Hormones: the elephant in the room

It all started last year when I made a very important decision.

No, scratch that! It really started when I was 16 years old and was first introduced to birth control pills. Yes, 16. My first ever gynecology consultation, the doctor thought it was a nice idea to help me control period cramps and acne. Great, I thought at the time, lets do it!

I stayed on birth control pills for 10 years before my first pause, six years ago. Right around 19 the migraines started, always following my cycle. Jump to 2016, new relationship, new pill, things got a lot worse, migraines were unbearable, 6 days long followed by multiple visits to the hospital. It seems pretty obvious now, but it took me all these years to realize it was all birth control’s fault.

Let me explain – when you’re 16 and your doctor presents you with birth control as a solution for many teenage inconveniences, you take it. When all of your girl friends also take it, it becomes just part of life. Rarely our society questions the benefits of tricking your body into not ovulating and for the longest time I also accepted migraines as part of life. I was only called into rethinking the way I’ve been doing things when it got out of control and all the pain I was going through was interfering too much with everyday life.

It was a miracle. I stopped taking the pill and immediately felt better. Not only pain free, but also… well, happy. I had decided to never take hormones again and chosen sterilization as a permanent solution. That’s when things got worse.

My doctor suggested Essure (microinserts) as a non invasive, simple option of sterilization. Since we’re here, let me just flat out tell you, don’t go that route. After extensive research I realized I almost made the worse mistake of my life. Essure is not safe and it’s not simple, please, please, don’t choose it without talking to other women.

Anyway, back to my story, before I found out how bad of a mistake I was about to make, I went on with the process. My doctor then requested that I take the Depo shot as a way to prepare my body for the procedure. I never really thought a shot that lasts three months in your body was a healthy alternative, but I figured that one time wouldn’t hurt.

Girl, I was wrong! Within three days I fell into this deep depression that was so dissociated from what was actually happening in my life, it was pretty obvious it was caused by chemical reactions from that shot. I also realized that my entire life I’ve been on and off depression. You can imagine my absolute shock when I realized every single period of life that I was truly happy and depression free coincidently were all the periods where I was also hormone free. Big boo for me, it seems so obvious now, how could I be so blinded?

I checked just about every single item on Depo’s side effect list. Really. But hey, I didn’t get any migraines! :-/

The worse of it all was the incredibly impossible hunger. You know when you don’t eat for a very long time and start getting really grouchy? Well, that was me ALL THE FREAKING TIME! Eating gave me absolutely no relief, I was constantly hungry even when my stomach was completely full. It felt like torture, going through life everyday so damn hungry all the time. I couldn’t sleep as my stomach wouldn’t let me. I couldn’t exercise as the hunger had also made me weak (despite the fact that I was eating a lot!). I couldn’t travel as I needed too much food around to have minimal comfort. Suddenly life became all about waiting the three months to pass. I gave up on sterilization, I gave up on anything that would ever interfere with natural systems in my body. I counted the days for it to be over meanwhile putting on 30 pounds and developing an eating disorder.

Sure, many women have an easy time with this form of birth control, but I’m not 20 anymore, and my body doesn’t even handle Ibpofren well. What was I thinking?

Three months passed and relief came – for a few days. After Depo was supposed to be off my body, things started to go back and fourth. I experienced relief, then a wave of the same symptoms came back. Doctors told me it could take up to 18 months for things to go back to normal. Sure enough, I’m still living that battle, but I’m thankful the worst is gone.

To cope with such craziness, I made the choice of being as healthy as one can be. Doctors advised I go back to birth control pills to normalize my cycle. I refused. I’ll wait as many years as it takes to be healthy again, but I’m not going to take anymore understudied, harmful drugs. I took the Chinese Medicine route, herbs, food and acupuncture. No more food or substances with hormones or xenohormones (including bottle water and cosmetics).

You see, our glands work together. They communicate with each other about our levels of hormones and seek balance when things are not the way they supposed to be. When you add synthetic hormone to the equation, your body gets very confused – “Where the hell did it come from?”. That’s where the imbalance happens.

Our society is so accustomed to treat women’s stages as a problem. Something encouraged and financed by the powerful american pharmaceutical industry. Periods, pregnancy, menopause. They’re all considered a condition that needs medical attention. Especially periods and menopause, we seem to think it’s normal to medicate these things, like they’re a disorder. Cramps, PMS, hot flashes, are all signs your body is sending you that something is wrong – diet, chemicals, stress, all of it could interfere with the natural course of things. Adding medication to it won’t help, it only shifts the problem.

We’ve got to stop this madness. We’ve got to start nurturing and honoring our nature. We learn to take our emotional feelings so seriously and completely neglect our physical ones. We’ve got it backwards.

A woman body is not an inconvenience, but a temple to which we can give thanks to for our very own existence. We’ve got to start respecting it for what it is. After all, all we have in this life is our health. Everything else is secondary.

 

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