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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Thursday
Jul022009

A follow up: hormones on parade.

If you read my previous blog post, you would know that right now I am dealing with hormones.  


Or rather, a lack thereof.

I have an imaginary cycle.  Why is it imaginary?  Because nothing really ever happens - I just imagine things happening.   My hormone production is minimal.  And while I feel like there are hormonal changes as the month goes on, and wish that the corresponding stages of the menstrual cycle would happen accordingly, I never have the physical changes to back it up.  So, I just follow my intuition, and pretend that things happen at certain times of the month.  For example, right now, I think my body wants to be menstruating.  Is it really? Sadly, no.  But in spirit, I think my uterus is shedding its lining like a big fluffy cat sheds hair all over your nice black pants.  I try to think about my body being fertile like well-tilled soil. I imagine warm, golden light filling my uterus and ovaries.  I try to do creative stuff as often as possible (creativity is good for the uterus).  And I place my hands on my lower belly a whole heck of a lot.  Sound crazy or ridiculous to you?  Maybe.  But I think it makes perfect sense, and I like it.  Sending positive intention and energy to a part of the body has no negative side effects, is totally free of charge, only takes a few moments, and really stimulates the imagination.  Plus, it works.  Even the Western doctors believe in the power of positive thinking.  I have found it to be very effective across the board, and believe it to be my most powerful self-healing tool.

Along with positive thoughts, I always keep my toolbox stocked with herbs.  Lots and lots of herbs. For the last 2 months, my naturopath has had me taking Chaste Tree Berry by Vitanica.  Chaste tree berry naturally helps to regulate hormone production by supporting the pituitary gland - click here for a good explanation of how it works.  While it is slow (apparently it takes at least 3 months to make a big difference), it is supposed to be very effective.  Then about 6 weeks ago, I added flax oil on days 1-14 of my imaginary cycle, and evening primrose oil on days 15-28.    By incorporating these oils at the right point in your cycle, you can help support natural hormone production: flax oil stimulates estrogen, and evening primrose oil stimulates progesterone.  Pretty awesome, huh?  

Two months ago when I had my hormones tested, things were pretty dismal - my estrodiol, progesterone, prolactin, and FSH levels were all really low.  Then on Monday I was retested - almost two months to the day of my last lab work - and I got good news!  My body is producing significantly more FSH and more estrogen!  It appears that the oils, the herb, and all that positive thinking is slowly have an effect.  Hooray!

Despite this, my body is still WAY low on the hormone production front, and it has been a year and a half since things have worked properly down there, and it appears that change is slow.  Things have got to get moving, literally.  In an effort to jump start those little suckers into bringing on a monthly cycle, my reproductive endocrinologist prescribed a synthetic progesterone replacement.  Option 1, Prometrium, was a no go - after researching it, I discovered it contained peanut oil (I'm allergic to peanuts), and I refused to fill the prescription.  Option 2, Provera, contained other allergens, is derived from horse urine, and generally sounds like hell on wheels.   I also refused that prescription too.  Dumbfounded as to what options there could possibly be for me, the nurses suggested I talk to my naturopath and see what her thoughts were.

I couldn't have agreed more with that directive.


So, that what I did. While my ND's preference is to go without a progesterone replacement, and continue to let my body slowly regulate, she also understands my desire to kick start things a bit. So, she prescribed a natural progesterone cream, Pro-Gest by Emerita to use in combination with the Chaste Tree Berry and oils.  It is free of preservatives and parabens, and uses progesterone derived from wild yam (an herb) and contains all-natural ingredients.  While it isn't a long-term solution, it should give my hormones a much-needed kick start.  And it will be in a more gentle, natural way than taking any of the prescription pharmaceuticals suggested to me by the reproductive endocrinologist.  I need to call them and tell them what I've chosen to do.  After being told on Monday by the endocrinologist that herbs are dangerous and naturopathy is a crock, I'm very interested to find out what they think about my naturally derived progesterone cream.

In the meantime, I'll just be looking at the moon, sending fertility-laced energy to my uterus, taking spoonfuls of oil and capsules of herbs, and rubbing hormone-laced wild yam cream on my arms, thighs, and belly.  And somewhere in the midst of all that, I'll be getting an MRI to make sure my pituitary gland isn't doing something funky.  Talk about integrative health care, huh?  Wish me luck!

I can't wait to be a hormonal mess again sometime.  Seriously, I could totally go for a PMS-induced spontaneous crying session or something...

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Reader Comments (5)

I'm so sorry to hear about all of this, but I am glad you're sharing your experiences! I like hearing about other people's experiences with alternative medicine and herbs, as I try to use them when I am having issues (pharma side effects are really bad for me!). Good luck!

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswellvegan

Thanks for the thoughts, and don't worry, I'll keep ya'll posted! : )

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

It's true! Courtney and I have gone to the farmer's market a couple times together. Small world indeed ;-)

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswellvegan

Hello my name is Gloriana and I am in the process of transitioning into a gluten free diet/enviroment. I 2 am going throught he change so I found your post very informative and I couldn't agree more about the benefits of postive thinking, it is very true. I see the change as another season of my life....puberty in reverse if you will. The kids are grown, the hubby and I are getting to know one another, planning our retirement......and my period is gone ..hooray no more kotex pads. I suppose my hotflashes where the worse because with them came irritabiity but I started eating a few ounces of soy yogurt in a fresh fruit smoothie daily and they are gone.
I will definite look into the Chaste Tree Berry ...and the other items you blogged about.

Thanks for sharing.

July 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGloria

Hi Gloriana,
thanks for checking out blog, I'm so glad you find it informative and useful! good luck with your GF transition, and with dealing with menopause. Awesome that hte soy yogurt is making a difference for you! That's a great natural solution, that's for sure : )

The big difference between you and I is that I am NOT going through menopause - I am only 27 and should still be having a cycle! But for a few reasons, some I know and some we can't figure out, my once-regular period stopped. I'm trying to get it back, and hoping these things help to regulate my hormones and kick my body back into having a menstrual cycle.

It sounds like you have a wonderfully balanced approach to your new transitions, and I wish you luck in achieving new balance! I like how you phrased it as puberty in reverse. anyway, in the end, all that positive thinking certainly helps, right?

July 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo