Hormones & Mental Health with Michelle Frank, MSN, APRN, CNP
So, hormone pellets first off are a safe, convenient and effective way to restore hormone balance in the body. So, we can achieve a steady level of hormones with pellets and avoid...
So, hormone pellets first off are a safe, convenient and effective way to restore hormone balance in the body. So, we can achieve a steady level of hormones with pellets and avoid...
INTRODUCTION: Welcome to podcast where we talk about all things health and wellness related, including hormones, pharmaceuticals, health trends and ways you can help better your life.
JP: Hi everyone! Thank you for taking time out of your day to listen in. Today, I am joined by Michelle Frank. Michelle is based out of Montana and is the CEO and founder of Esprit Health & Wellness. She is double-board-certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine. Michelle – thank you so much for joining me today!
MF: Thank you for the invite, Jennifer. I am so excited to join you. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous, as well. First ever podcast.
JP: Oh, I, I’m so excited for you. I didn't know that. It's fun. It's painless and easy. We love podcasts.
MF: Alright – great. Yes, I've been looking forward to it.
JP: So, can you give me a background on how you got involved in personalized and holistic medicine and what made you decide to go that route?
MF: Yeah, sure. So, I have been in health care for over for 29 years now and my experiences helped shape my desire to care for each patient as the unique and special person that they are. So, I actively listen and form individualized treatment plans to help each patient reach his or her desired health targets. I think it's really important to consider how the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual facets of health are connected. When I first opened Esprit in 2014, the focus was on primary care. So, we had a lot of people moving into our area and just that shortage was very, very evident of primary provider availability. So that was my goal to impact the shortage in rural frontier Montana. The practice then evolved based on my patient's needs. So, I had so many men and women coming to me with concerns revolved around those age-related changes of menopause for women and andropause for men. And I found my niche in Sottopelle hormone replacement therapy. So, I enquired, I researched, discovered what I found to be superior treatments and then brought in those services to meet the needs that I was treating daily.
JP: That is so awesome. I think that is so important. And I love hearing those stories when like you go out and find out what really makes sense in your head to treat others with and really just try to hone in on that. I think it's so great.
MF: Yeah, thank you. I think, yeah, it's, it really helps. It's a great way to then develop the trust and rapport and the relationship and it's fun. You know, we're partners in health and each person achieve their best level of well being.
JP: - and not just put a band aid on things.
MF: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.
JP: So, what services do you offer at your clinic?
MF: Oh, so all the products and services that I offer at Esprit are things that I love to take advantage of or found benefit in myself. I focus on innovation, new technology, evidence based research and things that will provide just a little bit of downtime or recovery because we're busy, right? We have many different roles and hats that we wear and we don't want to be out of commission, so to speak. So the services I chose, I'm excited and proud to offer because I think it helps promote our healthy and busy lifestyles. So I do a lot with weight loss, body sculpting, Botox, hormones, we have a few lasers. So we do Opus Plasma skin resurfacing and tightening. We have the Alma Duo for sexual wellness, VI peels, chemical peels and then other laser for sun damage, age spots, spider veins, permanent hair reduction. We do video visits and phlebotomy lab draws for our patient base. And then also I have a professional supplement line and medical grade skin care. So I hope that covers majority of things.
JP: Yeah, I think so. So, what all hormone therapy treatments do you offer?
MF: My far and above my favorite is to do, I follow, I practice the Sottopelle method. I've been a licensee since 2015 that coupled with Qualgen pellets has just led me on the path for success. So, I mainly do that, but I also listen to each patient and if there are certain circumstances or preferences for delivery, I'm not opposed to utilizing bioidentical creams. I just like to stay in that bioidentical realm when at all possible.
JP: That makes sense. That's how I am too. I mean, I've done the pellets personally myself, but if there, if pellets weren't an option, I would definitely choose the bioidentical route. I think just staying in the natural realm of things and try not to put as many synthetic things in our bodies as possible is, you know, the way to go.
MF: Right. I agree. It only makes sense.
JP: Yes. So, what exactly to those that may not know are hormone pellets and what can they do to help improve mental function?
MF: Oh, I love how this is all linked together. So, hormone pellets first off are a safe, convenient and effective way to restore hormone balance in the body. So, we can achieve a steady level of hormones with pellets and avoid those peaks and valleys that are often experienced with pills, patches, creams and injections. So the pellets slowly release the hormones that we need over time in response to our body's heart rate and cardiac output. So they are bioidentical matching our bodies bioavailable based on the delivery system placed under the skin in the subcutaneous tissue you and also individualized based on each patient's history, symptoms and lab values.
JP: Beautiful. And how can they help with mental function? Help improve that or not improve that, I guess?
MF: Well, I can attest to it definitely improving mental function for myself personally. And then countless patients that come back with just literally being overjoyed at how pellets and our treatments and just care of them have helped impact their lives for the better. I think mental clarity and focus are some of the two main things that are often improved with hormone therapy. And so, when you have mental clarity and focus that translates into other areas too, patients comment on noticing improved motivation and productivity, decreased irritability. So yeah, it's tremendously rewarding when patients return time and again, sharing those details on how we help change their lives and save their marriages even and improve their health and well-being overall.
JP: Yes, that is, I love that. I think that's like one of the my favorite things about working here and like doing that is like hearing those, you know, success stories almost about how much it has changed these people's lives. It's crazy and it's so rewarding.
MF: It is, it's very rewarding. And when you think about it, women now with our current life expectancy and advancements in health and science and technology, women are spending could be half of a our lives in menopause and then men, you know, following suit, experiencing a greater number of years in andropause because we have a longer life expectancy. So, in the past when we were told we just have to live with it, um, that's, that's no longer acceptable. Right? Because we have a lot of life left to live. And so that's where pellets come in to help with physical and mental and emotional health
JP: and living better for longer.
JP: So how can hormone therapy with pellets and other forms of treatments, If others decide that they do not want pellets, how can that help with the brain fog or difficulty concentrating?
MF: I think how it comes into play is that just simply optimizing hormones puts our bodies in the best position to deal with stress and life factors and things that come our way. And so, when we're not constantly fighting internally and when we're have our hormones optimized as a basis, then we can focus and just perform at a higher level. And so that translates to decreased brain fog and improve mental clarity and focus.
JP: And can they affect your mood and emotional well-being? And I guess I this should maybe be broken up into for men and, or women, you know, because it will be different probably?
MF: Yeah. Yeah. Right. So, hormone pellets do affect mood and emotional well-being in a positive way. So, when we think about in our different stages of life and growth when we go through adolescence, we have those surges in varying drastic degrees in our hormone levels. And then even in our twenties and thirties, those levels increase further and decline. But when those levels are fluctuating so much, that's when people notice right, that they may, may be more irritable or moody. And so, by optimizing those levels and maintaining that steady level of hormones in the bloodstream, that's where we get those benefits with mood and emotional well-being.
JP: And are there any specific symptoms or signs that indicate a hormone imbalance that could potentially affect your mental function?
MF: Yeah. Sure. So, when a patient comes to me, complaining of mental fogginess, fatigue, depressed mood, increased anxiety, loss of drive and motivation. I explain the importance of testing hormone levels, as well as, the thyroid and vitamin D because those are pretty broad and vague concerns and complaints. But a lot of times they point back to are the hormones optimized? How is the thyroid functioning and what are those important vitamin levels related to mood such as vitamin D?
JP: Are there potential benefits of hormone therapy for memory and cognitive function?
MF: I believe there are potential benefits for memory and cognitive function when a person is feeling better, and hormones are optimized. Like I said earlier, our bodies are in a better position to deal with stress and illness and the changes of aging. I know there are studies out there that have shown the benefits of bio identical hormone therapy in Parkinson's disease and MS, among others. So, more studies are always in the works and they're necessary to support the good work that we're doing.
JP: That's so interesting. I can't wait for, like, the studies on if there's any relation to dementia or Alzheimer's with hormone therapy because it's something that, you know, they really didn't have then. So, it's, I feel like since it's gained popularity that there should be some connection somewhere and I can't wait to find it.
MF: Yes. Yeah, it's definitely out there and currently in process. So, I'm seeing um little tidbits all the time and, and always looking for that evidence-based research. Very exciting.
JP: Yeah, it's so exciting. How long does it typically take to see improvements in mental function after starting hormone therapy?
MF: That is a great question because we're products of instant gratification, right? And we always want, we want our results yesterday. So, patience is key here. I always ask my patients to not judge the pellets for the first four weeks to just allow them to get to work and for their bodies to adjust. So, some people notice improvement in physical and mental function within days to weeks. But for others, it may take several weeks or even months to get the levels really dialed in and optimized.
JP: And do you notice if somebody like comes in for the very first time, their levels are so low that maybe it takes like the second treatment before they see their full results?
MF: Yeah. Exactly. And that's what I was referring to when I said it may take months for some people because it may take like two or three insertions and if we're doing those every 3 to 4 months, that's where that comes into play. And then it, it also depends on the degree of severity. Like how, how great their deficit of hormones were to begin with. It may take a bit longer for them to realize all the full benefits. But usually, they're noticing some benefits really quickly. And then all of those symptoms really improve on a varying level from physical, mental and emotional health. So, we're in, we're helping to impact lots of different body systems, even skin and dermatological issues as well as energy levels and the endocrine function including and including mood too.
JP: Awesome. And how can hormone therapy help with sleep disturbances or insomnia related to a hormone imbalance?
MF: Well, this is just another important point that when our hormones are out of whack, it affects, you know, every system in our body including sleep. And I really believe that rest is the best medicine and so such a strong foundation for, for health and mental and physical well-being. So again, when those levels are optimized, and our bodies are functioning at top performance. And yes, we notice those improvements with sleep and insomnia as well.
JP: And are there any lifestyle changes or habits that can complement the effects of hormone replacement therapy on your mental health being?
MF: Absolutely. I'm glad you asked this one too. So, since we are all physical, mental, emotional and spiritual beings and all of these systems are connected, it's important to focus on the basics; nutrition, movement and increased physical activity, increased water intake is another simple one, stress reduction often poses a greater challenge, but there are little steps that we can take professional supplements like multivitamins, omega3 fish oil, vitamin D. And also, I think it's important to mention the importance of community. We all need support and relationships and we're not meant to do life alone. So that's really, really crucial when we're talking mental and emotional well-being.
JP: I'm so happy you said that. I don't know if anybody has ever said that on this podcast about community, but that is so important. That's huge.
MF: Yes, I'm starting to appreciate it more and more, right?
JP: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you need those people especially that are on like the same life journey you to be able to handle things. That's so great. I love that. Is pellet therapy a suitable option for individuals experiencing stress related mental health challenges?
MF: Definitely again, I can attest to this with personal and professional experience with my patients. So improved mental clarity and focus, decreased depression and anxiety, improved sleep and energy are beneficial for anyone dealing with stress related mental health challenges. It's important to note any time we have increased stress, illness or a drastic increase in our physical activity, though we do metabolize our pellets differently. So therefore, one may need to have the pellets inserted a couple of weeks sooner than is routine. So how I explain that in my practice for women, the pellets last approximately three months and for men, approximately four months. So, lifestyle, activity, stress, nutrition and overall health are affecting factors. But this is a general guideline in my practice.
JP: Absolutely. And I think we noticed this a lot, especially during COVID when so many of the population's stress levels were just, you know, skyrocketing and then everyone was going through their pellets faster and they were like, what is changing with the pellets? And we were like, nothing's changed with the pellets. But I think it, that's what it came down to is just that the stress levels were going up, so everybody was going through their pellets so much faster. It was crazy.
MF: Yes. Yes, I agree. That's a very valid point. And it also depends on demographics and, and lifestyle too. So, where I'm from, we were considered, you know, the rural frontier northeast Montana, but people are generally hard workers. We have farmers, ranchers, oil field workers, some examples for the men's careers. But I notice when I'm treating patients in different areas of the country or if patients are snowbirds and go south for the winter and come back, they might utilize their pellets differently. And so if you're in the prime of your life and you're super active and stressed and, or dealing with stressors, I should say, you're going to metabolize those pellets faster and they may only last, you know, three months for women and four months for men or at a different stage or season of life, you may get that to stretch out to, you know, four months for women or up to six months for men. So, it's just really important to focus on individualized treatment and patient care.
JP: Absolutely. Well, those are all the questions that I have for you. Is there anything additional you would like to add?
MF: Oh, we made it. Let's see, I would, I would like to encourage patients to advocate for themselves. Do the research, ask the questions, find the clinician that you can connect with and form a lasting trusting relationship. I tell my patients; you know your body better than anyone. So, it's important to ask those questions. There's no such thing as a stupid question. And then for clinicians out there just trying to find your niche or curious about how to help patients that have, have challenging or complicated issues. Don't overlook the basics – back to the basics I should say, like optimizing hormones is such an important thing and it can impact many, many facets of health including heart health and especially like we talked about today, the emotional well-being. So, health is our most valuable asset, tune into those changes related to aging. You, you don't have to just live with it.
JP: Wow. I love that. That's so good. Also, did I see that you're now a trainer for Sottopelle?
MF: I am. Yeah.
JP: That's so exciting. Congratulations. So, if anybody wants to train, they can just go to you?
MF: That's right. That's right. I'm training the trainers now too. So, it's really great to help share and just get the word out and the services out to a greater number of patients.
JP: Absolutely. I mean, that's what I'm trying to do with this podcast is just spread the awareness and the education because, you know, hormone therapy got such a bad rep for so long that I feel like so many people are still scared of it, but I think it's starting to turn around.
MF: Yeah, I agree. I agree with you. We've had our work cut out for us, but the history and patterns are just proving that, hey, this is very important, and we need to continue on this path for better health.
JP: Yes, absolutely. Well, thank you so much again for taking time to chat with me today. For more information on Michelle or her clinic please visit their website at www.esprithealthclinic.com/ and as always, please make sure to follow us on our podcast and social media platforms to stay up to date on Qualgen. Thank you everyone for listening and thank you so much, Michelle! I'm so excited we did this.
MF: Thank you. It's been a pleasure. Have a great day.
JP: You too.
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