Out of Whack Hormones
“Why am I such a bitch?”
That was the title of a book my partner (now husband) once gave to me. As I was getting ready to hit him with it, with a panicked look on his face he quickly said, “turn it over! Read the back!”.
That’s when I saw it was a book about women suffering from PMS. He knew how much I was struggling with this. He’d been in the trenches. Lived in the war zone.
Most of the time I was a happy-go-lucky type of person. But the third week of every month, things would change. Tears, irritability, self-doubt, picking fights, insomnia, irrationality and just a feeling of “grayness” about my life. Sometimes I would just lie in bed and sob for no reason, wondering what the heck was wrong with me.
Then there was the physical side. Extreme tiredness, painful breasts, massive break outs on my face, cramping and extremely heavy periods. It would quite often knock me out for a few days and I’d be left grovelling in my bed.
Then once I had children, things started to ramp up even more. Because, that’s when The Rage started.
Most of the time, I was a pretty relaxed mum, but 2 weeks of every month, Psycho Mama came to town. Sometimes I’d be loving and kind and, the next thing, I’d be totally flipping my lid. I remember one time smashing a plate down on the bench so hard in anger that all the contents of it went flying up the wall and on to the ceiling, whilst the kid’s stood by looking shocked.
Afterwards I’d be wracked with guilt. Absolutely distraught that I’d lost it so badly with my babies. I swore I’d control myself better. But a month later, the rage would happen again.
It truly felt like this “thing” came and got me every month. It took over my brain, my emotions, my body and I had zero control over it.
I went to the doctors. But all they could offer was the pill (which only seemed to make things worse). I kept trying different health supplements and searching for answers, but nothing seemed to work. I began just accepting that this was just the way it was, a women’s lot. I just had to try to deal with it.
Until …. one day I went for a session with a Health Coach and she explained to me that the reason I had PMS was because my liver was overloaded and wasn’t processing my hormones correctly. I had never heard something like this before and a light switched on.
Spot light on the liver (it’s one clever little organ):
Part of the livers job is to take toxins out of our blood to keep us safe.
However, if our liver is feeling overloaded with foods and toxins (like cleaning and personal product ingredients, coffee, gluten, dairy, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, and meat – yep all the fun stuff!), to keep us safe it sends some toxins back into our blood stream for another organ to deal with (this could also result in breakouts, allergies etc).
So, this is the case with our hormones.
Our liver pretty much prioritises everything over our oestrogen hormone. So, once oestrogen has done its job in our body and it’s time for it to be eliminated, this can’t always happen if our liver is feeling bogged down by those aforementioned liver-loaders.
It basically says “oestrogen, I’ve got so much going on right now, I can’t deal with you” it tweaks it a little and sends it back into our blood stream. And whammo, we have oestrogen dominance (and quite often low progesterone) which results in irritability, anger, depression, cramps and so on. Hello PMS (and menopause).
There are of course, many other contributing factors to hormonal imbalance, but this is the first place to start.
So, cleaning up our liver (and bowels so that they can eliminate correctly) through cleaning up our diet, toxic load, and stress levels is the key to reducing (and eliminating) PMS/menopause.
Ways to help your liver detoxify:
Eliminate liver loaders as much as possible - coffee, gluten, dairy, alcohol, chocolate, and possibly many more depending on each person
Drink plenty of fresh water
Reduce your toxic exposure – cleaning products, car fumes, skin care products, shampoo’s etc can all add to your toxic load
Find ways to reduce stress – being constantly stressed out means an over production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can put a lot of strain on your liver
Eat a diet made up predominantly of whole foods, especially high fibre goods, dark leafy greens
Flaxseed helps remove toxins from our system (soak in water first. They make a gel like substance that you can add to smoothies, breakfast mueslis, or make a flaxseed pudding etc)
Artemis Liver Detox Tea to help your liver detoxify
Herbs like Rhoiola, rehmannia and withania
Other supplements – Omega 3’s, magnesium, calcium, evening primrose oil and vitamin B6 can be hugely beneficial. It all depends on the individual though.
Essential oils can be helpful (clary sage, thyme and sandal wood)
Some people may need progesterone cream to help increase this hormone
Exercise – getting sweaty truly is a hugely effective way of helping your liver detoxify – the rest of your body will thank you too!
Cleaning up my diet and taking certain supplements, plus a tonic by a herbal pharmacists definitely helped my PMS disappear.
But the real breakthrough came when I looked at my stress-levels. I knew I was overwhelmed and not taking care of myself. I needed to put what I needed FIRST and take some time each day to fill my own tank up and learn to say no to others if I had too much on.
So, it was a 3-pillar approach that helped me balance my hormones:
Whole foods and reducing liver loaders
Supplements and herbs
Reducing stress levels, using mindfulness techniques and prioritising time for myself.
Finally, I was free of being controlled by my hormones! My emotions are now mine to choose – to deal with and manage – not some type of “other entity” that I have no control over.
And most of the time – I choose to be happy. My husband and kids are pretty glad about that too.
Is this you?
If you're struggling with out of whack hormones that are giving you PMS and menopause, it's something that can be treated. You can book a free 30 minute session with me HERE to discuss further and we can work on finding a way forward. Or if you are wanting more support on how to lose weight, gain energy and balance your hormones, check out my Health Happy You programme here.
If you've got any other hormone balancing tips you'd like to share, please comment below.