Most women have, at some stage during their lives at least, bemoaned the fact that they’re female and have all the related hormonal and other issues to deal with month in and month out.
It’s common for us to think men have it easy, and wish we could click our fingers and have all our hormonal issues go away. This is particularly the case during times of life such as puberty, when trying to get pregnant, and during perimenopause and menopause.
One lady who is making an impact on the hormonal life (not to mention the emotional and mental health) of women around the country is Lara Briden. With more than two decades of medical knowledge and practise behind her, Lara is focused on helping women to obtain more regular and stress-free periods, and all of the benefits that come with that.
We chatted to Lara to find out more about her work and some tips for women looking to get their cycles in check in 2019.
Can you please tell us a bit about your work as the “period revolutionary”, and what it entails?
I’m a naturopathic doctor helping women to come off hormonal birth control and have easy, healthy, natural periods. The advantage of natural cycles is that they’re how we make the beneficial estrogen and progesterone which we need for general health, not just for making a baby. Our own natural hormones are far better than the contraceptive drugs in birth control which are sometimes called “hormones,” but are not actually hormones.
How did you get into this line of work?
I first trained as a scientist, so when I came to be a clinician more than 20 years ago, I came at it from the angle that the body is a logical, practical system. It knows what to do when it’s given the right nutritional support, and that’s also true for periods. Women’s health is not as mysterious or complicated as it’s been made out to be.
Can you let us know about your book, and how it can help older ladies to feel better and cope with changing hormones and periods?
Period Repair Manual is a one-stop shop for everything women need to have better periods, without the use of hormonal birth control. It’s suitable for women of every age and situation but it’s particularly helpful for the “hormonal rollercoaster” of perimenopause, which is the ten years leading up to menopause.
The book provides treatments ideas for common perimenopause symptoms such as mood swings, insomnia and heavy flooding periods.
What are some simple tips women can follow this year to feel and look better?
One of the simplest ways to feel better is to dramatically reduce sugar and alcohol– or even give them up altogether! Sugar is a major driver of insulin resistance, which is a pre-diabetic condition that causes inflammation, weight gain, and heavy periods. And alcohol, even in moderation, is problematic for the hormonal system because it blocks the beneficial effects of progesterone, impairs sleep quality and damages the gut microbiome.
What is a common misconception about perimenopause?
One of the biggest myths about perimenopause is that “estrogen is declining” and can be helped by an estrogen pill or hormone replacement. In actual fact, estrogen is going up and down during our forties and can soar to triple what it was before. That means the best treatment is to reduce estrogen with nutritional strategies such as calcium-d-glucarate and at the same time, to look at natural or body-identical progesterone to relieve mood, sleep disturbance, and heavy periods.
Lara’s book, Period Repair Manual, is published by Pan Macmillan and available from all good bookshops.
Lara Briden is a Sydney naturopath and the
period revolutionary—leading the change to
better periods. Informed by a strong science
background and more than twenty years with
patients, Lara is a passionate communicator
about women’s health and alternatives to
hormonal birth control.