Hi friends! Hope you’re having a wonderful week so far. Keep those giveaway entries coming! I’ll have a new one up tomorrow. 🙂
For today, I thought I’d share the long hormone post I’ve been chipping away at for the past couple of weeks. This is a friendly reminder to keep in mind that I’m only sharing my experience. If you feel like something is off/wrong, please visit your doctor.
A couple of months ago, I interviewed Candace Burch for the podcast and loved chatting with her. She’s such a wealth of knowledge and her experience is specifically geared towards women’s hormones. Her knowledge and background really impressed me, so when she offered to do a complimentary hormone test and consult, I immediately said YES.
I hadn’t had my hormone levels tested in years – since just after P was born – so I was interested to see how things had changed. In the past, when I was solely working with Dr. Flynn (who was also on the podcast!) he was helping to boost my hormone levels and regulate my stress hormones. After P was born, everything was OFF – he said I had great hormone levels.. for a post-menopausal woman – and I started a supplement routine with him. I took the supplements until we came to Tucson for a bit and then stopped. I was feeling terrible (which I mostly think was the inflammation from my implants because that’s when they really started hurting) and he helped me with supplements again after my surgery. I think that the ones he recommended truly helped with my recovery.
Flash forward to present day, and I’d been feeling pretty good. My energy is more stable throughout the day from eating balanced and regular meals (yay, macro counting!), and I’ve been crushing my workouts. The only thing that bothered me was that I was pretty tired all of the time. I chalked it up to wrangling two small kiddos and all of the tasks associated with that, plus lack of sleep since they wake me up literally every night, and figured it was my current normal status. Even so, I expected my hormone levels to come back with a gold star and go on my merry way.
Not so much.
They weren’t terrible.. but they weren’t great.
At first glance everything looks ok: estrogen in the right zone and testosterone in the right zone, but the low progesterone-estrogen level concerned me a little. A normal level is around 100, and mine was a 26. Dr. Google taught me a lot about estrogen dominance (which is indicated by this low ratio) and when I read the symptoms, I nodded my head the entire time.
This is where we get to the TMI part of the post (please feel free to skip if you’re not into cycles/PMS chitchat).
I’ve struggled with horrible PMS and mood swings my entire life, which only stopped when I was on birth control for 12 years. Before and after my birth control days, the week before my cycle, I’d spend it feeling anxious, depressed, moody, and weepy. Aka kind of a hot mess. I thought this was normal PMS, but the symptoms I experienced definitely felt more extreme. (It’s a huge reason why they put me on birth control when I was 12. My cycle was horrible, painful, and I had such bad PMS symptoms.)
Candace spent a little under an hour chatting with me about the results of my test, and another interesting factor was my stress levels. I was pumped to see that my stress levels were super low even though I have a lot going on. Unfortuantely, they’re low enough to be considered sub-optimal. My body is so used to being stressed that it doesn’t respond adequately anymore, which equals adrenal fatigue.
Here’s a little bit about adrenal fatigue and what it is (from this site)
Your adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones that are essential to life. The medical term adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease) refers to inadequate production of one or more of these hormones as a result of an underlying disease.
Signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency may include:
Unexplained weight loss
Low blood pressure
Loss of body hair
Skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation)
Adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed by blood tests and special stimulation tests that show inadequate levels of adrenal hormones.
While I was talking to Candace, she gave me so many awesome lifestyle tips for working with the adrenal fatigue and estrogen dominance (which she said is mild):
– Eat cruciferous vegetables to help get rid of excess estrogen
– Really focus on self care: sleep, making time for things I enjoy, encourage gentle exercise to balance out more vigorous classes, find ways to manage stress, etc.
– Nourishing the adrenals (I’m using this and love it, and get B12 through nutritional yeast on my eggs)
– Magnesium oil to help with anxiety and sleep
– Supplements! I’m taking a mix of new and old supplements: chaste tree (which I’ve taken on and off for years, and it initially helped regulate my cycle after going off birth control almost 10 years ago), Adrena Soothe, DIM, and Calcium-D Glucarate.
(If you’re considering adding supplements to your routine, talk with your doc about the right dose for you)
Before chatting with Candace, I’d never heard about DIM and Calcium-D Glucarate. The DIM supplement is equivalent to eating 2 lbs of cruciferous vegetables and can help to flush the excess estrogen out of the body. The Calcium-D Glucarate helps to support the liver in getting rid of excess waste. Before I added these two supplements, I ran it by some of the medical professionals I work with, and they all recommended giving them a try.
After two weeks on these supplements, I’m feeling AWESOME. I don’t have that heavy tired feeling hanging over me, and haven’t napped in two weeks (which is huge). Before this, I’d nap once or twice a week with P because I felt like I couldn’t make it throughout the day. I also feel more centered and productive.
Last week, instead of hitting the gym for HIIT and strength, I decided to enjoy a more restorative day and hiked Sabino Canyon. I’ve added yoga back into my routine on a consistent basis and feel like I’ve found a solid fitness schedule between my personal workouts and teaching classes.
My mood has been so much more stable, and I wanted to wait a couple of weeks to see how the PMS stuff fared. I got my cycle, and the week before it arrived, I didn’t spend it feeling sad, on edge, and weepy. It was seriously incredible. I was like, “Oh this is how normal people feel! This is so pleasant.”
So there’s my story! It’s always changing and evolving, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn more, nourish my body, and am crossing my fingers for improved levels when I re-test in a few months.
This post isn’t sponsored in any way, and this isn’t an affiliate link, but I asked Candace if she’s hook you up with a special code if you’ve been considering getting your hormone levels checked. Enter the code GINA at checkout to get $100 off any of her packages.
Have you ever had your hormone levels tested? What’s something you do in your daily routine that has a huge impact on how you feel?
Have a wonderful day and I’ll see ya soon!