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Lipstick on the Rim: Debunking and Demystifying Menopause: Breaking Down HRT, Lifestyle and Exercise Changes for Perimenopausal Women, How Ozempic Can Play a Role in Menopause, and More with Dr. Mary Claire Haver


Dr. Mary Claire Haver shifted her career from traditional OB/GYN practices to focusing specifically on menopausal care after her own challenging experiences during menopause. Dr. Haver was tired of being told that weight gain, fatigue, and other clichéd menopausal symptoms were the norm for women of a certain age. She used her frustrations as motivation to dive deeper into menopausal research. Since then, Dr. Haver has dedicated her career to combating generic menopause care. She opened Mary Claire Wellness, a clinic dedicated to caring for menopausal patients, wrote two national best-selling books providing women with a toolkit of lifestyle plans and information they need to navigate hormonal changes, and shares her wealth of knowledge on her growing social media platforms, which have now amassed more than 3 million followers. In today’s episode Dr. Haver talks through her toolkit and debunks the most common misconceptions around menopause.

[Dr. Mary Claire Haver] On Women’s Egg Cycle & Perimenopause Versus Menopause

“Menopause is actually only one day in your life, it is the day after your final menstrual period. Everything after that is post-menopause. Pre-menopause is your normal reproductive cycle. Then, perimenopause is when the egg supply is very low. For example, as females, we are born with  with all of our eggs, we have 1 to 2 million at birth. We get down to about 10% by age 30,  and 3% by age 40. Essentially, menopause represents no more eggs. While perimenopause is when the signals are still coming from the brain, the ovary can’t respond like it used to because we’re reaching a critical threshold of egg supply. It’s still possible to get pregnant, but it’s a lot harder, and instead of that nice rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone every month, it’s chaos. We actually have the highest estrogen levels of our lives during perimenopause.”

[Dr. Mary Claire Haver] On Physical Symptoms of Perimenopause

“Forever, the cliché symptom has been the hot flash, but we know so much more now. However, hot flashes are the one symptom you can’t blame on anything else except for maybe tuberculosis, (and we can rule that out pretty quickly). So hot flashes are an easy first physical symptom to self-diagnose as menopause. Some other physical symptoms you might notice during perimenopause are vertigo, frozen shoulder, musculoskeletal pain, visceral fat, weight gain, and body composition changes. You also might notice libido, asthma, kidney, or gut issues. Almost nothing is left unscathed when our sex hormones walk out the door. In addition to physical changes, you might also notice mental health changes. There is a 40 % chance of developing depression in perimenopause. We also see exacerbations, meaning you may be doing great, with no triggers, and then all of a sudden, you’re just having worsening diseases. So all in all, not only is perimenopause stopping your periods and dealing with hot flashes, it’s affecting every organ system of your body.”

[Dr. Mary Claire Haver] On Nutrition, Diet, & Exercise Through the Transitions of Menopause

“The Galveston Diet started as an online program. I named it after the town I lived in and it was originally just for my patients and my friends. We were all doing it together out of frustration over the weight gain we faced during perimenopause. During that time, I was reading all these articles on intermittent fasting and I was fascinated. I thought that maybe it was a fad, but turns out there’s some pretty good data on intermittent fasting lowering inflammation. So, I started experimenting with the combination of  intermittent and anti-inflammatory nutrition. With that being said, my recommendation is to experiment with fasting. Start with 12 hours [fasting]. Most people can do that, no problem. However, I wouldn’t go much past 16 because then you have a hard time getting in good nutrition when the eating window gets really small. Then, make sure you’re getting adequate protein. Women tend to under eat protein dramatically. Protein feeds our muscles and if we don’t have enough, our bodies will catabolize their own muscles to get the amino acids we need for body function. I can say through the diet and exercise changes I made, I have completely changed my body composition. I’m eating more protein and instead of doing cardio and trying to be skinny, I’m lifting heavy weights four days a week. Walking is great too, but make sure to pick up some weights in addition. Our muscle mass loss increases dramatically through the menopause transition so it is important to be eating adequate protein, at least 1.5 to 1.8 grams for every kilogram of lean body mass, and a minimum of 25 grams of fiber, think vegetables, legumes, things that crunch, everyday. Then, make sure you’re getting in  your Vitamin D. It is such a key vitamin in multiple processes in our body, and when Vitamin D is low, you don’t sleep well, your hair falls out, and many other crazy things.”

Dr. Mary Claire Haver’s Must-Haves:

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