Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Dr. Iris Grattan, a Naturopathic Doctor, and Her Approach to Reproductive Issues in Women
We are speaking with Dr. Iris Grattan, ND on the topic of reproductive health in women who struggle with PMS, heavy bleeding and cramps.
Tell Us a Story About a Patient Suffering from Menstrual Complications and PMS and How You Helped
Susan Smith was a 33 year old patient trying to cope with painful periods, heavy bleeding, and PMS symptoms. She came from two generations of women with similar reproductive struggles and thought it normal to be sick and weak during her time of the month. Her mother, as a teenager, sometimes fainted from the heavy bleeding during her period. And her grandmother reported at least two ectopic pregnancies, one or two miscarriages, and other reproductive complaints.
Now Susan’s symptoms had somewhat improved from the early years when she experienced nausea, cramps along her upper thighs, bleeding through her menstrual pads, and physical weakness during her cycle. She didn’t come to me for these problems though; Susan wanted help with fatigue and cystic acne.
What had the patient/client tried before seeking you out?
Surprisingly, Susan hadn’t experimented much. As I stated, she thought painful periods and all its drama quite normal. Following her family’s advice she exceeded her aspirin intake during the first three days of her period to help with the intense pain. Often she lay quite still in bed, curled up with a hot water bottle against her stomach. For 3-4 hours she rested before feeling well enough to move about. She never considered diet, supplements, or anything natural to help herself. And, her doctors never suggested IUD’s or birth control for the heavy bleeding. But she also didn’t ask. It seemed she didn’t believe anything could make it better.
How did you arrive at your course of treatment?
Susan’s case overwhelmed me a bit because I was a new practitioner. Her intense pain really touched my heart and I wished for something magical and powerful. But I only knew to start with the basics – her food.
What modalities or therapies did you implement and what was the outcome of the services you provided?
She did a basic elimination diet and discovered a sensitivity to gluten, dairy, and soy. Then we worked towards a plant-based diet. Fortunately, her boyfriend wanted to become a vegetarian, so they started that together. She incorporated in her daily routine green smoothies with lemon/lime, black-strap molasses, and seed cycling with flax, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. I addressed foundational deficiencies with minerals, a multi-vitamin, and additional vitamin D. For the anemia she took an iron bisglycinate supplement with the accompanying nutrients to help with absorption. Over time we included other satisfying rituals like Susun Weed’s nettle leaf and raspberry infusions and hot golden milk with turmeric before bed.
I then used a line of homeopathic medications for drainage, detoxification, regulation and regeneration that gave her profound relief. Susan started this 10 days before her period and for the first time in her life experienced a PMS-free bleed! That validated all her efforts and left her feeling completely bowled over with relief and excitement. I didn’t know the products could work that well. And, so quickly! I’d just been introduced to them and thought they were amazing. Turns out they really were.
Susan started moving more with hot yoga and barre, finding that those exercises didn’t tire her like running on the treadmill. Instead, they fed her spirit and mind, buffering the impact of her stressful life in a city, away from family.
We’ve worked together sporadically from that initial point over the past few years. Now she’s PMS-free and down to one day of minor menstrual cramps. Her acne’s gone and she’s energetic.
Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?
I decided at 11 years old to become a doctor. Time Magazine had the picture of a premature baby born addicted to drugs. He was small enough to fit in the palms of a man’s hands. The story vividly described the epidemic of babies born addicted to crack in Harlem, New York City. It shared the way Harlem Hospital and the community worked to care for the children.
Mother Hale, an elder in the Harlem community who initially took in one woman’s premature baby, now had her brownstone living room filled with baby cribs; she’d started caring for the newborns of other drug-addicted women. Miraculously, the children detoxed and thrived under her love and care. I don’t even think she was trained as a health practitioner, but she had old wisdom from the south about taking care of sick people. She just used what she knew and her love.
I wanted to help Mother Hale, those babies, and work at Harlem Hospital. So I made a decision to become a pediatrician. Now life takes you on some doozies because Mother Hale passed, the charity disbanded due to internal corruption, and I work as a naturopathic doctor in a state that doesn’t license ND’s! But I’m still in Harlem helping women with hormonal and reproductive issues anyway.
What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?
Start with what I know! It’s, in fact, good enough to get healing started. Audre Lorde’s quote inspires me daily. She wrote,
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
In 1996 I started at Spelman College in Atlanta Ga. My original major was music and Pre-Med but I switched to English and Pre-Med once I read that English students passed the MCATs better than science majors.
In 2001 I started a master’s in education. Then I went on to attend the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (clearly I like school!). Finally, I stumbled upon the University of Bridgeport’s College of Naturopathic Medicine and started in 2009. I graduated in 2015.
Iris Grattan N.D.
KISS Naturopathic, Inc.
New York, New York USA
View other holistic practitioners like Dr. Grattan in our Holistic Health Directory
As holistic dentists, we've recommended products and services that supported our patients’ health for decades. In experiencing our own health challenges from mercury toxicity, we worked closely with many natural, alternative, and integrative health practitioners who aided our recovery as well as our patients’. We built this site to provide you with a simple-to-use, comprehensive, informational, and functional resource for your physical, emotional, and spiritual health & well-being.