Natural Remedies for Fibroids

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70% of women will experience fibroids in their lives before the age of 50 and they are also 2 to 3 times more likely to form in African American women.

Fibroids can be quite painful, while some women don’t even feel them at all.

Symptoms of fibroids:

šŸ’„Pressure in the pelvis resulting in constipation or frequent urination
šŸ’„Heavy or prolonged bleeding
šŸ’„Severe cramping during period
šŸ’„Spotting in between periods

So why do we get them?Ā  Well, fibroids are dependent entirely on our hormones!

Yup.

Fibroids have a high amount of estrogen and progesterone receptors. This results in the tissue being very sensitive to estrogen, but at the same time it can’t regulate its estrogen response which is why often times they can grow quite large!

We live in an estrogen dominant world, and most women I see in my practice have this hormonal imbalance.

Note, you don’t have to have high estrogen levels to have estrogen dominance!!!

It’s all about your estrogen to progesterone ratio. So if your progesterone is low and your estrogen is in normal range, you can still have estrogen dominance! .

This biggest culprits to estrogen dominance and fibroids are:

šŸ’„Poor estrogen metabolism- if you can’t clear out excess estrogen then this will result in estrogen dominance. Some women have a more difficult time than others due to factors such as the MTHFR gene or fatty liver.

šŸ’„High body fat- fat stores and produces estrogen so the more fat you have, the more estrogen you will have.

šŸ’„Xenoestrogens- exposure to harmful hormone mimicking toxins that are found in pesticides, herbicides, plastics, synthetic hormones as is found in birth control and hormones found in conventional meat and dairy will create excess estrogen in the body.

Natural Remedies for Fibroids:

1ļøāƒ£Support your detox pathways

You can do this by cleaning up your toiletries and household products so as to reduce xenoestrogen exposure. Our toiletries and cleansers tend to get overlooked, yet the play a crucial part in causing painful periods and serious hormonal imbalances because of harmful chemicals called endocrine disrupters.

Endocrine disrupters are chemicals that interfere with the production, release, transport, metabolism, or elimination of the bodyā€™s natural hormones, and theyā€™re seriously bad news bears for all of human kind. These endocrine disruptors mimic your hormones, and cause you to be estrogen dominant. About 90% of the clients I see are estrogen dominant, and this is due to the increasingly toxic world we live in.

In addition, you can take a methlated spectrum B vitamin to further support your methylation cycle, and eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables to flush out estrogen.

This is why I always recommend my clients take a fiber blend, as it binds to estrogen to help flush it out. This is my number one go-to for my clients with Endometriosis and fibroids (use the code “HealthierNotions” for $50 off your purchase.)

DIM is a powerful supplement that will flush out excess estrogen and my clients who take this see results in as little as one month, but I recommend talking to your healthcare practitioner before going on it.

Also, make sure any animal products you eat are from clean sources as YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT EATS. So if you’re eating factory farmed animals or animal by products full of synthetic hormones and antibiotics, you’re being exposed to them, too.
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2ļøāƒ£Castor Oil Packs- .

These will help improve your circulation which will help break up scar tissue and reduce your fibroids. They also relax the whole body-trust me and try it! They’re like taking a chill pill and hitting the reset button. Do these about three times a week for 30 minutes to an hour.

3ļøāƒ£Reduce inflammatory foods

Inflammatory foods are like adding fuel to the fibroid fire!

We want to bring down inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods that give you a healthy ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. So fill up your diet with fish oil, flax oil, avocados, coconut oil, and nuts.

Avoid gluten (this one is non-negotiable!!), sugar, and dairy (butter is okay from grass-fed cows, as is full fat cream but in moderation. Some women are okay with sheep and goat milk products because they are lactose free). Consider adding turmeric into your diet or taking a supplement, but make sure it contains black pepper!

And if you are ready to start reducing those fibroids ASAP I encourage you to join myĀ 20 Day Hormone RebootĀ Online Program!

5 Ways Stress is Messing with Your Hormones+ How to Manage It

Pensive woman in bedGuest post by Kayla Cluett, CHN

The adrenal glands are amazing. They are small but incredibly mighty and critical for the health of our entire organism. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked when it comes to many of the health conditions we are faced with today.

Adrenal hormones are the major response of the body to stress or trauma from outside or within. The 5 main stressors are mental, emotional, spiritual, chemical, and physical and the body cannot decipher between them. The body sees all stress equally and often we are responding to multiple threats at once. This causes our bucket to spill over and symptoms to occur.

These symptoms show up in the form of reproductive problems, digestive disturbances, cardiovascular and metabolic issues.

The adrenals take priority above all the other hormones in the body.

When the adrenals are needed to respond to stress, other areas of the endocrine system take a back seat. When this becomes chronic, hormone imbalances occur.

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Here are 5 ways stress throws our hormones out of whack:

1. When stress in high progesterone is low. Low progesterone means estrogen dominance. Estrogen is pro-growth which leaves us susceptible to problems such as endometriosis, breast cysts, fibroids, and even breast cancer.

2. Cortisol stimulates an elevation in blood sugar, which over time can create insulin resistance.

3. It stimulates fat deposits. This is what gives us that spare tire and midsection squish that we could live without. Fat is metabolically active and this puts more demands on our hormones.

4. The adrenals become very important during menopause as they become the primary producer of the sex hormones. If the adrenals are fatigued prior menopause, this could leave us prone to menopausal symptoms and susceptible to things like osteoporosis and hormonal cancers later in life.

5. Cortisol slows the conversion of T4 to T3 (thyroid hormones). T3 affects almost every physiological function in the body.

So how do we take care of our adrenal health?

Managing stress is of the upmost importance, and we can do this through dietary and lifestyle strategies.

Here are some dietary and lifestyle strategies to consider:

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Dietary

ā€¢ Avoiding blood sugar swings by limiting coffee and caffeine products. Switch to green tea instead. Green tea contains L-theanine which provides a calming effect and helps balance moods.

ā€¢ Limit alcohol. Like caffeine, alcohol is a stimulant and not helpful for the adrenals.

ā€¢ Get plenty of omega 3 in the form of seeds and cold-water fish. Omega 3 is needed to protect against the effects of stress. Omega 3 has been shown to be effective at decreasing epinephrine, cortisol and energy expenditure.

ā€¢ Get plenty of prebiotic and probiotic foods. These foods help the adrenals by helping to lower cortisol and anxiety.

ā€¢ B Vitamin-rich foods such as whole grains and legumes. This helps to regulate blood sugar and neurotransmitters. They also nourish the gut which plays a huge role in adrenal function.

ā€¢ Vitamin C-rich foods such as orange and red vegetables and fruits. Vitamin C has been shown to lower blood serum levels of cortisol and improve cortisol recovery.

ā€¢ Magnesium-rich foods such as dark leafy green vegetables and almonds. Low magnesium increases the release of stress hormones and further depletes it, especially under stress.

ā€¢ Eat chocolate! Eating 40g of dark chocolate over a two week period was shown to reduce the urinary excretion of cortisol and partially normalized stress-related differences in energy metabolism.

ā€¢ Keeping blood sugar balanced by getting plenty of protein, fat and fiber at each meal. This keeps us fuller longer and prevents the hypoglycemic episodes that put pressure on the adrenals.

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Lifestyle:

ā€¢ Implementing calming rituals as a daily practice (yoga, massage, deep breathing, connecting to self through movement or meditation).

ā€¢ Reducing toxin exposures through switching to cleaner cosmetics and household cleaning products.

ā€¢ Removing emotional and mental stressors.

ā€¢ Getting plenty of good quality sleep.

ā€¢ Nurturing relationships and connection.

ā€¢ Creating space to work on personal development and a sense of accomplishment.

ā€¢ Having a positive outlook.

ā€¢ Learning to say no to the things that add stress to your life.

Although itā€™s not possible to avoid stress entirely, and in fact some stress can be beneficial, thereā€™s many things we can do to be mindful of it and manage it. Itā€™s a matter of creating a daily practice that works for you.

Bottom line though, if we keep trying to pour from an empty cup we leave ourselves susceptible to burn-out and unwanted symptoms. Making dietary and lifestyle adjustments that promote peace and relaxation is a critical step in prevention.

About the author:

E5R5A42991Kayla Cluett is a Certified Holistic Nutritional Practitioner helping women to balance their hormones, so they can reduce the pesky symptoms that come with the demands and stressors of everyday life. She’ll teach you strategic dietary and lifestyle strategies that will help support and balance key body systems to help your body thrive. You’ll lose weight, kick our cravings, improve your energy and mental clarity without feeling like you’re on a diet, deprived or hungry. You can find her at kaylacluettnutrition.com and follow her on Instagram @kaylacluettnutrition.

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Should We Practice Yoga While Menstruating?

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Many period advice books out there recommend yoga as a nourishing physical activity to do during menstruation, but this is not always the best advice.

As both a womenā€™s health coach specializing in reproductive health and aĀ KPJAYI-authorizedĀ Ashtanga teacher, the subject of menstruation and yoga practice is of great interest and importance to me.

This is why I often find it frustrating when reading guides on womenā€™s health that suggest yoga as the ideal activity to practice while bleeding.

My teacher, R. Sharath Jois, advises female practitioners to take a full three days of rest during menstruation. Some female practitioners disregard this instruction as they feel it is an outdated guideline based on a male-dominated culture (perhaps you have seen the hashtag #ICanDoAnythingYouCanDoBleeding), but I encourage us to look at this advice from a different perspective.

Yes, we can do yoga while bleeding, but why should we?

The female reproductive system is an extraordinary mechanism of beauty and amazement.

As females, itā€™s a privilege to have the opportunity to bleed, cleanse, and replenish each month. Our periods are also an invaluable tool to gauge our overall health and well-being, so much so that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists deemed periods as aĀ fifth vital sign.

Itā€™s not just the traditional lineage of Ashtanga that advises women to stopĀ asanaĀ (yoga pose) practice for three days, but the tradition of Iyengar yoga recommends to rest or take a modified practice on days of bleeding as well.

Dr. Geeta Iyengar, the daughter ofĀ B.K.S. Iyengar, writes ā€œA healthy menstruation is a significant indication of a healthy state of body and mind. We have to respect our womanhood, we have to respect our bodies which have got this very important function to perform. Obviously, we need to adjust our practice. If we do not respect this fact, then we are disrespecting our own existence as well as that of the future generation.ā€

In yoga, we call energyĀ prana. There is bothĀ apanicĀ (downward) andĀ pranicĀ (upward) 05_AlessiaCampostriniĀ©JennaLONGORIA_IMG_8019.jpgenergy. During the time of our period, we want the energy to move downward in order to cleanse the body, not only on a subtle body level but on a physical level.

Subtly, there is powerful energetic work at play that could negatively affect our system overall andĀ prevent the natural cleansing process of our cycle.Ā Physically, we need to encourage the uterine lining to shed, and twists and inversions can arrest this flow, as well as cause cramping.

Essentially, when we practice during our period, we are working against the natural downward energy taking place in our bodies.

Interestingly, in Chinese medicine this energy is referred to asĀ Qi,Ā and similar principles apply, as practitioners of Chinese medicine are also taught to take a rest for three full days during menstruation.

In the West, people tend to practice yoga in big group classes, making it impossible for the teacher to give individual attention to each student.

It is a common practice for people to frequent classes at many different studios, never establishing a strong teacher/student connection. In this scenario, it is doubtful a student will approach a teacher theyā€™ve never met to disclose that they are on their period. Without this disclosure, the teacher will not know to modify the practice for this student.

Additionally, if a female on their cycle is taking advice from her period wellness guide to slow down, she might end up in a dynamic type of yoga class such asĀ VinyasaĀ or power yoga. In these classes, there will most likely be some twists and inversions. Not only will this type of yoga increase heat (which we absolutely do not need while menstruating as our body is already heated in this phase of our cycle), but the twists and inversions can aggravate our uterus.

However, the period guides arenā€™t all wrong! There are some types of yoga thatĀ doĀ jive well with our menstrual cycle.

If opting for a group class, look for a restorative yoga or Yin yoga class, but if practicing at home, try these asanas:

>>Ā Baddha KonasanaĀ (butterfly)
>>Ā Supta Baddha KonasanaĀ (reclined butterfly)
>>Ā Legs up the wall
>>Ā BalasanaĀ (childā€™s pose)
>>Ā SukhasanaĀ (final rest)

Hold each one for at least five minutes. A pillow or bolster can be used for support.

If you are currently suffering fromĀ amenorrheaĀ (absence of menstruation), I encourage you to take a few days of rest over the new moon. Invite your monthly bleed to return by creating the time and space for her. Perhaps sit in seated meditation during these days and reconnect with your womb by placing your hands on this sacred space and visualizing your flow beginning.

If we continue to practice for months without rest because we have not had a period, the chances of bringing it back gets smaller; itā€™s a vicious cycle.

We must nurture our bodies and invite our feminine, yin energy to enter, in order to balance out the type A, yang energy, that in todayā€™s world of unprecedented stress, is all too easy to dominate.

Remember, our goal for this time of the month is toĀ nurtureĀ our bodies. Females are cyclical beings, and we must remember this. We werenā€™t designed to go hard every day of the year. The time of our menstruation is an opportunity to slow down and give gratitude to our body for all of its hard work.

It is not a sign of weakness to take a break from our asana routine. A wise woman knows she must take care of her templeā€”she knows the practice will still be there when she stops bleeding.

This article was written by Jenna Longoria for The Elephant Journal, and was originally published on July 23, 2018.

Lemon Raspberry Swirl Bars (Vegan & GF)

IMG_1611 (1)Lemon bars were my favorite. That is until IĀ decided to take it up a notch and add my favorite chia raspberry jam to the equation!

These bars are the perfect balance between creamy and tangy, and make for a great afternoon snack or after dinner dessert. Or, you could just eat them for breakfast if you can’t wait!

Lemon Raspberry Swirl Bars:

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INGREDIENTS:

CRUST

  • 1/3 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups dessicated unsweetened coconut

FILLING

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1-2Ā  cups full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (for color)

METHOD

  1. Make yourĀ chia seed jam
  2. Soak your cashews in water for 3-4 hours.
  3. In a food processor, chopĀ the crust ingredients until it makes a dough like consistency
  4. In a 8Ɨ8 pan lined with parchment paper, press the crust into the bottom in an even layer. Make sure to pack the crust tightly or it will fall apart and that would be tragic.
  5. In a food processor or blender add drained cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, turmeric, maple syrup, and lemon zest. Blend until nice and creamy. Add more coconut milk as needed. Make sure there are no cashew chunks left.
  6. Pour the lemon mixture onto the crust.
  7. With a spoon, place around 9 evenly spaced dollops of jam on the mixture.
  8. Swirl the mixture with a butter knife.IMG_1987
  9. Place the barsĀ  in the freezer for at least one hour.
  10. Cut into bars.
  11. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Enjoy!

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

Your Guide to Hormone Testing Kits

IMG_0838Testing your hormones is a great tool to have under your belt to help you gain invaluable insight into the underlying cause of your hormonal health issues. If you are suffering from painful periods, heavy periods, fibroids, ovarian cysts, or fertility issues, I encourage you to order a test. A good place to start is with a comprehensive hormone profile test that tests your progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, DHEA-S, and cortisol levels. This information can help point you and your health care practitioner in the right direction.

Good news is with the technology today we can test our hormones in our own home!

There are many options for at home tests. My prefered is theĀ Dutch (Dried Urine Test For Comprehensive Hormones) as it is the gold standard in hormone testing.

The Dutch test uses dried urine samples to measure your sex hormones, cortisol (some of them test the cortisol with saliva), and metabolites. The Dutch test is extremely precise, and the most advanced version of this test maps your cycle to show your true cycle variation in time.

A runner up would be an at home kit fromĀ Verisana Labs.Ā This saliva at home collection test is a more affordable option for those of you just curious about your basic sex hormone profile. Saliva collection, like blood, is a single point collection, so it will not give you the precise cycle variation or precision like the DUTCH, but although not as comprehensive as DUTCH, it still provides very useful information that can let your practitioner know if further testing is required.

So which one is best for you?

If money is not an issue Iā€™d go with the DUTCH. Iā€™d also splurge on the DUTCH if you are experiencing hormonal imbalances that are causing severe pain, infertility, or other health issues that are getting in the way of your daily life. I’d also go for the DUTCH if you’ve tried diet and lifestyle changes yet are still suffering.

However, if you are for the most part healthy and only experiencing minor issues, or if you are simply curious about your hormone levels, the saliva test is definitely the place to begin because it is affordable.

What Day Should You Take Your Test?

Now that you know what test to order, make sure that you take it at the right time! For an accurate progesterone reading you must take it hallway through your luteal phase. I like to stick to the rule of thumb of 7 days before our period is expected. Not everyone has a 28-day text book cycle (a normal period is anywhere from 25-36 days long), so day 21 is not the right testing day for everyone.

For example, if your cycle is 28 days, you would test on day 21, but if it is 31 days youā€™d test on 24, and if you have a 35-day cycle youā€™d test as late as day 28!

If you have irregular cycles, thatā€™s where it gets a bit tricky. Your options are to either do an ovulation test or track ovulation signs, and then test 5-7 days after that. If you are not ovulating, it will be very difficult to get an accurate progesterone level, but since you are not ovulating you know you will be progesterone deficient anyways, so Iā€™d just test onĀ  day 21.

Today I sent off my Verisana Lab test and am looking forward to getting my results back soon. I like to test my hormones a few times a year to touch base and make sure all keeps running smoothly! And I’m also a nerd so this thing just really fascinates me! If you’d like to order your own test, Verisana is offering a 15% discountĀ on all of their hormone tests – just type in “JENNA15” at check out.

Happy Testing!

Health Coach Jenna

 

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam

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Berry season is here! That means organic berries are now affordable, and no longer require you to take out a second mortgage! Ha!

My favorite sweet treat to make during berry season are my almond thumbprint cookies.Ā  They are seriously so good, y’all-a definite crowd pleaser.

This is the jam that I use for the cookies, and I found out that it is quite good on its own as well! I always make extra when making my almond thumbprints, as I use it for porridge topping, gluten-free toast spread, on top of my coconut yogurt, or just to eat by the spoonful. Hey don’t judge! I know I don’t- whatever you decide to do with your jam is your business!

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam:

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • honey or maple syrup, to sweeten if desired
  • 1-2 tablespoons filtered water, if needed

Method:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If you need more liquid for the ingredients to fully combine, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
  2. Place in a glass jar in the refrigerator to allow the chia seeds to expand, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Enjoy!

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

Tart Cherry and Avocado Smoothie Bowl

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šŸ’Ā TART CHERRY AND AVOCADO SMOOTHIE BOWLĀ šŸ’

Good morning, lovelies! This high-fat, moderate protein smoothie bowl will make your hormones sing and keep your blood sugar stable until your next meal. Nourishing, healthy, yet tasty food- thatā€™s what Iā€™m all about!

Ā RECIPE :

  • Ā 1/2 cup organic tart cherry juice ( one of natureā€™s best anti- inflammatories)
  • Ā 1/4 avocado
  • Ā 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • Ā 2 cups spinach (if itā€™s frozen you wonā€™t even taste it!)
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut yogurt or full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • Ā 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 scoop Bulletproof collagen vanilla or half scoop Vega Sport vanilla protein
  • Ā dash of cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt

Method:

Blend, enjoy and garnish with Lilyā€™s chocolate chips! This should keep you satisfied for 3-5 hours! For real!

Holistic Remedies for Ovarian Cysts

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If you are a woman, chances are you have had at least one ovarian cyst in your life. Perhaps you werenā€™t even aware of it, or perhaps it caused you a bit (or a lot!) of discomfort.

Iā€™ve had my share of ovarian cysts in the past, and because I didnā€™t know what I know now, they caused me an exponential amount of unnecessary grief.

I first started suffering from cysts when I was a teenager because of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is why the doctors put me on the birth control pill at the age of 15. It did prevent me from getting cysts for the time I was on it (but at the price of weight gain and depression), but because the pill doesnā€™t get to the root of the problem, my PCOS was at a raging full force when I got off the pill at 21.

When I was 29 I experienced the worst ovarian cyst of my life. While on honeymoon in Thailand, a 5 x 5cm cyst grew on my left ovary and twisted around it, causing hemorrhaging. I had to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency laparotomy to remove the cyst. Luckily my ovary was saved. In this very rare case, surgery was necessary. But as you will learn later in this article, surgery is rarely the best option, and is best to be avoided.

When I was 30, I had yet another cyst. This one on my one-year wedding anniversary while in Vietnam! Seriously, can a girl catch a break?!Ā  Because I was so petrified that this one would twist like the previous one, I had my husband take me to the hospital immediately, even though I was not in as much pain as the one from the previous year. Trust me, you will know if your cyst is in torsion, because it is extremely painful.

The ultrasound indeed showed another 5×5 cm cyst on my left ovary. I was gutted. The doctors insisted on surgery, and because I didnā€™t know what I know now, I agreed. This time a less invasive procedure called a laparoscopy was performed.

A year later at 31 I had yet another cyst. This time I was in the U.S. so I decided to go to a gynecologist. The ultrasound showed another 5×5 cm cyst on my left ovary. He suggested we watch and wait, and in the meantime I should take the birth control pill to shrink it.

I respectfully declined the birth control pill, and he was not very pleased.

I turned down the pill with confidence because I had done quite a bit of research since my previous ovarian cyst ( in the past year I literally made it my mission to learn EVERYTHING I could about them). Ā So I now had the knowledge to make better decisions, and I rejected the birth control pill therapy, and instead took the holistic route. I knew the signs to look out for if the cyst did go into torsion, and if this did happen I knew I would need to get an ultrasound immediately in case I did need surgical intervention.

However, surgery was obsolete, as with my holistic treatment the cyst dissolved with my period two weeks after it formed.

Ā No surgery required. No birth control pills.

Today, Iā€™m ovarian cyst free, and even if I do get another one, I wouldnā€™t be worried at all because I now have the knowledge of how to get rid of it on my own. And I would like for you to be empowered with this knowledge as well.

If youā€™re suffering from ovarian cysts, chances are you are so confused about all of the conflicting advice out there, due to the fact there is no consensus among physicians on how to treat them. Itā€™s overwhelming I know. This article should hopefully shed some light on the situation for you.

Ovarian Cyst:

Enlarged fluid-filled sacs on the ovary, typically categorized by when they occur in relation to ovulation. (1)

For the sake of time, we will only discuss the most common type of ovarian cyst called a Functional Ovarian Cyst. There are three types of Functional Ovarian Cysts which we will cover today.

Functional Cysts:

These cysts are called ā€œfunctionalā€ because they develop as a result of normal functioning of the menstrual cycle. Their cause is always hormonal. They can occur once in your life, or recur frequently.

3 Types of Functional Ovarian Cysts:

1. Follicular Cyst

This is the most common type of ovarian cyst. With this cyst, the follicle around the egg continues to grow as you approach ovulation, but instead of rupturing to release the egg as it should, it instead grows into a cyst that encases the egg inside, preventing ovulation.

Cause: There are many hormonal imbalances that can cause this. PCOS being one of them, as well as hypothyroidism.

Treatment: These will usually always resolve on their own by day five of your next period, although in the mean time they can cause quite a bit of discomfort such as pelvic pain and nausea. The only case in which surgical intervention needs to take place is if the cyst twists around the ovary. If you are in a lot of discomfort and do not want to wait a few weeks for your period to dissolve the cyst, you can get a progesterone injection to disrupt estrogen dominance and instigate an earlier period. Surgery can be performed, but it should always be considered a last resort, since it can compromise fertility by causing scarring.

2. Luteinized Unruptured Follicle (LUF)

This cyst occurs when the maturing egg prepares to be released at ovulation, and the follicle that encases the egg goes through the sequence of normal ovulation, however the egg remains stuck in the follicle, so ovulation does not actually occur, even though it seems as if it did because a corpus luteum that produces progesterone is still formed.

Cause: A hormonal imbalance is at play and this type of cyst is believed to occur in 15% of women dealing with infertility.

Treatment: Just like the Follicular Cyst, this cyst will most likely go away on its own by day five of bleeding. A progesterone injection can be used if pain is overbearing. The injection will instigate a period within three-five days.

3. Corpus Luteum Cyst

In this type of cyst, the egg is released and normal ovulation takes place. However, the opening where the egg was released is sealed off and excess fluid fills it forming a cyst.

Cause: Fertility drugs raise the risk of this type of cyst.

Treatment: These cysts are the most innocuous in nature and almost always go away on their own within a few weeks to months. You can get pregnant with this type of cyst, and if you do, the cyst will usually resolve within the first three months of pregnancy.

Holistic Methods to Encourage Ovarian Cysts to Dissolve

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If you have found yourself with one of these cysts, you might find yourself in a bit of discomfort. It is common to get bloated in the abdomen, and to feel tenderness, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, and discomfort in doing daily activities. From my personally experience I found that the pain came in waves. Sometimes lasting a few hours at a time, or maybe even minutes. If I stayed away from exercising I felt much better, so on the days I had the cyst I stuck to light yoga.I also find some holistic treatments to help ease the pain, and speed up the dissolution of the cyst.

However, if you at any point feel such severe pain that you can’t stand up, or use the bathroom, or if you get a high fever or start vomiting, you must go to the hospital immediately. It is very rare, but ovarian cysts can go into torsion and cause infection. In this case surgical intervention is most likely required.

1. Castor Oil Pack:

Place a castor oil pack on your lower abdomen for 30-minutes to an hour each day. The castor oil can help break down the cyst, and increases blood circulation.

2. Herbal Tea Tonic:

Drink Yogi Moon Cycle tea 2-3 times a day. Add 1 teaspoon black strap molasses, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper.Ā  The potassium in the black strap molasses will help dissolve the cyst, as well as the apple cider vinegar. The turmeric will lower inflammation which will help ease the pain. This is more of an old wise woman remedy, and is not backed by medical research or the FDA. But many women have found this tonic to work, myself being one of them.

3. Epsom Salt Baths with Clary Sage:

Epsom salt baths will help soothe and relax, and it will help ease pelvic pain. Added bonus is the Epsom salt draws out toxins which will help with future hormonal balance. Make sure to get Epsom salts with no added fragrances or chemicals. Place five drops of clary sage essential oil into the bath, as clary sage is a well known oil for promoting hormonal balance.

4. Zinc

Your ovaries need zinc to function optimally, yet sadly, many of us are deficient in this crucial mineral. I recommend supplementing with zinc as well as eating plenty of zinc rich foods such as egg yolks, pumpkin seeds, and oysters. Selenium, iodine, and magnesium are also very important.

A Note on Recovery:

While you are in recovery stay away from strenuous activity and exercise. Focus on self care and slowing down. Treat your self with love and kindness. Use this time to focus on the patterns in your life that arenā€™t serving you so you can get to the root of the hormonal imbalance causing these cysts in the first place. I encourage you to team up with a holistic practitioner who will help you investigate and find out what is causing these cysts, and who can help you formulate a lifestyle and diet change that will promote hormonal balance.

If you have any more questions, please write them in the comments section below, and I will be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

With Gratitude

Health Coach Jenna

Sources:

  1. Weschler, Toni.Ā Taking Charge of Your Fertility: the Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins, 2015.

A Holistic Guide to Spring Seasonal Allergies

Originally published on April 7, 2018 by Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

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Image from Shutterstock

The temperature is rising, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and nature is blooming. This can only mean one thing: Spring has officially sprung!

Many of us have been anxiously waiting to put away those bulky winter coats, dust off our lighter layers, and get to the local farmersā€™ market with an ice-cold coffee in hand. Unfortunately, this euphoric state of spring bliss is blurred by the burden of seasonal allergies for as many asĀ 30% of adults and 40% of children. Symptoms like uncontrollable sneezing, headaches, congestion, constant sniffles, and itchy, red eyes could be signs that youā€™re experiencing allergies.

An allergy is the immune systemā€™s response to a foreign substance ā€“ called an allergen ā€“ that triggers a reaction. The response the body has can cause a wide range of reactions, from subtle sneezing and sniffles to persistent hives and fatigue. One of the most common causes of allergies in spring in the United States is pollen, which is produced by hundreds of plant species, including trees, flowers, grass, and weeds. Spring is hit heaviest by new tree growth, and some of the worst allergy triggers across the Unites States areĀ birch, cedar, and cottonwood.

Here are a few natural remedies that can assist in alleviating seasonal allergies.

Essentials Oils
Tea tree, eucalyptus, and peppermint oils all have powerful natural properties that can help relieve some of those unwanted effects that allergies have on the body. Diffuse a few drops of peppermint oil to unclog your sinuses or rub a small amount of eucalyptus oil onto your chest and forehead to relieve stubborn congestion. Tea tree oil is commonly used to kill bacteria that may be causing allergies, so use it to eliminate the triggers and keep your space clean and germ-free. These oils not only will assist in helping your body fight allergies, but they also have a calming effect on the body, which can reduce the added stress that comes along with them.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has popped up everywhere because of its incredible health benefits! Allergies develop when the bodyā€™s immune system becomes sensitive to something in the environment, but ACV may help boost the immune system and prevent issues that come with the new season.

Herbal Tea
Take a moment to sip a cup of symptom-reducing tea; it will be worth it! Drink rooibos, which may help block allergy-causing histamines; green tea, which can help reduce your immune system overreaction; and licorice root, which can relieve irritation in your nose and throat.

Nasal Irrigation
The stuffy feeling in your head and nose could be keeping you feeling heavy and down. Use a neti pot or nose cleanser and nasal saline to clear out all the built-up mucus causing your congestion. Pour a mixture of distilled warm water, a quarter teaspoon of non-iodized salt, and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda into one nostril and allow it to flow out the other nostril by tilting your head. This will help drain the fluids from your nose and reduce congestion.

Humidifier
A humidifier can play a huge role in treating your seasonal allergies. Improving the quality of air this time of year can be key to making the season more pleasant. A humidifier increases the humidity in the air to help eliminate congestion and can reduce the inflammation that comes from those irritating spring allergens.

We know that allergies can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Adopt these remedies in your daily routine to get back to enjoying the season and celebrating all the new life growing around you!

This article originally published on Institute of Integrative Nutrition and used with permission.

Why Ovulation is More Important Than Your Period

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Donā€™t get me wrong, periods are amazing.Ā Iā€™m a huge fan. But we get so caught up with our monthly bleed that we forget about the most important aspect of our cycle.

Ovulation.

Ovulation usually happens mid-cycle, except for ladies on the birth control pill, as they do not ovulate nor have a period, instead they experience what is called a ā€œwithdrawal bleed.ā€ Also, some women not on hormonal birth control will experience anovulatory cycles (a bleed that occurs without ovulation ) due to various hormone imbalances. If your cycle is longer than 36 days, you either experienced delayed ovulation, or you did not ovulate.

3 Reasons Ovulation is Critical:

1. Fertility:

You canā€™t get pregnant if you donā€™t ovulate, so if that is on your agenda, ovulation is necessary. But remember, the ability to conceive is a sign of good health, so even if you arenā€™t planning for a family now or ever, you still want to be fertile. I recommend the Fertility Awareness Method Ā (no it’s not the Rhythm Method!) for those of you both planning pregnancy planning or avoidance.

2. Healthy Periods

Our bodies canā€™t produce the hormone progesterone without ovulating.

Each month when you ovulate, a corpus luteum is created that grows on the surface of your ovary, and this is where all of your progesterone is produced.

Progesterone is responsible for lightening your periods, as it counteracts the affects of estrogen. So if you are not ovulating you will most likely be in a state of estrogen dominance, and this is a big culprit for heavy and painful periods.

3. Healthy Body and Mind

Progesterone is the calming hormone that helps us stay resilient to stress and sleep well. This is why women who donā€™t ovulate (especially women with PCOS) can suffer from anxiety.

And that’s not all this super hormone can do. Progesterone nourishes our hair and nails by reducing male hormones, as well as boosts energy by stimulating the thyroid and the metabolism. And recent research has found that women who donā€™t ovulate experience bone loss at a faster rate than women who do ovulate, so itā€™s a crucial component to preventing osteoporosis.

Signs of a progesterone deficiency:

  • PCOS
  • Infertility
  • Endometriosis
  • PMS
  • Hair loss
  • Premenstrual migraines
  • Heavy periods
  • Fibroids
  • Acne
  • Osteoporosis

So do you now see why itā€™s SO crucial to ovulate?

4 Steps to Confirm Ovulation:

1. Check your cervical fluid. When youā€™re close to ovulation and ovulating, your cervical mucus will look like that off the clear part of an egg and stretch between your fingers.

2. Chart your temperature.Ā There are many apps out there to help you do this. I personally useĀ KindaraĀ . Each morning when you first wake up, before doing anything or eating or drinking anything, take your temperature. After ovulation has occurred your temperature will spike 2/10ths of a degree and will remain elevated until menstruation.

3. Use LH strips.

LH (luteinizing hormone) spikes a few days before ovulation. LH signals a follicle to swell and burst releasing an egg into your fallopian tube. When an LH stripĀ  shows positive, you can expect to to ovulate few days later. If you donā€™t get an LH surge you will not ovulate that month. Note that women with PCOS might have several LH surges throughout the month, so this might not be an accurate way of determining upcoming ovulation.

4. Note any sensations. Some women feel a sharp twinge in their ovary when the egg releases.

I hope this article has inspired you to start charting, because awareness is the number key to taking charge of your reproductive health. If you are interested in more reading I recommend ā€œTaking Charge of Your Fertilityā€ by Toni Weschler.

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna