Good afternoon, beauties!
I hope Wednesday finds you at a comfortable place during the week, not too stressed and with enough motivation to make it through Friday as happy and positive as possible!
For #WellnessWednesday, I’m sharing another piece of my personal journey with you all, in hopes of shedding light on a subject that plagues most women, if not all: hormones. Yes, those little creatures that either make us happy and healthy, or bring us down into the depths of melancholy and moodiness with a peanut butter jar or two… This post will be dedicated to women, so men: you probably won’t love it! But I encourage you to keep reading if you love a woman who is dealing with mood swings, weight gain, insomnia, acne, etc. Thank you for your never-ending support of us, by the way!
Related Article: The Dangers Every Woman Needs to Know About Birth Control Pills
I have always had a harder time than most of my girlfriends with my menstruation. It all began at age 11, during a school play, right there in front of my entire school, my family, and the families of students. I have a great sense of humor– this is one of the reasons why. It was always extremely painful and very heavy, even causing me to miss school occasionally. My mom’s gynocologist suggested that I start birth control pills when I reached my teens, to help me regulate my long and horrible cycles.
As a teen I struggled with acne, major mood swings, rapid weight gain and loss, and pretty much every other indicative symptom of imbalanced hormones. I started taking birth control pills to regulate my crazy cycle (I had a period about every 2.5-3 weeks). This was during a time that pharmaceutical companies began creating birth control pills that also cleared your skin (progesterone and estrogen combinations). While I was still not feeling like myself, even moodier really, I loved that my skin was clearing up and that I could count on when I would be menstruating. I never looked back…
Until I got serious about my natural health journey and began researching all the terrible side effects of prolonged birth control use. I had just accepted that I would be crazy during “that time” and that my insane bloating was totally normal. Guess what friends, IT’S NOT! Not to mention my other issues of cysts and fibroids, nutrient deficiencies, occasional insomnia and depression, low libido, fatigue and brittle hair and nails. I was still afraid to stop using birth control though, since it had been over a decade… an extremely important decade where my body grew more, changed, developed and became an adult. If I could go back in time for one thing, it would be to stop myself from ever using these toxic pills!
Here I sit today, at 28, unable to ovulate because my progesterone and estrogen levels are severely low. Essentially, my body thinks it’s time for menopause. I don’t have a ton of energy either, another side effect of low progesterone. What gives? Well, my doctor wants me to get back on birth control to trick my body into thinking it’s making its own hormones again. Luckily, my studies into holistic health will not fail me. If you are ready to ditch your birth control, read on for my tips to finding natural balance.
Related Article: Dr. Sara’s Top 10 Tips to Reset Your Hormones Naturally
Step One: Lab Tests!
It is essential that you get your lab work done before you attempt to balance your hormones naturally. You can’t know what to focus on, if you aren’t 100% sure where your levels are. It’s a simple blood test that takes literally seconds! I got my lab results back yesterday from my primary care physician and discovered that I am suffering from extremely low estrogen and low progesterone. My thyroid, luckily, is doing great! So, before you cancel your lab tests because it is expensive (I did that last month), consider how much supplements and herbal remedies can cost. You can spend hundreds of dollars on things that aren’t going to make a difference for your body, because it’s not treating what is actually wrong (hello, expensive Milk Thistle!).
Step Two: Research!
Research your results. My hormone bible is The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD. I absolutely love it! I recommend the digital version to make it easier to flip between sections and bookmark important pages. There are many resources out there for balancing your hormones naturally. I suggest sticking with what you are comfortable with, since our mind has a lot to do with natural healing. If you don’t believe a resource is legitimate, their suggestions likely won’t work. If you feel strongly for western medicine, look for a doctor that practices functional medicine.
Search here for a MD that practices functional medicine in your area: https://www.functionalmedicine.org
Step Three: Begin to Supplement!
I recommend personally trying to supplement your body with whole foods as much as possible. I really loved this article for ways to raise my progesterone levels naturally. You will find a lot of backlash out there against supplements, but there are good supplements that you can trust. Whole Foods is my pharmacy and I particularly love the Vitamin Code brand. Great foods that help with balancing hormones include walnuts, berries, oranges, lemons and limes, wild fish, spinach, chickpeas and black beans, broccoli, to name just a few! The supplements I’m starting now are Chasteberry (aka Vitex), Vitamin D, Zinc and Vitamin B Complex and a great probiotic.
Step Four: Clean Up Your Diet!
This is MAJOR. I should probably move this up to step one, but I really want you to get those lab tests! Isn’t it awesome that you could literally save your hormones by just cutting out sugar, caffeine and processed food? Think of the money you are saving! I’m a little jealous of you lucky ladies. Choose organic, whole foods as much as possible and avoid sugar, dairy (which has estrogen in it), caffeine and processed food. This also means eliminating alcohol because our body metabolizes alcohol as sugar. Switch to kombucha and enjoy the probiotic benefits! Also, drink lots of water to flush out toxins and stay hydrated. For ways to spruce up your water, check out this post.
Related Article: My Healthy Alternatives to Mainstream Foods
What issues have you had with your hormones? I hope this helps you all! I will keep you posted on my personal journey to balanced hormones. Remember to celebrate yourself and honor your body, it is the greatest tool we have.
Love & Light,