A few months back, I announced that my blog would be changing a bit. This post is the first of the new topics I’ll be sharing about here. The core of my blog is not changing – most of my posts will remain the same. But as I’ve grown older and ventured into marriage and motherhood, other topics have become extremely important to me. I have always had a passion for camaraderie with other women, and sharing journeys and resources with each other, especially related to hormones, fertility, pregnancy, postpartum care and more. Because of that, a major desire I have is to help other women who may be dealing with the things I have dealt with.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. All information contained here is my opinion. See a licensed doctor for a true diagnosis.
Disclaimer: A few supplements are mentioned here. I’m not being paid to share any product in this blog. Anything I share here is my honest opinion. I will never promote anything I don’t 100% love!
[If you aren’t a woman, this post won’t apply to you at all – unless you’re a husband looking to better understand your wife. In that case, read on!
But if you’re my brothers, dad, cousins, uncles or any other male, this will be very boring and perhaps uncomfortable to read.]
Since the ripe old age of 12, my hormonal health and “fertility” were textbook. I always knew exactly when to expect my cycle to start – often to the day. I never had cramping or pain of any kind. The worst thing about menstrual cycles for me, was the fact that I lived in Florida and always wanted to be in water of some kind – oceans, pools, rivers, etc. But all of the things I heard other women and even my friends complain about when they reached that time of the month were never a problem for me. I had it good – really good.
Even when my life started to get really busy – changing time zones, moving and constantly traveling – never really took a toll on my body or swayed my hormones. That menses still arrived at the same exact time every single month.
Everything was great, until I reached about 22 years old.
At 22, something changed, a switch was flipped, and all of it – my predictable, classic textbook cycles, hormones, and mental health took a nose dive.
I began to have terrible pain every month. I could barely handle my regular commitments, like school and work, if menses had arrived. I would walk to the back corner at work and literally curl down into a ball on the ground. Standing and walking were out of the question. All I could do was hope to God that my cycle began on a day off, curl up in bed with a heating pad and take painkillers.
Thankfully, the first day was always the worst (as is common for lots of women) and by day three, things were manageable and I could at least function at work and school like normal.
Keep in mind, I had never taken birth control of any kind, my entire life.
During the time my cycles were so awful, I also started getting acne on my lower jawline, chin and neck area. It wasn’t the normal kind of acne, like pimples you can pop. It was terribly painful cystic acne that you just have to ride out.
On top of this, I felt out of control emotionally. This is when I began having panic attacks, which I’d never had before in my life. I felt crazy, angry, terrified, depressed – over and over mixed with little pockets of happiness. I never could seem to get off this roller coaster.
I got married at 26, and my cycles started jumping around a lot. I’d skip one or two months entirely, and when I did have a period, it would be much lighter or heavier than usual, and last much shorter or longer than usual. Things were getting really weird.
My cycles continued to fluctuate. During our first year of marriage I had been taking my temperature and charting my cycles as a form of birth control. I refused to take birth control pills or use any other kind of hormonal birth control method, just because my body had been going insane for the past 4 years, and I didn’t want to take a chance of screwing with my hormones even more.
According to my charts, I had several anovulatory cycles, where my body tried to ovulate, but didn’t quite get there. I also had a few extra long cycles, lasting up to 50 days. Perhaps going on birth control would have helped, but I was so leery of it because of all of the stories I’d heard and things I’d read, and I just didn’t want to take the chance.
I wanted to give my hormones a chance to sort themselves out and if not, to try natural or homeopathic methods to help them before resorting to birth control.
I did a lot of research on hormonal balance, my cystic acne and painful periods, and made the discovery that the culprit of my out-of-whack hormones was likely an excess of estrogen. It appeared that my body was making too much estrogen, and not enough testosterone. (Both men and women need both hormones, BTW)
Through my research, I also found that the liver plays major role in hormonal balance. Because of this, the liver has a lot of control over fertility and women’s cycles.
The liver metabolizes hormones for excretion and gets rid of excess hormones the body is no longer using. The liver needs to be healthy, or hormones can accumulate in the body which in turn, leads to hormonal imbalance. To do its job well, the liver needs phytonutrients found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and others.
I decided to target my hormonal imbalance here. I wanted to make sure my liver was not the culprit and was in the best possible shape.
Through this, I began taking a couple of amazing herbal supplements that cleanse and help the liver.
I began taking a supplement called Estroblock. I also paired this with Chaste Tree Berry, and Burdock Root. These 3 little natural supplements, taken regularly and together, changed everything for me. Milk Thistle and Dandelion Root are two others that are great for liver health.
I am not one to be swayed by hype of any kind. Yet within about 4 or 5 cycles of taking these natural supplements, my cycles were back to regular, my cramping and other pains were about 85-90% reduced, my cystic acne was gone and my skin was smooth and healthy. My overall mood and emotions were lighter, happier and so much better.
This really happened for me and it really worked.
My husband and I never started “trying” for a baby, but we made a joint decision that by a certain date, we would stop deliberately preventing pregnancy.
We got pregnant in 5 months, and I stopped taking all of the supplements.
I want to encourage any woman reading this that there is no magic formula for balancing your hormones. Every woman’s body is so different, and the supplements I was taking may not be for you. You may have a different hormonal issue entirely. Your liver may be completely healthy. You may have low or high levels of both hormones.
What I want to say is to dig in and research your own body. Seeing a naturopathic doctor may be exactly what you need. I would have taken that step if the supplements hadn’t worked for me. I would encourage you to look into Chaste Berry, Burdock Root, and other well-known hormone balancing herbal supplements like Raspberry Leaf, Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root and others.
If you haven’t yet targeted your liver, I encourage you to do so! It may be the very thing that is keeping your hormones out of whack! It was for me. In any event, getting healthier can only benefit you.
A little extra tip: I really love The Republic of Tea’s dandelion tea, nettle tea, and Get Gorgeous tea. All of these teas contain herbs that are part of the supplements I mentioned above and have helped me tremendously. Not to mention, they all have amazing tastes that don’t need any additives like sugar or milk. I drink them plain because they are sooo good! You can find them at health stores and Amazon. Some Target stores carry them as well!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series – After Baby – coming soon!