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Supporting Your Body Through The Perimenopausal Transition

October 23, 202319 min read

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FREE resource to help Support Your Body Through The Perimenopausal Transition, click here:


In this episode, I introduce you to Christine Garvin.

Christine Garvin, MA, NE, RWP is a Functional Nutritionist based in Asheville, NC. She weaves together her personal health journey – including a fibroid surgery that nearly killed her – with her training in functional health and nutrition to help women heal their gut and get empowered when it comes to their hormones.

She has been featured in Health, Shape, Parade Magazine, and MSN, among other outlets. She is the host of the popular podcast, Hormonally Speaking, works with clients all over the world, offers self-guided and group programs for gut healing and hormone health, and presents on stages throughout the US.

Join me for this episode of Mommy Heal Thyself to learn how to Support Your Body Through The Perimenopausal Transition.


Healing gut issues through nutrition and self-care. (0:01)

Fibroid surgery complications and advocacy for self-care. (2:11)

Perimenopause and its effects on women's health. (6:48)

Perimenopause, hormone imbalance, and self-care. (11:13)

Menstrual cycles, hormones, and self-care. (16:03)

  • Transcript
    (Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)

    Intro  0:00 

    Welcome to Mommy Heal Thyself.  We featured guests that provide you with the tools, resources and strategies you need to say no to a life of pain and suffering all forms of preventable disease, toxic drugs and unnecessary surgeries. We hope to inspire you to boldly reclaim your ability to heal, and to serve ones to love.

    Dr Michelle  0:01 

    What brought you into this realm? Because I know that you have a very powerful story. So tell us,


    Christine Garvin  0:10 

    yeah, well, I have to go back even a little bit earlier than the sort of the Big Bang story that I'll get into. Because I always say that I really had my first health crisis at about age 20. I guess I was 21. I had just graduated from college. And I always say that my stomach just fell out. So basically, it was like two days after I graduated from college, I lost maybe 10 pounds in two weeks or something like that. Right. And so this was my first foray into a health issue that I didn't really understand at all. And it took me a few years to piece together the three rounds of antibiotics that I took in college for strep throat with no discussion, of course, at that point in history about probiotics, beneficial bacteria knew nothing about that. And it took me a while to realize the combination of that and then the stress of graduating from college and not really knowing what I wanted to do with my mind. You know, and so I'm sure a lot of your listeners understand how impactful stress is on everything. And for many of us, women are guts in particular. So it was that kind of just combination thing that happened and then that led me on the path of what I want to understand what's happening from a nutritional standpoint. Right? That was the first food is medicine, right? That was the first place I started. And then I kept going down this path to where I ended up getting my master's in holistic health education and I did separate nutrition certification and just kind of threw myself into all of that. And I really, you know, came back and really did heal my gut and really, you know, had a better cycle than I had a horrible menstrual cycle since I was essentially 12 years old. So it took me years of unwinding. And we know it's not just food, obviously, it's mental, emotional, spiritual, the whole shebang. You can't hit just one area. And so things were going pretty well in my 30s until it was I was 39. And suddenly I started having much heavier periods. Right and I knew enough to know that, okay, I could be starting to go into perimenopause. That might be the reason but the bleeding was so profuse that I was just becoming severely anemic. My, my actual period is moving up. Like okay, I gotta go, you know, get things checked out. And I actually for myself, found what ended up being the fibroid because I tried to insert my diva cup one month and it did not go all the way and so I actually could feel the fibroid from internal that's not always possible, but I could and of course, you know, first thought is, oh, my god cancer. So I went through the process of going to the doctor had to talk them into giving me an ultrasound, which is crazy to me, and we can certainly talk about that too. But I finally found out I had a six centimeter fibroid at that point. So that's about the size of an orange, right? And the placement of it was triggering that excess bleeding that I was having. And that also was pushing out my backbone. So my lowest background coccyx bout. Yeah. So it was it was funny. I was teaching dance at the time. And it was a big joke with my dancers that I was growing a tail, because I could feel it, you know, like what's happening here. So we're low behold is fibroid and basically, at that point, it was, you know, the option was to either go on estrogen suppressing medication like Lupron which will pretty much put you into early menopause and I wasn't interested in doing that, or having surgery. These are kind of the Western medicine approaches to pretty much any I mean, birth control or estrogen suppressing drugs, or surgery is pretty much the approach to any mental issue. But in particular, with fibroids, you know that it's like surgery is kind of the big thing to go into. So long story short, I ended up deciding on a myomectomy which is when they go in and just remove the fibroid or fibroids themselves and leave your uterus intact because crazy me I wanted to keep my uterus even though I didn't want any children. I know. I know. I mean, you know, Western medical model is like if you don't want any kids or you're done having kids, what's the point of the uterus? Well so it's supposed to be a relatively simple surgery. It's done all of the time. I went and got it done at the premier laparoscopic gynecological surgery center in the southeast. I don't ever mention the name of it, but just say that it's a highly regarded center. They did the surgery. They said everything went great. I went home the next day and then progressively got worse over the next two weeks. And I've never had surgery before. Right. So I just thought and this is what I always tell women don't push through the pain, right? We do that over and over again. Right? We don't for multiple reasons. I won't go into all of those but we often push through instead of you know, in this situation, I know that in particular, but in general, like you need to go get help and advocate for yourself, right? Because we certainly know in this system that advocacy for ourselves is hugely important and in our health care system. So long story short, I ended up in the ER and I had sepsis at that point. And they basically after a day in the ER doing all these tests, they realized that I had just all of the stool and bacteria and gastric juices just dumping into my abdominal cavity. So they said we have to go in and figure out where and why this is happening. So I went into emergency surgery that night at a cut me from breastbone to pubic bone, and I opened me up and they said I was just full, just full of just gunk. Essentially. And it took them several hours to just use bags and bags of saline to clean me out. And then they finally could find where I was burned, and three places in my intestines during that fibroid surgery, unknowingly. And this of course, is something that is not talked about a lot and yet happens. You know, I'd say getting nicked is a little bit more common than getting burned, but is a heated tool that they use to remove a fibroid, right. And so it can happen without them realizing it. And that's unfortunately what can happen. For a lot of women, whether it be surgeries, if they don't know at the time of surgery that something went wrong, and they end up with a similar place to where I was and I was my surgeons told my family that if it had been a day later I would have been dead. They were actually surprised that I actually walked into the hospital and they said that they were shocked I shouldn't have been able to walk into the hospital and and this is a you know, a jumping on why it's good to take care of your body to just generally right they said if I hadn't have been as healthy and taking care of my body as much as I had them I probably wouldn't have survived. I'm very lucky I didn't go into septic shock. None of my organs, you know, stopped working, but they ended up having to take out half of my colon and about eight inches of small intestine. Yeah, the surgeon later told me that they were hoping to sew back together my colon but that it was like trying to sew back together ground beef. Well, you know, it was pretty bad.


    Dr Michelle  7:53 

    That was the other thing that really resonated with me from your story because I had my colon removed when I was a three day old baby. And I know that it sets you up for in my case, a lifetime of being very, very aware of gut health. So when you talk when you talked about having that issue, I was like yep, the first year of my life on this planet was with a colostomy bag. You know, and then when I was one year old they were able to reconnect, but I'm I'm just grateful that you are here with us. And you're able to tell us this story, because it makes what you do so much more important, because we want to help to get to women before they even have to consider something like that. So tell us a little bit about what kind of women are you working with? What are the issues that they're dealing with? And what are they experiencing when they come to work with you?


    Christine Garvin  8:54 

    Yeah, so I primarily at this point, work with women in perimenopause because this is the time where a lot of these things start to happen for the first time for women, right? And when I say perimenopause, a lot of women think Oh 48 4950 No 35 Really 35 and above. Yeah, because technically our progesterone starts to naturally decline after age 35. That's why if any of your listeners have tried to get pregnant after age 35 They were telling a geriatric pregnancy, right? And a huge part of that is because of those progesterone levels just naturally declining. And so what you have you know, there's kind of a I always say, three stage process with perimenopause, you may not even notice any changes until you get into your 40s you know, but your body is starting to deal with that lowered progesterone level. And in, you know, estrogen and progesterone have a very important, dynamic relationship together. And you basically want them to be in a good, you know, level with each other. And when that progesterone starts to go down, then that estrogen even if it's not actually high in and of itself, it's going to be dominant over progesterone, right? And we also see very fluctuating estrogen levels at this point where they do go very high for a lot of women too. So that just sets up the sort of perfect it's the perfect storm of allowing things that feed off of estrogen, like fibroids, cysts fibrocystic breast pollen, all of these growths, I call it they start to have a chance to really develop on a different level and a lot of times women don't know, like I did not know, until, you know, until it was sort of too large. I mean, I would do it I would certainly do it different now if I had to go back, but it was already so large that was causing major, major problems. And that's often when my mind will figure out that they have it right. It's already sort of at this large level and it's just, it's much harder to work with them, the bigger that they get, so we want to see it earlier. You know, fibroids in particular, but fibrocystic breasts and all those kinds of things, because you can really work with them from a natural standpoint, right? The biggest thing is making sure that your estrogen is metabolizing. Well, our body has to break down on estrogen just like all of our hormones and everything that comes into our system. Our liver breaks it down, right and a lot of us are aware of that. And when that's not metabolizing or being broken down as as efficiently as possible, that is going to lead towards these kinds of growths happening and at least so a bunch of other issues like increased heavy bleeding, increase PMS symptom, you're shorter cycles, all of these things. And so this is what I really focus on in my practice is really setting women up to understand number one, what's going on in their bodies. And number two, there's so many things you can do with food and herbs and nutrients to support your body to make the transition and easier process and the possibility even a beautiful process, you know, which unfortunately our culture is not set up for women experiencing and perimenopause or menopause.


    Dr Michelle  12:15 

    So now what is one common mistake that you find women are making when dealing with this type of issue?


    Christine Garvin  12:23 

    I think I don't want to say that women want to bury their heads in the sand. But they're I want to take the word perimenopause. And sort of reclaim it and redefine it because I think a lot of women feel like Oh, I'm not that old yet. You know, they they feel like the word perimenopause means they're old. And and I want women to get out of that mindset around it and really say, Hey, this is me heading towards this time of my life where I'm really creating and defining what the second half of my life is going to look like. And it's a perfect time to really take control and know what's happening in your body. Right. So I would just say to anybody who's listening that isn't in your early 30s To change the earlier you make some of these changes, the better the whole process is going to go. And I get it. I mean, I was obviously 30 and didn't necessarily think about perimenopause or menopause coming up. But you know if I could go back I obviously would and things are hitting women younger and younger and younger these days too. So you know what you do for perimenopause will help you at other points in your cycling life too. So go ahead and jump on it. So that's that's the biggest thing you know, get step around this idea that perimenopause makes you old, you're not old, you know, you're just coming into that midlife time and it's going to be amazing if you take care of yourself.


    Dr Michelle  13:58 

    So now in your journey, what is one? Either TED talk or book or video or coach or something that really influenced you and had an impact on what you decided to transition into? Yeah, great


    Christine Garvin  14:19 

    question. So easy, easy answer. No, hold your damn who is who I ended up doing hormone apprenticeship with post surgery. So basically, you know, the surgeries happened. I ended up with a temporary ostomy bag. I had the reversal surgery and then I was a dancer before that. And so that was I couldn't dance that was sort of ended my dance career, right? I mean, I couldn't even my abs, it took me a year and a half to rebuild my abs, you know, for multiple surgeries. So I said, I sat back and I said, Well, what got me into this in the first place, and that was, you know, having a fibroid and what causes fibroids? A hormonal imbalance. I want to learn as much as I can about hormones. So I started with Nicole and I took her apprenticeship. And that really, you know, I mean, for the first time I started to learn about a menstrual cycle, you know, I was, what 39 or 40 At that point, and it's crazy for me, right? I mean, I knew that. But like, I didn't, you know, I think and this is another thing I love teaching women about their cycle because and when I say cycle, I always let women know you know, it's not just like, just the five days of your period three to five days or period. It's the entire shebang. Right. And it's an incredible symphony. Yes, that's happening consistently in our bodies without us even realizing it. And it's really cool actually, when you you know, break it down and, and so I loved learning about that. And then basically, that opened me up to wanting to learn more in functional testing, you know, that testing, honestly, I needed to heal my gut, you know, functional hormone testing, looking at serum labs from a functional perspective. And so that kind of just all took off. So it was one thing of course, many other mentors. Yeah, yep, exactly. That's many mentors since then, but Nicole is the one I feel like that. I love her love her work. She's got a great book called picks your period. So everyone check her out.


    Dr Michelle  16:21 

    So what is one valuable free resource that you'd like to share with our ladies today?


    Christine Garvin  16:26 

    So if you go to my website, which is Christine, there is a free masterclass on there. And it's a five ways to get your menstrual cycle to work for you essentially. And here's the thing about your menstrual cycle is that its foundations are key right? And we like to skip over foundations a lot, right? We go to what supplement can I say? What, you know, what, whatever what kind of biohack can I do? And the reality is, you can't right you need to get those foundations in place. And honestly, that's going to take care of 80 to 90% of your issues. And these are free things that you can do, right? So I'd go into all of this in the master class, and then you optimize or if you're having some major, major issues, or there's a lot that can sit in that 10% But you have to get those foundations truly in place. But there's other things to work properly, right. And so, again, and again, I mean, I'll just say one thing, just you know, for your listeners, getting your blood sugar stabilized is so key, getting more protein and we you know, I just finished a round of my program perimenopause, like a boss, and one of the women emailed me and she was like, Oh, I started getting 25 grams of protein for breakfast and so they have so much energy in my day you know, we're not taught that necessarily. And so that's why I love you know, sharing this masterclass because it's such a good place to either teaching you for the first time and you haven't heard these things or remind you if you have heard these things that you need to focus back in.


    Dr Michelle  18:07 

    Awesome. So now what is it that you would like to have as your ultimate message to our women? And what is something that I probably should have asked, but I didn't ask.


    Christine Garvin  18:25 

    Well, I'd say trust yourself and trust your body. I think, particularly if we're having pain, it can be really hard to trust your body and you can feel like your body is against you. But in reality, your body wants what's best for you. And it's signaling to you that you need to sink in Connect, and maybe go on a journey. You know, I'm not saying it's gonna all happen in one day. You know, it's, it's here to teach you some lessons. Some of these processes, but trust trust your body above all else, and you know, any decision that you make, and listen to it and don't don't push anything down. If you're feeling pain. Yeah, go get help. What's one thing that you could have asked? I don't know. No, I feel like you've covered all the good stuff. So yeah, I don't know that there's anything that I would have added any differently. So well,


    Dr Michelle  19:21 

    I like I said, I'm so grateful for you to be able to share your story with us and tell us all these valuable tips. And ladies, the link for the masterclass is going to be in the notes so you don't have to worry about oh my god, I can't remember what she said. You know, it'll be right there in the notes so that you can click on it. And sign up for her masterclass. I'm telling you, it'll be the phenomenal, phenomenal experience for you to learn those five things that you can do to set that foundation to help you to be more in harmony with your hormones. So once again, thank you for joining us and we will see you next week. Bye. Okay, let's see where did my mouse go? I'm always like finding the mouse filing the mouse. Recording stuff. They also just move

    Closing: Thank you for tuning in for this episode of Mommy Heal Thyself, if you liked what we're doing here, please share subscribe, like us and leave a comment. Your feedback is very much appreciated.

    Transcribed by

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Dr Michelle Gamble DN

DR. MICHELLE GAMBLE, DN is an author, educator, mentor, and speaker who specializes in assisting persons with chronic illness to heal themselves so they can break free from pain and frustration and live with power, protection, promise, purpose, promise, prosperity, and peace. She has been a professional educator for over 25 years and a natural health care provider for over 15 years. Dr. Gamble is also the mother of five children. She travels globally and around the country speaking and consulting with individuals and groups.

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