Now that I have Martina singing in your head...
These last few years have lead me to learn so much more about women's health... Through myself, family, friends, patients, and research. Women are more intricate and there are more facets to our health than what it may seem. To keep it simple, our bodies do a lottt every single day, nonetheless in a given month and over the span of a lifetime. Not paying attention to all the details and not properly nourishing ourselves can cause complications with health and/or misdiagnoses.
I'm sharing the top four things I have learned so far, in hopes of helping someone else! Psst.. You don't have to wait until something is wrong to learn and practice health.
1. Hormonal Regulation: Hormones are the little chemical messengers that have a large control of important bodily processes- For men and women. Remember how I said women are more intricate? Well, each month our bodies do "a little dance" with hormones, where they change and fluctuate in harmony. However, if one hormone gets off beat, then the whole dance is affected. Hormones, with regards to the reproductive system, can become imbalanced due to genetics, disease, or lifestyle factors such as childbirth, weight changes, diet, and medications. Problems such as migraines, nausea, IBS symptoms, anxiety, weight gain or loss, hair loss, impaired thyroid function, acne, infertility, low energy, low libido, etc. can be the result.
Talking to your OB/GYN, getting lab work done, and becoming more educated in the area can be a good starting place. I read these books: The Hormone Cure, and Taking Charge of Your Fertility (Sounds like it is just for trying to conceive, but it is also for natural birth control and reproductive health in general).
Here is a quote from The Hormone Cure author, Sara Gottfried, MD:
"I’m a gynecologist, but I don’t treat problems. I don’t even treat symptoms: I specialize in root cause analysis because I know – and evidence shows – that the greatest health transformations are triggered when you address the root cause, not the signs."
2. Birth Control: #1 quickly lead me to #2. Know your options.. Know that there is more than one option! Every lady is different. Every relationship is different. Talk to your doctor. Knowledge is power, educate yourself thoroughly (through credible sources) before making any decisions for your health. Some women feel better with and/or need hormonal bc. Some women feel a whole lot better using non-hormonal bc. You do you!
*A blogger I follow from my hometown recently wrote a blog on her experience with birth control, click below to check out her story:
Mountain Gypsy- Birth Control
3. Supplementation & Acne: With adolescence and beyond, I have dealt with acne prone skin. Nothing a little dab of zit cream couldn't fix, though. However, a few years ago | when I was young & stupid ;) | I had the best idea... I would start taking mega doses of biotin. 'My hair and nails would grow super fast, and my skin would look awesome.' HA. HA.
I took it for two months and developed the most painful, large, untamable cystic acne, not just the little bumps I was used to. It took over a year to get rid of. It was depressing (I cried a ton! Just ask my husband, Mom, and sisters...), BUT it taught me a lot.
Fun Fact: Excess biotin can cause a deficiency in pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 (promotes healthy skin surface), because they are absorbed similarly in the intestine. Therefore, this can lead to negative changes with the skin...
*Bottom line: More is not always better. Taking excess of supplements, without a medical need, can cause harm to the body. Supplements are more potent and do not act the same as the nutrient in it's natural, food form. Also, supplements are not regulated by the FDA.
4. Self Love: You can't pour out of an empty glass. Health is from the inside, out. If we focus on health, opposed to body size, we have more important reasons to live healthfully and be better versions of ourselves--- such as preventing lifestyle-related diseases, improving reproductive health, being a better friend, partner, and/or mom, or just simply having a better relationship with food and your body.
You can drive your own car on the journey to wellness and stay on it for life, opposed to falling on and off the fad diet wagon. Weight management will come with true health, and true health takes education, commitment, and behavior change. Every body is different, work with what you've been given, love it, and work towards a better YOU... Each and every day. Don't be afraid to be selfish from time to time, and most definitely do not be scared to ask for help if you need it! It's a journey.
Fill up your cup so you can spread your goodness to all the people around you!
You knew it was coming... Nutrition (especially when paired with other lifestyle changes) can help regulate hormones, support growth (of you, and if you become pregnant!), reduce/prevent side effects of aging and changing, promote healthy skin and hair, prevent lifestyle related disease, establish a health weight, and more.
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear them!