I recently got my hormones tested at my OBGYN in an attempt to find out any potential causes to some stomach issues I’d been having. Imbalanced hormones can cause lots of annoying and even painful problems when it comes to your digestion, mood, skin health, and your sex life, and the only way to find out the root of these types of problems is to consult a doctor and get a hormone panel done. Here’s what I learned after getting the results of mine.
- You might not need the vitamins you’re taking.I consider myself a supplement queen; I love vitamins, tonics, wellness formulas, etc. However, when I got the results of my test, I found that some of the supplements I’d been taking for years weren’t actually the ones I needed. Instead, my body would benefit much more from a different set of supplements that I hadn’t even considered taking previously. I would never have known this had I not taken the test.
- Your hormones explain your sex drive (or lack thereof).I personally don’t have a problem with a lack of sex drive, but I did learn that a hormone panel shows you where you stand in the “healthy” range of each one. I found that if you test on the lower range of testosterone, for example, you could experience a lower sex drive. Although I tested higher for this particular hormone, if you’re not, it’s great to know where you stand so that you can make changes in your diet and lifestyle or seek medical intervention that could help correct it.
- You’re not a trained doctor so don’t try to diagnose yourself.I’m big on research. Whenever I have a problem with my health, I always try to figure out the problem on my own first. When I asked my OBGYN for this hormone test, she asked what my health concerns were. I told her a couple of symptoms and what I thought the problem was and she kindly told me that it wasn’t my job to identify the problem. I know this is pretty common knowledge to most people, but I realized I had been putting way too much pressure on myself to both identify what my issues were and also attempt to fix them all. You can actually overwhelm your system with supplements, foods, or other treatments it doesn’t need and make things worse for yourself if you don’t find out what your body is lacking first.
- The normal range has a range. Most of the time, when you take a health-related test and your results return within the “normal” range, that’s a good thing. This is a relief and your concern for whatever you just got tested dissipates. It’s the end of the discussion for that aspect of your health. Your hormones are different. I learned that even though my test results were all within the “normal” range, the symptoms I had been struggling with were telling me a different story. My doctor told me this was because there is a range within the normal range. When your hormones are on the higher or lower end of this spectrum, you can still experience all kinds of symptoms like breakouts, stress, weight gain, and decreased sex drive. The good thing is that once you find out where you stand in your test results, you’ll know where to start in balancing your hormones.
- Birth control should be used to prevent babies, not to balance your hormones. I’m a big believer in getting to the root of the problem and solving it with the most natural resources possible. While lots of people are prescribed birth control to balance their hormones and alleviate non-birth-control-related issues like acne, they ignore the causes of those problems in the first place. You can resolve issues with your skin, PMS symptoms, weight, and other problems by first knowing what’s out of balance and then by adjusting your diet to resolve that problem. Birth control has even been known to give women problems with their sex drive and other health issues, and honestly, if you can avoid taking them, I would.
- Your periods shouldn’t be hell. After I got my test results and started researching the symptoms of PMS as it related to my own hormone levels, I realized that having a period shouldn’t actually be a living hell. In fact, if your hormones are balanced, you shouldn’t become a monster during that time of the month and experience terrible cramps or acne. Whenever you do have a terrible period, that’s a good sign that something is imbalanced in your hormone levels.
- It’s important to adhere to a schedule with vitamins. One very important thing I learned in all of this testing and research is that on the days I forgot to take my vitamins, like if I forgot to pack them for a trip and went a few days without them, weird things would start to happen. I used to get a breakout if I skipped one vitamin, and a headache or cramps if I forgot to take my vitamins in the morning like I always do. I found that consistency is key to having your vitamins work for you.
- Stress is the enemy of feeling good. This one is just for good measure because I found that one of the main reasons I was experiencing stomach cramps, skin problems, and other “signs of PMS” was actually because my stress levels were so high. I was frustrated trying to figure out and self-diagnose the root causes of all of my symptoms and the stress was actually making the symptoms worse. Cortisol is the hormone that your spikes in your body when you feel stress, so every time I’d get anxious, my cortisol levels shot up, influencing my body in lots of negative ways. I’ve since started making a conscious effort to reign in my worries and it’s worked wonders for my overall health.