Hormones in Trouble? Here Are 10 Books that Can Help
Saturday, May 21st, 2016
Like any health expert, doctor or naturopath, they are guides; not gods. I have been to hell and back with my hormones over the years and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it is that we have to take ownership over our own healing.
By empowering myself to learn more about my body and hormones, I developed a deeply intuitive relationship with myself that is irreplaceable. Now I work with Naturopaths and Herbalists in collaboration towards healing; not with the expectation that they will tell me what to do, and then I will be cured. I find people I trust to help guide me, while also doing my own research and trusting my body.
Your level of comfort in regards to listening to your body depends on how far along you are into the self-discovery process, so be gentle with yourself. We are always learning and new information is always becoming available. The best thing to remember when you embark on a healing path is that stress is a menace to recovery. Design and follow protocols you can manage while still enjoying life rather than rigid plans that have you pulling your hair out.
Sometimes You Just Need to Relax
In my experience hormone issues, weight, adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems generally tend to naturally find their way back to balance when you feel safe and secure. This means you’re not experiencing high amounts of stress and life overall is pretty good. If you’re a sensitive individual (which most of us are), when shit hits the fan chances are your body will tell you first either through weight loss or gain, skin issues, digestive issues or menstrual cycle irregularities.
When the body is being flooded with happy chemicals, great orgasms, lots of laughter and great friendship bonds on a frequent basis, positive shifts can begin to occur naturally. Self-love and nurturing yourself emotionally is just as important as what diet you choose to follow or the herbs you decide to take.
You’ve Got Your Sex Hormones and You’ve Got Your Stress Hormones. Or in Other Words Beauty and Survival
Now imagine this from a primal perspective. Your bodies main function is to keep you alive. Being beautiful, having clear skin and all that jazz is nice however if it comes right down to it, your body is going to do whatever it can to keep you alive, even if that means at the expense of everything else.
When your body perceives it is in danger (triggered by high-stress in the body), any hormones that would normally be allocated to beauty like progesterone for example which supports balanced weight, healthy muscles, clear skin and fertility, will instead divert its normal pathway and convert into cortisol. Cortisol is one of the most well known stress hormones and too much of it in the body means anxiety, weight gain, poor adrenal and thyroid health and skin problems like acne, psoriases or even eczema.
The crap deal out of all of this is that once progesterone is converted into cortisol for example, it can never go back. So even if there’s an excess in your body, it’s already too late. It won’t recognize this and say, hey there, let’s go back the other way and be progesterone instead (I wish!) Once you have excess cortisol that needs to be flushed out of your body, the way to do this is through liver cleansing, emotional clearing, a healthy balance of yin and yang movement along with deep restful sleep. And lastly but most importantly, time. This is not anywhere close to an overnight process, so be patient.
The More You Understand Your Body, The More Empowered You Become
I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 resources on hormones, adrenal health and thyroid for you based on my many years of research along my own quest for balance. My delicate little flower of a system doesn’t want to stay in balance for long, so if you’re having a tough time; I can relate. On the flip side, this journey can be empowering. You can find balance, you can heal. You have an opportunity here to learn a lot, help your girlfriends with what you discover and become your own healer along the way.
1. The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried
See it on Amazon
Dr. Sara Gottfried is a celebrity hormone doctor and yoga instructor with a grounded approach to hormonal balance. More than that, she understands hormonal imbalance on a deep level and speaks from personal experience. Her books and interviews are always loaded with good info that’s easy to understand.
Her opinions aren’t rigid and she is on the natural train, meaning her approach is all about long-term sustainable healing rather than a quick fix. I recommend her book The Hormone Cure often to women because of her checklist at the back for self-diagnosis. While doing hormone testing is the most reliable way to diagnose, many of us simply cannot afford the costs which range anywhere from $100 to $1000 for a full panel that is rarely if ever covered by health insurance.
In a case where you’re really suffering but you aren’t sure quite what’s happening but also can’t afford to find out, you can reference her checklists in the back of the book that list the most common hormonal imbalances and how to recognize them in yourself. From there, she provides action items including foods, herbs and movement that can support your healing protocol.
2. Woman Code by Alisa Vitti
See it on Amazon
Alissa Vitti is a New York Gynecologist who weighed 200 pounds and was covered in deep cystic acne before she was diagnosed with PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome). It’s is one of the most common hormonal imbalances in women today and one of the markers is high-testosterone.
Struggling with unexplained weight gain and acne or having very painful periods are some of the most common symptoms. PCOS has also become a blanket diagnosis, so keep that in mind if you’ve been diagnosed and continue to tune in to your body to notice anything that may point you in the direction you need to go.
Alisa Vitti has an awesome TedTalk on Youtube I suggest you check out here. I watched this in 2012 and have been re-watching and sharing ever since. Her book has a healing plan as well as a diet that you may or may not choose to follow along your own journey (another option is to check out the Bulletproof Diet and Podcast and then decide which approach you resonate with most for healing PCOS.)
3. Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup M.D.
See it on Amazon
Christiane Northrup or as many of us women like to call her “The Godmother of Women’s Health”, is basically a legend. I commonly hear women call this book their “Hormone Bible” and for good reason. Not only are her books huge (like a lot of pages), but her approach is so deeply tuned into the essence of a woman, not just on a scientific level; on a deeply spiritual level as well.
The spiritual elements of healing are undoubtedly lacking in our culture, and as a medical doctor she’s taken this on and filled a gap for us that’s changing lives. She has a few other books like Mother Daughter Wisdom which explores the link between mothers, daughters and health, as well as the Wisdom of Menopause listed below. If you seek to be understood and desire more than just a logical, practice or scientific approach – you have to pick this one up.
4. The Adrenal Reset Diet by Dr. Alan Christianson
See it on Amazon
I just love this guy. First of all, in every podcast interview I’ve ever listened to he’s always so full spirited and his laugh is pure joy. A doctor who is on purpose and embodying joy is a really good sign. He exudes confidence in the realms of adrenal fatigue and thyroid imbalance which are two quite dicey areas of health that many health experts either shy away from or say are overly complicated. Instead, he says healing can be easy and his track record proves it. His book on healing Adrenal Fatigue is great, I have it on my own book-shelf and he’s got some excellent podcast episodes on the Bulletproof Exec Podcast as well.
5. Balance Your Hormones Balance Your Life by Dr. Claudia Welch
See it on Amazon
This is the book that helped me turn a corner in my own self-care and I attribute it to her passion for educating women in the simplest way possible. Before reading this book I would never have been able to explain hormones to anyone. After reading this book I felt like I could do mini-workshops. Her analogies are just so easy to grasp and her encouragement along the way especially in regards to healing through self-care was next level. I truly felt inspired and even excited to heal my adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance by the time I finished this one. I highly recommend this and have even purchased multiple copies to give away to women I love.
6. The Complete Idiots Guide to Thyroid Disease by Dr. Alan Christianson
See it on Amazon
This is another one of Dr. Alan’s books and I tooted his horn pretty hard already when I mentioned his adrenal fatigue book. That aside, thyroid disease is one of the most common causes of weight issues and fatigue and yet it’s often mis or undiagnosed. It’s not so cut and dry to test T3/T4 levels but that’s usually as far as it goes in a run of the mill doctors office. He cuts through to the real data and what you need to know to be properly diagnosed and how to treat yourself through diet and more.
7. Adrenal Fatigue the 21 Century Syndrome by James Wilson PhD.
See it on Amazon
So far, this is one of the best books on Adrenal Fatigue I have come across. There’s a lot of education inside but it isn’t dense or hard to get through. He also includes dietary suggestions and other healing solutions that include how to sleep for healing, movement and more. I would read this book for a deeper understanding of AF and more knowledge on how to heal, but if I were going to follow a food plan, I would use Dr. Alan Christianson’s Adrenal Reset Diet instead.
8. Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson
See it on Amazon
Shawn and his wife are dear friends of mine and in the realms of sleep, hormones and fat loss. Shawn’s a total boss. Not only is he full to the brim of wisdom, he’s passionate and fun to learn from. I owe him big time for stepping in and being a friend and a guide to me when I had a major hormonal health crisis. Over the years he’s become obsessed with learning about how sleep impacts our health from hormones to weight loss and wrote two great books on the subject. I have them both and also love recommending his podcast interview with Daniel Vitalis on the Surthrival Podcast, it’s linked here for you if you want to listen. Am I overwhelming you with resources yet? Hope you’re bookmarking these!
9. The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup M.D.
See it on Amazon
Menopause is made a mockery of a lot in our culture. In the media and in movies we see women portrayed as crazy, overly dramatic and well… going through hell. And honestly, it’s kind of a reality for many women in North America today.
Menopause, in alternative to the belief that it’s nothing but a hell walk can actually be quite a beautiful time of transition in a woman’s life. While menopause comes with its own challenges and isn’t going to be butterflies and rainbows all the time, it’s a new phase in a woman’s life. For the first time she has more energy for herself. Her hormones are shifting in a way that allows her to relax more, and give more to herself than to others.
I loved Dr. Claudia Welch’s comments in the book Balance Your Hormones Balance Your Life about this. In a nutshell, her suggestion was that we begin educating our young girls about hormones and their bodies early in life, providing them the self-care tools they need to experience balance. Then when they get to menopause instead of all hell breaking loose – the transition can be a pleasant one.
10. Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way by Susan Weed
See in on Amazon
Susan Weed is a well known herbalist who represents women in a very powerful way. She has many books on herbalism for all the phases of a woman’s life. Her other books on Childbearing and healing are available on Amazon. I suggest this book for women who need something quite specific in the reproductive or sexual health realm.
These subjects are often not talked about enough and can be met with shame or embarrassment. But you don’t have to be in this alone, and you certainly need not feel like there’s something wrong or gross about experiencing challenges with your reproductive health. Susan is a safe and valuable resource. You can use this book as starting point for you on your healing journey.
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