I might be flattering myself entirely too much to think that I have enough readers to warn about the up and coming information. However, this subject matter is going to be talking about hormones, feelings, and gasp! “periods”. I gave you fair warning, read on men if you may.
I got a lot of positive response to yesterdays post about my “kryptonite”. The most common theme/comments I received were related to other females and having hormonal issues and wondering if it was gluten related. I thought I would shed some light on the subject!
Before I continue…I am not in anyway a doctor. I don’t think I could ever be one with two young boys in my life who demand my love and attention 24/7. However, I do aspire to go into medicine someday, particularly female health. I used to study midwifery and fell in love with all things hormones, fertility, “periods” related..I know that sounds funny or weird…but I am a geek about female health..I suppose some of us have to be otherwise their wouldn’t be MDs, NDs, midwifes in this world to help the female population.
Hormones are a tricky business! there are so many things that influence them including:
- Contraceptive use
- Lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking, working out too much)
- Beauty care products, (which always surprises a lot of folks, but a lot of beauty care products have so many synthetic chemicals in them that are major hormone disruptors)
The list goes on, but the above mentioned I would like to think are the major heavy hitters. I’ll touch upon some of the bullet points only to help you see what I have found true with myself; again! this is not medical advice just sharing of personal information to help you start to ask your own questions.
Diet: I used to be anorexic. My anorexia started with an obsession of all things fat-free. I wouldn’t touch anything with fat in it and became consumed by what I put in my mouth in relation to how much activity I did. I lost my period, a lot of my hair, my skin broke out, I was not healthy. It wasn’t until my journey back to health that I realized in order to get back my period and end the vicious mental cycle of binging and then purging through exercise I had to incorporate fat back into my diet! I sought out nutritional help and through incorporating healthful fats, (which included cholesterol, the precursor to all hormones in our body) I got my period back, (it was like going through puberty again, not fun or pretty), my skin looked better, my thinking became clearer, and years later I gave birth to 2 amazing little boys!
Don’t worry about knowing all the hormones listed underneath cholesterol…just know that it is critical in our bodies in order to produce necessary hormones.
Sleep: The #1 reason I get so geeked out about female health pertains to sleep! Our bodies are this amazing machine that has a rhythm to it. My mom is an amazing lady who showed me the ways of woman’s wisdom. When I gained my period back the second time around she bought me a moon chart. In a nut shell, moon charts are used to track your cycle based on the phases of the moon. If you don’t use hormone-based contraceptives and follow a healthy lifestyle…your cycle becomes a very predictable pattern based on the phases of the moon…I highly recommend buying one and trying it out! I conceived Trout using a moon chart, (sorry, was that TMI?)
If a woman throws off her cycle, natural rhythm then hormones are to pay, especially fertility. Proper sleep is a major contributor to keeping a woman’s natural ebb & flow. Sleep helps your body regulate a hormone called cortisol. Those who stay up too late, rise too early, don’t get enough sleep can suffer from a slew of hormone-related issues.
Contraceptive use: I’m not recommending you quit using birth control, however, I do think it is important for woman to ask why you are using your current method and is their a safer, better way? If you are one of those that suffers from cystic acne, depression, fatigue..it would be worth looking into changing your current birth control methods. I think as woman it is important to never be a product of reactive medicine..it is our body and it is okay to speak up on its behalf.
I am a poor example of birth control usage period..Doctors won’t touch me with a ten foot pole with any birth control due to my mom having a stroke so early in life. My methods have been criticized as “granola”. I have taken a lot of time and put a lot of effort into understanding my body so “granola” has worked for me.
Exercise: There is a fine line between too much and too little. When I exercise too much my body freaks out. I start to have more OCD thought patterns, I loose my cycle, and I loose my ahem wife “drive”. When I don’t exercise enough, I become anxious, depressed, and mean. Exercise is great for helping women loose weight and achieve a healthier cycle. In my case and many friends I know, they tip the scale on exercising too much and have either lost their period, aren’t ovulating, or have too much testosterone and deal with a lot of acne issues.
Hmmm…I see this blog post is going to be losing a lot of readers at this point ( I have to remind myself that not everyone likes to read novels about hormone health)…so I will include one more thought to hormone health and being celiac.
Anytime someone is eating something that their body specifically doesn’t recognize as food, (in the case of celiac) there is an inflammation response. My body went on my entire life with an inflammation response happening that made me miserable. By the time puberty hit I was already dealing with so much inflammation and “leaky gut” issues that I had terrible periods. My periods were heavy, painful, lasting more then 7 days in length..I was miserable for at least one week out of each month. When I got my period back the second time around, (during my recovery) I again had painful, heavy periods…even though I was living a “healthier” lifestyle.
long story short, I did a lot of my own research and soul searching to find out that gluten as well as dairy threw my body off and was hurting my hormone health. It was literally a night and day experience. After I got my period back 2 years after I had Bodhi (and had been living a gluten free/dairy free lifestyle since he was 6 months old)…my periods were rhythmical, not painful, and easy to live with…it was freeing.
Hope this helps any or all interested. I promise I won’t ramble on this much again in the future…sorry guys if you didn’t read my intro and got suckered into reading 😉
I would love to hear if you have any hormone-related questions, comments, rebuttals?