosterone so women have testosterone just like men have oestrogen. As we age, and depending on the stress levels that we have, you could be imbalanced with that as well.
[00:23:29.240] - Dr. Deb
And if testosterone is raising because you're under more stress and you're burning the candle at both ends and it's produced by what's called an adrenal gland and they sit on top of your kidneys, they give you that fight or flight response. But if you have too much testosterone, then you tend to be a little bit more irritable, a little bit more short. And as all of those hormones get disrupted, you can have a variety of symptoms. A little bit more facial hair growth, you'll typically see some oilier skin. Probably not until you're in your late 30s, early 40s will you see menstrual cycle changes. Typically what you'll see is either cycles being longer or shorter in length between each other, and the flow can change as well. Some people will have more heavier periods, some will have more lighter periods the more oestrogen dominant you have. So, the more oestrogen you have compared to progesterone, the more disruptive the period itself will be.
[00:24:29.590] - Jeanne
This may be a super silly question, but is what you're explaining now happening in your late thirty s to forty s? Is that what we would call pre monopoles, or does that come later in what you have explained happens in your late 40s?
[00:24:43.950] - Dr. Deb
That is a great question. Not a silly question at all. So, we define pre or perimenopause as seven to ten years before menopause. So the average age of menopause is 52, give or take two years on either side. So you figure about age 40 to 42 is when we're going to start to see those perimenopausal symptoms. And it's not uncommon for women to experience hot flashes and night sweats right around their period, and then that's the only time of the month they have it, and then it goes away. So that would be a prime time for us to start seeing a lot of these symptoms occur. And it won't be the same from cycle to cycle. Some cycles will be better, some will be worse. They vary a lot, and that's simply because the hormones shift moment to moment, day to day. They don't stay stagnant. So, some cycles, if you're in your later 40s, if you're not ovulating in some of those cycles, those cycles are going to be different symptom wise than the cycles that you have when you ovulate. I find that when women are knowledgeable about what's happening, they're less afraid and they're just like, oh, this is normal.
[00:25:50.580] - Dr. Deb
Okay, I can do this. But when we don't know, our brains start going in all kinds of different places and we start thinking all these horrible things are wrong with us. Like, I have cancer, I have Ms, I have some weird autoimmune disease. What's going on? Because nobody ever educated them about what's happening to them. That's natural.
[00:26:07.920] - Jeanne
Dr. Dave, I love you so much. I love everything you're doing at the syringe clinic. I love the way you explain things. I love your podcast. I'm so happy that you made the time to come onto the My FIGGI Life podcast just before we close it. If there's some tip you can give the listeners that we can maybe incorporate in our everyday life or something that you would say you do to lead a more holistic, healthy lifestyle body mind.
[00:26:39.630] - Dr. Deb
Absolutely. I love that. So, I think empowering yourself with knowledge is key. The more knowledge you have, the better the life is going to be. I'll leave you with a couple of tips here. That's one topic. The second thing is, I would say life is so precious, it goes by so fast. Don't waste a single minute of it. Really. Don't waste a minute worrying about something you didn't do yesterday that you could have done, that you should have done. We should all over ourselves and we shouldn't do that. Just live your life and enjoy it to the fullest. And then a tip that you can do every single day that I love is grounding. We are in such a time of life that we're not connected with the Earth, and when we're connected with the Earth and we're grounded with the Earth, we are stronger, we are more stable, and there's just less stress. So, if every day you could just take a minute or two to ground yourself to Mother Earth, it would make so many things better for you in your life. Between the stress and the anxiety and the craziness that goes on in our head.
[00:27:40.260] - Dr. Deb
And I ground every morning and every night before I go to bed. And that's how I dump everything that I've been exposed to all day. And that's how I start the day fresh in the morning.
[00:27:50.170] - Jeanne
I love grounding. I've told my little girl she's five to do it, too. So, every night before bed, we do a grounding exercise. And you do feel like you've just released a little bit what you've been holding inside.
[00:28:07.210] - Dr. Deb
We're just. Energy beings having a physical experience. And so, all this crazy energy we have around us all day, we can soak up very easily. And when we don't know where to go with it and what to do with it, it just makes it harder for us to process it. So if we can recognize that and process it, we can realize that half that energy that's in us doesn't belong to us, it belongs to somebody else in the world. And we can give it back to Mother Earth. She'll do what she needs to do with it. And we don't have to carry everyone else's energy with us. We only have to carry hours.
[00:28:36.710] - Jeanne
If the FIGGI listeners would like to read more about you, I will definitely put a link in this episode to your podcast, let's Talk Wellness Now. But where can they go? Can they find you? Where should they reach out? And where can they read more about your health centre?
[00:28:53.320] - Dr. Deb
Absolutely. So, they can go to Serenityhealthcarecenter.com, and we have a whole host of things on there. Just about anything you'd want to learn about health wise, you can learn from there. And I would encourage you definitely look at our podcast. We have all kinds of different topics. It's called let's Talk Wellness Now, and we're always doing tons of different topics. And if any of your listeners are listening to either you or myself and they want to have us talk about a different topic, please just send me an email and you can get a link right from our podcast and we will cover a topic that you're interested in.
[00:29:29.960] - Jeanne
That's wonderful. Thank you so much. And if you're driving, don't worry, I'll put all the links you need into the episode description as well, so that you're sure to be able to reach out to Dr. Dab and also listen to her podcast. Thank you so much for coming onto my FIGGI Life.
[00:29:47.960] - Dr. Deb
Thank you so much. It's always been a pleasure. I just love chatting with you.
[00:29:51.410] - Jeanne
Thank you for listening. FIGGI Goddess. We'll talk to you again next time on the My FIGGI Life podcast.
[00:29:59.310] - Outro
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