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/ January 26, 2023

My journey into hormone health

I turn 44 next month. I know as I share that I’ll get a lot of eye roles about how that’s nothing…and to just wait until I turn 50 (or fill in the blank with whatever number).

I know. I get it. Yes, 44 is young.

But for me this year, it feels different. Because my body feels really different.

For the most part, I think I’ve lived a little naively that I had some type of control over my body. It has always “bounced back”. From years of drinking, laying in the sun, not eating well, pounding the cement running a marathon, to having four babies. Despite how I’ve treated it over the decades, my body has been really good to me over the years. And for the most part, I’ve felt really good in my skin.

Up until recently.

Over the past year or so I’m starting to feel a major shift happening.

My energy has decreased, I’ve gained weight (without changing my diet/exercise), my mood swings are more intense, and my cycles more unmanageable.

Without any real answers, my first guess into what was causing this new shift was my hormones.

If you’ve been around with me for a while you’ve probably heard me share a little about my journey into my hormone health but I wanted to share a little more with all of you today because it’s not something talked about enough, and yet something ALL women experience.

My journey into my hormone health started back in the winter of 2022. My cycles had always been extremely heavy, but even more so that winter. They were debilitatingly heavy with large clots. I had low energy, was gaining weight (even though my diet/exercise had not changed), had more extreme mood swings than usual, and just overall wasn’t feeling myself.

I could tell something felt “off” or different, I just didn’t know what. But I was determined to figure it out.

So I started seeing a new OBGYN in Chicago who I felt really hopeful about. She ordered some basic blood work to test my hormones. When the results came back, I was told everything was in the “normal” range (whatever that even means)

At that same appointment, we also did an ultrasound that showed I had some fairly large fibroids, with one being of particular concern based on its size and where it was located. She seemed to think that maybe the large fibroid was the culprit behind most of my symptoms.

So a few weeks later my OB scheduled me for a myomectomy. The procedure was fairly painless. I was in and out of the hospital the same day and was feeling back to my normal self within a few days.

However, in the months that followed, nothing changed. My bleeding levels remained the same, along with my mood, energy, and weight gain.

I felt so deflated and frustrated.

At my eight-week follow-up with my OBGYN I was told that there was nothing else they could do (unless I wanted to pursue a full hysterectomy), that my labs looked “normal”, and in not so many words, to just tough it out and wait until menopause.

I felt like I had hit a wall and that maybe my symptoms were all in my head. I wasn’t sure where to go from there, but I knew I wouldn’t get what I was looking for at that practice. And as luck would have it, it wouldn’t matter anyway as at that same time we left Chicago and moved to California.

Once we were settled in California, I was ready to pick back up again on my search to get some answers, but this time I wanted to do it differently. Traditional western medicine had only left me running in circles with no answers, so I wanted to try something different.

I began working with a great functional medicine doctor through Parsley health.

I have absolutely no affiliation with them, but can genuinely say I’ve been really pleased with my experience with them. Finding a good functional medicine doctor can be challenging, especially since they’re typically not covered by most health insurance plans. Which is why I also really like Parsley as it’s both convenient and cost-efficient, and most importantly I really love my doctor and the care.

After sharing with my doctor all of my previous blood work and history with the unsuccessful myomectomy,

she suggested something called the DUTCH test.

Which is essentially a comprehensive hormone test. But unlike traditional blood tests done by most western doctors, this was a much more comprehensive test that uses saliva and urine over a 24-hour window.

While blood work can only give a snapshot of one moment in time, a 24-hour test allows you to see how your hormones fluctuate throughout the day and how your body metabolizes (or processes) them, which is really critical. Your hormones spike and fall naturally throughout the day, so understanding that bell curve (or lack there of) is really important.

The test was really easy to do, but it does take a little bit of planning since you have to collect the samples on a specific day in your cycle.

I recently received the results from my DUTCH test back, along with a new full blood panel, which gave us a lot of great information to work with. And explained why I’ve been having all of these symptoms.

Without going into detail, we learned that my thyroid is low, as well as my progesterone and that my body is not metabolizing estrogen properly. In some ways, I was really relieved to get the results as I finally had some answers about why I was feeling this way.

My doctor sweetly reassured me that these symptoms were NOT just in my head and that numbers like mine would in fact cause heavy bleeding, weight gain, fatigue, and mood swings.

Now we just had to decide what to do about it.

The first thing we decided to do was to add in a few targeted supplements to help with my low thyroid levels and help my body flush some of the excess estrogen I was carrying.

But just as importantly we decided to do a full gut test.

My doctor helped me understand how our hormones are produced in our gut and that while supplements helped, we couldn’t balance my hormones without also being 100% sure of the health of my gut and microbiome. That one couldn’t be done without the other.

I had always assumed my microbiome was healthy – and felt like I had done all the things in control to help (taking probiotics, digestive enzymes with my meals, eat clean, limit caffeine and no acohool). But the reality is, we don’t truly know unless we do tests like this and truly see what’s going. A “healthy” gut is much more complex and subtle than just taking a few probiotics.

The test itself was easy to do right in the comfort of my home over a three-day window. I just mailed it in and now we’re waiting on the results.

While we do, here are a few things I’ve learned, that I’m implementing now.

  • Just because something is common, doensn’t mean it’s normal or better yet optimal. And we all deserve optimal health.
  • Supplements are a great starting point for balancing hormones, as well as optomizing your diet.
  • My doctor suggested I start a Mediterranean diet (adding in more fish/eggs) as it’s an anti-inflammatory diet and been shown to help naturally balance hormones. She recommended the book, The Cancer Fighting Kitchen.
  • Shifting hormones takes time. I was told to expect changes to happen within 6 months, and that testing every 6 months or so will be really important. So I’m planning on repeating the DUTCH test again this spring.
  • If we don’t see a change in my numbers after 6 months post supplements (and gut healing protocol pending my results) then we’ll look at hormone replacement therapy.

Overall I feel really optimistic about the path I’m on now with my functional medicine doctor. I know that for many of us, just finding a doctor we feel truly listens to us, believes us and who is pasionate about us not just survigin, but thriving.

I’ll say it again because I think its really important, Just becuase something is COOMMON, does not mean it’s normal or optimal.

EVERY single woman reading this will go through a shift in hormones, and it effects us daily. And yet so many of us are told that things like migranies, weight gain, fatigue, irritability, dry skin, low libido, excessive bleeding are just par for the course. But they don’t have to be.

We can expect to feel out best, in every stage of womanhood, even in perimenopause. I know that I’m just getting started unlocking some of the answers to optomoze my health and I’m excited to be able to continue to share what I learn with all of you.

Until then, I hope this inspires you to find some of your own answers. To maybe push your doctor when told that how you’re feeling is “normal”. To learn to trust your own knowing about YOUR body. If something feels off, it’s probably becuase it is.

So now the rest is up to you – and I’m behind you one million percent.

Here’s to aging in a way that feel good – for all of us.




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  1. I’d love to hear more about your update, given the time passed, such as the result of your gut tests, and your experience now, going through HRT! I feel like I’m where you were, heading into my own journey with Parsley, after MANY failed attempts to work with traditional western medicine physicians, and I’m really curious to hear more about your experience.

  2. I spent 10 years trying to understand what was happening to my body and every dr I saw said it’s menopause when your 60 it will get easier😳I didn’t want to wait until 60. I finally found and OB/GYN that specializes in menopause and I started estrogen patch. I was normally 125-130lbs and kept eating the same took out caffeine stopped alcohol and I still ballooned to 172 without any understanding. Once I started the estrogen patch and ate like I used to the weight melted off. At one point I had to much estrogen and I couldn’t use it but now it is life changing. I lost all the inflammation and feel myself again. I also take supplements as well. Magnesium to sleep and help go to the bathroom daily and some gut supplements. You are on the right path and please don’t let anyone think it is in your head. Because everyone made me feel that way and I was embarrassed at how much weight I gained. But all is good now and I 🙏I continue on this path. Thinking of you and wishing you healing days ahead.🤍