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Hot (Mess) Mama : It’s Just Me and My Hormones

I turned 40 in 2021 and, to be honest, I don't think I really handled it well. And not because I'm sad I'm aging (it really is just a number) but because my body felt like a light switch had been flipped. One minute I'm downing a quarter pounder with cheese and not gaining an ounce of weight and the next minute just smelling burgers put some junk in the trunk. I had my last baby at 38 and actually lost all my baby weight and brought my abs back within 10 months. (Yes; totally bragging.) But when I turned 41 my 3 year old told me she loved snuggling with me, mostly because I'm "soft and squishy."

Listen, I'm all for accepting bodies as they are and being as healthy as you can be. But I knew *MY* body wasn't acting like it used to. I've been an active athlete person my whole life and suddenly running 2 miles didn't quite maintain my physique the way it used to.

hormones
The proof is in the pictures -- post baby but pre-40's body.

On top of my weight gain, I wasn't sleeping well anymore. I used to be able to fall asleep anywhere and everywhere. Airport floors? Not a problem. Sleeping bag in a tent? Sure thing. But suddenly my weighted-blanket and noisy fan wasn't even helping me fall asleep. I could blame my cell phone but really I just couldn't turn my brain off, even if my phone was. I'd start calculating how many hours of sleep I'd get if I "fell asleep RIGHT THIS MINUTE." The next morning I'd be parenting my 5 kids on approximately 5 hours of sleep. No bueno. Plus my chronic lymphedema was flaring up and causing more-than-usual inflammation, affecting my stress levels.

Then, I was at a Super Bowl party last February and my friend told me about some of her health issues and how she went to a new health practitioner and had a complete hormone panel done. I was intrigued. So many of her "why is this happening to my body" questions were answered.

Fast forward a few months and my 42nd birthday was fast approaching. Time for some answers on how to get this body back up and running. What I needed was a deep dive of what was happening "under the hood" so to speak. Sundara Wellness was my obvious choice, especially when I learned that they offered something called the DUTCH Complete Hormone Test.

Hormones are chemicals that coordinate different functions in your body by carrying messages through your blood to your organs, skin, muscles and other tissues. These signals tell your body what to do and when to do it. Hormones are essential for your health.

Hormones being out of whack could create adrenal-related symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue, especially on waking
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Depression, especially on waking
  • High-stress lifestyle
  • Loss of resiliency

I wasn't depressed but I was definitely fatigued. At least 3 nights I week I was experiencing insomnia.

Other imbalances in hormones can trigger:

  • Low sex drive
  • Mood swings
  • Infertility
  • Body hair -- loss of or increase of
  • Muscle & bone mass
  • Ulcers or increased anxiety
  • Weight gain

hormones on search results
If you simply search "hormones" on social media, A LOT of information will pop up. It's good for general education, but be sure you get your own information from a trusted health care provider. Do not try to "fix" your body without professional care!

There are 10 (main) hormones every woman needs to know about: growth hormone or somatotropin, insulin, adrenaline, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, melatonin, oxytocin, and ACTH (click here to read more in-depth on what each is responsible for).

When I spoke with Sundara, I was immediately referred to Cody and Audrey, both professional nutritionists who would be guiding me through the DUTCH testing process. Sundara would give me the test kit, I would complete the (urine) samples on my own time, I'd mail my tests directly to the DUTCH test company, and then Audrey and Cody would receive my results. This way, they could look over what my hormone panel tells them, explain it to me in layman's terms, and then together we'd come up with a (realistic) plan to fix whatever it was that needed fixing (like my flabby abs).

The DUTCH test is only a 24 hour test. You begin the test in the afternoon of the first day and end it the afternoon of the second day. You have to restrain from alcohol and caffeine but that was honestly the hardest part. The test kit provides you step-by-step instructions on when to begin, how to label your urine samples, and the importance of drying them out before putting them into the envelope provided. You must label each strip with the time of day it's taken for your results to be accurate, so I simply kept a pen next to my strips that I had organized on a bedside table.

Dutch test graphicWhen Cody and Audrey received my test results at Sundara, they met together to discuss what they saw before speaking to me. Together they came up with a plan on how to heal the hormones that were unbalanced. Then Cody called me first. She explained in detail where my spikes were, which hormones were low, and how each of my results ties into one another. It's like a domino affect -- if something was low, it caused something else to be high, etc. etc. For example, I found out I had cortisol spikes that were affecting my ability to sleep.

Cody and I first discussed a lifestyle plan, which included turning off Wifi at 10pm, removing the Wifi box from our bedroom (5G waves are no good), and no phone or computer screens in my face at least 2 hours before bedtime. We also discussed adding some vitamins and supplements into my diet, as well as the importance of reducing stress.

Then Audrey called to discuss a natural way to heal my body through my food intake. For me, we decided to try an elimination diet to cut out gluten, dairy, and sugar for 70 days and then slowly add back different food items. I was also to start my day with a hot cup of lemon water before I ate or drank anything else. Ironically, my grandmother, who lived well into her 90's, did this very practice every day!

hormone meme

I loved the fact that the DUTCH test told me things that a "normal" hormone panel didn't, as well as showed the complicated relationship between different hormones. If you are someone who's been told your hormones "look fine" yet still struggle with infertility, weight gain, moodiness, irregular periods, or brain fog, I'd highly recommend doing a deep dive like I did. Just like we're supposed to do yearly mammograms after 40, it should be required we do hormone testing too. If nothing else, the DUTCH test gave me a baseline of where I am and where I need to be, so I can monitor my levels as I continue to age.

I don't have my abs back (yet!) but I definitely feel better and am sleeping a lot better than I was. My brain fog is less and I'm drinking lots of water. Healing my body through good organic food and exercise, limiting technology, and making sure I get enough fresh air and sunshine takes discipline -- but it's worth it to me to take care of me.

 

Sundara practitioners Interested in ordering your own DUTCH Hormone Test? Call Sundara Wellness at 901-321-5803 and schedule a consultation with Cody or Audrey. Sundara takes various insurance policies as well as private pay. They are located at 1314 Peabody Avenue in Midtown. 

 

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