This is a post I’ve had on my mind for quite a long time and it’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to get around to writing it. I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I have a hormone imbalance, largely due to having both an ovary and fallopian tube removed as a teen thanks to an ovarian cyst gone wild. At times of stress (like when I was in serious overtraining mode) it gets worse, and times when I’m keeping control of my stressors and doing all the things I know I should be doing, you wouldn’t even know I had an issue.
And let me tell you, the contrast between one side and the other is extreme.
Fortunately, between my own training and self-education, I’ve learned how I can manage my imbalance naturally without the aid of medications and other treatments. Many people are not that fortunate and require medications and treatments and while this post isn’t specifically for you, these books may still help you learn some new ways you can help take care of yourself in a way that promotes healthy hormone levels. This post is mostly for those who think they have an imbalance, but haven’t been able to be diagnosed, and for those women who are tired of feeling “off” and not knowing what is wrong with them. Chances are regardless of what other issues you might be dealing with, wonky hormones are not helping the situation.
I truly believe many women are walking around with hormone imbalances due to food and lifestyle choices, and others due to medical histories or hereditary causes and don’t even realize that there is something wrong.
For instance, if you are someone who routinely gets PMS, pre-period acne, bloating, crankiness, etc., those are all symptoms of a hormone imbalance. When our bodies are working at 100% discomfort prior to and during your period should be almost non-existent. If you have really heavy periods, flows with a lot of clots, a really short or long cycle, or mid-cycle bleeding there is something a bit off. Your first course of action should be to go to the doctor. Get examined to be sure there isn’t another underlying cause for your symptoms. But most women will get “normal” test results or nothing found that is of concern, and you’ll be told your problems are just that, “normal”. Normal might be “normal” but that doesn’t mean it’s good. It doesn’t mean you have to live with those symptoms and problems, and I hope that through the experts I’m going to introduce you to in this post, you can find your solution.
As a disclaimer, I absolutely still deal with hormonal issues and wouldn’t say that I’m “cured” but when I take the time to actually do the things I know I need to do to keep them in check, I’ve had a pretty high success rate. And because I have seen what a difference this knowledge as made for me I wanted to share it so that any of you experiencing problems that you simply cannot get an answer for may find a solution here.
Once again, if you are having any issues with your period or abnormal pain and discomfort your first line of defence is seeing a doctor. These resources are meant to help educate you on other options, many of which you can do in conjunction with any doctor prescribed care. They should not not replace the advise of trained professionals.
For many of us, simply learning about what is actually supposed to happening down there can help us figure out what is going wrong. It’s somewhat shocking and embarrassing how many women have no idea what the stages of their cycle are, what happens during each one, and why it’s important to have a regular cycle (if you are not on a birth control medication or have an IUD or something that may alter the naturally occurring cycle).
Below are four books I’ve found to be immensely helpful in learning all about the different hormones our bodies use, things that can happen when they aren’t at their optimal levels, and some plans on how to course correct those issues.
The Women Code – Alisa Vitti
The book should be a mandatory read for every woman, and if you only read one of the books in this post make it this one. Alisa has a wealth of knowledge and shares it in a way that is easy to understand. She teaches you how to “live in the flo” so that you are working with your body to support it instead of always trying to fight against it. She has a free app called “MyFLO” (for Apple devices at least, I’m not sure about android) that helps you track your period, symptoms and offers advice and tips.
Alisa also has a number of online courses you can take to help you work through your specific hormonal issues. I’ve never taken one (but considered it back when I was mega messed up), but based on her book and webinars I’ve attended I can’t imagine them to be anything but amazing.
The Woman Code is a must read.
The Hormone Cure – Sara Gottfried, MD
The Hormone Cure is the first book I read on hormonal issues and is one I continue to reference frequently. Sara is a board certified gynaecologist and digs deeper into specific hormonal issues than The Woman Code. Along with a protocol to help correct specific hormonal issues through her three-tiered treatment strategy.
If you are ready to learn more specifically where your hormonal issues may lay, this is a great book to help you do just that.
The Hormone Reset Diet – Sara Gottfried, MD
Another book by Dr Gottfried, this is a great book for people who need to have a plan laid out for them to follow. Where her previous book specifically tells you how to treat specific problems, this book teaches you how to “reset” your hormones in order to achieve a balance, and in the process lose weight. Many people consider weight loss a matter of calories in verses calories out – which is true if your hormones are balanced. But if your hormones are out of whack, weight loss can become frustrating and next to impossible. And guess what, most of us have a hormone imbalance. Is it any wonder so many women are on a diet, just coming off a diet, or feel like they should go on one?
Until your hormone issue is corrected, you will always be stuck in that cycle.
The Adrenal Reset Diet – Alan Christianson, NMD
As much as many North Americans have a hormone imbalance, just as many have a certain degree of adrenal fatigue. That degree can vary from a small touch of adrenal fatigue to full-on, “barely even functioning” adrenal fatigue. While I don’t follow this diet, I do continue to cycle carbs and have had such a change in my overall health since implementing that type of lifestyle. This is the book that truly changed the way I thought about exercise, and cardio specifically. Sara’s books also touch on the best types of exercise and between the two I’ve drastically changed both my own workout regimes, but also those of my clients.
If you don’t think you have a hormone issue, but feel as though you are still struggling with something you can’t quite put your finger on, check out The Adrenal Reset Diet. You might find a case of fatigued adrenals is your issue!
If you are currently struggling with a problematic cycle, PMS issues or even adrenal fatigue I hope you will look into some of these books, or at the very least check out the authors who have written them. Most (if not all) have free resources on their websites to help you identify what your problems may be, and you might be surprised at how a few tweaks to your lifestyle can make such a huge difference in how you feel, and how your body works.
I am by no means an expert on this topic, I simply wanted to share some resources that have been so helpful to me in my quest to get a body that works with me and not against me 😉 and I hope they will help you to do the same!
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links I’ll earn a couple of cents (literally).