What's bothering you?

I treat a wide array of symptoms and conditions, ranging from general concerns such as fatigue and stress, to specific diagnoses such as diabetes, asthma, depression, and autoimmune diseases.

While the symptoms may be similar, I consider each patient individually. The underlying cause of symptoms often differs from person to person, as does the treatment that gets them back on the path to great health.

 

Here are some of the most common concerns I see, but this is by no means a complete list!

Fatigue & low energy


Fatigue is incredibly common in this day and age. It can show up in various ways, such as trouble getting out of bed, or finding you can't be as active as you once used to be. It's important to determine what's causing your fatigue, since there are numerous and varied reasons that you might be feeling this way. In order to uncover the cause, standard blood tests, hormone testing, and other more specialized testing may be required. This will guide treatment in order to get you back to feeling energetic again.




Muscle & joint pain


We all experience some degree of muscle and joint pain in our lives, but when it starts interfering with your daily activities, it's time to take a deeper look at how you can get relief. Whether it's an injury that's slow to heal, or pain that's come on gradually over time, there's often some chronic inflammation that isn't resolving. By identifying factors that might be perpetuating inflammation in your body and using treatments to actively calm inflammation, this can reduce your overall pain. Chronic pain, especially non-specific pain such as in fibromyalgia, can also be related to an issue with the nervous system. It's important to distinguish this from inflammatory problems, because the treatment differs significantly. Note: Alpha-Stim treatments are also available to relieve pain and facilitate healing.




Hormone imbalances (female and male)


For females: Pain with periods? Breast tenderness? Irregular periods or spotting? PMS? Hot flashes? These are all common concerns that indicate hormonal imbalance. The good news is that over time, this can usually be corrected without needing to take hormones. Firstly, we need to take a look at if you're being exposed to too many hormones or hormone-disrupting agents through your food and environment. We also need to make sure you are able to properly make, metabolize, and get rid of hormones. We can also use techniques such as acupuncture to help naturally balance your hormones. Take a look at my page on hormone balance for more information. For males: Hormone disruptions in men go beyond just erectile dysfunction. For example, low testosterone can lead to an array of symptoms including hair loss, reduced muscle mass, fatigue, depression, breast discomfort, and hot flushes. Similarly to females, exposure to environmental hormones or hormone-disrupters can contribute to imbalances, as can any impairment in hormone synthesis or metabolism.




Stress & anxiety


Daily demands can be overwhelming. With the pace of life in the 21st century, it’s incredibly common for things to become too much, leaving you feeling anxious, tired, and discouraged.

Many people feel constantly on edge, have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, or find themselves worrying about daily activities and interactions.

Here's the good news: there are many effective strategies to help you rediscover peace of mind. Addressing the specific factors at play (be they physical, psychological, social, environmental, or spiritual) can get you back on the path to feeling clear and calm.

See my full mental wellness page for more information.




Allergies & asthma


Asthma isn’t really a lung issue, just like allergies aren’t a nose/eye/skin issue. At their core, these conditions occur due to dysfunction of the immune system. The reasons for immune dysfunction include infection, antibiotic use, dietary factors, stress, and others. The good news is that there are ways to get your immune system back into balance. At a basic level, nutrition, carefully selected supplements, and proper breathing can all make significant differences in how your immune system operates. I also offer sublingual immunotherapy for treatment asthma and allergies that are caused by environmental allergens such as cats and dogs, grasses, tree pollen, etc. SLIT is a gentle allergy treatment that uses low doses of allergens to alleviate allergy symptoms over time. Nebulized glutathione is another helpful option for those who suffer from asthma. Read my full page on allergies for more information.




Weight loss


Losing weight isn't simply about restriction and self-control. There are often many layers to why you might have difficulty becoming leaner. From hormones (such as cortisol, estrogen, testosterone), to metabolic dysfunction, to emotional factors, there are many things that can contribute to weight gain and that can prevent weight loss. By assessing your life (medical conditions, diet, lifestyle, and more), I can help you identify why you might be struggling with your weight, and then guide you through getting your body to naturally come back to a comfortable weight. Since “weight loss” goals generally mean “fat loss,” I like to use body composition analysis to measure your fat and muscle percentages so we can make sure you’re losing fat and not muscle.




Cardiovascular risk


Cardiovascular disease is incredibly prevalent in our society. In fact, 90% of Canadians aged 20 or older have at least one risk factor. What about you? Risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • Exercise level
  • Diet low in veggies and fruits, containing trans fats, and high in sodium and saturated fats
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight/obesity - especially in the abdominal region
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol - this is more complicated than the media typically portrays it.
  • Stress
  • Age
  • Family history
Thankfully, with the exception of age and family history, you have the power to reduce your risk factors. Whether you have one risk factor or all 10, it’s never too early or too late to make a change. While many people know that proper diet and exercise are important for heart health, there’s a lot of confusion about what a healthy diet and lifestyle are. This is why I evaluate each of my patients on an individual basis to understand how they're eating, what their life is like, and which risk factors are the most important to tackle first. Just remember that there are MANY things that you can do to reduce your risk.




Health optimization & disease prevention


The dysfunctional processes that eventually result in chronic diseases (e.g. cancer, heart disease, diabetes) often start decades before the disease is diagnosed. ALL of us can benefit from assessing our risk factors and taking steps to reduce damage that's occurring right now, in order to decrease the risk of chronic disease in the future. Here's some food for thought:

  • Are you as energetic as you'd like?
  • Do you wake up rested every day?
  • Do you feel you're a comfortable temperature throughout the day?
  • Do you have a bowel movement every day?
  • Are your stools solid and do they hold together? Without being dry, hard, or painful?
  • Is your mood stable?
  • Is your skin clear?
  • Can you miss a meal without feeling "hangry", lightheaded, dizzy, unfocused, or tired?
  • Do you actively work on maintaining your muscle mass?
  • For females: Are your menstrual periods regular, pain-free, and with bleeding that isn't too light or heavy and lasts 5-7 days?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, it's likely that there are steps you can take to become healthier in the long-term.




Acne & other skin conditions


Skin is like a window into the body. While there are a few circumstances when skin conditions are due to external causes (such as chemical irritation), skin conditions are typically an outward expression of something going on inside. As the largest and most exposed organ of the body, skin has a critical role as a barrier to the outside world as well as a means of detoxification. This means that if a) the barrier system is compromised or b) the body cannot detoxify adequately through other means, it will show up on your skin. Since immune cells reside in our skin, this is also a common place where inflammation is visible. Often, this means that inflammation is present in other deeper organs and that it may be affecting your health in other ways (such as with psoriasis and eczema). Chronic skin conditions may also involve hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and genetic variations. More information on common skin conditions

  • Acne
  • Eczema
    • Takes you to my allergy page, because these conditions share the same underlying mechanisms.




Healthy aging


The processes underlying aging are slowly becoming clearer. While science still has a lot of work to do in understanding the degeneration that accompanies aging, there are many things we can to to counteract the aging that we now know occurs at a cellular level. A perspective on longevity: I watched a TED Talk a year or two ago, and the speaker made a great point: do we really want to extend lifespan? Or should our goal instead be to extend "health-span"? As in, if we can prolong life, but if more of our last years (or even decades) of life are spent being ill or diseased, is that really what we want? As our collective life expectancy has increased, the prevalence of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer has also increased. By targeting the underlying dysfunction of these diseases and others, I aim to help patients extend the years that they're able to be active and engaged with their friends, families, and activities that they enjoy.




Injuries


In order to heal we need a few key things: sufficient nutrients to rebuild tissues, good circulation to bring nutrients into and debris out of the area, and proper immune function to regulate these processes. In order to heal fully from any acute or chronic injury, we need each of these factors functioning well. If you’re dealing with an injury, I can help ensure you have the nutrients you need to heal. I can increase circulation to the injured area using manual therapies, acupuncture, cupping, herbs, and hydrotherapy. I can help regulate your immune system so that proper healing can occur, through treatments that may include nutrition and lifestyle counseling, supplementation, IV therapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and homeopathy. While some injuries will take longer than others to recover, these therapies can put you on the path back to enjoying your regular activities. Alpha-Stim treatments can also be helpful to relieve pain and facilitate healing.




Sleep problems


If you're having difficulty getting restful sleep, there are several factors that could be at play. Your poor sleep may involve hormones, nervous system overactivity, impaired breathing, blood sugar dysregulation, and more. Once we determine what's going on in your particular case, there are many options to get your sleep back on track. In the meantime, while I'm addressing the underlying cause of what's going on, there are also natural sleep aids that support neurotransmitter balance and may be helpful in the short term. A note on the importance of sleep: When you're not sleeping well, the rest of your life feels the consequences. Sometimes it's obvious, like when you start falling asleep in a meeting or having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. Other times, it can be subtle, such as when you have an injury or a cut that's not getting better as quickly as you would like. Sleep might not be the first thing you think of when you have a slow-healing injury, but the fact is that sleep is critical for ALL types of healing in the body.





Common health concerns I treat:

© 2020 Dr. Alexa Birdgeneau ND

403-542-3763

Centre for Natural Medicine

1025 - 1 Ave NE

Calgary, AB T2E 9C6

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