episode #15

Dr. Jolene Brighten – On Orgasms, Seed Cycling & Informed Consent



In Part Two of her interview, Dr. Stephanie continues her discussion with best-selling author and leading authority on women’s health, Dr. Jolene Brighten. In this iteration, Dr. Stephanie and Dr. Jolene break down some of the impacts that hormonal birth control can have on a woman’s sexual health, including poor lubrication, vaginal wall atrophy, and pelvic floor muscle degradation. Dr. Jolene shares her top ten list of things to know about the added benefits of orgasms. Finally, they discuss post-birth control syndrome, fertility, and alternative forms of natural birth control, including Fertility Awareness Method.


  • 01:31 – Dr. Stephanie introduces the topics she and Dr. Jolene Brighten discuss in Part Two of her interview
  • 06:00 – A 2016 study out of Denmark of the association of hormonal contraception with depression
  • 11:57 – Mood disorders and the tryptophan pathway
  • 15:52 – The incidence rate of depression and Alzheimer’s in women
  • 17:40 – Elevated cortisol levels
  • 20:04 – Progesterone and head injuries
  • 21:55 – How hormonal birth control affects sexual health and libido
  • 26:37 – How testosterone affects inflammation
  • 27:13 – Yeast infections and vaginal wall atrophy
  • 30:18 – Orgasms
  • 33:31 – The importance of communication during sex
  • 34:42 – Dr. Jolene’s Top 10-12 Things to Know about Orgasms
  • 42:37 – Hormonal birth control’s impact on gut and gastrointestinal health
  • 46:54 – A recent Harvard study on birth control and Crohn’s Disease
  • 50:16 – The value of supplementation while on the pill
  • 59:31 – Seed cycling
  • 1:04:35 – Evidence-based medicine
  • 1:06:55 – Defining Post-Birth Control Syndrome
  • 1:08:48 – Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), defined
  • 1:16:56 – Where listeners can follow Dr. Jolene
  • 1:18:08 – Where listeners can follow Dr. Stephanie and subscribe to her newsletter


“We have to have these inconvenient conversations so that we can keep our daughters, our sisters, our future mothers safe.” (11:28)

“We can do better when we know. But when we don’t know, then we’re flying blind.” (21:47)

“If you’re a woman having sex with a male, that sexual intercourse is inviting someone else’s body into your body.” (32:18)

“Now, the other great thing about orgasms, they can give you easier periods, more regular cycles, and relief from menstrual cramps.” (40:44)

“We’ve now come to understand that what grows in your mouth can impact your fertility and also impact pregnancy outcomes.” (46:38)

“Anybody who lives with women or is a woman knows, women will power through just about anything until they can’t and then they’ll go to the doctor.” (1:08:29)

“It’s really important, I think, for all women to understand that if you’re not in a monogamous relationship, the pill, IUDs, patch, they’re not going to protect you against sexually transmitted infections. And that’s something that often gets glazed over.” (1:14:34)


Better! Website

Dr. Stephanie’s Website

Dr. Stephanie’s Twitter – @dr_stephanie

Dr. Stephanie’s Instagram – @dr.stephanie.estima

Dr. Stephanie on LinkedIn

Dr. Jolene’s Website

Dr. Jolene’s LinkedIn

Dr. Jolene’s Instagram – @drjolenebrighten

Dr. Jolene’s Twitter – @drbrighten

Dr. Jolene’s Facebook

Dr. Jolene’s YouTube Channel

Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scales (DASS)

DASS Questionnaire

Link to Seed Cycling Article

Dr. Jolene’s Books:

Beyond the Pill: A 30-Day Program to Balance Your Hormones, Reclaim Your Body, and Reverse the Dangerous Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill


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  • Dr. Stephanie Estima
  • Dr. Jolene Brighten

I’m Dr. Stephanie

Part geek, part magic, and all the way passionate about being a well-lived woman.

I want to throw my grandkids in the air in my 70’s. I want to be squatting even more weight than I am now, and putting my OWN luggage in the overhead bin. Sound like weird goals? For me these are just some of the little things that represent a life well-lived.

My health is MY job – I’ll be damned if I rely on luck, ‘good genes’ or a cocktail of drugs that over promise and under deliver.

The Betty Body is my first book-baby, and a collection of what I’ve learned after thousands of clinical hours, hundreds of conversations with the world’s top experts, and most importantly…

This book is an outline of what took ME from “rock-bottom health” at 38, to being my own version of a Betty in my perimenopausal mid 40’s. A woman who is physically strong, full of energy, enjoys mental clarity, great sex and a joyful family life. Is it all roses? Of course not. But I have the stamina and tools to deal with the push and pull of life so that it doesn’t turn into chronic stress.

I want this for you too. Let’s go Bettys!