As I shared over the past few days, the last 5+ years have been a difficult journey, resulting in adrenal fatigue and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Today, I’m going to outline the approach I’m taking that is helping me heal from these disorders which I believe are totally connected.
It would be very difficult to solve it all with a simple list but I do understand that people want answers. You want tangible things you can do to heal and repair. But even if you don’t have problems with adrenal fatigue, most of the list still applies as it can help you avoid the pitfalls of stress, which we all endure!
Truth is, life is a war zone and if you’re not prepared to fight — if you stick your head in the sand — you will find yourself a casualty.
In that sense, I often think of the past five years, the source of both my adrenal fatigue and PCOS, as a battle field:
The stress came first, in the form of living miserably and thinking that some day everything would just magically work itself out. Stress levels are chronically high and little is being done to address it.
Disorder and tension are rising — war is coming.
The effects of the ignored issues reaches a tipping point and becomes actual life-altering circumstances. Stress hormones are now in full-blown survival mode. Despite making changes to address the circumstances that started this war, I can’t keep up with the pace.
The bombs start to drop.
Things improve. The war is ending. But the newfound hope gives way to total mayhem (i.e when things start to get better, the body finally stops running on overdrive and crashes hard). My body shuts down. Adrenal fatigue settles in. My periods are horrendous, my energy has tanked, and I’m irritable as hell.
Destruction is everywhere.
I begin healing the wounds war has left behind. Spending time in the Word, adaptogenic supplements, acupuncture, stress-reducing exercise, a proper diet, saying no, meditation — all of it helps bring back order.
Peace is found but the war left its inevitable mark.
Domestica’s Top 5 Steps to Healing Your Hormones Naturally
- Eliminate the Chronic Stress
This might seem like a pipe-dream to some but it is absolutely imperative that you deal with chronic stress. Intermittent stress is one thing — a healthy endocrine system can deal with that — but chronic stress is another thing altogether. It’s an adaptive state that your body should not be in. All the holistic approaches in the world won’t help if you keep your body in constant crisis.
Seek wise counselling for your marriage issues. Quit your crappy job. Take fewer courses. Dump that abusive boyfriend. Complete a Dave Ramsay financial training course to start getting out of debt. Start saying no. Do less.
Whatever needs to happen — do it. Stop avoiding the problems and tackle them head-on. Get help and find a supportive network.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You would expect this from a Personal Trainer but I’m talking about more than just getting fit (which is always recommended!). Yes, you definitely need to find something active that you love doing but mix up the high-intensity workouts (I love my kettlebells) with focused relaxation exercises and time out in nature.
I don’t care that you don’t like to hike — go for a freakin’ hike. Conquer a mountain — even just a small one — and when you stand atop it, breathing in the fresh unpolluted air that can only be found on the summit which cascades over the busyness of life, take a moment and just…breathe.
At the advice of my OB, I started acupuncture for my PCOS but I do believe it can help with all hormone problems. Within a few treatments, I started to notice a positive change in my periods and have continued to follow a monthly maintenance schedule for the last year, with each month getting better and better. When a recent high-stress event in my life caused my periods to go wonky, she helped regulate my cycle and bring things back to normal.
Find a practitioner who specializes in female hormones, one with rave reviews from other women. I used Yelp.com to locate one in my area.
There are many supplements and herbs that can aid in restoring health, both for PCOS and Adrenal Fatigue. I recommend consulting a Naturopath for which exact supplements to take and the dosage amounts that will work for you.
Upon the advice of my OB and Naturopath, I personally take:Women’s Daily Multi-Vitamin
5,000 IU Vitamin D: helps stimulate ovaries and aids in glucose metabolism
4g Myo-inositol (2g in AM/2g in PM): a part of the Vitamin B family, helps insulin-receptors to function properly (must be Myo-inositol, not just Inositol).
500 mg Glucomannan: absorbs insulin, stabilizes blood sugar
3g DHA: omega-3 fatty acid that reduces inflammation in the body
I also recommend reading this informative post which, about halfway down, outlines the many herbs and vitamins that can help heal PCOS.
For Adrenal Fatigue
I only take one supplement — and it changed my life. My husband calls them my “nice pills” because they saved me from the irritability of adrenal fatigue. Many of my friends, family, and clients have experienced similar benefits.
Ah…you knew this was coming. Yes, it’s true — you can’t get away with eating a box of Cinnabon Cinnamon Buns and expect to heal your hormones. Deal with it. But here’s what you may not know:
High-Fat Diets Heal Hormones and Adrenals
When I increased my (healthy) fats to 50-60% of my daily intake, my periods improved tremendously. I strongly believe that my high-fat diet was the #1 factor in my PCOS improving. A high-fat diet, with an equal balance of carbs/protein, has been shown to balance insulin levels and reduce blood sugar rises. Since fats are the building blocks of hormones, a low-fat diet can be destructive to someone suffering from PCOS.
For Adrenal Fatigue, a high-fat, low-carb diet can also be super beneficial. For one, sugar (a carb) is a major stimulant that can prevent your adrenals from ever healing. As this informative post states, “your adrenal glands produce the glucocorticoid hormones, such as cortisol, whose job it is to stabilize the blood sugar. Imbalances in their production, can cause or worsen carbohydrate intolerance. …Over eating carbohydrates is itself a cause of adrenal stress and fatigue. For many, an adrenal fatigue diet of low carbs and the elimination of all other stimulants is essential in order to allow the adrenal glands to rest and recover.”Get your Fiber On
Fiber slows the metabolism of carbs and promotes healthy estrogen metabolism. I start each day with a 1/2 tbsp of Organic Psyllium Husk or 2 tbsp of Gaia Herbs Chia Fresh. Just remember: if you increase fiber, also increase your water to prevent dehydration.
Ditch the Coffee
Caffeine increases estrogen production and is a stimulant that prevents the adrenals from functioning on their own. I switched to decaf nearly two years ago and don’t miss it one bit.
Conventionally-raised animals are given hormones to make them bigger, fatter, and more valuable. These additives can cause total havoc on an endocrine system even in the best of times, never mind those with existing issues. Eating pasture-raised animal proteins is absolutely key. Cows who eat grass, chickens who run wild in the pasture and eat bugs (I’ll say it again: chickens were never meant to be vegetarians!), and pigs that live in healthy conditions. If you can only afford to eat pasture-raised animals half the time, then cut your animal proteins in half and eat more vegetarian meals. It’s that serious!
Our bodies don’t need any more burdens so why fill them with toxic preservatives and pesticides? I believe eating 100% organic is imperative to true health but I understand this isn’t possible for everyone. If eating 100% organic isn’t an option for you, start with the Dirty Dozen and go from there.
I highly recommend you read this Holistic Squid post, which outlines a hormone-friendly diet.
In the coming days and weeks, I will be sharing more of my high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet since I do believe this has been the most beneficial of all my holistic approaches to healing my hormones. Follow along and watch my progress as I share my daily routines: diet, exercise, stress levels, test results, recipes and more!