Katherine! I am very excited to see your face again today. And to get to ask you a question that we’ve had come up from our members and our listeners quite a bit. In the most recent scenario, it was actually related to the Dutch hormone tests, was sort of how it came about. And I know a lot of nutritionists really love this test, and it’s still on my radar as something I would like to get done very soon. But it can be expensive, it can be cost prohibitive. And we know that this situation arises with a lot of health care avenues, especially in the holistic vein of care. So how can moms in tight financial situations figure out what is going on in their body? Where should they start? And who can they talk to to get that journey rolling to get help?
I would say the first thing and I think that’s so true. And I wish healthcare would change a little so there wasn’t such a barrier to test functional testing, which I think is super helpful, so we’ll put that aside. What can we do right now?
One of the first things I think, is something I’ve talked about a lot, which is paying attention to your own symptoms. Starting to really tune in. I get people that come to me, and they can see one thing that’s off, and then we talk about some other things, and they’re like, Oh, I hadn’t even noticed. Yes, I do have diarrhea right before my period. Or I noticed that I’m more constipated around the middle of my cycle. And starting to see just by paying attention.
Are there some more trends than what I was picking up on? Does my face breakout at a different point in my cycle? Do I notice that when I’ve had a really hard day at work, and with my kids, my digestion changes the next day? So really, just starting with your own symptoms, and the wisdom of your own body and tuning into some of that, I think is sort of first and foremost.
Because a lot of people, maybe not the three of us, but a lot of people haven’t done the work to really tune in to what is my body saying and what is off.
And there’s a lot of resources out there to kind of help women and men understand, what am I working towards? I didn’t even realize that a daily bowel movement was something I could be working towards. So noticing yourself and your own symptoms is one of the first things I would say.
The second is to make sure you’ve done the research on what your insurance plan does cover.
So I work with three different plans. And all of them cover at least three visits, if not unlimited visits. While that isn’t necessarily going to cover testing for you, most nutritionists take insurance, not all of them, but many do. And those plans might cover a lot more than what you even realized initially. So I would say to make sure that you call or get online and look up what your insurance plan covers as it relates to nutrition because even just having someone to help talk you through, what am I looking for?
Even if I can’t pay for the testing, if I could have sort of a coach or support system for someone to help me explore what is off and how to support that might be incredibly valuable for a lot of people.
So I would say, look and do the research on your insurance and what is covered what is not. There are tons of nutritionists out there now, and I can’t vouch for all of them, but I’m sure someone takes your plan. So I think there are probably people that you can find that can help you.
Another thing I hate to say it, and I love to say it, but there’s a lot of great resources on social media. There’s a lot of terrible resources on social media. So it’s a little hard to know what you’re navigating.
But I do think there’s power in self advocacy and knowing at least enough to acknowledge what’s off. And is this something that I can just listen and tweak myself, or even, I didn’t even realize this was something I shouldn’t have to deal with, or I shouldn’t be experiencing or just sort of letting go.
So I think one of the things I say with social media is to look for who we follow, right? Look up HER Health Collective. Look for the experts on there, look at my account, see who I follow or who I share, and start there. Start with suggestions from some of the health care providers that you do have, and see what type of free information you can find on social media. There’s a lot of guides. There’s a lot of information. The caveat with that is that you don’t really know if you’re getting great information or not. So it has to still come back to trusting your mind and your body and listening to your body.
And then I would say the other caveat that I see happen to a lot of women is that we end up spinning our wheels. So if you’re someone that has been digging on social media for years and have followed all these accounts, and you recognize that that actually keeps your head in the spinning mindset around health, I would say that you might have sort of crossed into the unhealthy way of absorbing social media.
Use it more as a tool. And again, I know that’s not a real concrete answer, but trying not to let that take over, right. But using it more as a tool to learn from. I share a lot of tips. There’s a lot of posts on my account that I hope women and men can learn from.
And then, of course, I would say like, lastly, be willing to talk to your doctor and spend the time. Make them spend the time. You can ask your doctor to go over your labs with you.
I get so many people that want me to go over their labs, because their doctor hasn’t given them that benefit, they haven’t sat down. That is something they can do for you. You have to push for it and sometimes they sort of write you off. Sometimes it’s hard, not the good ones.
So I would say first and foremost, keep looking until you find a good doctor that is covered by your insurance. They are out there. They are wonderful when you find them.
And then second would be to really ask them for help and to ask the questions to make lists to go in with questions to see what testing maybe insurance would cover for you to see if just even some support or tools from your physician could be helpful. Instead of just writing off that your OBGYN or your (whoever it might be) psychologist might have some great tools that you haven’t really tapped into yet, because you haven’t asked. Make sure that you’re exploring what you can and advocating for yourself.
We hear a lot of doctors writing women off postpartum because they’re just tired. Things like that is pretty common, and pushing back on. No, I’ve taken track. I’ve talked about being aware…I’ve kept track of my stools and my moods. And here’s my 30 Day worksheet, and I want you to go through this with me. And I’m going to show you this isn’t just fatigue, that there’s something different happening, or here’s how much I’m bleeding when I have a period, here’s how much hair I’m losing. Any concrete examples that you can share with your healthcare provider are going to be helpful for them to actually follow through.
So I would say just keep exploring for that person that feels like they’re tapped out on resources that hopefully between those different suggestions, there’s something that would help them.
Yeah, that personal awareness and paying attention to your body is so important. Especially, as you’re seeking out educational resources or providers that can give you the care that you need to arm yourself with that information.
And you said in a previous video that we’ve done with you how smart our body is, and that it’s often trying to tell us something. So that is probably the number one thing that we can all do, regardless of our financial situation is to just start paying attention to our body and keeping track of how things are going.
So thank you for sharing this information. And I know it’s going to help a lot of our parents and we really, really appreciate you.
Thanks. I love being here. As always.
Katherine Andrew, MPH, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Masters degree in Public Health with nearly fifteen years of experience in community public health and private nutrition counseling. Her work experience includes individual and group health counseling, interactive workshops, food systems consulting, non-profit program development and management, and safe skin care advocacy and promotion. She works with clients to identify and address health concerns, navigate food sensitivities, explore body image, plan healthy meals for themselves and their families, evaluate and improve hormone health, maximize stress management, and restore their relationship with eating so they can enjoy food and thrive. Gut health, food sensitivities, hormones, family food dynamics, and intuitive eating are a few of Katherine’s passions and specialties.
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