Artwork for podcast SoloMoms! Talk
Master Hormonal Imbalance During Menopause w/Nancy Belcher
Episode 422nd March 2022 • SoloMoms! Talk • J. Rosemarie
00:00:00 00:28:03

Share Episode


The workplace can be a difficult and sometimes dangerous place for solo moms. But can you imagine dealing with the hormonal effects of your monthly cycle or symptoms of menopause while trying to fit in at work?

Women, especially women going through menopause are outnumbered in the boardroom and all signs point to the fact that talking about the symptoms of menopause or even mentioning that you have hot flashes can be career suicide.

Kind of strange right?

Dr. Nancy Belcher breaks down the symptoms of menopause and how hormone therapy can help to master hormonal imbalance during menopause.

Regardless of the stigma associated with hormonal changes in our bodies the onus is on us to own our experience and not be timid to talk about what we're going through.

Nancy also encourages moms to talk openly with their daughters about the stages women go through especially from puberty to menopause.

Connect with Nancy Belcher:

Check out SoloMoms! Talk blog.

This podcast is hosted by Captivate, try it yourself for free.

Find guests like Nancy Belcher at

This podcast was recorded with

This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Podcorn -


Master Hormonal Imbalance During Menopause w/Nancy Belcher


[00:12:08] Yeah. That's where they potentially could make the most money they'll ever make in their lives. And hopefully save some things for retirement. or their kids college, but you have this, this medical situation going on, cuz the symptoms are real. That's being unaddressed. Yeah. And it, you know, some people say that talking about menopause at work is, is career suicide.[00:12:29] I disagree. Hmm. I think we have to be really open about it and uh, just changed the narrative. [00:12:33] J.Rosemarie: Yes. I, think that bears out, but the, the fact that our mothers either didn't know any better and couldn't help us, you know, doesn't, doesn't excuse us from helping, the one, the younger general, they, they, the daughters in our lives, so to speak, because as you say.[00:12:52] The men doctor, aren't really interested in your symptoms, you know? Right. You're there with heart flash and a heart [00:13:00] attack, and they're like, yeah, take a pill and go home. Mm-hmm, get some rest, you know, so we have to take control of that and I'm, and I, and I'm glad you are doing that and, and helping us.[00:13:11] For, for a long time. I didn't wanna talk about my period because I just felt like it was private. Right. But then , I realized one of our most popular episode was about the cycle or our menstrual cycle mm-hmm . And so people wanna know women wanna know about those things. And so I appreciate you bringing this out and you know, I'm glad you're here.[00:13:31] Talk about it. [00:13:32] Nancy Belcher: Thank you. Huh? [00:13:33] J.Rosemarie: Yeah, sure. So tell me we have problems. hot flashes and hormone imbalance that cause us to act differently. what's the solution? do we just change our mindset? Like how do we handle it? [00:13:49] well first and thank you for asking that question. So hormone replacement therapy is one way that we can. [00:13:57] Reduce the symptoms of menopause. [00:14:00] And so, like you said earlier, menopause is not a disease that should be cured, but the symptoms can be relieved and alleviated so that you can improve your quality of life. I mean, there's no reason to suffer through per menopause of menopause, which can take about 20 years to get through. [00:14:15] So if somebody said to you, oh, the trajectory of your life, you're gonna have 20 years that you just have to suffer through. Oh, thank you for that. No. Right. So as women empower ourselves and say, no, now there is a whole bunch of misinformation on the internet about the dangers of hormone replacement therapy. [00:14:33] And so, like I said, at the beginning, I'm a scientist. I worked at a research institution here in Seattle. I'm located in Seattle. uh, for my postdoc, which is, you know, the period of time after you get your PhD. And from that same institution, there was a study that came out called the women's health initiative. [00:14:50] And that came out in 2002. And it was a really unique study because it included 161,000 women from across the United States, 40 to different [00:15:00] sites. And they were studying aging in women and it was the first of its kind. And it was. It was applauded because the federal government gave money for research is to finally study women. [00:15:09] As they age previously, it had always been male focused studies. Mm-hmm mm-hmm . So it was this great breakthrough, not only funding, but a research project. So everybody waited and was super excited for the results of this study that released in 2002, but it started in the nineties. It was a 10 year longitudinal study.[00:15:27] And my mom was actually a part of that research study. and, uh, I remember her little. Packets that she would get, you know, being on the countertops and see the logo and stuff and think, oh my mom's part of the women's health initiative. That's interesting in 2002, without putting the data out for peer review, which you always have to do as a scientist, you have to have your fellow scientist review what you did and say, oh yeah, you did it right. [00:15:51] or they might say, Hmm, that wasn't a very well conceived study. I, I don't think you can publish that without going through that protocol of [00:16:00] having your fellow scientists review it. They released the findings to the media and the media just. Took it and ran with it. And what they said in 2002 was that taking hormone replacement therapy will increase your risk of breast cancer. [00:16:14] It'll increase the risk of blood clots and a series of other statements that were not true if you actually look at the data, but the way that crunch their numbers, it was kind of true, but not what we would call in science, statistically significant. And so now when you Google it. if you type in hormone replacement therapy therapy, you'll see that over and over and over again. [00:16:38] Now in 2004, those scientists retracted much of what they said, and they tried to correct the misinformation, but nobody listens to that. Right. Right, right. Right. And I would like to add too that the, the hormones that they used in that study were actually hormones that were from pregnant. Horses urine. [00:16:57] And so it, I know it was called [00:17:00] Premarin. They still use it. it's, it's not a dangerous hormone really, but horses have 21 different types of estrogen that you can extract from their urine human women have three. And so they were pump human women with 21 types of estrogen. And they were saying, oh, well, if you take hormone replacement therapy, you're going to get X, Y, and Z. [00:17:21] Well, the hormones that we provide today are not from pregnant horses. It's from yams, it's identical to what your body produces. And so studies that were done previously on different types of hormone really don't apply to what we're providing today. I hope that makes sense. That didn't yeah, [00:17:36] it does. [00:17:36] It does. I've been, I've been offered, hormone replacement therapy and truth is, I said, no, because I didn't want anything strange in my body. Right. But I, but I have used a progesterone cream mm-hmm , which I'm not really sure it worked or not because, you know, I still was [00:17:53] Nancy Belcher: that for, um, was that for like calming effect? [00:17:56] Was that for like, uh, sleep. yeah, it was [00:17:58] J.Rosemarie: sleep because I, [00:18:00] I had problems sleeping mm-hmm but you know, I don't know if it works, so I just kind of grin and bear, the hot flashes. I, they mostly happen that night, [00:18:08] Nancy Belcher: so, you know yeah, yeah. Night night I do this with [00:18:12] J.Rosemarie: my sheets, you know, [00:18:13] Nancy Belcher: I know. Yeah. Well, I mean, fans are a great friend, right? [00:18:17] So I, I have a fan going every night. mostly just because I kind of like the noise and I like the movement of the air. I don't like that stagnant air in my room. the other thing is wearing cotton. Cotton is super helpful. Like I don't, I don't wear sweaters anymore. I haven't worn sweaters since I was in my early forties. [00:18:34] Just because of the temperature variations. Mm-hmm layering your sleeping, uh, your bed. Right. So you can just throw off one layer, but at least have another one. Some people have those cooling pillows that can be really helpful. I saw one that you actually put in the freezer and then when you're ready to go to bed, you take it out, which sounds like a lot of work for me, but, there's, there’s. [00:18:56] Other things that can trigger hot flashes. So one thing is spicy foods, [00:19:00] uh, which is unfortunate because my family loves spicy foods. yeah. Another is, uh, alcohol, and the, the, the one that was helpful for me was, sort of. Finding a moment in time, a few moments in time during the day to just bring it down a notch. [00:19:18] And sometimes that was just closing my office door other times. That was just saying, I need to just go for a walk and on the walk, not look at my phone, not multitask, like just sort of be present and just, just bring my level down. 'cause what happens is. There's another hormone that's called cortisol. And I'm sure you've heard about it. [00:19:40] People are talking about it a ton now. we call it the stress hormone and back when I was a professor, the analogy that I used to give the students about cortisol was it's that hormone that your body releases, if you're like in the jungle and a tiger comes at you and you go, oh, hell, he's going to eat me. [00:19:57] Sorry. Can I swear? Am I allowed to swear? he's going to [00:20:00] eat me. And so all of a sudden cortisol just goes through the roof and you can jump higher, run faster, yell louder than you've ever been able to do. and that's because cortisol is sort of like your superpower. it's your kryptonite for a minute. [00:20:12] Yeah. Or two. but what happens in current society and the state of affairs in our world right now is that if you get cut off in traffic or somebody says something that maybe wasn't very, very pleasant at the Costco, your cortisol shoots up like a tiger just jumped at you. Mm-hmm mm-hmm . And so you live in this chronic level of. [00:20:32] elevated cortisol, elevated stress. Yeah. And that partially during menopause is because you don't have the other hormones to buffer the cortisol. So when we were like 30 progesterone, which we call the calming hormone, it helps you go to sleep. Mm-hmm progesterones dropped during menopause in our thirties, it was higher or. [00:20:53] Our estrogen was more normal and that kind of buffered the effect of maybe rising cortisol. Now we don't have [00:21:00] the buffer for cortisol anymore. And so, you know, feeling like you're yelling, like you said earlier, part of that is because your cortisol is outta control because the other hormones are outta control. [00:21:09] Ah, okay. [00:21:09] J.Rosemarie: All right. Thank you. I have one silly question. So a lot of times when I'm hot. Yeah. I feel, I feel like I'm cooking inside. Yeah. Like I can be in microwave. [00:21:18] Nancy Belcher: Yeah. [00:21:19] Are hot flashes, dangerous? I mean, do they cause us our bodies any damage by just be hot? Yeah. [00:21:25] No, that's a great question. [00:21:27] So what happens is when your hormones are thrown off, you have this, Little gland in your brain. That's about the size of the top of your pinky finger, but it's a super powerful gland and that gland helps regulate your, your temperature of your body. And so making, heat for your body, it's called thermogenesis. [00:21:46] And that's how you make heat in your body. So if you go skiing or you're in a cold environment, that little gland in your brain says. Because it has got a little temperature going on and it says we need to start pushing out some heat. We need to start to shake to get some [00:22:00] heat. We need to do some self saving self-serving mechanisms to try and keep us alive. [00:22:04] So when that thermostat gets thrown off, our body starts reacting really strangely and that thermostat gets thrown off in menopause. And that's why everybody talks about night sweats and, hot flashes mm-hmm . And so when our body thinks that it's too hot, because our thermostat is off, all of a sudden there's this flu and my face gets super red. [00:22:26] Like somebody just slapped me in the face. my neck gets this weird, like, Banding almost, it looks like, I don't know. It's weird. And then of course I sweat and that's our body misunderstanding what's going on in our environment around us because our hormones are off. Hmm. Now there were some studies that were done that said that women that have uncontrolled hot flashes are really, really severe, have a higher incidence of heart disease. [00:22:53] And one of our, Physicians that works with us at, at Winona wrote a really great article about that as well. Now there [00:23:00] is some data about it. I don't think it's really conclusive data. The other thing is that what they don't know is if you get those hot flashes under control. So sometimes women have hot flashes, 10 times a day. [00:23:11] Hot flashes can last between three seconds and 10 minutes. I was more about the five minute person mm-hmm . So what we don't know is if we decrease the hot flashes, because we replace the hormones with hormone replacement therapy, does that help your heart disease status? We don't have that answer. But what we do know is that hormone replacement therapy can help prevent chronic diseases, like heart disease, type two diabetes, certain kinds of cancers, obesity on and on and on. [00:23:41] So hormone replacement therapy can, is the hot flash. and improve your quality of life. We also know that women that take hormone replacement therapy live on average six years longer than women. That don't. Hmm. Yep. [00:23:55] J.Rosemarie: Wow. That's interesting. All right. So how can we get in touch with [00:24:00] By Winona? [00:24:01] Nancy Belcher: Yeah, so we're by Winona. So again, it's like buy, like I stand by you, Jen, not, uh, buy this right. and we're on the internet. We have a ton of. Articles that have been written by myself and other healthcare experts. And we'd love to have people take a look at By Winona. my email is [00:24:23] so again, Nancy, just And I would love to hear from your listeners and answer any questions that they might have. We are opening in Illinois. soon, New York soon. We're in five states right now. And we haven't even been around a year yet. So we're trying hard to get into all the states. [00:24:44] It's a little hard sometimes to right. Every state has its own set of rules, right. Yeah, [00:24:49] J.Rosemarie: sure. For sure. Oh, wow. Thank you. And I put the links in the show notes. so people can reach out to you. So, Basically, you're just in the us right now. Yes. And, and just certain states. [00:25:00] Right, right. [00:25:00] okay. All right. [00:25:01] Nancy Belcher: yeah, but I would invite women to read the blogs. We've got almost three more blogs about most of what we talked about today. And, and if, if they read the blogs, there's still further questions. I'd love to hear because I'm always looking for input on what's confusing. [00:25:16] What do they misunderstand about. Menopause. and so I would really love to hear from your listeners about what else we can write about to help empower women during this really it's, it's a really challenging phase of life that not very many people wanna talk about. [00:25:31] J.Rosemarie: So yes, for sure. Thank you. How we get laughed at right. [00:25:35] yes. Yeah. Yeah. So what is Nancy grateful for today? [00:25:39] Nancy Belcher: Well, I'm grateful to be on your show. Of course. Thank you. My new friend, Jen, who has an accent, I can't place. I'm, you know, honestly, I'm grateful for my five sons. Somebody asked me the other day. if I could embrace any moment in time as my most treasured moment in time. [00:25:56] Oh, throughout my life. What would that be? And I had to say [00:26:00] my last holiday, just, you know, a few weeks ago with my boys because, we're healthy. We're well we're together. And, I don't think there's anything better than that. [00:26:08] J.Rosemarie: Yeah. Yeah. All right. So I'm not gonna keep you much longer. I appreciate you coming, talking to me today. [00:26:15] anything else? [00:26:16] Nancy Belcher: No, I just wanna, express my gratitude for you letting me come on and, and chat. [00:26:20] J.Rosemarie: Sure. Thank you very much. I'm sure this is a useful topic for a lot of my audience and great raising [00:26:27] Nancy Belcher: teens. yeah. Yeah. So you're, you're both going through the same thing. One's going forward. One's doing it in reverse. [00:26:33] Mm-hmm and you can be aligned right, rather than battling. [00:26:37] J.Rosemarie: Yes. Yeah. Thank you, Dr. Belcher Okay. Okay. [00:26:40] Nancy Belcher: Thank you so much.