Is this normal? Libido, night sweats and BC alternatives with Dr. Jolene Brighten

Picture of podcast cover art with Christa Biegler and Dr. Jolene Brighten: Episode 294 Is this normal? Libido, night sweats and BC alternatives with Dr. Jolene Brighten

This week on The Less Stressed Life Podcast, I am joined by Dr. Jolene Brighten, who also appeared in episode #112, Post Birth Control Syndrome. Dr. Brighten is back to talk about burning hormonal topics including night sweats, low progesterone and testosterone, hair loss and lots about libido.  We also fielded questions from my teenage daughter, asking about advice for teens tracking menstrual cycles, how to talk to the doc about alternatives to birth control for hormonal support, and dealing with shade online from uneducated sources.


  • What training is involved to be a clinical sexologist?
  • Ebbs and flows of low libido
  • Why women are like crockpots and men are like microwaves
  • Things that affect low testosterone for women
  • How sperm count is down 50%
  • Night sweats in cycling women, hair loss and tips for transitioning to perimenopause


Dr. Jolene Brighten is a hormone expert, nutrition scientist, and thought leader in women’s medicine. She is board certified in naturopathic endocrinology and trained in clinical sexology. Dr. Brighten is the author of Is This Normal, a non-judgmental guide to creating hormone balance, eliminating unwanted symptoms, and building the sexual desire you crave.

A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones through her website and social medical channels. Dr. Brighten is an international speaker, clinical educator, and medical advisor within the tech community.

Instagram: @drjolenebrighten
Facebook: @drbrighten
YouTube: @drjolenebrighten

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[00:00:00] Dr. Brighten: You don't have just low libido. When you have low testosterone. If you have low testosterone, you're also going to, yeah, fill that dark cloud cuz you're gonna probably gonna feel depressed. Lack of motivation, lack of ability to hold boundaries. Filling like you're really easy to cry. So there's all this like mental, emotional component.

[00:00:19] Christa: Stress is the inflammation that robs us of life, energy, and happiness. Our typical solutions for gut health and hormone balance have let a lot of us down we're overmedicated and underserved at the less trust life. We are a community of health savvy women exploring solutions outside of our traditional western medicine toolbox and training to raise the bar and change our stories.

[00:00:45] Christa: Each week, our hope is that you leave our sessions inspired to learn, grow, and share these stories to raise the bar in your life and home.

[00:01:02] Christa: I have a complicated history with coffee. I love it, but sometimes it's made me jittery, anxious, and even worsen my skin because of the mold that can be present in loss of coffee A couple of months ago, I tried everyday Dose, which combines organic coffee, grass-fed collagen, lions main for focus, and has 80% less caffeine than regular coffee.

[00:01:22] Christa: The results have been impressive, and that's after trying several other similar different coffee products that just didn't meet my snobby coffee standards. Here's what I noticed. Ever since I started using Everyday Dose as my daily coffee two months ago, my daily focus and concentration are better because Lion's Main is a neutropic that helps with brain clarity and focus, but unlike other products, everyday dose actually tastes like coffee and not like mushrooms, which usually taste like dirt or sit at the bottom of the cup.

[00:01:50] Christa: I've noticed I'm not jittery, which makes sense because there's less caffeine and our third party testing for mold or mycotoxins, which is a big deal. So I feel good instead of crappy from my coffee. And three, I've had no change in mood or energy right before my period starts. It's pretty common that my mood is apathetic and I'm annoyed by humans a day or two before the start of my menstrual cycle.

[00:02:11] Christa: But oddly, since I've been doing this daily Neutropic coffee, I'd had no mental dips like I had before. So if you wanna try everyday Dose, do me a solid and support the podcast by using my special link everyday stressed. And you'll get five extra sample packs in your order. There's no coupon code, so you'll just have to type in everyday stressed or grab the link from the show notes and let me know if you love it or drop me a note or tag me on Anti-Inflammatory Nutritionist on Instagram.

[00:02:40] Christa: So today I have back Dr. Jolene Brighton, who's a hormone expert, a nutrition scientist, and a thought leader in women's medicine. She's board certified in naturopathic endocrinology and trained in clinical sexology, which is an interesting topic we will jump into today. Dr. Brighton is the author of Is This Normal, A Non-Judgmental Guide to Creating Hormone Imbalance, eliminating Unwanted Symptoms, and Building the Sexual Desire You Crave.

[00:03:04] Christa: She's a fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances. She empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones through her website, social media, medic or Social. It says Social Medical Channels. She's international speaker, clinical educator, and medical advisor within the tech community.

[00:03:21] Christa: Welcome back Dr. Brighton. 

[00:03:23] Dr. Brighten: I love an autocorrect. Just like, like sabotages you and then you're like, big deal. No one's gonna believe that it's autocorrect. Yeah. I dunno if that happens here. It sounds, 

[00:03:31] Christa: but thanks. It sounds good. Social medical channels. No, it's good. And I, yeah, I just don't even worry if I bumble through things sometimes and it's people like realness.

[00:03:40] Christa: So we're, we're good to go and we're gonna have a real chat today for sure. Absolutely. Okay. I really have to smile and chuckle when I read your bio and it says A fierce patient advocate, because that would be such a good word. Probably not the first time you've been told this, but I always used to tell people, well, she kind of scares me.

[00:03:57] Christa: She's like a. Fierce speaker, right. I love the engram. I speak the Enneagram. To me, Dr. Brighton is a Enneagram, me or she's just like powerful in her place. But also these people have a fierce love and passion for the people they're trying to protect, which just reminds me a ton of you. So whether it's, whether I'm right about that or not is now 

[00:04:17] Dr. Brighten: how I Did you say, did I hate it?

[00:04:18] Dr. Brighten: Eight. Eight, yes. I am eight. I don't know why. I just, I, I'm like doing my thing in the world, but I just feel, I mean, not that many people are paying attention to me and it's not about me. And then people know these things like, you're an eight. And I'm like, oh, like, yeah. Like you see me. 

[00:04:34] Christa: Yeah. Your personality shines through and it's okay.

[00:04:36] Christa: And I'm, I probably am a little more aware of it cuz I'm married to an eight and I used to have someone who was an eight on my staff. And I think that I, I'm having a, a week where this topic is coming up a lot, that our relationship to self and our relationship to others pretty much predicts our stress level and how we interact with the entire world.

[00:04:53] Christa: Mm-hmm. Um, so I. I just, I've been thinking about that a lot. And so anyway, so it's come up a lot this week. So that's the thing. Okay, so you were here and guess what, the one thing I didn't grab is which episode you were on, what year? It was a, a few years ago. You came on, you can link 

[00:05:09] Dr. Brighten: to it, people can find it like you know it right now.

[00:05:13] Dr. Brighten: We, 

[00:05:13] Christa: you were on and I, we talked about stuff, but you had written Beyond the Pill in 2019. Mm-hmm. So here we are four years later and is this normal just came out or is coming out around the time of this episode and I wanna talk about like all these different hormone questions people have, but what's, yeah, interesting for me is I am kind of jealous of the person who does the podcast.

[00:05:35] Christa: Like how is this made or whatever. Because I really like behind the scenes things, guy Raz. Yes. Guy 

[00:05:40] Dr. Brighten: Ross, that guy like went, yeah, I met him in real life, just like true story. Wow. In the world. My son like big fan. We're big fans and we go right and meet Guy and Mindy and I'm like on stage and I'm like, oh my God, guy Ross, you're so amazing.

[00:05:53] Dr. Brighten: And I'm like, fangirling over him. And then Mindy's standing there and I'm like, you're cool too. Mindy. I feel so bad. But Min, I became friends on Instagram. But that like, either way, I'm big fan of that show as well. 

[00:06:04] Christa: Yeah. When Guy RAs retires, I need to be trying to vet for that job because that's my dream job.

[00:06:10] Christa: Yeah. Get it. What happens behind the scenes? So on that kind of note, there was Beyond the pill, four years later, you're writing, is this normal? I wanna hear about what the gaps were because I know you were a very marketing savvy gal, so if you're gonna write a book, it's because you're seeing a huge issue in the market that's not being filled and so you wanna fill it.

[00:06:29] Christa: So tell us kind of what the gap was that you were trying to fill with Is this normal and where this all kind of came from? Because it's a bit of a, I saw the previews online. And how there's assessments. Yeah. And there's a lot. There's a lot there. Which is, which means that our conversation's gonna be all over the place on Hormones Day, which is cool, but there's a lot there, right?

[00:06:47] Christa: Yeah. So tell me why you did that. 

[00:06:49] Dr. Brighten: Yeah. So with Beyond the Pill, that book was all about birth control, right? And how to get answers beyond the pill. Cuz you go to the doctor and you're like, Hey Doc, I got these hormone problems. They're like, do you want a baby? You're like, not right now. They're like, great, here's the pill.

[00:07:03] Dr. Brighten: End of discussion. And so I wanted to give solutions beyond the pill. I wanted to show people there is life if you wanna come off of it, beyond the pill and if you're on it, ways to keep your body protected and safe and healthy because you are taking a medication and medications due have side effects and impacts.

[00:07:19] Dr. Brighten: So that was beyond the pill and I felt just really passionate about it. So when you write a book, it's because like it's burning inside. Like you have to write this book because anyone who's written that book knows. Um, so you're like, yo, you write this book 2019. I'm like, well, I started writing the book like 2017 and then is this normal?

[00:07:36] Dr. Brighten: I started writing in 2020 and you know, here it's gonna come out like how is it even 2023? So amazing. So with all of that, really, I was just really passionate about being on the pill and it just seemed like a really good time to have that conversation. Cause I was having it so much with patients and.

[00:07:55] Dr. Brighten: The book I really have always wanted to write is, is this normal? And I think in some ways I didn't even realize like how badly I wanted to write about all of these concepts. So is this normal, is divided up in three sections and and the very first one is your sexual self and then the second one is your cyclical self.

[00:08:15] Dr. Brighten: And that's where we get into all the hormone talk and then we go into a 20 day program. When I set out to write this book, it was actually like, here's all this hormone stuff and then there's gonna be a chapter about sex. And as I got in it to it and I started going through, so I do this weekly ask Dr.

[00:08:29] Dr. Brighten: Brighton since 2018, I go through all of these like archives of questions that I've gotten, we're pulling questions that we've gotten from readers and then matching up to like questions from patients, questions from being at parties with my friends like and realizing like. My God, everybody asks me about sex.

[00:08:47] Dr. Brighten: Like they, and, and this is something that like, I embarked on studying more about clinical sexology, so the research of sex and how you apply it into clinical practice and pursuing my training in being a sex counselor and getting that certification. And so in all of that I'm like, duh, why are we, why are we just not like, give the people what they want?

[00:09:10] Dr. Brighten: Mm-hmm. Um, so I really set out to write the book that I wish that I had that helps answer people's questions in a way that feels non-judgmental without the stigma and the shame and doesn't have, you know, and I'm not gonna say that like it has zero bias because like, I'm a human and I would love for that to exist.

[00:09:29] Dr. Brighten: And my editor and I really tried to set out to do that. But I think that whenever we ask questions about sex, whether it's on the internet, which you can end up in some scary places, or you're asking about sex and hormones to your doctor, you get biased answers. You get their baggage. Like they haven't dealt with their sexual shame, their, and we all have sexual shame.

[00:09:50] Dr. Brighten: Mm-hmm. Because like that's just. Part of how society, and maybe you have like really super amazing parents and like you have a totally different story. I don't know, but the majority of people have some level of shame around sex. And so your provider brings that to you as well. And so I just wanted people to have a guide to understand what's normal, what is actually normal when your doctor says, is this normal?

[00:10:12] Dr. Brighten: Is it actually normal? And when are the times that you should go see your doctor? And that's why it's filled with like so many checklists and all these things because the checklists are gonna help you dial in what's going on. But really they're my sneaky way of giving you everything you need, your whole arsenal.

[00:10:29] Dr. Brighten: I, I don't like, like war language. And yet that's, I literally like have felt like when I'm going to my gynecologist, like I'm going to battle like that kind of feeling of like, Like my last pregnancy was like that, where I was like, oh, I gotta get like my, my like pumped up in the car with my music cuz I just gotta go in and like hold my ground cuz the bullshit's about to fly.

[00:10:49] Dr. Brighten: Like, and I just, and that's me and the doctor. So it's like I know what the average person is a experiencing is really amplified and so it's for you to be able to bring all of this to your doctor and say, you're telling me this is normal, however, X, Y, and Z like, and this is what's true for me right now.

[00:11:04] Dr. Brighten: And, and as a patient you can say, that's never been my normal. This is a change. 

[00:11:10] Christa: I almost feel like this might be tucked into the book, but what you were just talking about right there, I feel like there's an, the next book is How to Talk to your Doctor about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, which is actually one of the questions that I got from someone for you today.

[00:11:23] Christa: So we'll get back to that later. And also, I wanna point out that on this book, even though you're talking a lot about sexual health, it's a book you aren't embarrassed about reading. You're not embarrassed reading on the plane because it doesn't, it's not blasting it, it's kind of like a sneaky, you know, thing where people can feel good about maybe reading it.

[00:11:42] Christa: I have to ask before we get into some of these other questions, because. Everyone's gonna wanna know this. How do you train in clinical sexology? 

[00:11:51] Dr. Brighten: So one, you do lots of conferences, so lots of conferences, but I actually worked with the Sexual Health Alliance, which has some amazing, uh, lecturers and teachers.

[00:12:04] Dr. Brighten: So part of what made me gravitate, uh, towards that is like Justin Lee Miller is one of the instructors. If everyone doesn't know him, he has a great podcast. He also has a great book. Tell me what you want. He's a searcher at the Kinsey Institute who are like, those are the people I do in the sex research and like really reputable stuff coming out of there.

[00:12:23] Dr. Brighten: Like the dual control model. I talk about my, in my Boston Jensen from the Kenzie Institute. But also like David Le, Emily Naski, like all of these really amazing, brilliant minds who are researchers and clinicians who are the instructors as part of this program. And I was like, I definitely want to learn from all of them.

[00:12:43] Dr. Brighten: And yeah, so that's what I pursued. And so for people who are interested in pursuing this, so I'm, I feel like, like this feels more like level one where. You go through this training, you've gotta attend conferences, you have to do like your, like basically sexual biased assessment. Like you gotta reassess yourself to actually go through a whole training with that.

[00:13:06] Dr. Brighten: And then you take a test, you've gotta do all of these like presentations, all this stuff to demonstrate your knowledge, and then you pass this little gauntlet and you can become certified sex counselor. If I had a background, if my degrees were in psychology, I would be a sex therapist. And so it's important to make that distinction for people that as a doctor I can prescribe and treat.

[00:13:28] Dr. Brighten: And then as a counselor, I'm more counseling around these things. But it's, it's an interesting thing because it's like I can diagnose and I can treat those things. Your average counselor cannot do that. And then there's a line where I bump up against where I'm like, You need couples therapy, you need, you know, more psychological support.

[00:13:48] Dr. Brighten: And so that's also part of my training is understanding like where is the time for referral? And honestly, I think like everybody needs mental health support, especially like with some of the topics of the book. Like if you're dealing with endometriosis or you have chronic pain or you have, you know, P C O S and navigating this world, like it's important to have someone that you can check in with.

[00:14:05] Dr. Brighten: So there's another level to doing this where you become a ASEC certified sex counselor, which is like the governing body of sexual health. And they're like the. Overarching, like governing body of this. It's like a lot of people debate it where it's like some people won't recognize it because asex takes the stance that there is no like sexual addiction and these whole concepts around like really shaming people about sex addiction, porn addiction, these kinds of things.

[00:14:36] Dr. Brighten: And I know people are gonna be like, what? Those are things they're actually not, and they miss the root cause of the issue. And so if somebody's pursuing those things and all you do is label them as like a sex addict and then the treatment is like shame them to high heaven about sex, like and you think that works?

[00:14:51] Dr. Brighten: Like I. Brene Brown can come in and let you know what shame does to people, but also you miss like the root cause of like what is really going on with that. So mm-hmm. That's like a next level of when you go through that training, you do a bunch of observation hours, like somebody's observing you and you're working with other clinicians.

[00:15:09] Dr. Brighten: And so that's been something that I'm like, I'm at the balance right now. Like, do I pursue that? Because for me, I'm like, I don't like hot and heavily just do sex counseling, right? Because I'm a physician and I've got these other aspects of things that, so if anybody is pursuing that and I did want to do the sex counseling and that's primarily all they wanted to do, I would recommend taking the ASEC route because it's really just gonna make you such a better clinician.

[00:15:36] Dr. Brighten: And for me personally, I'm like where I'm at and how I'm using it. I'm referring if we get to a point where it would be more intensive than that. It's 

[00:15:44] Christa: really interesting. And then that took us quite down, quite a rabbit hole. 

[00:15:48] Dr. Brighten: I know. I was like, is this in depth? 

[00:15:50] Christa: If she wants it, what the, what the, what the root cause of an addiction could look like.

[00:15:54] Christa: And I think we can just take the label of sex off because there's addictions of all types. And so this reminds me, you said this in different words, you said everyone could use some mental health support. The longer that I've been working in clinical practice and working on health in different capacities, the more I've had, I've realized, learned and had to up-level essentially what we do for the nervous system, because that's, Mm-hmm.

[00:16:19] Christa: That's pretty much the deciding factor of how things are gonna go anyway. So. Alright, so that took us off kind of a tangent and that's okay. But let me circle back to some of these things that are affecting, I think a lot of our audiences on a regular basis. So we just got done talking a little bit about what it looks like to be trained in clinical sexology.

[00:16:41] Christa: And a common thing that we see in women is that they're complaining of low libido. So let's talk about ebbs and flows in the cycline woman. What can happen with libido and what about ebbs and flows in life? What are some of the root causes of low libido that are semi-normal, not normal? And what do you think some of the answers are for people?

[00:17:03] Dr. Brighten: Okay, so this is like a huge question, like we just went on a tangent. I could go on even further tangent. So, okay. First thing is, One, I will say in the 28 day program, I will actually guide you through the changes of not only sexual desire, but arousal as well. So what the tissues do, how you respond, orgasms what you should be trying during certain times of the month because of how your hormones and your body may be behaving.

[00:17:28] Dr. Brighten: And we do see it has a cyclical nature, um, the most common times that we will see that you are feeling, and I wanna say like people will describe it as a high libido. We're gonna talk a little bit more about like what's normal, what's not, but. Describing, you know, I'm more in the mood usually happens around ovulation and it can even happen around menstruation.

[00:17:50] Dr. Brighten: And where the low points are, are usually in that lal phase. So that is after you ovulate leading up to your period. And that's just because the shifts of the hormones. So estrogen and testosterone are leaders in the bedroom, so to speak, whereas progesterone's like cuddle, maybe like not so much. And that progesterone's gonna be highest in the ludial phase.

[00:18:12] Dr. Brighten: And so we do see cyclical shifts, and this is where people get confused usually. Like men in relationships we're like, I don't understand. You were so into me and now you want nothing to do with me. And you're like, yes bro, I was ovulating and now progesterone has come out to play. So that's what we see cyclically.

[00:18:32] Dr. Brighten: And I, like I said, I break that down in the book. I also have an entire chapter about libido. Which is really your desire for sex. And where I think the best place to start off this conversation is what is most important is what is normal for you. So if you come to me and you say, I have a low libido, I say, well, tell me about when you felt like it was higher.

[00:18:55] Dr. Brighten: No, I've always been a person with L libido. Okay, so let's talk about what's probably going on. And we can definitely get into that. But if you come to me and you say like, I have a little libido, and you know, it was like, I always felt like I was very much into my partner. Well, when was that? When we first started dating.

[00:19:14] Dr. Brighten: Okay. Common. Very common. You first started dating, it's all like mu fugo, you're like really into this. And then things simmer. They simmer down. That's also normal. Um, the thing that's not normal is that you had, you felt like your libido, like you were in this relationship or you're not in a relationship, but your libidos felt like.

[00:19:34] Dr. Brighten: You and then you start an s S r I, uh, for example, one of the many medications I list in the book that can, you know, mess with your libido or maybe it's birth control cuz birth control loves to tank that testosterone along with your other hormones. It's just like we're replacing estrogen and then we're giving progestin, but not progesterone rumbo.

[00:19:53] Dr. Brighten: So we just like wipe them out. But there goes testosterone too. And so it's well documented that there are women who start the pill and then they have low desire. But maybe it's also something that, like you had a big loss in your life, like loss of a job, loss of a like spouse, loss of a dog, less of you know, something in your life and that's affecting you.

[00:20:13] Dr. Brighten: So there's a lot of things that can affect us, and if we identify that, like, okay, there's been a change, we wanna get at that root cause of like, there's been a change. But libido's one of those interesting ones because, We don't go around being like, oh, well I think my sleep is off cuz compared to my neighbor, or, I think my period because compared to my sister, like we don't do that.

[00:20:35] Dr. Brighten: Like my pa, I don't know about you, but like my patients do not come to my office and say like, oh, like, you know, I think I have a period problem because. My friend, like, you know, this was their experience. But libido is one that's always being compared, compared to the partner, compared to someone else, their life.

[00:20:50] Dr. Brighten: So the only thing we care about is like, what's been your baseline? What is your normal, and have you had a deviation and a change from your normal? There is a phenomenon known as asexuality, like where your people will, you know, they identify as ace, where they're like, I'm asexual. They're not interested in sex, but maybe they'll still have sex.

[00:21:09] Dr. Brighten: So this is, I talk about the book, like you should always just ask them, like, just because they identify one way, but that's a very small, very, very small subset of the population, like about 1%. And so it's not a situation where like people are just going around with like, You know, totally disinterested, um, in sex kind of situation.

[00:21:27] Dr. Brighten: A lot of the time it's more of like how we frame, think about and understand sexual desire, especially among women. The things I talk about in the book, they're, they can apply to men as well, but why I talk about it with women is because so often what medicine does, what society does, it says because the male, there's like the inferior version that comes with baby making accessories, like the female body over here, but compared to the male body and like this is how it is for men, therefore, like this is like how it should be for you as well.

[00:22:01] Dr. Brighten: Sexual desire is one of those. Also, the idea that vaginal penetration is the way to orgasm is also a myth. Like, and then, and then my idea really comes out of, again, taking it to that male standard. On 

[00:22:15] Christa: the note of male standard, there's some variation of this comment that happens like women are cock pots and men are toasters.

[00:22:23] Christa: I'm not sure if that's right. Right. Microwaves, something like that. 

[00:22:27] Dr. Brighten: Somebody literally just commented this on TikTok today. It was the first time I ever heard that. I was like, 

[00:22:32] Christa: yeah, yeah. How would you unpack that comment? Yeah. In perhaps truth or 

[00:22:36] Dr. Brighten: not. Yeah. Okay. So there's a couple aspects of this. So that, like the way I take that statement is so often of like, like the foreplay conversation, right?

[00:22:46] Dr. Brighten: Like research wise is like 14 minutes gotta go in before you're like, she might be able to orgasm. I always say like, give it 20, like give it 20. I'll like nice round numbers. Like give it 20 and then there's like no pressure around it. At least, you know, we hope there's no pressure around it. And for people listening.

[00:23:02] Dr. Brighten: Foreplay is sex and you can be completely satisfied with foreplay and that's okay. I don't like that. That term always, it puts a pressure there that like sex has to end in like one event, which is like that heteronormative sex that like everybody's been taught is like the standard. And I just think that's important because women are reaching orgasm through oral sex, manual stimulation, like all of these things that would be considered foreplay.

[00:23:28] Dr. Brighten: And then they're like, well, what's wrong with me? Because like once we get, you know, in the act and it's like, well no, like the majority of women need CLER stimulation and the minority are experiencing vaginal penetrated lead orgasms. So there's that piece, right? Like, because the average man can definitely orgasm way faster than the average woman that's in a couple on our own.

[00:23:51] Dr. Brighten: On our own. Uh, there was one research study being like, women can hit it in like four minutes. It's pretty quick. So the other part of that is the sexual desire component. And I think something that's so important for everyone to understand is that what happens in the bedroom is a result of everything that happened outside the bedroom.

[00:24:11] Dr. Brighten: And so the entirety of the day and the way it's stimulating your nervous system, the way you're feeling safe, your interactions with your partner, those things can be making it to where you can receive sexy signals or making it to where it's like, Not even interested at all. And so when people say like, oh, it's like a crockpot, it's because a meal isn't, like, it isn't like a 20 minute thing, right?

[00:24:35] Dr. Brighten: It is a like you are stewing all day to get to that meal. And in this example meal being sucks. And the microwave is like, it's gonna be like so simple. Like sometimes I remember that show back in the day, Malcolm in the middle, and the mom like came home with makeup on and the dad was like, Ooh, I'm so into you.

[00:24:54] Dr. Brighten: And she was like, oh my God. Like she felt bad because she was like, he's that like did it for him. And then like later in the episode, she like, Is cleaning the house. She's like, she's momming it like, like you probably mom it that I mom it. It's like I still am a pajamas on from today. I'm cleaning up the house and she like picks him up a wild cap and just puts it on her head backwards.

[00:25:12] Dr. Brighten: And her husband's like, who like, looks right at her. And I just, I always love that, that like always plays in my mind like, because I'm like, I just love that because it is actually like that for some then. And so it could be as simple as something like that. And he is now, like, he is turned on, he is aroused and he is ready to go.

[00:25:30] Dr. Brighten: And you can literally get to orgasm like within minutes if, if the kids are around and you're like, just like, we gotta be quick guys. So that's a bit of that, that whole conversation. So I'm gonna take a pause, but I do think it would be worth talking about like Rosemary, the son's like model of like, why do women initiate sex and like, and then these, you know, concepts of just like what responsive versus spontaneous desire.

[00:25:57] Dr. Brighten: And then getting into like, you know, there are some gender-based differences with this, but I said a lot, so, no, 

[00:26:03] Christa: I was, I was gonna go back to talking about testosterone, but you brought up this model of why do women initiate sex, why don't you just go with it and responsive versus funding. We'll definitely talk about feel free.

[00:26:13] Christa: Uh, testosterone. We'll, we'll come back, we'll come back. We'll come back. We'll just keep going with this. 

[00:26:17] Dr. Brighten: I know because whenever I talk about like all of this, this other aspect, people are like, just like, but what about the hormones? And I'm like, y'all always want that. Like, what about the hormones? What pill can I take?

[00:26:28] Dr. Brighten: Like next thing, like what's the female Viagra? And I'm like, the female Viagra is, uh, task sharing, shared responsibilities in the house, making her feel loved and supported, ensuring that you are tending to her emotional needs. Like that's the female Viagra. Can you put that in a pill? No. Um, but we could put it in sex ed and start teaching men so that they can be the partner they really do wanna be and get the sex, the in pleasure that they really want.

[00:26:55] Dr. Brighten: I love that idea. 

[00:26:56] Christa: Why are we, that's our video excerpt right there. That's it. That's, that's what people wanna hear. Go ahead, keep going. Yeah, 

[00:27:03] Dr. Brighten: so we were talking about, okay, so this model, responsive versus spontaneous desire. So spontaneous desire is what we see in the media and it is what we think of as men.

[00:27:14] Dr. Brighten: And I just wanna say that like that's also an issue that we put men in a box as well and we're like, oh, this is the way you should be. Because some of them also have responsive desire. So spontaneous desire, is that more of like, sex is like, sex is like your mo, right? Like it is like, yes. Yeah. It doesn't take much for your brain to receive that signal.

[00:27:34] Dr. Brighten: And so it's very easy for you to enter sex at like any, like, you know, point in terms of interactions for responsive desire. Like this is where you say like, things gotta get going before you get going. And so you're probably not gonna be the person who initiates sex. You're gonna be the person that's seen as the low sex drive person is what people often describe it as, whereas.

[00:27:57] Dr. Brighten: It's not that. It's that you need stimuli and the right kind of stimuli you like the context has to be right. So this is that whole model I was alluding to, that the context has to be right for you to be able to accept those messages. They gotta be the right kind of messages coming in as well, and you've got to be like things already moving ahead and what's really.

[00:28:19] Dr. Brighten: I think for anyone who's the other side of this who's the spontaneous desire and then you've got your partner that you're like, they're just never into sex on a daily basis, interacting with them physically, what you would probably consider sexual initiation without expectation, without that sex expectation.

[00:28:37] Dr. Brighten: So you are kissing them and it's just kissing and you are like cuddling them or you filter butt or whatever it is that you do and that's it. That's enough. That actually is a way to start like melting like barriers and easing like into it to where this person's like you're helping train their nervous system and like, You are helping them feel safe in the environment.

[00:28:59] Dr. Brighten: And most people, when they feel high pressure around sex, they don't wanna have sex. Like we see a erectile dysfunction. And then we also see women who are just like, I got a headache. Like I gotta, I gotta go. Because you can't really get a headache because you're starting to get stressed about like this expectation.

[00:29:14] Dr. Brighten: The other thing, if you, you're the partner that has more of the spontaneous desire to recognize is that having a conversation is really important with your, you know, quote, seemingly glow desire partner about that entire, you know, interaction that you have, the way that you feel, and then hearing them out about how they feel and what they need to be able to be comfortable to be aroused.

[00:29:38] Dr. Brighten: So I talk about this. In the book. And then I also talk about the dual model. And so this is the sexual, where sexual excitation and inhibition come from. And what the way the researchers describe it as sexual excitation is a gas pedal and sexual inhibition is a break. And, uh, this dual control model is, so I put a little quiz in there that comes from a very long intake form that you would do with someone, but it's so telling about how you operate.

[00:30:10] Dr. Brighten: Because some people, you know, they're, they're having sex, like when they're under stress Irvine sex, like, don't matter what. They're like, Ooh, somebody's listening. That doesn't bother them. Or they might even get more excited about it. But for people who have, you know, that will, could describe themselves as having low desire, sometimes they have more inhibition around that so they have more breaks that come on.

[00:30:32] Dr. Brighten: And so this model. Really shows us like how many different variables come in that sex is not just going into the bedroom and having sex, but there's like fear of somebody listening, fear of unintended pregnancy. Uh, you've had maybe something your partner said to you that's triggering something as well.

[00:30:47] Dr. Brighten: Like all of these things can operate as breaks that make it to where your partner's like then trying to put the moves on you and you're like, I just can't, like why can't I? And it's because. What they're trying to do is get your accelerators going. But the problem is, is we have to, we have to disengage those breaks.

[00:31:04] Dr. Brighten: And so I have a quiz in the book to understand it's by no means diagnostic. There's like, like I said, it's a huge intake form otherwise, but it comes from that dual con control model where, um, based on that research that came out at the Kinsey Institute, they were able to then make this basically scorecard for you to understand where do you rank in that.

[00:31:27] Dr. Brighten: Once you start to understand that, then that changes the conversation with your partner about how. You know, maybe it's something where you're like, Hey, I really like when X, Y, and Z happens. Like maybe like, I need the lights off. Okay, let's just choose that example. Like I've had three kids and I am feeling uncomfortable in my body, and what would make me feel really comfortable?

[00:31:50] Dr. Brighten: Could you make positive comments about me during the day? And then when we're in the bedroom, I just need all the lights off. Like I need all the lights off so I can be present and I won't be in my head and I won't be worrying about stretch marks and things like that. Now there are body positivity people out there that would be like, no, like turn the lights, own that, da da.

[00:32:06] Dr. Brighten: I'm like, too much, too fast, too much, too fast. Sometimes that's just like where we have to start and turn off one of those breaks, but also one of our sensations, which is sight, so that we can put more attention into other sensations, like one of the most important ones being touch. 

[00:32:22] Christa: There was, I had to make some notes on some of the things that I really pulled out from that, which the first one was you were talking about how it's everything, all the stimulus throughout the day, which we, we kind of know, but we're like, yes.

[00:32:34] Christa: The thing that I liked about it was when you are kissing without expectation or hugging or snuggling or whatever, sending this messaging to the nervous system, so I always light up when we start talking about the nervous system because this is true. If we're not talking about. If we're taking the word sex off of the table in general is that everything relates to how the brain feels.

[00:32:55] Christa: And if the brain, yeah, isn't feeling safe, like if you can't create that environment outside of sex, then how is it gonna be created in sex? And so of course the brain is not gonna feel safe during that time. So I think that that is such a thing to underline. The next thing that I noted there was just this understanding of self a little bit there.

[00:33:13] Christa: So you giving some tangible descriptions or of like, you know, I actually am uncomfortable with the lights on, or I am uncomfortable with this, or this is what I'm going on, but I have wasn't able to verbalize until you gave me that example. Right? Or just some way of someone's understanding themself helps them understand in this relationship.

[00:33:29] Christa: Now what I was wondering about is that with sex, You know, there's different aspects to relationships and I feel like sex is a probably kind of a significant piece of relationship, and I wonder if you have anything to say or stats or any research that comes up around if your sex life is under burden, how does that impact marriages or satisfaction in marriages, et cetera.

[00:33:59] Christa: What's 

[00:33:59] Dr. Brighten: interesting, so you'll see some research where people don't rate sex as being as important in a relationship, and then you will definitely see research that says like if there is a mismatch in terms of satisfaction, then there can be marital strife. I wanna be really clear that there is nothing that's a pass for cheating.

[00:34:21] Dr. Brighten: And when I talk about this stuff, the number of men who come in, it's so sad to me. I'm raising two boys and I'm like, I'm, I was like having a con. One of 'em is only, at least not even two, and you are fierce. Mom here, I'm like having conversations with them already about like, don't be like self-centered and selfish, but men are always so quick to be like, well, if you are not like serving your man, then he's gonna have to go out and find it somewhere else.

[00:34:51] Dr. Brighten: And I'm like, no. Don't even work that way. Doesn't work that way. If you like, no, you need to do more work at home, then like something else is going on and that's not a free pass. And you are also coercing somebody into sex, which is not consent when you are making threats at them that this is going to happen.

[00:35:11] Dr. Brighten: And this is a big problem. We're not teaching consent in the majority of states. It's like less than 10 states have anything about consent. We're even seeing the C d C came out and we're like, oh wow. Like the rates of teen girls being depressed is like increasing and like, and, and telling 'em all this stuff.

[00:35:29] Dr. Brighten: And then they're like, yeah, we should talk to girls about this is the C'S recommendation. If cdc, if you're listening, you suck. Okay. Because their recommendation is that we should teach girls about how to navigate sex and we should teach girls about consent. Really? You don't think that you should teach like the perpetrators of assault about consent?

[00:35:47] Dr. Brighten: Because sometimes there are situations where men find themselves being the trauma inducers and they didn't mean to cuz they didn't understand consent, they didn't understand anything about it. And not giving anyone who commits sexual assault a free pass. But we do have to recognize that like there's a huge issue here and like we're not.

[00:36:10] Dr. Brighten: Teaching it. We're not teaching it to, you know, what people would say are children, but these children are sexually active so we need to be having these conversations. So that's a bit of a tangent cuz I get like really heated. There was like actually this man who commented to me like last week and he said to me like, women should just have sex anyways.

[00:36:28] Dr. Brighten: We don't all like taking medicine and sometimes medicine tastes bad, but we just swallow it and do it anyways because it's good for our bodies. And I was like, did you just compare, like being intimate with you as swallowing a nasty medication? Which is also, is only supposed to be temporary, sir. Um, but like, did you really just say like, suck it up and do it anyways?

[00:36:51] Dr. Brighten: Like what pleasure is there for her? So anyhow, that has been a little bit of a tangent. The thing that I do definitely want people to understand is that there is always so much pressure around the orgasm. I wrote a whole chapter on it. I think orgasms are great because they can literally help you live long and healthy lives.

[00:37:09] Dr. Brighten: They are so good for your hormones and your immune system and like, yay orgasms, and they just, they feel so good. So like we all want them. Right. What is so interesting is that when you ask people, when they do these surveys, by the way, like people in medicine are always like, surveys are not very a good research.

[00:37:26] Dr. Brighten: We know, but how are you gonna get data from people about sex? Like, it was like, what? What are we gonna do here? There are some limitations, but when you ask people. What leads to sexual satisfaction? What makes you feel sexually satisfied? The orgasm is not rated as the highest thing. It is empathy. It is connection.

[00:37:44] Dr. Brighten: It is intimacies, and this is like all genders. What is this telling you? It's about that connection, that intimacy. It is not about just. Like swallow your medicine and just do it right? Like no. Like it is about so much more than that. And why this is so important. There are things that are considered like sexual dysfunction.

[00:38:03] Dr. Brighten: I'm doing air quotes if people cannot see me because I don't like saying people are dysfunctional, but like when there is like a erectile dysfunction or somebody just like had a baby, right? And like things are like, I mean, I don't know about anyone else, but like I call my vagina like a hot mess. And people online were like, that's such negative language and you shouldn't talk like that.

[00:38:23] Dr. Brighten: And I'm like, I can talk about my body however I wanna talk about my body. Okay. And secondly, it is literally hot with inflammation and there is discharge and blood like mess. Like it's like I'm not being like, damn, it's just like a hot mess, like a dumpster fire. I'm being like, it is swollen. It is hot.

[00:38:41] Dr. Brighten: Things are messy. I don't feel comfortable. Like literal words here. So with that though, that like might be a timer, maybe you've had a surgery or like something else is going on and you're feeling like. Well, we can't achieve orgasm, therefore we can't have a quality sex life, no friend. Like again, sex is not just putting a penis in a vagina.

[00:39:01] Dr. Brighten: Sex is so much more than that, and there's so many other ways to bring pleasure. I. 

[00:39:07] Christa: So I wanna go talk about orgasms in a moment, but I'm gonna circle back to, we were talking about desire and low libido, and you mentioned that estrogen and testosterone are the superstars of sex hormones for libido. And so, yeah, I wanna touch base a little bit about low testosterone in women.

[00:39:26] Christa: You mentioned birth control as a source of low test because I think it's okay to say. Assessing causes and reasons for fatigue is a reasonable root cause for looking at low libido as well, right? Yeah. If you're exhausted at the end of the day, of course. Why would you have libido? Why would you like want to?

[00:39:43] Christa: Yeah, like that's a 

[00:39:44] Dr. Brighten: lot of women with autoimmune disease report low libido. A lot of women with hypothyroidism, the women with P C O S, because an ovulatory cycles are also linked to low libido. Like so this low sexual desire and sexual satisfaction. It can be like a lot of things, just like you were saying and that we need to assess.

[00:40:04] Dr. Brighten: I jumped in there before I That's okay. You finish your question 

[00:40:07] Christa: now. So low testosterone, besides birth control and for me I see a lot of trauma or stress history causing low testosterone. Anything else that you wanna bring up causing low testosterone for people to think about? Cuz it, it feels like a.

[00:40:19] Christa: Like a dark cloud following your own if your testosterone is low, I think. Yes. 

[00:40:23] Dr. Brighten: So I'm so glad that you said that because it's always the thing people jump to first is like, wow, I have low sexual desire. I must, when I'm like, well, you should test, people get really frustrated with me, and I mean, you don't have just low libido when you have low testosterone.

[00:40:36] Dr. Brighten: If you have low testosterone, you're also going to, yeah, fill that dark cloud cuz you're gonna probably gonna feel depressed. Lack of motivation, lack of ability to hold boundaries, filling like you're really easy to cry. So there's all this like mental emotional component with it. Then there's like our body composition changing, loss of muscle mass leads to fat, um, you know, infiltration, plumping up of those fat cells, especially if estrogen can be stimulating.

[00:41:01] Dr. Brighten: And so you'll see body composition changes. It's so important for people to understand that testosterone isn't just about sex. Testosterone is about so many other things, including bone health, immune system function. This is why if you're having inflammation and you're having like immune chaos, that can be impacting your testosterone and your testosterone can be impacting your immune system.

[00:41:23] Dr. Brighten: So one thing is that if you are inflamed for whatever reason, maybe you have a gut infection, maybe autoimmune disease. Maybe your diet isn't where it should be. Maybe you engage in really poor sleep habits. Like there can be a lot of reasons that we're inflamed. That inflammation being up can cause your body to convert testosterone to estrogen and estrogen's great until it isn't.

[00:41:47] Dr. Brighten: Every hormone's great until it isn't. And so with estrogen being up like we're gonna be like cranky and moody and feeling bloated and just like not good in our bodies. It's like if testosterone's up around ovulation, you like fill yourself, you're like, oh my God, I look so good. I feel so good. Like everything's so amazing.

[00:42:04] Dr. Brighten: It passes a point and you're like, it's the opposite now. And also I'm hypercritical of my partner and everyone around me. Like I hate people. Like I'm not done today. So that is one aspect that often gets overlooked. And then endocrine disruptors, I touch on this in the book, that they can't disrupt your ability to be making hormones using hormones.

[00:42:26] Dr. Brighten: And these are the same ones that are affecting. Our cycles, our fertility, our thyroid function, our brain health endocrine disruptors are really like, they're no joke. And for, for the longest time, I feel like just people, it's not, people in general haven't been listening. There are some people who are like, rah raj, cheerleader of the corporations who are like, prove that I'm gonna die from it before we care about it.

[00:42:48] Dr. Brighten: Like every other countries in the world. Like prove that it's sick, like ne around with this. But for a long time, I think the medical community, and even still, there's so much pushback. Like I talked about the research coming out, showing that men have about 50% of sperm that their grandfathers had. And like as a species, like there's uh, you know, researchers who are telling us that as a species we should be put on the endangered species list because of where things are headed, because of endocrine disruptors.

[00:43:16] Dr. Brighten: And you still see doctors out there, like I was told, like, you're fear mongering and it's not that big of a deal. And I'm like, when is it going to be a bit, a bit like, when is it gonna be enough? Like, I'm sorry, the entire planet. Is in chaos and is struggling, and you're like, no, it's not so bad. I'm like, where do you live?

[00:43:35] Dr. Brighten: Can I be in that bubble? Is it nice? Mm-hmm. 

[00:43:38] Christa: Yeah. I have been seeing, I forgot that I've been seeing a lot of that lately. Like there's a lot of people talking about how sperm is down in men and if we keep going at this rate in 10 years where, I mean I don't know what infer what fertility rates look like currently.

[00:43:53] Christa: You probably do, but it's a concern. And on the note of, and you can jump in and anywhere here, but since we just talked a little bit about improving testosterone, if that's low, cuz that can be such a big thing for low libido. One of the next questions that I think will tie in nicely here is that there's an epidemic of low progesterone for women and your energy and how well you feel is not good.

[00:44:13] Christa: So let's talk a little bit about, cuz that's like the big golden egg is like everyone would love more progesterone. So let's talk about what it looks like to improve progesterone. 

[00:44:21] Dr. Brighten: Yeah. Okay. So, God, I love progesterone even though I was like, yeah, it's like gonna like. Block you in the bedroom. Um, but if you don't have enough of it, you are gonna like karate chop your partner out of the bedroom.

[00:44:34] Dr. Brighten: Like, you're gonna be like, Hiya, you're out. Like gone. Because without enough progesterone, we've got that estrogen stimulation, that cranky pants coming back. Uh, we have all, maybe you haven't friend, if you have not ever had PMs, please comment below. But I've definitely had PMs where I'm like, so just ragy angry in my body.

[00:44:52] Dr. Brighten: Like hiding out from my family, being like, why am I so angry? I'm like, ah, ah, you're gonna start your period and you've been pushing too hard. So stressing not getting enough sleep. Those are two things that like, if we know that tank test, uh, that progesterone, just turn it around. Turn it around, okay, you gotta get always sleep.

[00:45:11] Dr. Brighten: We've gotta handle our stress. I feel like, um, every time a doctor says that you're just like, Oh my god. What? Like, how like, right, because everybody's like, get your stress down and it's like there's, okay, pick and choose what stress can you get down, get that down. But really how do we make you more resilient?

[00:45:26] Dr. Brighten: How do we help? Like sleep? So we go right back to the sleep. That's gonna help you so much with that. But also like, you know, doing the deep breathing, doing the meditations, doing the mindfulness, all that's gonna help you in the bedroom as well. Orgasms are an act of mindfulness. So friend worth doing all of that is really gonna be beneficial to progesterone as is getting with community, community that builds you up, that makes you feel good, that doesn't leave you depleted.

[00:45:49] Dr. Brighten: Those things can help. Increasing vitamin C in your diet, eating more vitamin b6, you may even do well to start bringing in at least 30 milligrams of vitamin b6. You know, when it comes to vitamin C, depending on especially what's going on with the adrenal glands, cuz they're so concentrated in vitamin C, we might need like up to 4,000 milligrams in divided doses of vitamin C coming in.

[00:46:11] Dr. Brighten: I like, we'll often see stuff where people are like, oh, like vitamin C is like not that important. Like, you know, we don't see scurvy anymore. I'm like, yeah, duh. Cuz we're not pirates, yo. Like we do eat our citrus fruit. But like why? And I'm sure like this makes you just like inside as well. Like why is it that like the bar to which we're being measured against is like extreme deficiency and we're not talking about like being optimal.

[00:46:36] Dr. Brighten: So anyhow, maybe in 

[00:46:37] Christa: the future, maybe not. Maybe, I 

[00:46:40] Dr. Brighten: don't know. Oh God. I hope 


[00:46:42] Christa: our lifetime for, for, for those that want, I mean, the people that are listening to the people that want to know. So then I guess you, we do what we, we can, so let me, yeah, go. None of these are super short questions. They could all be tangents, but I've got a handful here, so, we'll, I'll call them after fire.

[00:46:58] Christa: I'll try to, and we'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. Okay. These are ones that pop up a lot. What do you wanna say about night sweats and cycling? Women? 

[00:47:05] Dr. Brighten: Okay. Night sweats. One or two things. Okay. Here's what I ask. Do you wake up and you're hot and you're sweaty and you're hungry and you're irritable and you, maybe you even feel like you're in a panic if that, if it's more than just hot and sweaty, we're looking at a Dorito glands, and that's a good idea to skip that intermittent fasting, which like not eating from dinner to breakfast.

[00:47:25] Dr. Brighten: Everybody is intermittent fasting. And it's great for your gut and great for just about everyone except those people who are having blood sugar instability. And so, You are the kind of person who wants to ditch that idea that you shouldn't have a snack before bed and maybe have something light. So like if you're going to bed at like nine or 10, maybe around eight o'clock, I actually talk about in beyond the pill, an upgraded golden milk, which is having turmeric.

[00:47:48] Dr. Brighten: You put some light. Ski in it or whatever fat you wanna put in there. Puts up collagen in there. A little bit of honey. Now we've got fat protein and, and why collagen is because it's higher in glycine and that can help you sleep. And then a little bit of honey got a little bit of sugar coming in that can help sustain your blood sugar through the night so that you're not getting fat waking issue going on.

[00:48:10] Dr. Brighten: And I know there's people out there being like, you should never like eat something that close to bed. It can affect your sleep. It's true. It can affect your deep sleep, however. You're already waking up, you're already getting your sleep affected, so we need to do this. And then if you are just waking up and you're hot and you're sweaty, are you like a day or two before your period?

[00:48:27] Dr. Brighten: Because that could be just that like estrogen's playing with you and playing with your thermostat. And that's like unless you have other symptoms of perimenopause, I'm not worried about that unless this is like extreme, like drenching the sheets. So that was like kind of a tangent. But the other one just to rule out is like, is it perimenopause?

[00:48:44] Dr. Brighten: Everyone's like, I had this menopause symptom. I'm like, no, that's perimenopause friend. That could last a decade. So let's get on top of that. And that is where you just like wake up hot, sweaty, sometimes drenched in the sheets. And that is because your ovaries are deciding that your time has come, they're going to stop functioning.

[00:49:00] Christa: Well, that is one of the next questions is do you have any advice to women that are transitioning to perimenopause of supporting their body? 

[00:49:08] Dr. Brighten: Take care of your adrenals. Absolutely. Take care of your adrenals. There's so much that I could [email protected] I have a bunch of articles on perimenopause, and I definitely take care of your adrenal glands because once you get into menopause, you no longer have ovaries making hormones.

[00:49:23] Dr. Brighten: You're gonna lean on your adrenal glands. They're gonna make D H E A D H E A then goes into your testosterone and your estrogen, and don't be afraid of the progesterone because you know, when it comes to bioidentical progesterone or just getting progesterone hormone replacement therapy, it can be so, so helpful for your mood.

[00:49:41] Dr. Brighten: I mean, When women are like very menopause and menopause, like the rate of antidepressant, like psych meds doubles the use progesterone is helping with your emotional memory. It's helping with the myelin sheath in your brain. It is helping with your mood and just showing up and loving the people in your life.

[00:49:59] Dr. Brighten: And so there's been a lot of fear mongering around hormone replacement therapy based on research that wasn't great. And so talk to your provider, have an individualized discussion because progesterone alone can totally like be a game changer for people. It's gonna help you sleep at night too. Mm-hmm.

[00:50:16] Christa: What do you wanna say about subclinical thyroid? So context being that a lot of times people have sluggish thyroid symptoms and the blood work doesn't reflect that. And this is in, I'll just give the context that, you know, probably a week or two ago, we did some great episodes about thyroid, but this is a passionary of mine, a subclinical thyroid.

[00:50:35] Christa: So do you have anything you wanna say? Mm-hmm. About this? 

[00:50:37] Dr. Brighten: Mm-hmm. So one thing I'll say about subclinical thyroid, thyroid in general, it's one snapshot in time when we take that blood. So this is important to recognize, is that sometimes by the time we catch the blood, like the body is shifting, the body is compensating, the body is doing things.

[00:50:50] Dr. Brighten: And that doesn't mean you don't need to support your thyroid, but it does mean it's not time to just jump on a medication. In fact, if you're filling that way and the labs are like not right, right there, it can sometimes feel like this like wmp moment where you're like, well, now what? Now we've got time.

[00:51:06] Dr. Brighten: We've got time, let's get in there. Let's do some work around. And so, you know, for me if it's, if we've got thyroid issues starting, I am like. Even if the antibodies are not positive, because we know the majority of cases of hypothyroidism will be due to Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis and that they're not, the antibodies are not always positive.

[00:51:28] Dr. Brighten: They will not always be positive in people. We'd have to actually just like go biopsy the heck out of the thyroid to know for sure, and that's invasive. Nobody wants that. I'm like, approach it as this, as if it is Hashimoto, start doing that healing. Take a look at the gut of what's going on. Make sure that you're getting your nutrients that you need.

[00:51:44] Dr. Brighten: Make sure you're not binging on ion. Like some people, I know someone's gonna come from me because they're like one of the people that's like, you're nu take 300 milligrams of, uh, you know, iodine. Like something y ranges they tell people and I'm like, don't do that. Because you will end up in a thyroid crisis if you do have autoimmune thyroid disease and not enough selenium coming in.

[00:52:02] Dr. Brighten: So definitely start working on all the thing ways that you can optimize your thyroid health. And as we were talking about endocrine disruptors, ditch the commercial bread. You probably wanna try going gluten-free and just seeing how that affects you would ditch the commercial bread. That's brominated.

[00:52:18] Dr. Brighten: Check out your furniture. Are you sleeping on a bed that's soaked in flame retardant? Are your children in flame retardant clothes? Are your couches? How often are you vacuuming? How often are you opening up your house? As somebody who has huy? Motos, like this matters. Okay? Because those halogens that are in the flame retardants, they're gonna compete with iodine and that can definitely affect your health.

[00:52:41] Dr. Brighten: And we have known decades in dogs and cats before we ever knew in humans that these were affecting their thyroid. 

[00:52:48] Christa: Yeah. 300 milligrams. Zin is a whole, whole, whole hell of a lot. But check that episode 

[00:52:52] Dr. Brighten: from a couple. I'm seeing those like crazy recommendations where they're like, oh, drink this whole bottle of kelp and like do this whole thing.

[00:53:00] Dr. Brighten: And then you're like adding it up and like 300 milligrams is like an insane amount. Yeah, but you're adding it. That would, I'm like, oh my God, that would be so bad. But when you're adding it up, you're just like, we are now edging into milligrams, friend. Like this is, this is a lot. 

[00:53:13] Christa: I was gonna say something about that.

[00:53:16] Christa: What I heard there was, there's a lot of opportunity to love on, this is how I talk about love on your adrenals, love on your thyroid. Maybe work with somebody to help you dial that in. Instead of doing super willingly stuff, I would say. Okay. What do you wanna say about on the heels of thyroid? What do you wanna say about hair loss?

[00:53:33] Christa: Because there's a lot of complaint in the last three years of more hair loss. We have post covid stuff. We've got what other thing? Talk to us about what hormone stuff is impacting hair loss ebbs and flows for people. Geez. 

[00:53:45] Dr. Brighten: Oh, also, I just wanna say I lost so much hair post covid, like Goops were coming out.

[00:53:50] Dr. Brighten: It came back. It's even longer now. It's amazing. I'm so happy. So those kinds of things, like if it's after an illness, like after having a baby, those are usually temporary, but we all freak out a little bit because it's scary to lose so much hair. When it comes to hair loss, one of the main culprits is going to be dihydro testosterone.

[00:54:09] Dr. Brighten: So testosterone gets converted via five alpha red reductase enzyme into dihydro testosterone, or D H T D H T leads to the miniaturization of the hair follicle. And so what happens is the hair gets smaller, smaller, smaller, thinner, thinner, thinner, and then that fad follicle's done follicle out, and now you've permanently lost that hair.

[00:54:33] Dr. Brighten: This is permanent hair loss. So with that, if your doctor test, uh, testosterone, they're probably not gonna catch it. If they test free testosterone, they have a better chance of seeing hyperandrogenism. So too much testosterone. But that is that d h t, that's really problematic. So working on optimizing the five alpha red reductase, the enzyme, this is one place where like Saha Meadow works really well.

[00:54:57] Dr. Brighten: People are always like, that's for men's prostates. I'm like, no, it works on that enzyme. So that's why I can help with that. But like, it's, it's very, very helpful. The other thing is making sure that like you're getting enough zinc, cuz that's gonna help with testosterone as well. And then optimizing your blood sugar, especially if you're someone with polycystic ovarian syndrome, can go a long way with that.

[00:55:17] Dr. Brighten: And then there's lots of topical things you can do. Like rosemary is one. Like just go to the store, get some rosemary. Simmer it down and apply that to your scalp. Like you can literally spray that on your scalp and do a massage. That is something that can't help. It's been shown in the research to be beneficial.

[00:55:33] Dr. Brighten: And then if you're out of your childbearing years and you're experiencing hair loss, you know, taking the route with medications and talking to your provider about that, a really common one they'll use in women is spiral and a lactone. But there's other topicals and different things that you can use as well.

[00:55:47] Dr. Brighten: And so it just depends on like where you're at with all of that. But that is definitely the main culprit when it comes to hair loss. And if you are like my thyroid, my testosterone's fine, I'm getting ahead of myself there, my testosterone's fine, then it might be your thyroid. So this is where working up your hormones is really important.

[00:56:03] Christa: So I have a cute story. It's more cute for me, but a little cute for you too. I was hum back from a coffee date this morning to prep for this interview and I walked by a bag on the floor and your book was in the top of it because my daughter has, um, for her senior capstone project is doing a, a project around.

[00:56:24] Christa: Menstruation tracking, et cetera. So the, yeah, the concept is like know the flow period problems in menstruation education. So she presented to some middle school girls the other day, and so she's reading all of my women's health books. So your book, your face was just like staring at me out of this bag and I thought, that is really cute.

[00:56:39] Christa: So I text her and said, do you have any questions from this author? And she's like, oh my gosh. So many. And so I thought this was really kind of adorable and awesome cuz obviously I'm kind of proud that she went from, I have horrendous periods to look at the cool stuff I can do around this to let me share this with other people because no one I'm around knows anything about this either.

[00:56:59] Christa: And they think that this is the amazing only option. It's pretty cool paint maker. Yeah, I love it. I think it's really cool because you know, she came from not a great place and it was like, I'm not gonna do this for you, so we'll see where it's at. Yeah. So she's now surrounded by, you know, friends and classmates, et cetera, and they're graduating and so there's three pillars.

[00:57:18] Christa: So what she shares with girls, which is tracking lifestyle stuff and conscientious nourishment, so tlc. Mm-hmm. So that's a little bit of the context. So here are some of her questions because she's talking to girls about tracking. Her question is, do you have any comments about teens trying to approach tracking and fertility awareness method?

[00:57:38] Christa: Which I was like, hmm. Sorry, I was, yeah, it was just fascinating. Like, oh, these are mature questions. Thank you. 

[00:57:45] Dr. Brighten: Yeah, so I think fertility awareness method is something that we should be teaching in sex ed because it's a great way to know your body. Now this is where parents are like, are you saying we should use this for birth control?

[00:57:56] Dr. Brighten: No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying know your body, because what fertility awareness does is that, so one with the highest efficacy, it's that you're gonna take your basal body temperature, you're gonna be able to track that, see when an ovulation happens, and correlate the signs and symptoms of your body.

[00:58:12] Dr. Brighten: And why I think this is so important for people to understand is because we're taught myths and these still perpetuate, are perpetuated to today, like. That you can get pregnant anytime in your cycle, which is not true and leaves a lot of women struggling and heartbroken when they're on their fertility journey only to find out that everybody they ever trusted for knowledge lied to them, including their doctor.

[00:58:32] Dr. Brighten: That's problematic. So with this understanding like how many days is your period, what are those symptoms like? And then going into like when is ovulation? What do you feel like around ovulation? What is happening in your underwear? It's not disgusting, it's just fertile cervical mucus. And then seeing that progesterone temperature rise afterwards and seeing like when does it dip down and how do the things that you do in your life like impact that?

[00:58:57] Dr. Brighten: I think it is a great way to really start getting in tune with your body and the more you're in tune with your body, the more you can answer the question of like, is this normal for yourself? Now when it comes for to specifically for pregnancy prevention? It's a tricky one because as we're talking here, like this is like the before twenties, they're not fully mature and that is just the biology of the situation.

[00:59:22] Dr. Brighten: And so those hormones when they are getting hot and bothered, can override the best of intentions. And so why this is important is that the only way fertility awareness method is something that is going to have high efficacy as if you follow the rules. And one of the main rules is. No sex that involves sperm ait, like being permitted to access the uterus during that fertile window.

[00:59:47] Dr. Brighten: So sperm live five days, you ovulate for one. And so that's using barrier methods or doing something else during that time. And I think it's possible, but I think that we just have to be cautious with teens around this because again, we have to go back to the fact that there's like not conversations about consent and all of these other things with their partners that are happening in their own homes and even in school as well.

[01:00:14] Dr. Brighten: Does that make sense? Totally. I hope 

[01:00:16] Christa: that answers your question. So there's a couple more, and this is gonna take us back to your 2019 days with beyond the Pill some more. Yeah. So the next question was how do we approach doctors about not just prescribing birth control for everything? Is her question because it's the toted answer to all female.

[01:00:34] Christa: Concerns. 

[01:00:35] Dr. Brighten: Absolutely. I know, right? And like, it doesn't even matter what age you are. They're like, oh, you just started your period pill. Oh you're perimenopausal pill. And you're like, you're really smart and I know you can do 

[01:00:45] Christa: better than this. So yeah, like thanks for helping us with that progesterone epidemic.

[01:00:50] Christa: Just, yeah, passive aggressiveness. 

[01:00:52] Dr. Brighten: It's okay. So the first thing is asking your provider, like, you know, I hear you that the pill is one option. What are my other options? Hopefully they have an answer they might not. That tells you right away. This is like, you've met the end of your relationship with them in terms of solving this problem.

[01:01:10] Dr. Brighten: And that's okay. That's okay. It's nothing against them. And like not everybody's for everyone. Right. So asking about your options. The other thing is that if you feel like you really have something going on, so like the checklist in is this normal, you can go through like get that data and you can say to them like, I have X, Y, and z.

[01:01:27] Dr. Brighten: I am wondering could it possibly be this? Now it's, it's stupid how you have to be like very humble and wondering because doctors have like such big egos sometimes, but you gotta approach it that way if you're gonna be successful. But just saying like, I wonder if it could be this. And if they're like, no, the question you ask is, What have you done to rule that out?

[01:01:47] Dr. Brighten: What have you done to rule out anything, like any possible condition that's here? They should have an answer. And if they're like, no, what have you done to to rule this out? Oh, we haven't done anything. Okay, then what do you think this is like? What's your diagnosis and what have you done to rule that in or rule that out?

[01:02:03] Dr. Brighten: Asking those questions prompts them to have to go into what doctors do, which is like go through an algorithm, do your differential, where like what could this possibly be? And if you're asking for specific tests and then they're telling you like, yeah, I'm not gonna do those, then the magic phrase is, I appreciate it if you could document that I've requested these tests in my chart and your reason for not giving me these tests, not ordering them, because I'm going to be requesting my chart notes when I take these to the next provider.

[01:02:32] Dr. Brighten: This is not you trying to bully or threaten them. This is you articulating what the next steps have to be. That will sometimes be enough to give them a pause to where they're like, oh, wait a minute. I should rule these things, rule them out. And also I'm gonna now write this down for another colleague to see that I denied these tests and I may have missed something.

[01:02:53] Dr. Brighten: The number of women with P C O S or endometriosis that finally got the testing and someone to listen by using this language is staggering. And these are women who are, you know, P C O S is like, you know, you're gonna go several clinicians, endometriosis, you might go over a decade like just getting a diagnosis.

[01:03:12] Dr. Brighten: And so this is how to talk to your provider to make sure that they are thinking beyond like, I just gotta get this person out in the next like seven minutes. Mm-hmm. 

[01:03:23] Christa: On a similar but different note. So that was kind of talking to the provider, sh who should be the partner or the advocate for the patient.

[01:03:30] Christa: This next or last question is really, she was feeling a little dissuaded or discouraged by her online. So I don't resonate with this because I don't have this online. This isn't how I've curated my online feed. But she said her online feed feels like she feels a lot of negativity on social media. People persuading people to go on birth control for everything saying nutrition is quackery because birth control works effectively.

[01:03:57] Christa: And so I think she is looking for some guidance on what do I do with these people? Maybe they're just gonna be stuck like that. And this is again, just relationship stuff and yeah, this is the bullying that's online and people having their opinions and it's really easy to like kind of yell at people behind a, behind a little screen.

[01:04:12] Christa: So I feel like you have a ton of experience in this. What would you say? Oh 

[01:04:17] Dr. Brighten: well I think that, you know, in our teens and our twenties, we thought we had all of the answers and we thought we knew what was best. And don't worry about those people. Like, I would just say bless 'em and pass 'em. Like just dism your space of people coming at you like that.

[01:04:32] Dr. Brighten: And don't worry, they'll be coming back around by their forties when like the medical system has like not served them with this whole dogma of nutrition is nothing like, here's what always like really baffles me. Okay? Like, how is it that you can be a doctor and you can understand that when you eat something that something becomes you, it literally becomes part of your body and think the way to eat.

[01:04:59] Dr. Brighten: Doesn't matter for health. How, like, how, how do you even like write? Like I don't even, I don't, I can't even begin. Yeah. To understand. Just on a different planet. Just on a different planet. This is the thing that, uh, yeah. Right. So this is the thing though, that I often ask myself when I'm dealing with providers who are like, oh, nutrition doesn't do anything.

[01:05:18] Dr. Brighten: I ask myself, does this person have any education in nutrition? No. What are they giving me? An uneducated opinion. This is just an uneducated opinion. Just because they have credentials doesn't mean that they are educated on what they're speaking about. Right? Like, they'll come in with the same thing and being like, supplements don't do anything and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

[01:05:37] Dr. Brighten: And I'm like, how about prenatals? Oh, well, prenatals are exception. Why are they exception? I thought you just said that. They're that multivitamins were just expensive. Urine and poop and like that. What's a prenatal? Prenatal is a multivitamin. So tell me more about this. Well, we have research, uh, like, Hmm, yeah.

[01:05:51] Dr. Brighten: Like, are you not catching the disconnect here? So it's like, you know, they got all worried about like, you know, don't take any supplements. I'm like, why don't you educate people and not taking crappy supplements? Because those definitely exist out there. That'll be really helpful by way many of which are like made by the same pharmaceutical company that you have no problem like prescribing their drug.

[01:06:10] Dr. Brighten: Whoa. Like look at that. Um, so the other thing too about people who are like, oh, the pill is just the answer for everything, that might be the answer for them. Great. I. Great. They get to live their life, they get to make decisions for them, and we just support people in making their own decisions for themselves.

[01:06:25] Dr. Brighten: And just like, don't be hesitant to use block buttons. I feel like I'm in my forties and I don't use a block button enough, but like definitely with my kids, like once they get online, I'm gonna be like, you block everybody. Like what they say? You block 'em. You block 'em because they're bad for your mental health.

[01:06:41] Dr. Brighten: And I will tell you that straight up people who are well, Who are mentally well, who are physically well, those are the people online leaving negative comments and talking smack. I mean even, I don't even care if they're a doctor. I see these doctors stitching people and being horrible humans to them, and I'm like, how can you be a doctor and like your job is first do no harm and you just mentally degraded this person.

[01:07:09] Dr. Brighten: Like you definitely harmed them because that why I was stopping misinformation. Were you or were you like, because when you're using personal attacks and you're saying things like, oh well, we'll see, like. I literally saw this provider stitch this woman. She was saying like, I don't take prenatals. Like I don't believe in taking prenatal.

[01:07:26] Dr. Brighten: I personally feel like prenatals are in insurance and, uh, I would never skip taking prenatal in a pregnancy because I know like I have a nutrition degree and I know I can't hit it every single day. Right. Yeah. Um, so I don't personally agree that she's saying that and it went viral and she had a lot of following and.

[01:07:45] Dr. Brighten: You know, all of that. And like the, the way to approach that conversation is like, Hey, you know, there's a way to approach it with kindness. Like, tell me more about this. Or like, here's reasons why you might wanna take a prenatal. Like I really thought like that was the video he was gonna do. He was like, yeah, we'll see when her baby is like dead and blah, blah, blah.

[01:08:03] Dr. Brighten: And I was like, With pregnant woman and you are a obgyn, you deliver babies and you work with pregnant women. And you would say that to somebody like, what is wrong with you? Like that is someone who is not well. Like something is absolutely wrong with you. Like you need to get a day off and you need to take, you need to take some mental health support because something has happened in your life that you dehumanized somebody like that.

[01:08:30] Dr. Brighten: So I think it's just really important for everybody listening. If anybody in your life is like bullying you, tearing you down, treating you in that way, something is wrong with them, that they have been able to dehumanize you enough to attack you, that's not right. They're not well and they're not your responsibility.

[01:08:50] Dr. Brighten: Not your responsibility. The majority of time people are gonna be hateful to you. It ain't even about you. 

[01:08:56] Christa: Yeah. Do your best to put up your walls and then just eliminate it from your environment. 

[01:09:00] Dr. Brighten: Yeah. That's my rant. Unlike teen mental health, but like everybody's mental health 

[01:09:04] Christa: online, everyone. I mean, sometimes I get something, kids ever go on that way.

[01:09:07] Christa: Sometimes I get some comments and I'm like, Ugh, I thought about that one way too long and I should've just taken care of it. Like on totally on one. You know? It's just because I'm a human and so I have, I do a feeling and so, you know, but it's a, it's okay. Let for podcasts over Instagram. I'll just say that.

[01:09:22] Christa: Yeah. 

[01:09:22] Dr. Brighten: Okay. Like, but let me say this, like I talk to, I've done, I've done a lot of podcasts talking to a lot of like influencers with their blue check marks and millions of followers. There is not a single person that I have talked to that doesn't tell me that like, you know what? I will get hundreds of positive comments, but that one horrible comment, I can't kick it.

[01:09:43] Dr. Brighten: It'll stay in my mind. I know people that have like been publishing books way before me. They're like, I was talking about how I read my reviews cause I wanna write better books. They were like, stupid. Don't read, read your reviews, never read your reviews because like, and, and honestly beyond the pill, like has amazing reviews.

[01:10:01] Dr. Brighten: I did read them, but sometimes I do a podcast and the comments underneath, like there was one I did and like the comments underneath were mainly men being like, why would I listen to her about food? She's so fat. Look at how fat she is. Like just fat. And I was like, But I'm not fat. I'm confused, like I'm not, and I like knew this about myself and then I was just like, and I was also like, but so what if I was fat?

[01:10:27] Dr. Brighten: Like what? Why would you say that? And then like, but also I'm just like, for my body type, it's normal. But the fact that like you are so like out focused with a normal female body that you think that somebody that is like in a healthy weight spectrum, if they're not like fitting in a size zero that like they're automatically fat kind of situation.

[01:10:50] Dr. Brighten: But like, oh God, there was, my husband was just like, I will lock your phone away if you look at those comments anymore. And I was like, you are right. I need an extreme intervention. So, I just wanna say, uh, to everyone that's listening, if you ever feel like you are the only person who can't let that negativity go, you are absolutely not.

[01:11:11] Dr. Brighten: You are not alone in that. And it would behoove us all to be a lot more cautious with how we withhold kindness, because I think it's a pretty easy thing to dispense. Hmm. Except I'm like yelling at the c c earlier. 

[01:11:25] Christa: That's alright. I mean, I'm, I've been reading Brianna West's books and my comment this week is like, she just kind of rips my heart apart and stitches it back together every time as you like, dig into those things.

[01:11:35] Christa: I don't know, these books, I get check these out. Oh, the mountain is you and it's about self-sabotage to self mastery and just like one paragraph at a time is excellent. So, That's all we really need. It's they're power. They're powerful. Good stuff. Definitely check those out. And on the note of books and checking people out, where can people find you online?

[01:11:52] Dr. Brighten: Dr is my main hub. D R B R I G H H T E N. And then you will find me on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube at Dr. Jolene Brighton. 

[01:12:03] Christa: We tangent in about a lot of things. We went to mean comments online is the last comment. Went from sex and libido to mean comments online. Hey, it all relates. Any last 

[01:12:13] Dr. Brighten: comment?

[01:12:13] Dr. Brighten: I feel like it's not talked about like that's topic. It's just not talked about enough because like for people to understand that those comments put you in a stress response. Mm-hmm. That's gonna cause your cortisol to spike, that's gonna rob you of progesterone cuz your mitochondria will be like, no it's not safe.

[01:12:30] Dr. Brighten: Got down baby. Making co capability and if feel like, wait, I don't want babies. No, no, no, no. But like, don't tell your body we want all those yummy hormones. So. 

[01:12:40] Christa: That is something your body already got 

[01:12:41] Dr. Brighten: that message. I know and I, this is something that like, you know, I talk about in is this normal like two ditch toxic people to like block people to do all of that.

[01:12:51] Dr. Brighten: It is so, so important and I feel like the older, the generation is so namely. That we are, you know, in the phase of perimenopause, I said, take care of your adrenals. We did not have, we did not grow up with Instagram. We did not grow up with TikTok. Like we did not grow up with these things. So I feel like there's almost this way of like, well this is a social interaction and can I block and da, da da?

[01:13:15] Dr. Brighten: Like, you just need to protect your, your peace so much because that is everything to how you sleep at night, is everything to the inflammation in your body is everything to a adrenal function, is everything to ovarian function. And it's just like you being your best self is what we need in the world, and that's not what those haters want.

[01:13:32] Dr. Brighten: So even though it was like sounding like a tangent, it is super, super important for your hormones, but also this is like coming from your daughter. And I just think about like the internet like scares me for young people because it is a mean place. It is a mean place sometimes, but it can be a super well curated, like my Instagram audience is like, My favorite.

[01:13:53] Dr. Brighten: I love my community on Instagram. I just think they're such incredible, amazing people. But I have spent years and years curating and throwing down boundaries and telling people what's not acceptable to get to that place. And at this point there's usually this like trash human who comes in and just like starts hating on someone else in the comments.

[01:14:10] Dr. Brighten: And I'm an eight, so you know how I feel. Take care of it. I'm like, you're gone. You're banned. Like you're out. You cannot hate on people in this community. 

[01:14:19] Christa: Yeah, for sure. Oh, well we covered a lot. I've got, uh, my work cut out for me. I'm making the show notes so people know. All the goodies inside. Check out is this normal?

[01:14:29] Christa: That's out now. Thanks so much for coming on today. Yeah, thanks for 

[01:14:32] Dr. Brighten: having me. 

[01:14:34] Christa: Sharing and reviewing this podcast is the best way to help us succeed with our mission. To help integrate the best of East and West and empower you to raise the bar on your health story, just go to review this stressed life.

[01:14:50] Christa: That's review this stressed life, and you'll be taken directly to a page where you can insert your review and hit post.

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