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Hellooooo, pod fam! What a week it has been (understatement of the year, am I right!). 

My FIANCÉ(!!!) Nick and I have been BASKING in all of your love, support, and congratulations. This community is seriously the best, and we’re SO thrilled to be sharing this pivotal moment in our lives with you all. With that being said—we’re riding this high allllll season long with a lineup of absolutely INCREDIBLE podcast guests. And I am so happy you’re here. Let’s jump right in and get juicy!

If you’ve been part of the OO fam for a while, you know that, while I believe nature has most of the answers, I also have a deep appreciation for the ways in which modern medicine can supplement a holistic approach to health. And that integration—bringing the two worlds of science and tradition together—is at the root of our next guest’s life work: a 37-year career in integrated medicine.

I’m thrilled for you all to listen to this convo with Dr. Aviva Romm. Dr. Aviva is an MD, midwife, herbalist, and a New York Times bestselling author with her latest book Hormone Intelligence: The Complete Guide to Calming Hormone Chaos and Restoring Your Body’s Natural Blueprint for Well-Being

In this ep, we’re talking hormone imbalances: how those can present in our bodies, some small everyday changes we can make to support hormone harmony, and hormone-supporting herbs, of course!

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Let’s start with a few startling statistics Dr. Aviva brings up:

  • 1 in 6 women are struggling with a fertility problem
  • Between 1 in 8 and 1 in 10 women have PCOS or endometriosis
  • It takes an average of 9 years to get a diagnosis of endometriosis
  • Approximately 30% of all women over 60 will have a hysterectomy 

Now, those numbers might not surprise you—especially if you have been affected by any of the above—but they should frustrate the heck out of you. As Dr. Aviva points out, a lot of these areas have been taboo—or, even worse, we’ve been conditioned to think they’re normal occurrences. More than that, though, many doctors aren’t learning enough about these conditions. Dr. Aviva notes that, even though gynecology is one of her areas of speciality, she had to take it upon herself to fill in the gaps left out by her medical school education.

So, if doctors don’t know to ask the questions and women aren’t speaking up (because of a stigma or the sheer prevalence of abnormal cycles), a lot of women just continue to suffer and think that’s normal. Or a lot of women just get put on birth control as a Band-Aid fix—which can lead to collateral damage while on the pill or later in life post-pill. 

What do you mean by collateral damage? 

Dr. Aviva acknowledges that conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) aren’t just hormone problems—they’re also related to inflammation and/or immune dysregulation. And the issue with turning to birth control as a catch-all is that it’s not actually resolving the underlying causes. So, you might get some relief from the symptoms while on the pill, but the inflammation or insulin-resistance could still be simmering and causing other damage. 

But that doesn’t mean the pill is off the table.

Whether or not to take birth control is a personal decision for each woman, and Dr. Aviva supports its use when appropriate. With that being said, she believes that we need to be more informed and know what the potential collateral damages are before choosing that option.

Okay, so about those underlying issues…

So, we know hormone imbalances and inflammation are pretty common. How do we even begin to address these issues? An important step is to talk with your healthcare provider, but there are usually ways to support your body and start feeling a little better on your own.

Dr. Aviva defines the term “hormone intelligence” (the title of her book) in two ways. “It’s a noun in the sense that it is this innate intelligence that we all have inherently built within us that has guided women’s hormone biology since the beginning of time,” she says. “And it’s a verb in that it’s the act of living in harmony with that innate intelligence, paying attention to our cycles, paying attention to the rhythms that guide our life, and bringing those into alignment.” 

Here are a few everyday lifestyle changes we can make.

There’s no “quick fix” to healing your hormones, but consistent changes can, over time, make a big difference—especially when you start stacking some of these habits. Here’s what Dr. Aviva recommends:

  • Adjust your diet. Eat less red meat (a potential cause of inflammation and other issues). Sub in low-mercury fish like salmon or sardines. Try to get 8–10 servings of fruit and veggies per day (It’s easier than you think! A green juice + a veggie-topped salad could hit all your servings).
  • Get a recommended daily serving of vitamin D and other essential vitamins (Dr. Aviva notes that a multivitamin or supplement is a good start, as most of us don’t get enough nutrients from food alone).
  • Work on getting better sleep. Dr. Aviva says that 7–9 hours is the sweet spot; less, and you’re running on fumes—more, and you’re messing with your circadian rhythm. “Good sleep starts when you wake up,” says Dr. Aviva. So, getting better sleep at night might start with establishing a healthy morning routine, considering cutting out caffeine, or limiting your screen time in the evenings.
  • Try to lower your stress levels. Easier said than done, but excess cortisol can really mess with your hormones, and stress can cause inflammation as well. Try incorporating meditation or yoga into your routine and/or turn to herbs. Dr. Aviva loves adaptogens (and you all know I do, too)—especially reishi mushrooms and ashwagandha for sleep and motherwort to address cortisol.

I hope this is a good start toward healing your hormones! Tune into the podcast for a more in-depth discussion of hormone regulation, our favorite herbs (Dr. Aviva and I share a lot of faves!), and more ways to love and nourish your body.

xoxo,

Olivia

P.s. Just a reminder that podcast previews, product education, herb knowledge, and all things OO are happening on our NEW IG, @shoporganicolivia. See you there!

Follow Dr. Aviva on IG
Buy her book, Hormone Intelligence

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