Ever since puberty I suffered from debilitating periods. Extreme cramps and bleeding. Once in high school, I bled down my leg and left bloody footprints in the hallways. No one dared make fun of me. Everyone was too scared to speak about it. I sat in home economics wearing lost and found shorts, waiting for my jeans to dry. I was angry, I was broken out, and I was not fun to be around two weeks out of every month.
Finally, at 18, I went on birth control. Pill after pill shot after the patch. Endlessly looking for one to control my hormones. Some helped a little, most caused other worse problems. Hello, depression!
By the time I was in my last year of college, I finally found one that worked. My skin was clear, I was thin, my mood was happy, and I was just like a normal person. This lasted about 5 years and it was during this time I met my now husband.
The use of the birth control pill was catching up with me. I developed sudden migraines. The kinds so bad you scream and vomit. They lasted forever and left me weak in bed for days afterward. These were serious migraines. Not the simple headaches I used to have.
My gynecologist who urged me to “just be ugly and miserable rather than dead” when I asked to be on the birth control pill was finally able to persuade me to quit them. It was pretty clear I would eventually die of a blood clot. Along with the support of my husband who was studying Functional Medicine, I went off them.
Just like that, everything came back. Only this time it was worse. So much worse! I had been skinny my entire life. 5ft and 98 lbs. It was shocking how fast the weight piled on. Not only that, but I had terrible bloating and full body swelling. The acne came back with vengeance. The cramps were just as bad as before the pill. Everything was getting progressively worse with each period.
I left my job and tried to put my health as a priority. I was lost most days due to terrible migraines. Locked in a dark room covered in full body heating pads.
My husband was in school for acupuncture, traditional Chinese Medicine, and Functional Medicine. We asked his professors who told me to get pregnant. So in the back of our minds, I guess, we thought it would be fixed after we decided to have kids.
Four years to the day we were married, our daughter was born. It was a pregnancy with tremendous complications. I was told conflicting advice from multiple doctors. I left the hospital almost 30 lbs. heavier than I walked in. I was a mountain of swelling. Depressed, traumatized, and in chronic pain, I spent my days researching hormones.
My husband did too. We wanted to fix me. He went to conferences with my bloodwork in hand. Asked every speaker. Doctors, specialists, anyone. Since blood tests are really useless for hormones, I got a cycle long DUTCH dried urine test. This showed me I had normal cortisol, but insanely off the charts high DHEA, Estrogen Dominance, and High Testosterone. The rest was normal ranges. Basically, I had POCS. There are various types and the one I have was probably caused by not only a poor diet, chronic life-long stress, but it was made worse by using birth control. Using the pill can mask symptoms while you continue the lifestyle that caused the imbalance in the first place.
After being placed on antibiotics which I now know where only making EVERYTHING worse, I looked into a diet. I tried them all. Cut out dairy, then gluten, went Keto, fasted, took food sensitivity tests, drank bulletproof coffees, cut out all fruits and anything that spiked insulin, etc. Through it all, I recorded my progress. I took herbs, supplements, did intermitted fasting, and even meditated.
Every doctor, influencer, or YouTuber recommendations I tried.
Now I finally know why none of it work for me. It’s such a personal issue. Hormonal imbalance effects so many systems in the body. The lymphatic, the digestive, reproductive, skin, pretty much everything. You have to treat them ALL and you have to treat them based on your individual imbalance.
So check the blog, there is so much to tell you. I’ve learned so much and most importantly, I’m continuing to learn and grow every day. New protocol? I’ll try it! All meat? Sure! Totally vegan? Why not?! I’ll try it all and let you know what helps me and if I think it can help YOU.
I’m still not perfect. I have a few skin issues, especially before my period. But bloating? Nope! Weight issues? Nope! Cramps? Minimal (just a heating pad on day one for a bit and I’m good without pills). Regular menstrual cycle? I can predict within two days. Mood? Chill (eh unless you cut me off in traffic). Relationship with food? Totally doable!
So check out the blog, join as an INSIDER, follow my journey on Instagram, and let’s help each other over in the private Facebook group (just for INSIDERS!).