Misty Williams 00:01
Hey, sister, this is misty Williams, founder of HealingRosie.com. And I’m so excited to welcome you to Rosie radio. Tune in to find clarity, direction and hope for your healing.
Misty Williams 00:10
New episodes drop every Tuesday, we created this show to empower you to regain control of your life and feel like yourself again. Yes, sister, it is possible.
Misty Williams 00:22
You guys, I’m so excited to be doing this interview today with my friend Dr. Shawn Tassone. Because you all know I’ve shared a lot of my story with you about the challenges that I’ve had
Misty Williams 00:32
Really wanting to maintain my quality of life as I get older and having my hormone health severely compromised by some of the things that I had experienced.
Misty Williams 00:39
I had the endometriosis diagnosis after the surgery to remove an ovary, a cyst from my left ovary; along with my left ovary, it turns out. I dealt with terrible fatigue, brain fog. After that surgery, I went six days without sleep.
Misty Williams 00:54
A couple years later was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. It’s been like one hormone thing after another, they found nodules on my thyroid, like all these things.
Misty Williams 01:01
All of these kind of go back to women’s hormones. And one of the most challenging parts of that experience for me, was constantly hearing things from my doctor, like, your labs are normal, everything’s fine.
Misty Williams 01:10
I felt like I was being gaslit honestly, like I was trying to, you know, pour my heart out about these, these symptoms and experiences I was having. And I’m being basically told that actually everything is fine, and nothing’s wrong at all.
Misty Williams 01:22
And, you know, maybe we need to put you on an antidepressant. You just need to give things more time I had one practitioner say Misty, even if we did run more labs.
Misty Williams 01:30
I wouldn’t know what they meant, which was like, stunning to me, I was shocked because I had these expectations as a patient of who a doctor was going to be for me in my health journey.
Misty Williams 01:42
And at that point in my life, really, it wasn’t my healing journey. So over time, of course, I’ve learned to navigate this a lot more powerfully, I eventually went on hormone therapy.
Misty Williams 01:52
It’s been a godsend for me in my life, especially with the issues I have, I’ve since uncovered that I had mercury fillings improperly drilled through my mouth.
Misty Williams 01:59
So I’m dealing with mercury toxicity. I found out last summer that I had mold. So I’m dealing with mold toxicity, I’d likely all of these things converge. And I thought he was picking up picking them up around the same time in 2013.
Misty Williams 02:10
So in the meantime, before all this was uncovered, I’ve been able to get hormone support. And it’s been life changing, like my quality of life has been preserved in so many ways, by supporting my hormones properly.
Misty Williams 02:21
But as many of you know, if you’ve tried to navigate this terrain, finding someone to help you with your hormones is quite the challenge.
Misty Williams 02:29
We experienced a lot with functional medicine doctors, I think there’s this expectation that if you go to a functional medicine doctor, they’re gonna be able to help you with your hormones.
Misty Williams 02:36
And that actually is not true. I hear from women all the time in our community, that they go to their doctor, their doctor doesn’t, well, let’s do all the other things first, and hormones really never get addressed. And then they want to help with hormones.
Misty Williams 02:46
And so they’re essentially experimenting, right, they don’t necessarily have the education to really help you with your hormones.
Misty Williams 02:51
And so women have these bad experiences going down the hormone path, you know, their emotions, you know, get knocked off the rails and they find their their a wreck, or they start dealing with all sorts of symptoms.
Misty Williams 03:01
My mom has dealt with breast tenderness. Well actually my mom works with Dr. Shawn Tassone, and so we were going down this path and we’re trying to get this area dialed in.
Misty Williams 03:09
And there’s just a lot to it. We have this belief as women, too, that the hormone experts are the gynecologists in our space.
Misty Williams 03:16
And I want to talk to Dr. Shawn about that today. Because I’ve had a unique experience that it’s not that unique.
Misty Williams 03:23
I’ve had a different experience than what I would have expected, you know, as a patient. But it turns out it’s actually not very unique at all.
Misty Williams 03:30
So Dr. Shawn Tassone is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American Board of Integrative Medicine.
Misty Williams 03:36
He is the author of the Hormone Balance Bible and holds a medical degree in addition to a PhD in mind body medicine, to sound gynecology is currently accepting new patients and accepts most major insurance plans.
Misty Williams 03:46
Which is a super exciting part of his practice that I’m looking forward to chatting about today. So welcome, Dr. Shawn.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 03:53
Hey, thanks for having me. It’s really nice to see you again.
Misty Williams 03:56
Yeah, I’m totally thrilled to have you and I’m excited for us to dive into this conversation you’ve heard me ramble on about my story and the things that I’ve experienced.
Misty Williams 04:04
And as a woman, I think, probably because our bodies are the perpetuators of the species, we’re so sensitive to our environments.
Misty Williams 04:10
And so many things can affect our hormones and our quality of life really is tied to our hormone health.
Misty Williams 04:16
If you’re dealing with flabby, foggy and fatigue, which is a moniker I use, very often you most likely have issues with your hormones being out of balance.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 04:24
I think I have that too, actually.
Misty Williams 04:26
So you get it.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 04:28
Not just women, okay? That’s for men too.
Misty Williams 04:31
Well, I would love for you to just maybe help us understand this field of gynecology and what should we be expecting from our gynecologist and you practice really differently, which is what I want us to focus our conversation on today.
Misty Williams 04:45
Because I think there’s some good learnings and understanding the difference in maybe a traditional gynecology practice and your practice and what you’re doing.
Misty Williams 04:54
It is outside-the-box and different. As a patient, my expectation would be all gynecologists are practicing like you are.
Misty Williams 05:00
So it was very challenging for me to have a different experience in the beginning. It was hard to find someone to help me with my hormones.
Misty Williams 05:07
The first person to help me was a practitioner in Nashville. She used to be an OB-GYN, she since dropped the OB and was just doing gynecology.
Misty Williams 05:14
She was the first one to help me with my hormones. So I’ve had a positive experience working with gynecologists but there have been many that were part of the gaslighting that I experienced early on.
Misty Williams 05:21
And I think if we just understood this better it would help us navigate this terrain and make better decisions for ourselves.
Misty Williams 05:27
So look at OB-GYN as two separate professions, two separate like full time jobs, probably the obstetrics, obviously super important, a lot of energy, a lot of happiness.
Misty Williams 05:39
But you never know when babies are coming.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 05:42
And so a typical OB-GYN will probably see and I’m just looking back at when I used to do it 40 to 50 patients a day. And they also have people laboring up in labor and delivery.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 05:53
And so their minds are always, they’re super multitaskers, because that’s what they have to do in order to do everything. They got people calling for refills and everything.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 06:01
So they also have to have a very good staff, which is super hard to find too.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 06:04
And they are usually and I will say this because I’ve know a lot of them. Usually super nice people like OB-GYNs, family practitioners, pediatricians generally are those kind of people that you’d like hanging out with on the weekends.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 06:17
That’s why they go into those professions.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 06:19
So they tend to be more personable. I think what happens though, is we are limited now I because I only do GYN, I might see 20 patients in a day, which is still a lot.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 06:28
But when you do that, when you take insurance, it’s a double edged sword, because you can only see somebody for 15 or 20 minutes, I will set aside 30 minutes for a new patient.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 06:36
But you know, I’m still getting paid. I mean, if I saw her in five minutes or 30 minutes, I get paid the same.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 06:41
And that’s kind of one of the issues. Now when you see a functional practitioner, they might charge 700 $800 for an initial visit, you get an hour and a half.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 06:48
But you know, it’s costing more. So it’s a give and take. And I think that the OBs, is what happens is they’re just so worried about the the cattle call.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 06:56
As it were of patients that they’re working through, that they want to make everybody happy.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 07:01
And at times, the woman that comes in somebody like you, that has all these issues, and if they think a birth control pill can solve it.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 07:09
They’re gonna put you on the birth control pill, because they in their training, and in their experience, it’s worked for other people.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 07:15
And you’re not going to get any of the answers, but you might have this long list and you might not even get to them because you just feel moved through.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 07:20
And I think one of the ways that we have seriously failed as a profession is one simple thing. And that’s just listening, I think, if we would listen more and and sit down and you know.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 07:32
I’m not perfect, either I do pride myself on listening and being there. But you know, everybody’s you know, might have a headache or something, you’re not there for necessarily every single patient every single time.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 07:43
But it’s expect it’s setting your expectations. So when you go see an OB0-GYN, write down three to five questions.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 07:50
Don’t don’t go, you know, straying off down the path if you’re if you if you want them to follow you down a path, stay on the path and don’t you know, go well.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 07:58
My husband, whatever, all because it’s easy to do that and you want you want to tell your story.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 08:04
And you feel pressured because you want to get it all out. So I would always say write your questions down ahead of time and realize that they can probably do three to five questions.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 08:10
They may not answer them the way you want them to answer per se, you might get where people to and if you meet 10 people at a party, you might like eight of them and you might not hit it off with two of them.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 08:20
Same with doctors, we have different personalities, different styles. And it doesn’t mean they’re bad, or they’re, they’re, you know, they’re a bad practitioner.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 08:27
They might just have a bad bedside manner. But you just need to be prepared for your visit, know what you want ahead of time.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 08:34
And if they can’t provide that for you. Don’t be angry, find somebody that can help you. Because the good news is, now this person isn’t the one that’s going to help you so and that’s okay. The thing that sucks is that you do have to hunt and peck.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 08:48
But the beautiful thing nowadays, with the internet and Instagram and Facebook is there, you can find these people a lot easier, because you can see someone’s personality coming through on social media.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 08:57
And if you’d like there, I just had a lady today with her husband come in, it’s pretty funny because he’s the one that watches me and he records it for her.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 09:04
And so it was kind of funny because I’m about as blue collar as you can be grew up poor and my only child and but my day they acted like I was this celebrity and it’s pretty deep.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 09:15
And I get that from women in your group if they actually meet you at some point.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 09:18
Because they you see they see you all the time. And I’m just like, I’m just me, you know, I’m just like, Oh, I get I get embarrassed. I’m like, I don’t know.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 09:26
So but I think the point is, is that you’re gonna resonate with certain folks.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 09:30
And so you find that practitioner that that will work with you and you just have to be persistent. It’s your healthcare.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 09:36
Don’t let somebody tell you I just put up a post the other day on Instagram, you know, the doctor saying, Oh, your results are normal
Dr. Shawn Tassone 09:41
And they’re right right down at the bottom of normal and the patient’s like laying on the floor, like, you know, but they’re normal.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 09:46
It’s yeah, and that’s that’s a busy OB-GYN because they got all these other things going on. And I’m I kind of enjoy for me. It’s kind of more like a detective work.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 09:55
It’s, you know, what I love is when I talk to a patient, and I’ll tell the story of love testosterone and their heads just going up and down, up and down that.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 10:03
That, to me is what’s really fulfilling about this. It’s it’s that acknowledgment that they’re being acknowledged, and I have done my job over 20 years and listen to all these other stories that have come.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 10:12
And so that’s why I think women, it’s funny, because I can’t really take credit for it, I just had the opportunity to hear all these stories in my brain works in such a way that I was able to filter them into 12 Different imbalance types. And so, but it does resonate.
Misty Williams 10:27
Well, I think it’s, you’re bringing up a really important point, in creating a great relationship with your doctor
Misty Williams 10:32
We actually just spoke about this in the interview that I did with Gretchen Bronson recently, and that is it’s you need to go in with your health goals.
Misty Williams 10:39
And you need to go with a clearer idea of what you’re wanting to enroll that doctor, in helping you resolve.
Misty Williams 10:45
There’s this, there’s this perspective that we have, as patients that we’re going to go into the doctor is going to tell us like they’re gonna look at our labs, and they’re going to tell us, well, here’s everything you need to do.
Misty Williams 10:54
And the challenge with that is, there’s so much about our lived experience that the doctor has no clue about, right. And if we can direct our care, we’re going to be a lot happier with the results.
Misty Williams 11:02
So going in saying, like, when I sit down with you to talk about my mom, my mom has osteoporosis, one of the things we want to do is to begin a protocol to help her regain her bone loss.
Misty Williams 11:12
She’s dealing with a lot of fatigue, she’s falling asleep in the afternoon, you know, we she was struggling with sleeping at night, although that’s gotten a lot better.
Misty Williams 11:19
And her energy overall is getting better on hormone therapy.
Misty Williams 11:21
We came in with very clear things that we wanted your help on. And then you you’re correlating that over here to our lab work.
Misty Williams 11:27
And you can see how hormones, we didn’t just talk hormone support, by the way we have hormone support can help.
Misty Williams 11:33
And then also some lifestyle things that need to be happening so that we get the results that they want very targeted, focused, here’s what we need out of the visit.
Misty Williams 11:39
And my mom’s having a really great experience. So I think I think what you’re describing here is really useful for all of us as we forge these relationships with our doctors.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 11:48
Yeah, definitely. And like you said, when when I know that you really want to focus on osteoporosis, I can talk about testosterone, estradiol, vitamin D, weightlifting, nutrition.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 12:00
And it just gives because I have like, like I said, I try to jam all this in.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 12:04
And the beautiful thing now that I have the book is I can actually know, if people want more information, I can direct the part of my brain that’s in the book that pertains to them.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 12:13
But before that, you try to get out as much as you can. And then and then what you don’t realize is that after your visit, I have to go out and then chart all the stuff.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 12:22
And that’s another 15 minutes. And so it’s like, we’re always I’ll go home and I’ll have 20 charts, I still have to finish, you know, at home at night, and some of the doctors that make more money.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 12:32
They have scribes that’ll actually do it all while they’re in the room. I just haven’t gotten to that point yet. And I’m, I just don’t want to pay people to do something.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 12:38
I couldn’t do like this. Yeah, I’m blue collar collar. But yeah, it’s just, it’s just like you said, when your mom came in, and, and, and she knew what she wanted.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 12:47
It’s easier for me to focus my discussion as well. But, you know, we still hit estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid panels, we do all that and will we get it in and a half an hour.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 12:58
And then the thing that I also do too, as I tried to, once I see somebody physically I’m I can take care of them for a year through telehealth, least through Texas state laws.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 13:09
And the beautiful thing is, is I can check in with them every month, every two months.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 13:13
So it’s not going to be like one discussion. And then I was on a board today on Facebook, a doctor board and they’re like, Oh, I, I usually only see my patients once a year.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 13:21
And I’m like, How can you know what’s going on with them? If you know, because a lot of the times women will, they’ll feel better, but they’re not exactly where they want to be.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 13:29
And so they’ll just grit it out. Women are so good at powering through than men. Men, you know, we have a cold or whatever we’re out women power through.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 13:37
Like I asked my grandma one day when she was still alive, what her menopause was like, and she said, What the hell is menopause?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 13:42
You know, she just because this world war two lady, you know, she just powered through. And so and women, we’ve taught women, it’s okay for them to suffer.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 13:51
You know, I think that that’s a societal thing. Women, you know, should bear the burden of all the ills of the world and you know, even down from Eve, you know, eating the apple, and we’ve punished her ever since.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 14:02
But I think that if you understand that you’re supposed to feel good, it’s okay to feel good. And then the ultimate thing is, is if I get somebody feeling better, they always always asked me, When do I stop?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 14:14
And I was like, well, when do you want to stop feeling good? You know, it’s like, why would you stop if you feel great?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 14:19
You know, don’t you know I want to put you on the spot. I was afraid it was gonna hurt you.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 14:23
And so we’ve also scared the hell out of women thinking that hormones are horrible, and that it’s only for a limited time. It’s It blows my mind all the time.
Misty Williams 14:31
I like to unpack that a little bit more because I definitely hear that in the in the Healing Rosie community women saying things like, well, if I start by identical hormone therapy, how long will I have to be on it?
Misty Williams 14:40
You know, like, there was I remember one posts, one of the ladies that you know, you’ll, you’ll pry my estrogen from my cold dead hands and I just cracked up because I feel this I feel the same way.
Misty Williams 14:49
Like I’ll be on it. You know, as long as as long as my body can tolerate it because it’s so important for quality of life.
Misty Williams 14:55
This BioIdentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is controversial actually. And for in the functional medicine space, I think it’s much more.
Misty Williams 15:05
There’s a there’s an openness to it. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of the research and data on bioidentical hormones that we have on pharmaceuticals.
Misty Williams 15:14
But I’d like for you just to help us understand the difference between conventional synthetic hormones, right, and hormone treatments and bioidentical hormone therapy.
Misty Williams 15:22
What are the difference between those two things and help us understand what their place has traditionally been inside gynecology umbrella.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 15:30
Well, traditionally, when I was trained in the 90s, we had Premarin and we had prempro, which was the horse based aqualen, estrogen and medroxyprogesterone.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 15:39
Which is probably one of the worst medicines ever invented. But it’s a progestin progesterone-like compound.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 15:45
And that’s kind of all we had. We had esterase, which was a bioidentical estrogen, but it was super expensive, like $100 a month, so most women couldn’t afford it.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 15:54
You fast forward, probably over the last 20 years bioidentical hormone replacement, has become more mainstream.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 16:00
So there are tons of bioidentical hormones, prometrium. The most of the patches now are bioidentical. You can get estradiol tablets.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 16:09
I mean, so it’s available, but it’s not hasn’t been really co-opted by the big pharmaceutical companies. Some of them have come around and they they do have medications.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 16:20
But what the what the controversy is right now is compounded bioidentical hormones. So those hormones that are made at a local pharmacy, and it’s just because the compounds that they’re using are FDA approved your testosterone,progesterone, estrogen.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 16:34
But they’re not the the lab where they’re being made the pharmacy where they’re being made as an FDA approved because the FDA doesn’t approve pharmacies.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 16:40
So that’s where the controversy is, and it is a big business. And the pharmaceutical companies that have dabbled and have put their fingers into the pot are seeing that there are a lot of women that go on these products.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 16:51
And so they’re wanting to shut down the compounding pharmacies so that they can have all of the market share. So that’s where the controversy is coming in is with that compounded piece.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 16:59
Now, all of the hormones are synthesized technically from like soy and wild yam but they are bio identical in the sense that they look like a natural hormone.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 17:08
They’re not made from a horse or you know, and that’s the thing with like esta with Premarin. Premarin if you if you notice, never went generic, and most medications go generic after 10 years.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 17:19
Premarin to this day has never gone generic. And the reason is, they can’t tell because they don’t know all of the compounds that are in it.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 17:27
There’s so many things in it. They can’t even reproduce it and so it can’t go generic. I think they lost count at like 35 bioidentical bio bio pharmaceutical compounds, horse estrogen, ethanol, estradiol.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 17:40
There’s all these different estrogens and we don’t even know what half of them probably do,
Dr. Shawn Tassone 17:44
Bioidentical progesterone, estrogen, testosterone is a single thing. It looks exactly it fits the lock, the key fits that lock perfectly.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 17:52
It’s not like birth control pills, ethanol, estradiol, and progestins, which are both synthetic, they fit that they fit the key, they’ve the key fits the lock, but it hits it so hard, that you have side effects.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 18:04
That’s why you have issues with breast cancer and bleeding and uterine cancers and fibroids. And because it’s just it’s the way birth control pills in general are about seven times stronger than hormone replacement for menopause.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 18:15
And that’s what I think also doesn’t come through in the translation is the breast cancer risks that came out with the Women’s Health Initiative 15 years ago, really screwed the whole thing up.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 18:25
I mean, it was it. I was talking to Paige about this today. It was most of the all of the women in the study were over 63. So they weren’t, they were all older women.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 18:36
They use Prempro which and Premarin which were synthetic hormones, so they don’t even correlate to bioidenticals.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 18:41
There were no topicals involved no sublinguals. And so at family practice, all these doctors stopped prescribing hormones, women were scared upon it to this day, I hear it all the time.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 18:50
And my caveat is, estrogen in and of itself doesn’t cause breast cancer. If it did, every woman and man in the world would get breast cancer.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 18:58
Now, if you have a breast cancer cell that has an estrogen receptor on it, and I give you estrogen, it could stimulate that cell to grow. But it may not necessarily cause the breast cancer.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 19:08
And I think women’s risks of osteoporosis and heart disease are much higher than women getting breast cancer, although breast cancer is much scarier.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 19:17
But, but I do think that we talked about being happy and feeling good and the hormones are never, they don’t have to be for the rest of your life.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 19:27
If you ever want to titrate them down, stop them, you might just go back to feeling like you did before, which may not be very fun, but it’s not life or death.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 19:35
It’s usually symptom based for the most part. And obviously, if you’re losing bone or something, then we’d want to work on that too.
Misty Williams 19:41
So I’m curious to hear a little bit more from you about the kind of training that you guys get in medical school. You touched on it briefly.
Misty Williams 19:48
But I just want people to have an idea of how to discern who has the right education and credentialing. One of the things that we know, with some of the work we’ve done in our community is that you there are instances where you can appeal certain things to your health insurance.
Misty Williams 20:03
And if you do the appeal process correctly, you can get things like bioidentical hormones covered that’s obviously not a universal thing you know, there’s there’s a lot of hoops you have to jump through.
Misty Williams 20:14
But one of the things that is instrumental in being able to jump through those hoops is getting you know a letter from your doctor.
Misty Williams 20:19
And it’s if it’s a GYN, it’s especially the right doctor, that’s kind of making the case for this, but not a lot of gynecologist actually have the expertise that you have in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. So I’d love for you to fill in the blanks on that for us.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 20:34
Most work in that particular area is probably post graduate. So it’s like, you go into medical school, you learn about the body.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 20:44
Learn about biochemistry, microbiology, and then you take psych and internal medicine, surgery and all that and you’ve kind of figured out what you like to do.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 20:52
And then residency so for OB residency is a four year program you learn basic obstetrics, high risk, obstetrics, basic gynecology, GYN oncology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, some geriatrics.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 21:06
And maybe some acute care stuff. But half of your training is OB, if not more, depending on where you train, a lot of doctors that go to Parkland up in Dallas is kind of like the obstetrics mecca of the country.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 21:18
And so they’ll get a lot of obstetrics experience and not a whole lot of surgical or hormonal stuff. And so it’s kind of a trade off. So a lot of the doctors that learn this stuff, do it after residency.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 21:29
And so you have in order to do that, the best way to learn is to do in my opinion, I think you can go to a weekend course and get a little bit of a taste of what this is all about.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 21:39
But you really just have to start seeing patients. And so the credentialing, you know, there’s a lot of people out there that use the word experts and Guru and whatever they want to use.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 21:48
And most of them aren’t usually credentialed or licensed health care providers. And that’s neither here nor there.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 21:55
It’s just the reason people go to them is because we’re not helping them. The licensed people aren’t helping them. So they have to find help somewhere else.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 22:01
And so most of your docs, I would, first of all, I would look at their background, what’s their profession?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 22:08
Are they emergency room? Are they internal medicine, pediatrics, and they just learned hormones? How do they set up their practice? Is it really heavy on?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 22:17
You know, not that selling things is bad? But are they you know, are a lot of supplements involved? A lot of programs to buy into? Do you feel pressured? You know?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 22:26
Or is it something where you just, you know, there’s a lot of stuff, but you just feel like, yeah, I can try that, or I can try this.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 22:31
And then I would ask them, you know, it’s hard to know, their background, or how many people they’ve treated, because most of us don’t know a number.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 22:40
But you can, you can tell by the time you leave, whether or not you feel like you are listened to I and I think Americans tend to have this false perception that the more you pay, the better it must be.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 22:53
Which isn’t always true. Obviously, that doesn’t in medicine doesn’t mean it’s quality.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 22:58
If you pay more, it sometimes means good marketing and and strategies to get people in and to keep people. But the main thing is, do you feel better after the treatment?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 23:08
Do you feel secure and safe in the sense that you just don’t have that achy feeling?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 23:13
I have gone to functional medicine practitioners here in Austin, I’ve spent a lot of money and when I left, I was more confused than I was when I went in and I had like, I’m not kidding you.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 23:24
$600 worth of supplements, a lot of them had ingredients that overlapped and I’m pretty savvy, and I still did it.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 23:30
So I mean, and then you feel kind of like you know, I joke about this, but when women go get their hair done, if they don’t like their haircut, a lot of the times they’ll stay sometimes with their stylists because they feel bad.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 23:40
They don’t want to make them mad, you know?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 23:43
And it’s kind of like, you know, it’s like, if you don’t feel good, yeah, go get go get a second opinion, go find somebody else.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 23:48
Don’t keep going back, because you feel bad for that and they’re gonna be fine. They’re gonna be okay.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 23:53
The main thing is you feeling like you got the help that you need. And I mean, I hate pellets. I hate hormone pellets, I talk about it all the time.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 24:01
I do meet women occasionally, that will argue with me that they love their pellets. And that’s good. That’s I’m happy for them. And I think that that’s good.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 24:09
It’s a very small number. But I would never tell somebody that their pellet experiences is wrong. It’s their experience. But I just see so many women that have bad experiences.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 24:19
And that’s why I’ve come to dislike them. So we all have our opinions about certain things. And that’s the other thing is in this field, I call it the Wild West of hormones.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 24:29
You can find a study to prove anything you want. And, and that’s what a lot of providers will do is they will I mean I’ll see a lady come in and she’s on pregnenolone.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 24:36
And I don’t usually prescribe pregnenolone because I think it’s kind of silly, because of the mechanisms and whatnot. But a lot of people prescribe it and their reasoning is okay.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 24:45
But it’s just another piece of information. So I I look for two things with hormones. One is are you going broke to do it and you shouldn’t have to.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 24:54
And two is the provider that you’re seeing making the protocols so complicated that you you, you can barely figure it out.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 25:01
And sometimes I think providers will do that, because they may, it kind of makes it look like they know more than the rest of us when the reality is.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 25:08
It’s just something they’re doing, like take this at two o’clock and then take this at six o’clock. It doesn’t have to be that way. I mean, it should be relatively easy to use, and you’ll get great results,
Misty Williams 25:19
I’d love for you to talk a little bit in the time that we have left about some best practices around prescribing hormones.
Misty Williams 25:25
Because, you know, as a patient, you go in to see your doctor, and you’re at the mercy of whatever he or she tells you to do in that visit.
Misty Williams 25:33
And you know, you can be the guinea pig for that, you know, trial and error, but it’s so I feel so much more empowered, navigating this course when I have an idea of what it looks like when it’s done well
Misty Williams 25:43
This is especially relevant to the toxicity side of my journey, like took a long time for me to uncover all this toxic stuff. And I talked to a lot of different practitioners.
Misty Williams 25:52
And I didn’t know the questions to ask right as I started digging deeper, because I was so frustrated that you know.
Misty Williams 25:59
I’ve made progress on my journey, but I’m not better meaning I there is something still going on in my body that I have to be so propped up.
Misty Williams 26:05
When I started digging in and seeing what great protocols look like it helps me so much in navigating it finding a doctor that was going to help me kind of discerning if my feet are on solid ground, is this a good way for us to go.
Misty Williams 26:18
So I’d love for you to just help people understand what a solid protocol looks like, like how are how are you prescribing? Is there?
Misty Williams 26:24
Is there some sequencing that’s important to how you’re putting women on hormones? Is there a way that they can like kind of hedge their bets, that they’re going to have a positive experience? I think this can be really helpful.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 26:36
So the one thing that’s being discussed right now on the on the web, as it were one of my colleagues who she and I do not agree on anything, Jen Gunter. She doesn’t like to test she thinks testing is stupid.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 26:50
And I’m like, How do you know what you’re doing if you don’t test what you’re now if someone’s 55, and they’re menopausal you can probably guess their estrogen, progesterone is zero.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 26:58
But in the perimenopausal woman and then you’re not checking thyroid, there’s some naturopaths like Tori Hudson, she doesn’t test a lot either.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 27:05
But I like to test and I like to test as frequently as a patient wants to do it. My typical setup is I usually will get the hormones done before your visit.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 27:12
So I have them when you come in, and then I will have women tell me what their symptoms are. And I will correlate those symptoms to the labs, and I will then tell them.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 27:22
Okay, like, let’s say you’re low in testosterone, I always look at hormones this way to neither, it’s normal or abnormal, whatever. So normal just means that you’re in the house.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 27:31
Okay. But then the question you should always ask is, where am I in the house. So with a test free testosterone, normal is point two to 6.4, I can multiply the point to 34, they would still be normal for a woman.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 27:43
That’s a huge range. So let’s say you come in at point four, you’re at, you’re in the basement, you’re laying on the floor in the basement of the house, you’re normal, but you might feel horrible.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 27:51
I like to get women up into that main floor, maybe a little bit above the main floor. And that’s where I find women do do really well.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 27:58
So what I will do is I’ll talk to them, I’ll say low low testosterone, fatigue around five in the afternoon hair thinning, decrease zipped zest
Dr. Shawn Tassone 28:05
If it was a t shirt, it might just say, meh, you know, and everybody’s like, Oh my God, yes, that’s totally me. And so it’s not like I’m a mind reader.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 28:14
I’ve just heard this tens of thousands of times. And then so what I’ll do then is I’ll come up with a plan.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 28:19
Now I tried to simplify the hormone. So I will if I can get three or four things into one cream for $45. I would rather do that for the patient.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 28:27
Because it’s easier to apply. You don’t have four different times you’re taking things now.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 28:31
Most of the time, what I’ve been doing is because progesterone is the one hormone that makes you sleep or helps you sleep. I’ve been taking the progesterone out of the topicals. And I’ve been giving an oral progesterone at bedtime.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 28:42
And then I’ll use like estradiol testosterone DHEA in the morning, on in a topical cream, so it’s still only two.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 28:48
But what I’ve noticed is sometimes if I give a woman progesterone everything at nighttime, then by about three or four in the afternoon, it’s kind of wearing off and so she’s getting more symptoms.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 28:57
So I usually split it out like that, but that’s about as fancy as I will get. thyroids a little different sometimes I’ll dose that twice a day just depends on how the patient’s doing.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 29:06
But my goal is the lowest costs for the patient, combined with the easiest route of delivery, and that can be either topical or sublingual for the hormones oral I will use occasional oral, I’ll use for progesterone.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 29:19
And occasionally if I just can’t get the patient feeling good on estradiol or testosterone, I might try oral as a last resort. I’m not a huge fan of vaginal creams because I just think they’re messy.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 29:32
And the vagina absorbs a lot faster and easier than the mouth does. So the dosing can be kind of kind of questionable, and you’ll get super high levels.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 29:40
It does seem to me that pellets would be the best route because you don’t even have to think about them and they’re in there for three to six months and you don’t have to do anything.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 29:48
But the problem that I’ve been seeing with them is one they’re super expensive and two, the levels are crazy high just like I mean higher than your husband sometimes and I’ve had women crying because they feel bad and I can’t do anything because you gotta wait for it to wear off.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 30:02
So that’s just why I’m not a fan of pellets. But cost and simplicity should be the two big things that we look at.
Misty Williams 30:08
I want to ask you a question about that, because I see people talking about hormone stuff a lot in the healing Rosie Facebook group, especially.
Misty Williams 30:15
One of the things that can get tricky with hormones, it seems, is that women will start all the hormones at once, and then they’re having side effects and they don’t know where it came from. We don’t know what it was. So how do you navigate that?
Dr. Shawn Tassone 30:25
Well, it depends on the side effects. Probably the most common side effect I see. I probably see it three, four times a day is breast tenderness. That is usually a progesterone beta.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 30:34
So you know, sometimes certain things might be related to certain hormones, bleeding or spotting usually is either estrogen or progesterone, heart racing, anxiety, probably more thyroid, too much thyroid. Aggression, irritability could be testosterone.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 30:49
So you can kind of you can kind of go down the path by listening to some of the symptoms that they’re having.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 30:54
I will also ask a woman, I’ll be like, look, we’ve got like, let’s say I have low testosterone and low thyroid. Those are both energy hormones, they’re both going to give you a pick me up, metabolism and whatnot.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 31:05
But you may not need them both, right? So some women will choose, I always give the option we could start the testosterone, we could start the thyroid, we could do both.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 31:13
Or we could pick one and just give it a four weeks and see how you’re feeling. Maybe you don’t need both of them.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 31:17
And what I’ll usually do is I’ll say, Look, your, your thyroid is your free T three is in the 10th percentile of normal, your testosterone is around the 40th percentile of normal.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 31:26
So why don’t we start with the thyroid, bump that up, and maybe you’ll feel a lot better or maybe she also has high estrogen.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 31:34
And sometimes if I can just get the estrogen down using fiber and maybe decals or calcium D glue grade or something.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 31:40
The sex hormone binding globulin comes down that free testosterone goes up, thyroid goes up. And so sometimes you can work on one thing and one thing alone but I it’s funny because you have different types of patients.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 31:51
There’s definitely the woman that comes in and she wants everything. Give me that give me the whole schmear. I just I feel miserable. I want to try it all. And then I have women that are like they don’t want to go on any medication.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 32:01
So they want to do more natural approaches and it’s easier to do natural stuff and perimenopause. Menopause is kind of like you don’t have any hormones.
Misty Williams 32:08
So there’s you don’t have anything to work with.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 32:10
That’s harder, but but you can still try it. Sure. And so you I will sometimes piecemeal that’s why I see patients in a year.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 32:17
I might see people three, four times depending on how many times they need to see me. But every time I’m thinking I’m adding I’m taking away um, just because especially perimenopausal women, they’re changing all the time.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 32:28
So that’s a moving target. And it just, you know, and I’m always about the I’m also not a big fan when I do things, like I said simplicity.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 32:36
So if I’m going to give maca as a supplement, because I think it will help. I don’t give a Maca that has like 15 other things in it like lavender, you know, Valerian and blah, blah, blah.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 32:47
Just use Maca because I want to know what’s working. Magnesium, I’ll just use magnesium or vitamin D. I’ll just use vitamin D with K probably but but so I tend to be pretty like one component based and then I’ll add things or pull that out.
Misty Williams 33:02
Yeah, for my mom. So my mom is one who freaks out. My concern with my mom, first of all with all of her symptoms and things. She’s experienced all classic menopause stuff, right?
Misty Williams 33:11
My mom is 74 Now she started working with Dr. Shawn last year. I knew from my mom that if she went on everything and her body started wiggling out anywhere. She would just want to stop it.
Misty Williams 33:21
All right. So if you’re that kind of person, I’ll tell you what we do with my mom. First, we started the thyroid. Dr. Shawn prescribed thyroid, my mom’s hypothyroid.
Misty Williams 33:31
So we started on thyroid, and we waited a week or two weeks, I can’t remember. And then we added in the Prometrium, which is progesterone, and we waited two weeks.
Misty Williams 33:39
Then we added in the estrogen we did the patch for my mom, which is what I’m using to waited two weeks and added testosterone the my mom had breast tenderness was her major symptom was the result of Dr. Shawn about it.
Misty Williams 33:50
We pulled the prometrium, which was the progesterone, we pulled that out. It did not improve for my mom and progesterone was really helping her sleep, you know. So we pulled the patch.
Misty Williams 34:00
And that’s what it was. So what now what we’re trying to figure out is, what can we do to support detox, she did a cleanse, a liver cleanse, it really helped. She was able to go back on the patch for a week.
Misty Williams 34:09
And then she started experiencing that tenderness again. So we need to figure out what support does she need on an ongoing basis to be able to do the estrogen.
Misty Williams 34:15
It’s important for her she has osteoporosis, right. But we just staggered it. So if you’re the kind of person that might psychologically have a hard time if if you start getting symptomatic, you know.
Misty Williams 34:26
I think that could be a great strategy for those that maybe have some concerns about going all in but my mom actually came down and was able to see Dr. Shawn in person and I have my aunt signing up right now.
Misty Williams 34:37
So for women who are in full menopause, both of them, I’m so grateful that I have Dr. Shawn to recommend to them because I know he’s going to take really good care of him.
Misty Williams 34:45
He takes insurance which is almost impossible to find if you want to do BioIdentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Misty Williams 34:51
Most practitioners that do it don’t take insurance. So he’s a gem in that way that he takes insurance and he’s super easy to work with.
Misty Williams 34:59
And you know, I have two women in my life that I love that are older, the big thing that they struggle with is the brain fog, the fatigue, having trouble sleeping, and they’re both experiencing versions of weight loss resistance.
Misty Williams 35:09
Although my aunt is a little worse than my mom, you know, you get to the point where it’s like nothing, nothing works anymore, which, you know, for someone like me, I’m like, we’re gonna go upstream. That’s where I found, you know, all of my victory.
Misty Williams 35:19
But I just really am grateful Dr. Shawn, for the contribution that you are to our community. If you post in the Healing Rosie Facebook group, you see that he’ll come in and chime in and really try to support the women who are figuring out how to navigate this part of their life.
Misty Williams 35:31
I love and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to do bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, as I’m getting other things figured out in my body.
Misty Williams 35:37
This idea that you need to, you need to wait for nutrition, and you know, a few other protocols, things to work for long periods of time, certainly, maybe for 90 days, that seems reasonable.
Misty Williams 35:46
But I see women who are struggling with what I can, they’re not sleeping at night, and they have low progesterone.
Misty Williams 35:51
And from my perspective, I’m like, Oh, you just support your progesterone, you can sleep if you’re not sleeping, you’re not healing, I want to see them get that support.
Misty Williams 35:58
And they’re working with doctors who don’t really appreciate the value of supporting your hormones to a woman’s quality of life, you know, and you just suffer needlessly, for so long.
Misty Williams 36:06
So you’re doing really important work, Dr. Shawn, and I’m so grateful that, yeah, I get to share you with our community.
Misty Williams 36:11
And I would love for you to tell people if they’re interested in working with you if they want to, if they’re, you’ve kind of mentioned a little bit if you aren’t in Austin, Texas, and are looking for someone to work with.
Misty Williams 36:21
Dr. Shawn does take insurance and he can work with you under certain conditions. So why don’t you tell people what they need to do and how they can how they can book their appointment.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 36:29
So state laws differ on telemedicine. Usually, it’s required that I see at least physically once a year, I can usually get people started or I can draw the labs and at least kind of get people started.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 36:41
But I’d need to see you probably at around the second visit. If not, I can always try to give you a plan that I would prescribe.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 36:49
And then you would at least have that in hand. But yeah, all end you know, Austin’s a great place to come visit. But yeah, it’s usually like just that one visit.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 36:58
We’ll get everything started. And then we do all the follow up kind of stuff on the phone. And yeah, I bill insurance. I don’t know why, but I do.
Misty Williams 37:07
because you’re awesome. Yeah, my mom is on Medicare, y’all. And Dr. Shawn actually ran a bunch of labs, beyond just the hormone labs, because I wanted to see I wanted to get a picture was happening to see what other care to bring in for her.
Misty Williams 37:18
And a Medicare did pay for all of her labs, because Dr. Shawn requested it as part of the visit. So that was super helpful.
Dr. Shawn Tassone 37:25
So you got to code it, right?
Misty Williams 37:27
It’s all in the coding. It’s all in the coding. Well, this has been amazing.
Misty Williams 37:29
Thank you so much for all you do to be a contribution to, to women in our community, women everywhere I know that you spoke feel a special connection to us you’ve been inspired to work with, with women because of your relationship with your mom.
Misty Williams 37:40
And I hope everyone will go to get his book, The Hormone Balance Bible. It’s awesome. You can get it on Amazon. I have a copy here.
Misty Williams 37:48
It’s a great reference tool. And if you talk to Dr. Shawn he’s probably going to tell you which profile you fit.
Misty Williams 37:53
So, you know, it’s really it’s really wonderful for to have something that represents someone’s life’s work. It’s a great way for us to empower ourselves.
Misty Williams 38:02
So thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you, Dr. Shawn, for sharing your wisdom with us and we’ll talk to all you guys soon. Bye for now.
Misty Williams 38:09
That’s it for this week’s episode. Thank you for listening. I hope you’re feeling more empowered to overcome your flabby, foggy and fatigue and to reclaim your life.
Misty Williams 38:16
If you haven’t subscribed yet, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button right now so you don’t miss any of our episodes.
Misty Williams 38:22
We have some awesome shows coming right up. I love reading your reviews and comments too. They inspire me and encourage other Rosie’s to hang out with us and learn all these amazing strategies for healing and living our best lives. Till next time sister. Bye