I asked my good friend slash lady doctor the other day if I could be going through peri menopause. She said it was unlikely but I could complete some tests to be certain… Generally, that phase of a woman’s life doesn’t occur until she’s in her 40’s…
Ok so maybe it’s not peri menopause. Maybe there isn’t a name for what I’m going through. Maybe they’ll name it after me. (I’m thinking…Poor Little White Girl Problem?)
Here’s the thing- I’m a healthy person. (I’m a very healthy person.). I pay very close attention to what I put in my body. I don’t eat junk food or sweets, not because I’m depriving myself on some crazy diet, but because I just don’t have a taste for the stuff. I have always had clear skin, I exercise daily, I drink a gallon of water every day and I’m also just a very clean human being- I bathe when I’m supposed to…I always wash my makeup off, I wash my hands regularly…
So now that you know that about me, riddle me this, Batman- why the hell have I been retaining pounds and pounds of water on a daily basis? POUNDS!!! Why did my skin start breaking out like a 13 year old boy? And why am I not sweating during my workouts? Why?!
It’s that damn Poor Little White Girl Problem.
I don’t believe in drugs and chemicals solving the problems that nature can solve on its own so I struggled with this for several weeks, just hoping it would go away on its own. I was getting depressed, not wanting to go anywhere or see anyone, just feeling downright yucky. Then I emerged from my black hole and started doing research on hormones and the way they affect the body, because even if I’m not going through the early stages of ‘the change’, something is clearly wrong with my hormones. The last time I went through a non-sweating phase was when I was pregnant with my daughter and we all know how crazy pregnant hormones are. During my research I came across a lot of information that made sense to me. I first researched my skin issues, as that was my first major problem, and in an internet sea of prescribed creams and potions, zit zappers and laser treatments, I came across some very helpful information that led me to diagnose my problem.
First off, let me explain the difference in certain kinds of breakouts because pimples are not all created equal. There is always a specific reason why you get that specific blemish, and knowing this information can really, really help you become more proactive.
Get ready to be schooled, y’all.
•When you break out across your forehead, this is your skin telling you you’re either sleep deprived or stressed.
•When you break out above your eyebrows, your immune system is in jeopardy so you’re either sick, just were, or about to be.
•When you break out between your brows, you’ve been eating a lot of unhealthy foods.
•When you break out on your cheeks, that’s due to respiratory issues… allergies? Maybe you’ve been exposed to a lot of polluted air (…cigarette smoke? Airplanes? Stuck indoors for days?)
•When you break out along the sides of your chin, that’s hormone territory (aka Poor Little White Girl Problem area). (And just a little more information on this area- when this type of breakout occurs around the time of a woman’s cycle, the side of the chin where the breakouts are is directly related to the ovary that is ovulating that month. Amazing.)
The next thing I learned was that your hormones won’t act out and become imbalanced just because they feel like messing with you. There are always other reasons why your hormones aren’t doing their jobs, something internal that’s gone awry in your system, manifesting itself as a pimple. The specific acne that usually pops up in adult women, around the chin and jawline, is caused by estrogen dominance…meaning your progesterone and estrogen are not in balance, also most likely meaning you have high bad estrogens (exacerbated by all the chemicals we tend use on a regular basis.)
So what do we do to fix that?
You clean up your lifestyle. Right? Remove any toxins you expose yourself to on a regular basis, no more processed foods, yadda yadda yadda. But here’s the thing. I live a clean lifestyle already. I’m the cleanest person I know!! What gives?!
The research continued…
So, if my hormones are, in fact, out of whack (technical term), and I’m already a clean and healthy person, then I just need to start taking something that can help my hormones do their job better. Something to give them a little push. (Because I got dealt the short end of the stick in the hormone department. I really wish I could trade them in for a better, shinier model.)
So..I started taking this stuff called DIM (Diindolymethane). Simply put, it’s an antioxidant and phytonutrient that’s found in cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli, etc. and the supplement is a highly concentrated form of it. There have been many studies done to show that DIM positively effects estrogen metabolism…meaning that taking it can help your body do what it’s supposed to do with the right amount of estrogen.
The next day after coming across that information, I went out and bought some DIM, right at my local Healthy Home Market. I’m not lying when I say that I noticed results in my skin within a couple days.
But…after about a week of taking the DIM, I was still having major water retention issues, non-sweating issues and still didn’t feel like me. I actually felt that the DIM helped with those things a little, but I was definitely not back to normal. So…what else could be contributing to my hormonal imbalance?
Further research continued…
Your digestive tract plays a big role in just about everything in your bodies and minds, including your skin. I didn’t think that could be my issue because I take good care of my system- I eat yogurt every day and take a daily probiotic, I also drink kombucha whenever I get the chance. And when I don’t have access to kombucha (which is pretty expensive), I make myself a ‘cocktail’ that I’m sharing at the end of the post.
Another reason why hormones can be out of whack could be that your liver isn’t functioning properly. Estrogen and the liver are related because when you have too much estrogen, it goes to the liver to become detoxified and then it makes its way to the bowel to go bye bye. But when your liver isn’t functioning properly, that excess estrogen can just be released back through the body, causing breakouts and other hormone-related issues. Plus, if your liver isn’t in good shape, think about all the toxins that are just swimming around in your body!
After doing all of this research I found a way to make myself feel more like…myself and I’m happy to share everything that I did to get to this place. So I did a TON of research so you won’t have to! (Your welcome.) Here’s the synopsis of what I’m doing now and hopefully it will help someone out. Because I can’t be the only 32 year old who is having strange hormonal issues. I just can’t be.
It’s almost been 3 weeks on 100 mg of DIM daily and my skin is next to perfect. Instead of taking a prescription pill or loading on tons of expensive creams that may have helped my skin on a superficial level, I solved the problem from within.
I also drink a ‘detox tea’ that has dandelion root, burdock root, stinging nettle and lemon sometimes before bed to help my liver function better. The brand I use is ‘Traditional Medicinals’ and I get it right at my regular grocery store. It goes on a BOGO sale regularly so I stock up then…I also don’t pay attention to the box telling me what I need- I drink 1 tea bag just on occasion when I feel like I’m retaining.
And 5 days ago, in addition to the DIM, (and the multi vitamin, evening primrose oil (a menstrual symptom aid), probiotic, fish oil, biotin and vitamin D I have been taking), I added the following to my daily vitamin and supplement intake– 400 mg green tea complex (I have never liked drinking green tea-it doesn’t sit well with my stomach), 40 mg black cohosh (an herb that helps menopausal symptoms as well as other female hormone related issues), lady’s mantle (helps with menstrual cramps, digestive issues), olive extract (mood booster, digestive aid, kidney and liver helper), cumin extract (digestive aid, blood sugar stabilizer, liver helper), and wild mint (digestive aid, menstrual cramp reliever, natural stimulant.)
Before you start calling the crazy police on me for taking so many supplements, I discovered something kinda wild. Oddly enough, the final several ingredients (the lady’s mantle through the wild mint) are all included in one, very popular and kind of controversial supplement. Are you ready for it? Hydroxycut. Isn’t that crazy? (BUT ONLY THE STIMULANT FREE VARIETY!!! The regular kind of hydroxycut has high levels of added caffeine that I DO NOT recommend.) So I take the recommended serving of hydroxycut twice a day- before lunch and dinner. And it’s kind of crazy to say that because I know the stigma it has. I was one of those people who would see a TV or magazine ad and think it was just one of those caffeine pills that did nothing but make you jacked. But, for me, taking the kind WITHOUT STIMULANTS OR CAFFEINE has been great for my symptoms.
(No side effects whatsoever on any of the above.)
And today is the first day I have felt like myself again. My workout this morning left me perspiring quite profusely (TMI?) and the internal water park that used to be my body now seems to have cleared up. It’s incredible.
So there you have it – All my hours and hours of research compiled into one (albeit long) post for you all to enjoy. I think it’s safe to say my Poor Little White Girl Problems have gone away.
For at lease the next 10 years or so…
*My Easy Kombucha Replacement
Mix together the following in a drinking glass and drink 2-3 times a day for health:
-About 2 tablespoons of RAW, UNFILTERED apple cider vinegar, with the mother included. (Found at most grocery stores as well as health food markets.)
-a good splash of water
-the same amount of all natural 100% cherry or pomegranate juice (I have the cherry juice regularly so that’s what I general use but you can use whatever you have! I just wouldn’t recommend a juice that’s too acidic like OJ.)
Adjust the measurements to your taste if need be. It’s not an exact science!
*Please consult your doctor before you try anything new as I am not a physician of any kind. Just a self made lab rat.