Hello friends! Today we’re going to talk about something private so apologies in advance for TMI! It occured to me that since I’m dealing with some of the hormone imbalance symptoms, there may be other women equally affected. Hopefully my story will help you realize that you can turn things around.
It started after a birth of my second child over 3 years ago. Frequent fatigue, some days better than others. On good days I was fine in the morning but still felt sluggish after lunch. On bad days, I felt like staying in bed all day. Unfulfilled desire of course, as I had a baby to take care of. Along with that came problems falling or staying asleep at night, HUUUGE sweet cravings during the day, foggy brain, and poor memory.
I felt that I was too young to feel that tired all the time! SO I reached out to Dr Google for advice, and my search results turned up hints at possible thyroid issues. Hopeful to get some answers, I scheduled an appointment with my regular doc, but blood work she ordered came back normal.
Here I was – sitting at my doctors office – her telling me I am fine. But I did NOT feel fine!
Hormone imbalance symptoms
Fast-forward to three years later, things have improved. Im guessing my hormones have stabilized a bit following the postpartum recovery. But I still experienced lots of same issues:
- low energy
- sweets cravings
- difficulty falling asleep
- waking up at night
- foggy brain
- poor memory
- weight gain
- occasionally irregular menstrual cycle
Yes, weight gain. That was new. As a fitness fanatic obsessed with cooking healthy meals at home, I could not admit that I was slowly gaining weight until I had to go shopping for new clothes a size or two bigger. Because my old pants were no longer fitting. And the rolls on my back… like what?!!
Then my mom sent me an article about symptoms of hormone imbalances and every one of my problems above was on the list! It was a huge AHA moment! I knew I needed to re-address the hormone imbalance issue again.
By that time I had spent a massive amount of time doing my own research. It turns out that conventional medicine is great for treating a heart attack or a broken leg. But it doesn’t really focus on fine-tuning everyday health, disease prevention and longevity. Come back when you’re really sick and we’ll prescribe a load of pills, mkay? That wasn’t going to work for me.
The phrases “functional medicine”, “natural medicine” kept coming up in my research and that’s how I found Candace Burch. She is a public speaker and a renowned hormone health educator with her own story of dealing with hormone issues. She has spent the last 30 years advocating for women’s health and raising public awareness to a national level. Candace offers private hormone health consultations along with comprehensive testing that goes beyond conventional medicine markers.
She is just such a wealth of knowledge on women’s health and female hormones. Candace shared some of her expertise during the Hormone Happy Hour and it was such an eye-opening experience.
The bottom line is that no one talks about hormones, but they govern pretty much every reaction in your body. For example, prolonged stress can elevate cortisol levels which in turn affects your sleep, mood, food cravings, and how your body handles insulin. In the long term, chronically high cortisol levels can lead to insomnia, weight gain especially in the abdominal area, irritability, low libido, and heart disease.
Test it, don’t guess it
If you suffer from any of these symptoms – please have your hormones tested! Keep in mind that traditional blood work may not be as effective at catching hormone imbalances. Your hormones constantly fluctuate throughout the day. When you do a blood work, it gives you a snapshot of your hormones at that particular time but not a complete picture of how your hormones fluctuate throughout the day.
Ideally, you want to test your hormone level several times over the course of the day: when you first wake up, right before bed, and a few more times in between. Of course no one wants to spend a day at a lab drawing blood 4 times, so instead alternative tests were developed, such as saliva and urine test.
Candace uses a saliva hormone testing for her private clients, and she was very kind to offer me a test kit. The test is done at home, and then mailed to a lab. Typically you have to test during a certain time of your menstrual cycle for most accurate results.
I’m feeling very hopeful that this saliva hormone testing will offer some answers to my questions. There’s finally a light at the end of a tunnel, and I’ll be sharing more of my experience with a saliva hormone test soon.
The solution to feeling better is most likely multifactorial, including sleep and nutrition but I feel that getting hormones in balance is a huge part of the puzzle!
If you suffer from similar symptoms, the best advice I got from Candace was “test it, don’t guess it“. It’s best to start checking your hormones now and do it regularly. Small corrections and preventative measures in your 20s and 30s will lead to an easier (preferably hot flash free) transition to menopause in your 40s and 50s.
Have you had any of the similar symptoms? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Best of health,