Regulate Hormones, Naturally. Four ways.
When I went on the pill, the doctors and health care providers didn't tell me that I shouldn't remain on it for more than 10 years. I was lucky to cross paths with a practitioner who noticed (and took the time to ask) how long I'd been on it. He then informed me that if a woman stays on it more than 10 years, it greatly increases your risk of cancer. Might have been helpful info to have when I started taking it, instead of 10 years later. I was told at the age of 25 (shortly before my 10th year on the pill), and I immediately went off it and swore I would never again alter my hormones artificially again.
In chatting with girlfriends about this, it seems this info may be more mainstream these days. Still, I wish the medical industry would be far more diligent about providing this caution up front, first and foremost to help women make informed choices. Warnings naturally raise questions, like: How long will I want to be on birth control before I want to have kids? What are the side effects of being on birth control? What happens to my body while I am on birth control? And so on.
During regular visits with my awesome Naturopathic Doctor over the past 3 years, the issue of menstruation cycles naturally came up, because they are a good indicator for many things that concern a woman's health and wellbeing. My cycles were short; in duration and in between cycles. I had never paid attention to this. It seemed like they came fairly frequently (every 3 weeks), but they only lasted for 2-3 days (sorry), so it was a relatively minor inconvenience.
Detoxing Synthetic & Chemical Hormones
First and foremost, to begin a program of natural hormone regulation, we need to remove the synthetic hormones from our routine. Our body needs time to find some sort of rhythm of its own without the synthetic hormones for a few months. Once we've been off of them for 3 months or so (as early as 2 months and as long as 6 in some cases), we get a sense for our body's current rhythm and will be able to adjust accordingly. If we begin a natural program right away, we likely won't see results for a looong time, because the detox and adjustment happening throughout our body takes some time. If we don't allow time for the detox, it's harder to judge if the natural program/regimen we've selected is helping our body adapt to a regulated cycle.
I also recommend doing two important things before eliminating the current form of synthetic/chemical birth control:
Plan a New Form of Birth Control
I went back to good old fashion condoms. I have also frequently used the 'pull out' method, but this is a terrible form of birth control, and I would never recommend this. It's too risky and irresponsible, and our life deserves to have things happen when we want them to happen (i.e. children), not because we were too lazy to seek alternatives. I started using the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), to figure out when I was most likely ovulating to help give me a more precise estimate of when I might be most at risk by not using condoms. Again, not wise as a method on it's own. I used the Kindara App on my phone to track my cycle dates, discharge and body temperature (when I remembered to take it). It is an amazing app that is incredible for women trying to conceive.
Seek as many options as possible, and get in touch with your body. Learn what's going on and why. At 30 years of age, I had no idea that the type of discharge I was experiencing correlated to where my ovulation cycle was, or that there are slight temperature spikes in your average body temp just before you ovulate. It's actually a pretty fascinating topic and I think all women should take time to get familiar with this. Learning more about how our bodies function is always a good thing.
Find a Naturopathic Doctor
Take the time to find an amazing one, whom you sincerely like, one that you are 1000% comfortable with. If you have to visit 5 different N.D.'s before you find the right one for you - DO IT!
Talk to your friends, family and coworkers that have hippy vibes in their life. I sought out a male friend that was vegan and had studied holistic nutrition because I figured he was better in tune than I was with the natural lifestyle community locally. I wish everyone could have Dr. Donata Girolamo as their Naturopathic Doctor, because she is the sweetest, kindest, most dedicated, sincere and heart-led health care provider I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. When I visit her, it's like chatting with a girlfriend. I'm totally comfortable discussing everything with her. From my BM (bowel movements) to my sex life, to my current mental health to my menstrual cycle. She listens and pays attention to what I'm telling her. Above all, she respects my budget and never, ever recommends anything just for the sake of profit.
If we're not 100% comfortable with the N.D. we choose, chances are, we won't get the most out of the professional relationship. Either we'll hold back because we don't trust them (and trust your gut, there's probably a reason for it), OR, they won't be able to help us to the best of their ability because we aren't being 100% forthcoming about every single detail we can muster.
Natural Hormone Regulation Options
Seeds & Nuts
One way to address how to regulate hormonal cycles naturally, and get them on a more balanced rhythm, is to begin a program where you eat a tablespoon of seeds each day, which have phytoestrogen and phytoprogesterone properties. This means the natural chemical compounds in these types of seeds behave like estrogen or progesterone in our body. Super simple. I take a tablespoon of either ground flax seed, chia seed, or pumpkin seed each day for the first two weeks of my cycle (starting on the first day after my last period). Then I take a tablespoon of either sesame seed or sunflower seed for the last two weeks of my cycle (including the days I am menstruating). Within 2 months of doing this, the time in between my cycles had increased to the more regular 24-25 days, with 2-3 menstruation days, rounding out a full 28 day cycle (which is considered the ideal cycle length).
I also experience much less cramping and backaches while remaining on this routine. Now, admittedly, I don't still stick to the tablespoon of taking one of these seeds every single day. Now that my cycle and hormone levels are close to where they should be, when they should be, I can relax more while remaining mindful that I'm getting these two categories of phytoestrogen and phytoprogesterone seeds into my diet during the appropriate two week periods of my cycle. Any that's enough, it seems, in my body, to maintain the positive changes I've already brought about.
I've also added...
A natural hormone regulating compound has been added to my health care routine, and that is the amazing and beautiful Clary Sage. Together with an awesome friend, who is also a dedicated natural health mama, we made our own deodorant bars and utilized high quality, therapeutic grade Clary Sage and Geranium essential oils. Not only do they smell amazing, Geranium helps control perspiration (yep! naturally!) and Clary Sage provides hormone balancing support.
So, maybe the fact that I've gotten lazy with my seed regimen is counterbalanced by the addition of Clary Sage to my daily routine. I don't mind if that's the case. Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils bestow a wealth of natural benefits to your body, many of which we aren't actively striving for or even aware of, so I'm happy to let Mother Nature work her magic in my body with the gifts I'm giving myself each day. I also have Clary Sage in my sleepy time roller ball blend for my feet, because this is a guaranteed way to provide my body with Clary Sage on a daily basis.
Clary Sage is known as an 'Emmenagogue' in the Aromatherapy world, which means that it regulates (and can induce) menstruation. Essential oils are all about helping the body restore balance. Other essential oils with emmenagogue properties are: Arborvitae, Basil, Cassia, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Jasmine, Juniper Berry, Lavender, Marjoram, Myrrh, Oregano, Peppermint, Roman Chamomile, Rose, Rosemary, Spearmint, Thyme, and Wintergreen. Though, only the bold oils have Emmenagogue listed in their 'Top Properties' in the The Essential Life book, one of the top aromatherapy textbooks, based on a mountain of scientific research studies.
Essential Oil Quality is Key
The quality of the essential oil you use for therapeutic purposes will directly affect the results you experience. Often, price is the first indicator or quality. If it's not expensive, it's not high quality. The best essential oil companies will be transparent about their testing protocol and methodologies (and no, GC-MS is not enough these days - synthetically produced essential oils can have the same GC-MS footprint as pure, natural essential oils). In order to ensure that it is a pure essential oil, and only a pure essential oil - not diluted or cut with synthetics - the supplier must be doing highly extensive testing, down to the molecular level, to ensure that there is nothing but the pure plant extract present in the final product. With the rise of popularity of oils, has come a rise in fake and synthetic product. For more information on this subject, and to know which oil company I use and trust, email me here.
Do you have any helpful and informative information to share on natural hormone regulation for women or men? I'd love to hear it.
❤ Mel, xo
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* All statements are my own, not endorsed by any organization or institution.
** Please take care to note: I'm not a health care practitioner. I'm simply sharing the experiences and results I've had on my personal, natural health and healing journey. You should always consult a trusted health care practitioner for advice specific to your body, well being, and needs.