January 6, 2012 | Hormone Stories
From early adolescence it was clear my hormonal trip into young adulthood made life near impossible and at times physically and mentally life threatening but most of all confusing and trapped.
I have always had difficulties digesting, nausea, bloating and extreme anxiety all contributed to the daily – let’s see if I can cope at school today. Years later during my teenage years I still suffered from the physical aches and pain, general but constant un-wellness and able to access energy levels and life participation my fellow school students seemed to be exuding.
Teen age years are associated with physical and emotional change and I was fortunate that at age 16 I was placed on a contraceptive pill to regulate my cycles. But I instinctively knew is wasn’t that simple.
During the next 20 years I struggled with extreme mood swings, one moment flat on my back with never enough blankets and pain in muscles and joints…and the 4 or 5 day relentless headaches.
During this time I was diagnosed with several mental related disorders, there were so many over the years I felt I was in my own private circular door, that requires good time, practice and skill to leave the ever spinning door and enter the building without your shoe, umbrella or part clothing item getting caught.
For brevity’s sake, I am taking some mood stabilisers to manage my current condition. Some five years ago my physical symptoms of bloating, nausea where referred to a gastro specialist wanting to do endoscopies and such after I have exhausted diet regimes, herbs and other treatments. What I found amazing is that my referral letter included information about my long term emotional, psychological issues. Upon each visit the specialist would ask me about my mood swings, what were the patterns?
At 38 the pin dropped, hormones and food digestion are connected. That sounds much more straight forward than it was in reality.
During trial and error I worked out that my mood swings (severe depression, extreme happiness and crazy ideas and actions) were somehow linked to the way I took the contraceptive pill. So, continual use was the answer and though I am still going up and down with respect to emotional and physical symptoms, while they continued but not as severely if I took the non-active pill.
Having a history of strokes in the family and my own recent cardiac concerns, my contraception was changed to an older higher estrogen variety which was associated with reduced risk of stroke.
Ironically my physical and certainly emotional state deteriorated – back to the old killer 5 day headaches, hormonal pimples, muscle and joint aches and pains; but probably most debilitating was the overwhelming sense of fatigue.
Recently, I have been researching the actual risks associated with returning to my “high risk” contraceptive. I spoke with many doctors about the estrogen levels, but, it turns out, the latest prescription has the exact same estrogen content. However, the progesterone ingredients are not the same. Despite being on other official mood stabilisers, the change in this daily pill had more impact than the dosage or effectiveness of other medications.
Over the years I have sought advice regarding nutrition and general anatomy to see if I can get my head around the way hormones are formed and used in the body. I do know a lot more about how the body works but to get expert knowledge on interpreting the MIMs listing of ingredients requires a PhD in chemistry!
Hormones do Matter in Women’s Health, I just wish I knew simple ways manage them in me.