Supporting your Endocrine Health Naturally
So you wanna go a little more au naturale for your hormones’ sake? It’s actually a lot easier than it seems. There is, like more things nowadays, a plethora of diff changes you can make. Let’s break them down and lower the overwhelm.
A disclaimer first. I am not a doctor or health professional. I do have a degree in biology however, which allow me more intricate understandings of all the sciency things and I’ve had first hand experience with hormone treatments, endometriosis, and Polycyctic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). As always, speak to your health professional first.
I got my period when I was 10 years old. Not only that but I went through one of those maternity pads an hour. To say I was a little overwhelmed by it all was an understatement. Not long after – I was about 14 – I ended up at the Gynaecologist after having my period for the 6th straight week. She was a little reluctant to diagnose me with Endometriosis as it seemed only women around the age of 25 were getting it. She thankfully decided to proceed and I went for the op. I came out with a very clear diagnosis of stage 4 Endometriosis, a flabbergasted Gyno and a recommendation for more surgery. Turns out the stuff had grown a fair bit inside me and I needed a second surgery to remove it. I went back not long after for another stint. I continually struggled, however, and with school and rowing at the time remember it was a shit fight every day just to stay standing.I was rowing at the time and remember the pain I was constantly in.
As the years progressed things got worse. I got diagnosed with PCOS too and in my mid-twenties developed a golf-ball sized cyst on my left ovary. I can’t even explain the pain that thing brought. For those who don’t know, endo and cysts can cause enormous pain during sex, exercise, and sometimes even just moving funny. And in my case it comes on rather suddenly and was debilitating. At this point I had also tried and been on all the hormonal therapies available short of doing chemical castration. And some lovely male gyno basically told me at 28 that I better start trying for babies now or I won’t have them. The hormonal treatments and PCOS caused me to develop severe cystic acne and my PMS was so bad that I was borderline suicidal for 2 weeks every month. I was a mess, my system was a mess and I was fed up.
It’s at these points where we either sink or swim. My relationship at the time had been deteriorating for years and was a major contributor to all the upheaval (another lesson on the effect our emotions have on our physiology). I think the penny dropped when I got Chronic Fatigue and had to go on a very strict diet and exercise regime. Regardless of how exhausted I was my PMS seemed to abate a little during this time. I also went off to live in the outback for 3 months doing research and again, everything settled down. I clicked and decided that things needed to change.
Here’s how I started my natural journey towards better endocrine health.
This one was THE biggest influence on my hormonal health. I HIGHLY suggest you start reading metaphysical books to get your head around how much our emotions affect our physical selves. I noticed first hand how much my emotions and situations that caused those emotions were messing up my hormones. It was when I finally left the relationship I mentioned earlier that almost 70% of my hormonal issues ceased. My acne cleared up, my PMS settled, my cycle got more rhythmic and my moods improved. And I have since realised that anytime similar emotions get triggered, I instantly get symptoms.
I started my metaphysical journey by reading Caroline Myss’s books, particularly Anatomy of Spirit. Louise Hay does some fantastic ones too and I currently have the massive Metaphysical Anatomy by Evette Rose sitting on my Ottoman for quick access. The last one I will mention that is a go-to for me as well is The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal. If you find Evette a little too direct then Inna might be up your alley.
For the life of me, I can’t remember how I came across this herb but it was the only thing that saved me during those deep and depressive PMS times. I use to take the tablets but later on found a spray that got absorbed quicker and came in a higher dose. I must have kept that company afloat during my bad months.
Vitex has traditionally been used in Eastern Medicine to support female reproductive health. It supports a healthy cycle, helps treat symptoms related to Menopause as well as those of PMS (think tension, moodiness, irritability, bloating, fluid retention, breast pain/swelling and headaches). It has become quite popular here in Aus and you can now get it in tablet, spray and of course essential oil forms. Do not take if pregnant or wanting to become pregnant and always read the label.
I now use the Clary Calm blend as it not only has the Vitex in it in an ultra-pure form but contains other essential oil which have been shown to be supportive to hormonal health (another no-no during pregnancy). This blend is my #1 recommendation and go-to for anyone starting on this journey. You just roll it on and go. HERE is more info about it.
This stuff is the bee's knees. It’s a true, bottom of my heart thank you to mother earth for making these.
We all know essential oils from those cloying lavender scented things we got in-store. You know the ones. They make ya gag after 5 min and burn your eyes and throat when you use them. Those not-so-lovely-things are 9/10 times synthetic (and if you read my other article you know what havoc that wrecks on your endocrine system). We are lucky to live in an age where we have the technology and science to get the best of the best. And as such, we can have the effects from pure essential oils that nature intended.
Why essential oils? They are natural (I say this with a loose grain of salt as not all are; read below), they are effective (one drop can service all the cells in your body within 20min and it has an olfactory effect almost immediately), they are protective and due to the nature of the constituents, they target specific areas of our bodies and in turn support our cells. Not only are they good for physical support but they are fantastic for emotional support as well.
If you’d like to know more about essential oils and how they work please GO HERE. And HERE is a cool little TedEd video showing you how plants defend themselves (which is the main reason it produces essential oils).
I was first introduced to proper & pure essential oils during a day workshop and haven’t looked back since. I smelled that bottle of Frankincense and just knew deep down in my soul that these little bottles of liquid were going to help me somehow. I started exploring more and more and finally came up with a combo of oils that work best for me. To help you narrow it down, I’ve included all the oils that are suggested for hormonal and endocrine health. Try and see which ones work for you but in general, Clary Sage and Geranium are good go-to's to start with.
As I work with doterra, I will be referring to their blend names and links to their products. Please feel free to use the brand you are most comfortable with (keeping in mind not to use synthetic as that defeats the purpose) and if you’d like to try doterra just holler.
Clary Calm - Which has most of the oils below already in it + the Vitex mentioned earlier)
Whisper - This one smells so amazing and is a beautiful alternative to synthetic perfumes. So you get a perfume that actually helps your hormone. Neat huh?
Balance - Every woman’s go to whether for hormones or not. It brings you right down to earth
Clary Sage - This is the main oil in the Clary Calm blend mentioned up top. It is seen as the oil for helping hormones. I like to diffuse this with Bergamot during my moon time
The remaining oils all have a beautiful effect on your hormones and moods. It’s best to try them alone and in combination to see what works for you.
Synthetic hormone treatments
I’m not going to go on about the negatives of the pill and its counterparts here. What I will tell you is that it’s synthetic, the dose is insanely high. It’s not only detrimental to your health but it gets into the waterways via your pee and affects everything else it comes in contact with. Your risk of blood clots and breast cancer is also increased with the pill. I personally experience severe PMS when I was on any kind of contraceptive.
I was very fortunate that the last gyno I saw was very open and said that whatever I chose to explore she would support me. She was, of course, a doctor and woman of science but she was by far the most open person I’d met regarding more natural treatments. She also understood that our systems need to be approached in a more holistic way where we see all the interconnecting parts. Just remember that it’s YOUR body. You choose what goes in it. Not your doctor, not your husband/wife, not your partner, not your children or family members and friends. Ultimately you make the final call.
If you are happy on your hormone treatment then please stay on it. You have to choose what you are comfortable with and what works for you. Awareness is key for good decisions however, and if you’re currently suffering then there may be a better, more natural solution to your pain and discomfort. If you’d like to go off it then do some research just to know what you are in for emotionally and physically. It’s not like coming off drugs but there can be a few niggling side effects to be aware of. They do pass, however. I know from personal experience that periods can become erratic (mine took 18 months to settle) and that there are ways to speed up the removal of the treatments from your system (see a naturopath for more info).
Common fear #1: I won’t know when my period is due! Get the app Clue (Android | IOS) and of course, carry a spare tampon/pad/liner with you at all times. They’re so small nowadays that you can squeeze ‘em in anywhere. Who knows, you may help another female out doing this too.
Diet and physical health
I’m not going to flog this more than it already has but it has to be said that if you don’t put the right stuff in your body then your body can’t make the right stuff either. It don’t pull hormones and such out of thin air. Dopamine for example, require phenylalanine and tyrosine as precursors; both found in foods such as milk, eggs, spirulina, soy and meat. So it’s important to have a balanced diet and exercise to keep stuff moving and grooving correctly inside your body.
Diet and exercise have a massive influence on regulating hormones and moods (your gut has been called your second brain for a reason). I have personally experienced how a stable, healthy, and fresh diet can influence my PMS and moods. It’s a game changer. And for me exercise is key. The world is a lot better once I’ve gone for a run. Something I would highly recommend is going to see someone who specialises in diet and exercise (or a combo of both). Make an appointment with a dietician or nutritionist or an exercise physiologist (these guys were my saviours when I had chronic fatigue). And don’t settle. If you don’t get good vibes from one person, move on to another. Find one that works for you.
Please also be mindful that nowadays we don’t always get the right proportions of vitamins and minerals from our food due to a lot of areas being over-farmed (causing a lack of nutrition in the soil), so make sure that you get enough of these via supplements if needed. I personally use dōterra’s Life Long Vitality pack. These guys make an amazing array of supplements so make sure to check them all out.
That’s basically it guys. There are of course a whole lot more than can be done but this is where I started and just tweaked a little here and there and I grew to understand how my body worked and what it needed. Any Qs, hit me up!