Women's Integrative Health

Creating Optimal Health. . .One Step at a Time

Tips to Calm and Prevent PMS Symptoms

PMS really does not feel good.  Moods and reactions can be off.  Being more anxious or depressed, sleep cycles disrupted and having painful cramps are some of the symptoms we can experience.

So, here are some ways to bring back your joy premenstrually and in the peri-menopause stage, or when you are suffering from anxiety and depressive symptoms in general.

First, what exactly is happening in your body?

From the time of ovulation until menses, our ovaries secrete progesterone.  The intention is to prepare the uterus and body for pregnancy.  Our bodies are designed to respond to progesterone.  This actually helps us to stick closer to our partner, to feel more connected and intimate and closer to home by caring for our home and loved ones.

When our bodies are not secreting enough progesterone because it’s blocked or being used up faster and there is more estrogen circulating (including xeno-estrogens and endocrine disruptors from out toxic environment) we become more estrogen dominant.

Being Estrogen Dominant Can Lead To:

  • Severe PMS
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Irregular or heavy menstrual cycles
  • Breakthrough bleeding
  • Ovarian cyst
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased libido
  • Acne
  • The monster within us to emerging!

6 Tips to Balance Your Hormones in PMS and Peri-Menopause

  1. Get a good night’s sleep (7 – 9 hours)
    • Create a relaxing nighttime ritual
    • Take an Epsom salt bath
    • Turn electronics off at 9 p.m.
    • Practice meditation, deep belly breathing and stretching before bed
    • Take supplements to support sleep such as melatonin or magnesium
    • Use Serenity Capsules or oil at bedtime.  Use on bottom of feet and/or diffuse – more information here – they can be purchased together or separately
  2. Eat alkalizing and detoxifying foods
    • Detoxing excess estrogen is essential to a healthy hormone balance.
    • Enjoy cruciferous vegetables daily.  Increase your intake of broccoli cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and dark greens like kale, collards and chard.
    • Add the Women’s Health Kit to your daily routine.  This combination of products helps to reduce estrogen, helps our bones as well as using the oil on our abdomen helps to relieve symptoms of PMS.  You can find out more about these products here.
    • Use this guide for adding alkaline foods to your diet.  Try adding something new every few days.  Strive to add the foods under the “Highly Alkaline” foods.
  3. Indulge with dark chocolate
    • Indulge and soothe the senses during this time.  Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants.
  4. Nourish yourself
    • Eat healthy fats and proteins at each meal and in the evening add complex carbs like sweet potatoes.  Avoid snacks and dairy.  Add probiotic-rich and fermented foods.
  5. Schedule in playtime
    • Add in daily activities you love with people you love.  This will help increase the hormone oxytocin and will help you connect with those around you.  Restoring hormones of connections can help balance these feelings of isolation and loneliness and will increase serotonin and dopamine, which will keep you happier and calm.
  6. Herbal supplements
    • Chasteberry
    • Dandelion
    • Dong Quai
    • Red Raspberry

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digestive enzymes

Digestive Enzymes and Hormones

So, how can digestive enzymes help with hormone balance?  Food and digestion is at the center of our overall health and hormonal balance.  We all have heard “you are what you eat”.  This new term holds more truth:  “You are what you can digest and absorb.”  If our digestive function is compromised, we cannot fully benefit from the nutrients in our diet, no matter how high the quality of our foods.

Since we have many feasting opportunities ahead of us at this time of the year, I would like to help you digest food more efficiently.  It will help you feel and look better during times of feasts and beyond; and good digestion prevents putting on those extra pounds!

So what about hormone balance and gut health?  Good gut health is crucial to re-balancing your hormones regardless of the imbalance.  Poor digestive health is especially impactful on women because of their physical and hormonal
makeup.  All of our hormones are processed through our gut.  When our food is not properly digested, all of our systems are compromised.

Who needs digestive enzymes?

This is where digestive enzymes come into play in our digestive health.  Who needs digestive enzymes?  Anyone who displays any of these:

  • Occasional bloating and gas, particularly after eating
  • Feeling full after eating only a small quantity of food
  • Infrequent mild indigestion/heartburn
  • Bowel irregularities such as occasional diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Undigested food in stools
  • Allergies
  • Estrogen dominance
  • History of gallbladder problems
  • Lost gallbladder due to surgery

What to expect from Digestive Enzymes

Women who add digestive enzymes to their regimen often feel:

  • Lighter and energized after a meal
  • Improvement in digestion
  • Less food intolerances
  • Better bowel movement (less constipation or loose stool)
  • Less allergies ( this is because the liver gets a break from undigested food)
  • Improved energy and overall well-being (nutrients get properly absorbed)
  • Improved thyroid function (especially with Hashimoto’s)

You have probably heard that your gut is your second brain.  If your digestive system is on track you are set up for our whole body system to be on track.  The opposite is also true.

TerraZyme, my go-to Digestive Enzyme Complex, is a proprietary blend of active whole-food enzymes and supporting mineral co-factors that are often deficient in cooked, processed and preservative-laden foods.  TerraZyme’s powerful combination of digestive enzymes support the body’s constant production of enzymes critical for healthy biochemical functions throughout the body including healthy digestion of food nutrients and cellular metabolism of nutrients to energy.  TerraZyme includes a variety of whole-food enzymes that help with digestion of proteins, fats complex carbohydrates, sugars and fiber.

Here is a list of benefits
  • Supports healthy digestion and metabolism of enzyme-deficient, processed foods.  Speeds conversion of food nutrients to cellular energy
  • Promotes gastrointestinal comfort and food tolerance
  • Supports healthy production of metabolic enzymes
  • Provides important mineral co-factors for systemic enzymatic activity
Enzymes do more than we think

Enzymes are not only necessary for digesting food nutrients and converting nutrients to energy in cells, they also function as catalysts in almost all cellular functions and chemical reactions throughout the body.  They are also necessary for breathing, thinking, immune function, hormone regulation, detoxification, and thousands of other biochemical functions.

The body’s constant need to produce digestive enzymes can result in chronic deficiencies in metabolic enzymes that re critical for optimal health and cell function.  One example of an important metabolic enzyme is superoxide dismutase (SOD) which protects cells from free-radical molecules.  Metabolic enzymes are also

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Using a Multivitamin While Preparing for Conception and Maintaining Hormone Balance

Multivitamin for Conception and Hormone Balance?

When you are trying to get pregnant or trying to maintain hormone balance in general, we are hearing from many different sources that is it a good idea to begin using a prenatal multivitamin before you get pregnant.  The same is being said for maintaining hormone balance outside of conception.  There are now studies backing this advice.  Multivitamins serve as a type of “back up” plan to our diets.  While eating a healthy diet is of utmost importance it is always good to include a whole food prenatal for pregnancy and a whole food multivitamin in who general.

“A study from Harvard Medical school involving 18,000 has shown that taking a multivitamin, particularly, folic acid, can improve chances of pregnancy.”

That study followed nurses who have hoped to get pregnant for an eight year period.  Women who took their multivitamin six times a week were 40% less likely to fail to ovulate than women who took none.

The Importance of Nutrients for Fertility, Pregnancy and Hormone Balance

Nutrition plays a big role in having healthy fertility and experiencing a healthy pregnancy.  Nutritional deficiencies have been linked to ovulation issues hormonal imbalances poor egg health, low sperm count and so much more.  We are literally what we eat.  Every cell in our bodies that makes up our organs, creates hormones and enzymes that make us function is created by the food we eat and the nutrients we take in.  If this is being compromised due to poor diet or poor digestion, the side effects could affect fertility and hormone balance.

Did you know that there are specific nutrients like folic acid that are needed by the young fetus before you can even detect pregnancy, and a deficiency in this nutrient could cause serious birth defects?  Another example is iron – iron deficiency and low levels of iron in the blood has bee linked to lack of ovulation.

So, nutrition does play a big role in our health, fertility and hormone balance.  Taking a whole food multivitamin daily can help to fill the gaps where diets may be falling short.

Do You Need a Multivitamin?

Multivitamin Checklist
Ask yourself these questions

Important Nutrients for Fertility and Hormone Balance

Vitamin D:  Vitamin D is needed to help the body create sex hormones which in turn affects ovulation and hormonal balance.  Yale University School of Medicine conducted a study of 67 infertile women.  It was discovered that  mere 7% had normal Vitamin D levels.

Vitamin E:  Vitamin E has been shown in studies to improve sperm health and motility in men.  Studies have shown a diet deficient in Vitamin E to be the cause of infertility in rats.  The meaning of the name for vitamin E ‘Tocopherol’ literally means to bear young.  Vitamin E is also an important antioxidant to help sperm and egg DNA integrity.

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Natural Remedies for PCOS

Today many women are turning to natural remedies for getting their PCOS symptoms under control.  And, the good news is – these remedies are working!

One of the remedies that is working is essential oils.  When using essential oils, it is important to remember that a little goes a long way because of how potent they are.

Today we will explore the best essential oils for PCOS; how to use them and a  potent DIY Essential  Oil Blend to support you on your healing journey.

What is PCOS?

PCOS (Polycystci Ovary Syndrome) is a set of symptoms that come about because of increased androgens (male hormones) in women.  PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder affecting women between the ages of 18 and 44.

One or both the ovaries can be affected by PCOS which is characterized by a collection of cysts on the ovary, which causes it to bulge and produce more androgens than normal.

PCOS is also one of the leading causes of infertility.  It is a combination of genetic and environmental factors.  Some risk factors of PCOS include

  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Family history of someone with the condition

Symptoms of PCOS

Some women experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Excess hair
  • Acne
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain or trouble losing weight
  • Insulin resistance
  • Low sex drive
  • Thinning hair on the scalp
  • Pelvic pain
  • Difficulty getting pregnan
  • Patches of thick, darker velvety skin

To see if your symptoms indicate PCOS, use our questionnaire here.

How do Essential Oils Help with PCOS

Essential oils are highly concentrated substances.  They are made up of many chemical constituents – terpenes, ketones, acetates and more.  These constituents are what makes each essential oil special and different from each other.  They give an essential oil its numerous therapeutic properties.  Some of these properties include hormone-balancing, cytophylactic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, stimulant, antibacterial, analgesic and more.

What makes essential oils special is there therapeutic properties. Here are the following benefits of essential oils for PCOS:

  • Help balance hormones
  • Reduce inflammation in the body
  • Reduce thinning hair on the scalp
  • Fight acne
  • Increase fertility
  • Act as natural aphrodisiacs
  • Regulate menstrual periods
  •  Help in weight management
  • Reduce pelvic pain
  • Increase energy and boost mood

Here are my top 10  Essential Oils for PCOS:

Clary Sage Essential Oil
  • What it does:  Balances hormones; assists in hair growth; acts as a utrine tonic; boosts estrogen levels; works in synergy with geranium essential oil for ovarian support.
geranium essential oil
  • What it does: Supports women’s health; regulates hormones; promotes healthy functioning of reproductive system; fights hormonal acne.
Lavender essential oil
  • What it does:  Quells anxiety; reduces stress; regulates scanty periods; balances the endocrine system; blends well with geranium and clary essential oils for ovarian support.
Sandalwood essential oil
  • What it does:  Balances out testosterone levels which bring symptoms like male pattern baldness; excess body hair and acne.
Cypress Essential oil
  • What it does:  Promotes proper  blood circulation; supports fertility
cinnamon essential oil
  • What it does:  Supports weight loss; regulates insulin levels
frankincense essential oil
  • What it does:  Helps in getting rid of ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids; balances the endocrine system; strong anti-inflammatory.
Rose otto essential oil
  • What it does:  Natural aphrodisiac; beautifies skin and fights acne; strong anti-inflammatory; supports fertility; normalizes irregular periods.
german chamomile essential oil
  • What it does:  Supports women’s health; strong anti-inflammatory; soothing and calming properties for the mind and whole body.
myrrh essential oil
  • What it does:  Normalizes scanty periods; helps clear a congested uterus.

How to Use Essential Oils for PCOS

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Holiday Stress Relief

Holiday stress relief is a challenge.  We would like to give you some ways you can de-stress during the holidays!   Take our quiz and see if you may become a victim of the holiday blues.  

  • Does the thought of holiday celebrations and  customs make you feel sad instead of excited?
  • Do you have the support system to help you thrive instead of just surviving the holidays?
  • Can you create a memorable holiday for yourself instead of stress and depression?

Fill out the form below and you will automatically receive three downloads that will help!

Read on for more ways to help with holiday stress

Making the Holidays More Positive
Set realistic expectations 

Most holiday depression is caused by unrealistic expectations.  Plan how to achieve your goals.

Set a budget

Plan, shop sales compromise and stick to your budget.

Avoid hectic schedules

Get enough rest.  Discuss your calendar with your family.  

Regroup and revitalize

Set aside time for your favorite holiday activity.

avoid family differences

Heal past hurts.  Share fun family memories.

Help those less fortunate

Visit a nursing home or help a less fortunate family. Volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen.

cultivate spirituality

Recognize and explore your spiritual beliefs during the season

prepare a self-care plan

Taking time out for self-care can do a lot for releasing the stress of the holiday season.

We would like to offer you some guides that may help during this stressful time.

Use the form below and your guides will be on their way!  You will receive our:

  • Gratitude Journal – being in gratitude can do a lot to lift our spirits.  When we are thankful and in gratitude, even of the smallest of things, we can feel our stressors lift and our moods lighten.
  • Practicing Self-Care Guide – our guide provides some easy and helpful ways to practice self-care at this time and throughout the year.  Some helpful practices include:  Favorite Tools for Self-Care, Practicing Self-Care When You Are Stressed, Some Home Remedies for Un-stressing Our Body!, Acupressure Tips for Relieving Stress, Self-Care Routine for Stress,  Yoga Strategies to Stress Less, Nutritional Guides for Stress Depletion,
    Reset Your Health – Reset Your Life 
  • Stress-release coloring pages – coloring has a way to help up let go of stress.  Enjoy these downloadable pages and color away!

We hope you enjoy these complimentary products and hope that this article gives you some ideas for how to handle holiday stress.  

Natural Fertility Consultation? Why You Should Consider One!

Natural Fertility Consultation with a Natural Fertility Specialist

Consider the benefits of booking a Natural Fertility Consultation today!

Are you feeling like you have no idea where to begin; feel you need to make changes in your life to improve your fertility?  Maybe you have made some natural fertility changes, but are wondering if supplements or herb choices are right for you.  A Natural Fertility Consultation is the cornerstone of your Natural Fertility Program.  Our goal is to help you achieve a healthy, fertile body.

Our Natural Fertility Consultation will provide you with a road map to the best natural therapies, herbs, supplements protocols for your unique fertility needs.  Are you wanting to prepare for your upcoming IVF, or wanting to boost your overall fertility in preparation for pregnancy or desiring to learn how to support uterine, ovarian or fallopian tube health?  Maybe you would like learn more about charting your cycle and how your cycle affects your fertility.  If so, our Natural Fertility Consultation can help.

What Our Natural Fertility Consultations Provide for You –

  • Personalized holistic healing approach to your fertility needs
  • Information on the best dietary, exercise, natural therapies, herbs, supplements and stress reduction techniques for your fertility needs
  • Help to identify areas in your life that may be negatively impacting your fertility with information on what can be done to positively change those areas to create optimal fertility in preparation for pregnancy.
  • Support and direction on fertility testing and how to communicate with your healthcare provider so you can make the most informed decisions about your health.
  • Programs to get you pregnant!

Our Fertility Consultations Are Offered in Three Formats

  • Video or Skype – you will receive a written guide after we have gathered information
  • Phone Consultation (U.S. only) – you will receive a written guide after your scheduled for a 30-50 minute phone consult
  • In-Person Consultation – you will receive your guide after we have met and gone over all of your information

What to Expect When Booking a Natural Fertility Consultation

  1. After filling out the form below, you will be brought to the scheduling page where you can schedule your consultation.
  2. You will be forwarded an intake form that we will use when we meet.
  3. We will meet via the way that works best for you.
  4. After we meet, you will be forwarded the road map we have talked about with specific guidelines for your goals and health needs.
  5. You will have the opportunity to do a more in-depth follow and programming so you can have more support after our consult.

No Need to Wait any Longer – Start Your Natural Fertility Program Today

Book your consultation below!  We look forward to hearing from you and helping you to develop a plan for optimizing your fertility and on your way to a healthy, happy pregnancy!

Top 5 Ingredients For Your Fertility Smoothie!

Looking for a way to boost your fertility naturally?  One of the top 10 fertility boosters is an easy to make Fertility Smoothie.  No matter if you are just beginning to learn about a Fertility Diet or if you have eaten a healthy, whole food diet for years, consider making a Fertility Smoothie part of your daily routine.  They are a fun, delicious way to consume a huge amount of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omegas and fiber in an easy to digest form.

what makes a smoothie a fertility smoothie?

The bulk of the smoothie should come from raw, fresh whole fruits and vegetables (frozen works also) with a nutritious liquid added to them to achieve the perfect consistency.  To turn your smoothie into a fertility smoothie, add superfoods known to boost fertility, along with protein and healthy fats to make the smoothie a  balanced meal.

Top 5 Ingredients to Create a Fertility Smoothie

There are five ingredients that can turn your typical smoothie into a fertility boosting powerhouse by increasing the nutritional value.

  1. Fruits and Vegetables:  Because they are packed with vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and fiber, fruits and vegetables are essential to healthy fertility.  Any raw fruit would do.  Popular fruits are berries, mangoes, peaches, apricots, pineapples and bananas.  As for vegetables, add a big handful of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, or try adding pureed carrot, sweet potato or squash.  Another way to “eat your veggies” could be through just two teaspoons a greens powder.  These greens powders contains mixtures of dried powdered leafy greens, wheat grass, spirulina, barley grass, with the added bonus of nourishing herbs.  Look for an organic brand.
  2. Nourishing Liquids:  Some liquid, about 1 cup, is necessary to make a smoothie the perfect consistency.  Try fresh squeezed orange juice, coconut water, or a nut milk such as almond or cashew, even hemp, oat or flax milk are good choices.  (for dairy alternatives, fill out the form below and receive a copy of our Your Nutritional Guide to Healthy Fertility.  It includes dairy alternative recipes, smoothie recipes, tips for success, meal planners and a fertility food checklist and lots of other great info-and it’s free!)
  3. Protein:  Men need to consume 52 grams of protein daily and women need at least 46 grams of protein every day.  That number increases greatly for women in pregnancy (80-90 grams a day).  Protein added to a fertility smoothie can support balanced blood sugar levels and sustained energy levels.   Great sources of protein are whey, nut and seed butters and spirulina.  The blue-green algae spirulina is considered the highest quality plant protein available.  It also provides a number of vitamins and minerals.  FertilWhey protein powder is another excellent choice because it is derived from grass-fed cow’s milk, and is minimally processed.  This means the whey in FertilWhey maintainsthe full range of fragile immune-modulating components naturally found in fresh, raw milk.  Just one scoop contains 16 grams of protein, helping you to meet your daily protein requirements.
  4.  Good Fats & Omega 3’s:  Healthy fats support proper immune system function and a healthy inflammation response.  Fat is also essential in helping the body manufacture hormones.  Try canned organic coconut milk (full fat) or refined organic coconut oil, avocado, organic raw full fat dairy (milk, yogurt, kefir) and hemp, chia or flax seeds.     Fertility Boosting Facts:  Hemp, Chia and Flax seeds are excellent sources of fiber, protein and maybe most importantly omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Omega-3s help the body regulate hormones and inflammatory response, increase cervical mucous production, promote ovulation and increase circulation to the reproductive organs.
  5.   Fertility Superfoods:  Superfoods should be a part of every couple’s fertility diet to help bridge the gap for proper nutrition, nourish the egg and the sperm and help to balance hormones.  An easy way to get fertility superfoods into your diet daily is to drink fertility smoothies.

Our Favorite Fertility Superfoods:

  • Maca contains a variety of micro-nutrients.  It is considered foundational for improving hormonal balance, energy levels, and libido.  It is extremely useful for those experiencing high stress levels.
  • Royal Jelly has a superior nutrition profile containing amino acids, lipids, vitamins, sugars, proteins, fatty acids, iron,  calcium and Acetylcholine (which transmits nerve impulses from cell to cell).  It is beneficial for men and women with a hormonal imbalance of any kind.  Because of its high nutritional content we use it as part of our protocol to improve sperm and egg health and to encourage healthy endocrine and immune system function.
  • Wheatgrass is one of 5 Fertility Superfoods because it aids the body’s natural detoxification processes and purifies the blood.

Fertility Smoothies – best way to prepare for a healthy pregnancy!  This is a great fast fertility food and you will probably end up craving!    Get your copy of Your Nutritional Guide to Healthy Fertility by filling out the form below.  It includes recipes and many nutritional guidance and meal planners, snack recipes a fertility food checklist.

guiding you on the path to creating fertile ground for your  baby’s first home and empowering women. . .one birth at a time

 

Heal Your Cycle with The Healing Power of Vaginal Steams

For Your Free Yoni Resource – Fill out the form below.  You will automatically be brought to your FREE Yoni Guide.

Now is an exciting time for women as we reclaim our collective power – over our bodies, our narratives and ultimately our place in the world.  In this juicy guide, you will learn. . .

  • The ins and outs of our female anatomy
  • Menstrual challenges defined
  • The low-down on sexually transmitted diseases, and how to protect yourselves
  • The basics of selected female reproductive health issues (what is endometriosis anyway?)
  • Some absolutely fascinating historical terms for “vagina”
  • How to cope with yeast infections
  • Step-by-step how to yoni steam

You will be able to order the herbs right from this guide.

Now how vaginal steams can heal your cycle!

Vaginal steams (bajos in Spanish) have a long history of use by traditional healers in various parts of the world.  Vaginal steams are very beneficial for a wide variety of conditions, from painful menstrual cramps to infertility.  They can help the http://uterus empty itself more completely, dredging out old tissue and blood that may have been there for months or even years.  Vaginal steams are easy to do on your own at home.

Steams can assist in healing a wide variety of gynecological issues.  They are effective at enhancing fertility, and assisting in postpartum recovery.

 

Steams support:

  • Dark blood at the beginning or end of the menstrual cycle
  • Postpartum and post miscarriage or post DNC
  • Promotes fertility by tonifying the tissues
  • Menstrual complaints and irregular cycles
  • Endometriosis
  • Muscle tightness
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Fibroids
  • PCOS
  • Fertility
  • Adhesions/blocked fallopian tubes
  • Bladder/vaginal infections
  • Perineal tear/scars/episiotomy
  • Menopause
  • Menopausal dryness

 

For fertility, do them the week before menstruation and again just before ovulation.

What to expect:  You should expect changes in your vaginal discharge and menstruation; these are normal cleansing reactions and a good sign that waste material is being removed from your womb.

Use 1 quart fresh herbs or 1 cup of dry.  Herbs used for steams are generally those that are very aromatic and always non-toxic.  The list of herbs is not meant to be a complete list of every possible herb you can use; they are some of the most commonly recommended herbs for steams.  These are generally easy to find – they can be purchased in bulk at a local health food store or herbal shop.  The herbs can be used dried or fresh.  Never use essential oils in vaginal steams.  Always choose organic or wild plants when possible.  These recommendations are to be used with vaginal steams only and not internally.

Motherwort:  Tonifies the reproductive system and increase circulation to the pelvis.  Balances hormones.

Mugwort:  Cleansing-physically ad spiritually.  Balances hormones.  Can help bring on menses.

Yarrow:  Astringent.  Cleansing.  Anibacterial.  Good for infections.

Oregano:  One of the top herbs for steams.  Best herb to bring on menses.  Uterine stimulant.  Increases low, inadequate menstrual flow. Antiseptic.  Prevent infections.

Lavender:  super relaxing herb, calms the spirit, mind and body.  Antispasmodic.  Nourishing to the nervous system.  Emollient, very soothing to irritated tissues.

Marigold/calendula:  Cleansing, induces perspiration of tissues.  Very healing for irritated skin or scars.  Activates the lymph.  Gentle energy.

Rosemary:  Increases circulation to the pelvis, clears out old blood and fluids.  Antiseptic and very cleansing.  Brings concentration and focused energy.

Sage:  Astringent.  Spiritually cleansing.  Release emotional and energetic blockages.

Basil:  Can bring on menses.  Reduces menstrual cramps.  Antibacterial.  Blesses the woman receiving the steam.  Spiritually cleansing.

Rose petals:  Relaxing and uplifting.  Mildly astringent.  Increases self love, releases stuck emotions.

Chamomile:  Relaxing, calms the mind.  Soothing to the vaginal tissues. Anti-inflammatory.

Addressing Specific Conditions:

Long/Irregular cycles:  Oregano, basil and mugwort.  Helps bring on the blood.

Scanty bleeding:  Rosemary, oregano, and motherwort.  During the last week of the cycle.

Painful menstrual cramps:  Motherwort, basil and lavender.  During the last week of the cycle.

Enhance fertility:  Oregano, motherwort, rosemary.  Steam 3 days starting at the end of menstruation.  Repeat the last week of the cycle.

PCOS/Ovarian cysts:  Rosemary, motherwort and lavender.

Endometriosis:  Oregano, motherwort, yarrow, and rose petals.

Fibroids:  Motherwort, basil, sage, oregano and calendula.  Can be done every 2 weeks, but contraindicated if there is very heavy flooding menses.

Adhesions/blocked fallopian tubes:  Oregano, rosemary and mugwort.

Bladder/Vaginal infections:  Yarrow, oregano, lavender and calendula.  Steam 2 days, wait a few days, if symptoms persist, repeat.  If symptoms worsen, discontinue.

Postpartum:  Oregano, calendula, motherwort and basil.  Steam 3 days within 9 days of the vaginal birth.  Okay if bleeding.  Check with practitioner first.  Wait at least 6 weeks after a c-section birth.

Perineal tear/scars/episiotomy:  Calendula, lavender, yarrow.  Wait till wounds are closed and stitches have been removed.

Menopause:  Rosemary, oregano, motherwort.  Steam several times after the end of they cyclical bleeding.  Helps empty out the uterus completely before bleeding stops for good.

Menopausal dryness:  Lavender, calendula, chamomile.

How to Make and Prepare for a Steam

After you have chosen your formula, 1 – quart fresh herbs or 1 cup dry herbs, place herbs in a pot of lukewarm water with the led on the pot.

  • Let sit overnight.
  • The following day, bring a gentle simmer for 20 minutes and then let steep for 25 minutes with lid on.
  • Set your space, turn off your phone, put music on, grab a favorite book, light incense or candles, make a cup of your favorite tea.
  • Place the pot under a slotted chair, step stool with a slot, lawn chair or water bath canner with a wooden toilet set on top.
  • Remove your clothes from wait down, leaving socks on and keeping your upper body warm.
  • Sit on your designated seat over the steaming herbs and drape your lower body with blankets that extend all the way to the floor to ensure the steam is contained and directed upward.
  • The steam bath will introduce a lot of healing heat to your labia, vaginal canal and the to the womb.
  • If necessary, create a small vent to allow excess steam to escape, it should feel pleasant.
  • Sit over your steam for at least 20 minutes. Simply enjoy the healing and nurturing time you have set aside for yourself.
  • Rest quietly after the steam in a warm room, free of drafts, open windows or air conditioning for at least 20 minutes.
  • When you get up, dress warmly and protect yourself from cold drafts or sudden temperature changes for 24 hours.
  • Release the herbs and water back to the earth giving thanks for supporting your healing.

For more help with hormone balance, contact us below.

 

 

whole food

Gluten Free Food List

Gluten Free Food List

These items can be consumed liberally if you are eating Gluten Free.  (go organic and local with your whole-food choices wherever possible, flash frozen is fine also).

  • Healthy fat:  extra virgin oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, grass-fed tallow and organic or pasture-fed butter, ghee, almond milk, avocados, coconuts, olives, nuts and nut butters, cheese (except for blue cheeses), and seeds (flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds)
  • Protein:  whole eggs, wild fish (salmon, black cod, mahi mahi, grouper, herring, trout, sardines); shellfish and molluscs (shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels, clams, oysters); grass-fed meat, fowl, poultry and pork (beef, lamb, liver, bison, chicken, turkey, duck, ostrich, veal); wild game.
  • Vegetables:  leafy greens and lettuces, collards, spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sauerkraut, artichoke, alfalfa sprouts, green beans, celery, bok choy, radishes, watercress, turnip, asparagus, garlic, leek, fennel, shallots, scallions, ginger, jicama, parsley, water chestnuts.
  • Low-sugar Fruit:  avocado, bell peppers, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, eggplant, lemons, limes.
  • Herbs, Seasonings, and Condiments:  There are no restrictions on herbs ad restrictions on herbs and seasonings; be mindful of packaged products that were made a plans that process wheat and soy.

The following can be used in moderation (“moderation” means eating small amounts of these ingredients once a day or ideally, just a couple of times weekly):

  • Non-gluten grains:  amaranth, buckwheat, rice (brown, white, wild), millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff.  (A note abut oats:  oats do not naturally contain gluten, they are frequently contaminated with gluten because they are processed at mills that also handle wheat; avoid them unless they come with a guarantee that they are gluten-free.)  When non-gluten grains are processed for human consumption (e.g., milling whole oats and preparing rice for packaging), their physical structure changes, and this increases the risk of an inflammatory reaction.  For this reason, we limit these foods.
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas).  Exception:  you can have hummus (made from chickpeas).
  • Carrots and parsnips.
  • Whole sweet fruit:  berries are best; be extra cautious of sugary fruits such as apricots, mangos, melons, papaya, prunes and pineapple.
  • Cow’s milk and cream:  use sparingly in recipes, coffee, and tea.
  • Cottage cheese, yogurt, and kefir:  use sparingly in recipes or as a topping.
  • Sweetners:  natural stevia and chocolate (choose dark chocolate that’s at least 70 percent or more cocoa).
  • Wine:  one glass a day if you choose, preferably red.

Here’s a Sample Shopping List:

  • Shredded Coconut
  • Kale
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Grass Fed Beef
  • Free Range Eggs
  • Avocado
  • Free Range Turkey
  • Free Range Chicken
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Wild Salmon
  • Berries (in moderation)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Bell Pepper
  • Black Pepper
  • Goat’s Cheese

Here’s a beginning of helpful foods to get you started.  For help and other resources, contact us! 

All Things Progesterone!

Progesterone Fertility Guide

article overview
  • How Progesterone Works
  • Progesterone Deficient?
  • Hormone Testing
  • Support Progesterone Levels
  • How to Use Progesterone Cream
  • Progesterone & Miscarriage
  • Progesterone & PCOS
  • Progesterone & Endometriosis
  • Progesterone During Pregnancy
  • Summary

Hormonal balance is an important factor when it comes to healthy fertility and getting pregnant as well as feeling balanced overall.  During the course of a menstrual cycle various hormones are working together in a complex symphony to trigger the various components of ovulation and menstruation.

Progesterone is one of these key hormones.  After ovulation, progesterone production is triggered by Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which stimulates the corpus luteum (remanant egg sac) in the ovary to produce progesterone.

One of the main actions of progesterone with fertility is to help support a developing embryo

If pregnancy occurs, the production of progesterone from the corpus luteum continues for about 7 weeks (it is then produced by the placenta for the duration of the pregnancy.  If pregnancy did not occur, the period begins 14 days after ovulation.  When fertilization does not occur the corpus luteum disintegrates, which causes the level of progesterone to fall and the endometrial tissue to disintegrate and shed as menstruation.

What Does Progesterone Do?

  • Maintains the lining of the uterus which makes it possible for a fertilized egg to attach and survive
  • Makes cervical mucous accessible by sperm
  • Allows the embryo to survive
  • Prevents immune rejection of the developing baby
  • Allows for full development of the fetus through pregnancy
  • Helps the body use fat for energy during pregnancy
  • Prevents secondary sexual development
  • Increases libido around ovulation
  • Activates osteoblasts to increase new bone formation
  • Protects against endometrial, breast, ovarian and prostrate cancer
  • Normalizes blood clotting

Are Your Progesterone Deficient or Estrogen Dominate?

Too much estrogen in the body

One of the main reasons women are progesterone deficient is because they have too much estrogen in the body.  Estrogen dominance can happen for many reasons:

  • Commercially raised meats and dairy contain large amounts of estrogens, and consuming them can cause hormonal imbalance
  • Pollution and stress mimic estrogen at the estrogen receptor sites.
  • Eating a large amount of processed soy products can also mimic estrogen.
  • PCOS and endometriosis can also have an estrogen dominate action.
Not enough progesterone in the body

There are many signs that may show up in the body if you do not have enough progesterone in your system during the correct times of your cycle.

You can use this checklist as a guide for determining estrogen dominance or progesterone deficiency.

Hormone Testing

There are a couple of test options.  Tests range from charting your menstrual and basal body temperature, finding out the length of your luteal phase taking a saliva or blood test to find out your progesterone levels.  The questionnaire above will help to point out signs of progesterone deficiency while tests help to confirm it.

BBT Charting

Basil Body Temperature charting can help to determine the availability of progesterone in the luteal phase.  There will be a slight rise in temperature after ovulation has occurred and progesterone has increased.

Length of luteal phase

If the date of ovulation is fewer than 11 days before your period, this could suggest luteal phase defects.  You can detect ovulation using BBT charting, OPK strips.

Saliva testing

Saliva tests are better for testing progesterone and estrogen levels.  You can order an “at home” saliva test that you will take at a certain time during your cycle and then send away to a lab for analysis.  They will mail you back the results so you can find out if you have any hormonal imbalances.

You can find more info on hormone testing here!

Contact us if you would like some help determining which tests to do and with help for deciphering your results and how to correct any imbalance.

How to Support Progesterone Levels

Reduce your exposure to xenohormones

We have become an estrogen dominate society from all the excess estrogen in our foods and environment.

Reduce your exposure by avoiding these xenohormone producers:

  • Solvents and adhesives
  • Meat from conventionally raised livestock (non-organic)
  • Car exhaust
  • Almost all plastics
  • Petochemically derived pesticides, herbicides and fungicides
  • Emulsifiers found in soaps and cosmetics

Go here for more help with reducing toxins in every day living.

Vitex for hormonal balance

Vitex is one of the most powerful herbs for women’s fertility and menstrual health.  Vitex supports hormonal balance in the body by having an effect on the hypothalamic-pitituitary-ovarian axis (hormonal feedback loop), correcting the problem at the source.

Directions for use:

Capsules:  1,000 mg a day – take vitex all month except during menstruation

Vitex works slowly to normalize the body.  Maximum benefits are often achieved after 6-12 cycles with vitex.

Use Natural Progesterone Cream

Natural progesterone cream can help to supplement your body’s own progesterone levels and lead you back to a state of natural balance.

Natural progesterone cream comes from plant fats and oils called diosgenin which is extracted either from Mexican Wild Yams or soybeans.

How to Use Progesterone Cream

Application through the skin has been found to be one of the most effective ways to use natural progesterone.  It is absorbed through the skin into the underlying fat which helps to slowly allow progesterone into the blood.  This way of application helps the progesterone to be “time released” into the blood stream.  To mimic the body’s progesterone cycle, it is best to use progesterone cream twice a day.

The best areas for application are places that have capillary blood flow such as:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Upper Chest
  • Breasts
  • Inner arms
  • Palms of hands and feet

When it comes to dosage, more is not better.  Too much progesterone can  cause hormonal imbalances, just like too little can.  General suggested dosage is 15-30 mg during the two weeks before your period.

Begin using progesterone directly after ovulation which is usually day 12 – 14 in our cycles and ending usage once menstruation begins.  Once you become pregnant, stay on the progesterone and contact your healthcare provider.

loading dose

A loading dose is useful for women who have had many months or years of anovulatory (no ovulation) cycles, which can create extreme progesterone deficiency.  Each cycle that passes without ovulation can increase estrogen dominance as progsterone stores are depleted.  Very thin women who have little body fat can become estrogen dominant very easily s there is not fat to store extra progesterone.  In either of these situations, use a higher dose of progesterone the first one to two months of progesterone cream use.  This helps to replenish the progesterone stored in the fat of the body.  After 2-3 months the dose can be lowered to the usual dosage.

Loading dose:  1/4 tsp twice a day (40mg a day) for two weeks before to your period

Regular dose:  1/8 tsp twice a day (20mg a day) for two weeks before your period

inducing ovulation using progesterone

Use natural progesterone from days 5 – to 26 in the cycle (stopping on day 26 to bring on menstruation).

Using the progesterone prior to ovulation effectively suppressed ovulation.  After a few months of this, stop progesterone use.  If you still have follicles left, they seem to respond to a few months of suppression with the successful maturation and release of an egg.

Preventing miscarriage and progesterone

Low progesterone during pregnancy can be one cause of recurrent miscarriages.  Progesterone is responsible for creating a healthy environment in the womb by maintaining the uterine lining.  It also reduces the chances of blood clots ad the immune system responding to the fetus as if it was a foreign substance.  Progesterone is one of the main pregnancy hormones

Progesterone and PCOS

Progesterone cream can help to oppose the estrogen dominance that occurs with PCOS.  By using progesterone cream you are able to mimic a natural cycle and help the body to establish its own cycle, including ovulating again.  With progesterone cream, changes in diet and exercise, PCOS could become obsolete.

There are two ways to use progesterone cream for PCOS.  The first is the suppression cycle.  To suppress the cycle one would use progesterone cream on cycle days 7-26.  If you do not have a menstrual cycle you would choose a date on your calendar and mark it as day 7.  Suppressing the cycle allows the body to rest by stopping the cycle of eggs not being released and estrogen/androgen dominance.  Use 60-100mg of progesterone cream a day during the suppression cycle and repeat this for 3-4 months for best results.

establish a cycle with progesterone cream

To help your body create a cycle including menstruation and ovulation, use progesterone cream on day 12 of your cycle and continue until day 26.  By stopping on day 26 your progesterone levels will drop, helping to start your menstrual cycle.  If your cycle does not start, just treat your cycle like you are having one and start again on day 12.  It is best to use a calendar so you can keep track of everything.  After 3 or so months it is suggested to take a break for 1 month so you can see if yur cycle has jump started itself.

Progesterone and endometriosis

If you have endometriosis, use progesterone from days 8-26 of your cycle to reduce the effects of estrogen on the body (estrogen stimulates endometrial growth).  Take a short week off to refresh your receptor sites.  Once the outbreaks of endometriosis are tolerable reduce the usage to days 12 till menstrual cycle.

Progesterone use during pregnancy

Natural progesterone is safe to use during pregnancy with the consent of your doctor or midwife and may prevent first trimester miscarriages that are due to low progesterone but should be used with caution when nursing as it may stop lactation.

In the first trimester of pregnancy progesterone is the sole responsibility of the ovaries, but they often fail to produce sufficient levels to maintain the pregnancy.  By the second trimester, the placenta itself is responsible for producing progesterone and it hikes the level of this hormone to 486% higher than the non-pregnant norm.

If you are taking progesterone and get pregnant, you must continue taking progesterone until  at least the 16th week.  Work with your practitioner; they will monitor your levels to make sure they are healthy for pregnancy.

Summary

Healthy progesterone levels are important during conception and pregnancy.  You can find out if your levels are where they should be by getting tested.  If you do find your levels are low there are many natural ways to promote healthy progesterone levels such as:

  1. Reducing Xenohormones
  2. Using Vitex
  3. Applying progesterone cream

If you become pregnant, continue to use the cream and consult with your doctor or midwife right away.

Let us know how we can help!

 

 

 

 

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