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Is This Normal? In Conversation with Dr. Jolene Brighten

Dr. Jolene Brighten is a board-certified naturopathic endocrinologist and clinical sexologist. In her new book, Is This Normal, she dispels myths and provides medically accurate advice in a time of mass misinformation.
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Dr. Jolene Brighten is a board-certified naturopathic endocrinologist, clinical sexologist, and a fierce patient advocate. Dr. Brighten is on a mission to empower women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones.
In her latest book, Is This Normal?, she addresses questions we’ve all been too embarrassed to ask about our bodies, menstrual cycles, sexuality, and more. In an era of misinformation, Dr. Brighten’s book is a refreshing resource for medically accurate information and a step forward in the movement to bust the myths that have been plaguing us for generations.

We asked Dr. Brighten some questions about the release of her new book and the cultural importance of writing and releasing it today.

Below are her answers.

DIVA: Why is this the book we want and need right now?  

Dr. Jolene Brighten: “There’s never been a book like Is This Normal?, although it’s been something we’ve all needed for a very long time. I think the topics and information shared in the book have been long overdue. For far too long, information has been gatekept or we’ve been shamed into not asking about it. Now, more than ever, we’re seeing a multigenerational demand for this type of information.”
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D: How do you see greater access to information (and misinformation) affecting us?

JB: “There’s access to more information than we’ve ever experienced before. Unfortunately, not all of it is true or even if it is true, it may not apply to the individual. I invite everyone to always ask the question, “is this true for me” when they’re being presented with new information. Sometimes that can take a little trial and error, but honoring our body is an excellent starting place for weeding through the information we come across.  
I do think the growth of social media has helped us normalize conversations that previously we were told we’re impolite or wrong to discuss openly. That’s helped many understand when things aren’t normal and to seek help when needed.  

It’s my hope with Is This Normal? that people will be well equipped to understand their body, how to support it, and how to have a better conversation with their provider.”

D: For any menstruator, what is your first recommendation for healthy and happy hormones?

JB: “Eat a nutrient dense diet that supplies your body with what it needs to function at its best.  
For example, eating plenty of foods that supply you with magnesium like dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds can help ease PMS symptoms, reduce headaches, and make period cramps more manageable.

In Is This Normal? I included a nutrient table to help people identify the key foods that deliver the nutrients for their hormonal needs.  

Next, if you’ve been skipping sleep or not prioritizing it, I would highly recommend making that a focal point for hormone health. It is very hard to create happy periods when your body is feeling the effects of stress and lack of sleep.”

Asking Yourself "Is This Normal?"

At DIVA, we appreciate the significance of Dr. Brighten's book, Is This Normal?. And hope that many people will pick up a copy; to increase their bodily awareness, take charge of their health, and learn how to navigate mass information.

Starting small and taking Dr. Brighten’s advice can help us all toward individual health and happiness. Practice asking yourself “is this true for me?” when confronted with new information online, or anywhere! Focus on eating enough nutrient-dense food and getting enough restful sleep to minimize stress and feed your body for healthy hormone production.  
And in terms of all those burning TMI-type questions you’ve been sitting on—check out Is This Normal? for the long-overdue medically accurate answers you deserve!
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About the contributor

Dr. Jolene Brighten is a board certified naturopathic endocrinologist and clinical sexologist. She is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Guardian, and ABC News.