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The Girlfriend Doctor w/ Dr. Anna Cabeca

Feb 24, 2022

Dr. Louann Brizendine talks about why menopause is not only a period of transition for women but also an opportunity for positive transformation and more happiness than you thought possible. Learn why the female brain becomes stronger and better in the midlife, how to adapt and thrive during that time of change, and why we need to incorporate more compassion, community, and connection in our lives as we age. 

  • [0:45] There is a physiology of mental health that is often ignored. There are changes to our brain that happen as we age and we need a comprehensive approach to healing. Biology and psychology have always both been fascinating for Dr. Anna, which is why she graduated with a double major in both fields.
  • [4:30] To thrive you must honor your physiology. There is no mind/body dichotomy, they work together and rely on each other to make up you.
  • [6:45] The Female Brain recently became a movie. It told the story of Dr. Brizendine, played by Whitney Cummings, and her book.
  • [11:30] Being in psychiatry, Dr. Brizendine thinks of life in chunks. The Female Brain takes you to the beginning of the transition of your brain and the developmental stages from the ages between 40 and 90.
  • [12:30] Declining progesterone and other hormones after the age of 30 affects our mood and thoughts through our physiology. Psychosis and mood changes can happen because of this transition.
  • [13:50] Menopause is a rewiring of our brain that is as important as puberty. Hormones cause behavior. We think we are driving our own ship, but that’s not entirely true. Right around the late 30s there are some shifts in our hormones which can cause all kinds of disruptions.
  • [16:05] These hormone disruptions can cause all sorts of behavior changes where you feel calm and cool one moment and a raging inferno the next. It’s important to honor and nurture yourself during those days of the cycle and realize that you can get a handle on it.
  • [18:30] Even with women who have had their ovaries removed, they often experience a second stage of menopause.
  • [20:20] If you’ve had a total hysterectomy, you technically don’t need to take progesterone. A lot of women around the age of 50 in this situation start to feel fatigued and depressed, largely due to the adrenal glands. When we’re younger, our ovaries produce 90% of the testosterone in our bodies, but that switches to our adrenal glands as we get older, and as we age, we don’t produce as much of the hormones we need.
  • [23:50] Men don’t typically go through andropause until the age of 60. This can cause a mismatch between women who have a low sex drive and can be treated in ways that can help.
  • [25:00] The Bush administration canceled the Women’s Health division of the FDA that was looking into those effects. There is still a lot of sexism in the medical system. Doctors have the ability to prescribe medication for off-label use, and Dr. Anna often prescribes testosterone in this way.
  • [26:45] When you give someone too much testosterone, it can create agitation and anger as well as novelty-seeking behavior. Physicians need to be careful when recommending or prescribing these hormone supplements.
  • [28:30] Dr. Brizendine recalls the story of a patient who was prescribed testosterone and accidentally took 10 times the normal dose.
  • [29:50] If the couple has a good sexual relationship, they can create a schedule and framework for sex and supplementation that makes it easier to experiment and adjust. A lack of sex drive is a long conversation.
  • [35:10] Loneliness is more prevalent than ever. We don’t generally live in a commune with our extended families anymore, and are more isolated. Oxytocin is a basic human hormone created from touch, the one thing that we have minimized for the past two years.
  • [38:20] A lot of people have had a chance to get in touch with their spiritual life as an antidote to loneliness. First, you have to become aware that you’re lonely, then you have to accept it. There are a number of symptoms that afflict people that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with loneliness.
  • [40:30] Once you’re aware and have accepted, the action phase starts. Research has shown that women generally need at least four human contacts per week. Humans need contact. Without it we feel like we’re dying and it can lead to all kinds of negative health problems.
  • [43:20] The 50s and 60s are wonderful decades. Research shows that we generally get happier as we age as we let go of the nonsense expectations we have and do things that are more meaningful to us. There is a lot to look forward to as you get older including more compassion, community, and connection.
  • [47:50] Dr. Anna asks a series of rapid fire questions about Dr. Brizendine’s favorite foods, supplements, and exercises.




Mentioned in this Episode:

The Upgrade by Dr. Louann Brizendine



Always seek the advice of your own physician or qualified health professional before starting any treatment or plans. Information found here and results are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and are not intended as medical advice.



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