I pride myself on having my shit somewhat together for someone my age, but for the last 14 months my health has not been one of those things, it’s been a rollercoaster and to be honest a lot of the time I felt completely out of control to the point where I didn’t even really feel like myself a lot of the time. That’s because 14 months ago I came off of the hormonal birth control pill and lost my menstrual cycle. Trust me when I say that when I came off the pill I didn’t know this was even a possibility, I had NO IDEA how my life would change or what I was going to face just by taking myself off the pill. I actually can’t believe that its been 14 months - oh how time flies when you’re having fun AKA when you have NO FREAKIN’ IDEA WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR BODY.. It has been a journey and a half let me tell you and I have learned so much about myself and my body over the last 14 months it’s actually crazy.
I’ve dealt with so many skin issues from acne to rosacea to eczema to inflamed tiny bumps all over my face, hair loss, cramps, fatigue, body aches and pains, mood swings and roughly 100 emotional and mental breakdowns (haha I’m not kidding). I’ve seen 3 different Western doctors, all of which gave me ZERO answers, had 10 blood tests done and an ultrasound scheduled that I never attended. I also worked with a Naturopath who CHANGED MY LIFE, she had me do a saliva cortisol test and a 200+ antigen food intolerance test (that’s where they test you for intolerances to basically every food on the planet), eliminated the foods I am intolerant to for 3 months, done IV vitamin therapy to boost my immune system and reduce inflammation and got me started on seed cycling (I’ll talk more about this in a minute), meditating and reducing my stress. Oh and I even tried acupuncture to try and channel energy towards my reproductive organs and cupping for my stress and tension (all of which was amazing if you’re wondering 10/10 recommend).
It has been a LONG AF process and I’ve tried what feels like literally everything but through trial and error I feel like I’ve really learned exactly what works and doesn’t work when it comes to balancing hormones naturally and regaining a menstrual cycle, because 3 months ago - 11 months after going off of the pill - my menstrual cycle came back and has been (mostly) regular ever since!! You guys i’m not kidding when my period first came back I cried, actual tears but I thought it was too good to be true so when it came the second month in a row I cried again. You never really appreciate something like that until it’s gone and you have no idea how to get it back, I didn’t feel like a woman, I didn’t feel adequate, I felt like shit physically and mentally and I knew how unhealthy and suppressed my body was so it made me feel even worse, and I felt like this for almost a year straight. If you’re dealing with hormonal imbalances or an absent period, I’m here for you babe, you’re not alone and just know that there is always hope!
HOW I BALANCE MY HORMONES NATURALLY
HIGH FAT - fat is the building block of all cell membranes in the body and is the main material that our bodies need to produce and maintain proper hormones.
LOW SUGAR - sugar spikes blood sugar which in turn spikes insulin which throws your endocrine system out of whack and causes hormonal imbalances.
ADEQUATE CALORIES - calories are energy, and if you’re not feeding your body adequate energy to support daily suctions and sustain life then it will go into starvation mode and shut off all biological processes that aren’t critical to survival and the first thing that it shuts off is, you guessed it - the menstrual cycle. I used to suffer from binge eating disorder and even up until last year would still find myself allowing my disordered eating habits to sneak back in to the point where I would almost subconsciously restrict calories and carbs and depriving my body of the energy and nutrients that it needed to produce a cycle. Eating more was one of the biggest things that I had to overcome mentally but I can’t stress enough how important it is to this process!
LOW TO NO CAFFEINE - caffeine spikes cortisol which contributes to adrenal fatigue. I haven’t been drinking any caffeine for the last week or so, I have replaced my morning coffee with Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee I AM OBSESSED with all things Four Sigmatic but this coffee is my fav product by far! You guys can use my code LULU10 for a discount! Don’t get me wrong though, I love a good cup of coffee and nothing beats the real thing but for right now I’m focusing on limiting my coffee intake to once a week or not at all until my adrenals come back to normal.
LIMIT ALCOHOL - alcohol impairs the function of reproductive organs and can result in hormonal imbalances, but the occasional glass of red wine is totally fine and actually VERY beneficial (hallelujah!) because it contains resveratrol which is a natural compound that actually helps moderate androgen hormones and promote hormonal balance.
SEED AND OIL CYCLING - the basic concept of cycling is to consume certain seeds and oils during certain phases of the menstrual cycle to support the female body, the different seeds and oils contain the exact minerals and lignens that the female body needs during that exact phase. You can read more about the 4 different menstrual phases in my blog post HERE! I take 1 tbsp ground flax seeds, 1 tbsp ground pumpkin seeds and 2 tsp (OR 1000mg) high dose fish oil every day during my follicular phase and 1 tbsp ground sesame seeds, 1 tbsp ground sunflower seeds and 1000mg evening primrose oil every day during my luteal phase. Here is a great article you can read about seed cycling!
MEDITATION - (every morning, mid afternoon and before bed) reduces stress, lowers cortisol, balances blood pressure, elevates mood and centers the mind and body.
STRESS REDUCTION - stress causes the adrenals to secrete cortisol, too much stress causes an excessive production of cortisol which can cause adrenal fatigue. When the body is so focused on the fight or flight response that too much stress creates it doesn’t have any energy left to focus nothings like hormonal balance or the menstrual cycle.I suffer from anxiety and chronic stress which is the main cause of my adrenal fatigue and was one of the causes of my missing menstrual cycle for 10 months, so it is crucial that I practice mindfulness and stress reduction on a daily basis to try to lower my stress levels.
PUTTING MY PHONE AWAY EARLIER AT NIGHT & CHECKING IT LATER IN THE MORNING - the blue light from electronic devices actually spikes cortisol which contributes to adrenal fatigue.
BREATHING THROUGH CHALLENGING SITUATIONS - allowing yourself to unnecessarily stress over things doesn’t do you any good, raises cortisol and contributes to adrenal fatigue.
JOURNALLING - promotes relaxation, is a good way to express emotions and feelings without getting overwhelmed or stress and helps to lower stress.
PRIORITIZING SLEEP - while we sleep our body synthesizes and releases hormones into the blood stream to replenish the supply used the day before so it is critical to get a full nights sleep every night to maintain adequate hormone levels. Unfortunately because my cortisol is so imbalanced right now it tends to surge at night so I have been waking up throughout the night a lot lately, having crazy dreams and night sweats (how fun right?!), that being said I try to make sure to get A MINIMUM of 7 hours of sleep every night (preferably 8 because yo girl needs beauty sleep).
*as always please do your own research before starting any new supplement, vitamin and/or adaptogen*
MAGNESIUM BISGLYCINATE - reduces overactivity of the HPA axis which helps to reduce anxiety and stress and therefor lowers production of cortisol, critical in helping the body to produce estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. I take 2 of THESE before bed.
HIGH DOSE PROBIOTICS - the gut is the center of all health in the body, the bacteria in the gut help to regulate hormones so if your gut health isn’t optimal it can cause hormonal imbalances which cause mood swings, fatigue, poor digestion, acne, etc. The probiotic that I take has 50 Billion CFU and includes organic ashwagandha and organic Alaskan blueberries, both of which help the body produce GABA which supports emotional health and well-being. I Take 2 of THESE every day.
VITAMIN D3 - interacts with and has an effect on the secretion of hormones from the parathyroid gland, deficiency can lead to the abnormal release of parathyroid hormone which can lead to hormonal imbalances. I take 5 of THESE every morning.
ASHWAGANDHA - supports the nervous and endocrine systems, promotes a natural sleep cycle, helps the body adapt to stress and helps support normal mood, energy levels and immune function. I take 2 of THESE before bed. I take 2 of THESE before bed.
RHODIOLA - supports the adrenal glands and encourages a health response to stress. I take one full dropper of THIS every morning.
HOLY BASIL - aka tulsi which means “balance”, helps you respond to stress in a healthy way while nourishing the mind and elevating the spirit. take 1 of THESE before my first meal.
GELATINIZED MACA ROOT - supports the body’s stress response, helps tone the HPA axis to support the body’s natural production of hormones, boosts fertility, stimulates libido, I take 1.5 tsp of THIS every day, either mixed in my smoothie or in an elixir.
I hope that you find these tips and practices helpful and can see some improvement in your life if you’re dealing with any hormonal imbalances. As always, every person is different and what worked for me may not work for you so please do your own research and if your cycle doesn’t come back right away don’t get discouraged, I had to implement all of these factors, practices and lifestyle changes into my life for 3 months straight before I saw even a slight improvement. Its all about being patient and trusting the process.
XO - LU