I Balanced my Hormones Naturally: My Story
Hormonal imbalance is one of the top female issues plaguing American women. A combination of the typical food, chemicals, and lifestyles westerners have attribute to a myriad of problems with infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid, skin, and weight. A big problem and mask of issues is birth control. I am going to focus on this because this is where my problems lie. I am not a medical professional, so please take what I say as things that worked FOR ME, under the care of my doctor.
I started on birth control like most teen girls do, at the age of 16, as both a preventative measure for pregnancy (obviously) and also to combat the painful cramps I would experience with my period. I continued almost exclusively with birth control until I was 25. Being ignorant about my health, I tried many brands based on whatever my doctor gave me, that was covered by insurance or that was free.
I continued on this path until 2015 when I started noticing I was having sharp pains in my breasts. It would feel like a hot knife was stabbing me. I shook it off for a while until I felt a lump. Ironically this happened during breast cancer month, so I was even more worried as you can imagine. I went to my doctor, who sent me to a specialist, and test resulted in me finding out I had several cysts. Luckily they are benign, but it was scary. I could have surgery to remove them, or they could burst on their own, BUT, they could also come back.
My doctor and I discussed it, and she informed me of some of the things that cause this to happen. Most of it is attributed to hormones and genetics. However, I was going to a holistic doctor, so she also gave me the reality of the chemical and environmental things that can also attribute to this.
- Deodorant-it contains many chemicals and sweat blockers that can keep your body from eliminating waste like it needs to. I immediately switched to natural deodorant. Please be mindful that you will sweat, but you’re supposed to. There are also other things you can do to help detox your pits when you make this switch (more on that later).
- Birth Control-contains synthetic hormones used to keep your body from ovulating. The issue is, when you stop these hormones from being released correctly, they can create imbalances, which will cause you to have other issues.
- Bras-wire cup bras or ill-fitted bras can cause your lymph nodes to be blocked, many which are under your arms and along your chest. I try to avoid a bra at all costs, but if I do wear one I make sure it’s correctly fitted and/or wireless.
Knowledge is Power
After talking with my doctor and doing my research, I immediately eliminated those things from my diet/life. I stopped birth control, and began tracking my cycle using an app. My boyfriend (now husband) was very supportive and also keeps up with my cycle and has learned how it works over the last 4 years of this process. I have occasional pain from them, but most have gone away at this point.
In the midst of all this, I started a new job, began traveling and working all the time. I gained 50 lbs in 8 months and it stayed there. The weight made me uncomfortable and unhappy. It has effected my social life because I feel embarrassed to go out at times. It also attributed to some of the depression I have dealt with over the years.
Fast forward to the end of 2016/early 2017, I noticed other issues were taking place. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m really into health and fitness. I typically workout at least 3 days a week, and I love weight lifting, and have recently got into spin classes, which are super addictive. I say that to say, I noticed that my weight kept going up, even though I was working out more than ever before. Even when dieting, the weight no longer fell off like it used to.
To add to the stress of all of this, My boyfriend proposed in February of last year. I say stress because most women go into diet mode for the big day, right? I did this as well, wanting to be in my best shape for my wedding and honeymoon. But after months of dieting and working out 4-5 days a week, I had only lost 10lbs. 10 LBS!!! I’m 5’10, 10lbs doesn’t mean shit to weight loss in my case. I can fluctuate 5 lbs in a day or two, so I was concerned. I finally gave up and just went back to my normal lifestyle, and actually didn’t gain or lose anything else, but I was a little upset about that.
My wedding came and went, and life went back to normal. I started 2018 with the goal of losing the 50 lbs I had gained. I joined Classpass, meal prepped every week and stopped eating out all the time. I also switched jobs, so my schedule was more consistent and less hectic and stressful. Come May 2018, the weight STILL hadn’t come off, and I knew something was really wrong. I was also having issues with IBS, chin hair (ugh), mood swings, and night sweats. I am also tired ALL THE TIME. My period was also no longer regular, and when it did come, it was really painful and would suck the life out of me. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.
I started doing research and realized that all of this is really common. So back to the doctor I went. I got tested for so many things. It turns out I have a form of PCOS, and an estrogen imbalance. Unfortunately from my new ObGyn’s perspective, PCOS does not have a cure, but rather there are medicines and things you can do to somewhat control it. I looked into my options and didn’t like the side effects. Some were worse than the actual issue. So that month I did a ton of research, and made my own plan to cure myself.