It’s Not You, It’s Your Hormones


Sometimes no amount of fitness classes, vitamin drips or meddling with diet can counteract hormonal imbalance. Literally the day after celebrating my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up to skin reminiscent of a spotty teenager, just as my 30 day trial of collagen supplements was beginning to show dazzling results. Unfair doesn’t even cut it. The culprit? Coming off the pill.

What began as a failure to collect my prescription pre holiday, turned into a mild curiosity to see what a break from synthetic hormones would do to my body. Initially I felt fine but after about three months I started to see the physical signs.

“Post-Pill acne usually peaks about 3-9 months off the Pill”, says naturopathic doctor Dr. Lara Briden, “just about when many women give up, and go back on hormonal birth control”.

Was I ready to give up? Er, yes.

Having suffered skin complaints in the past, these symptoms should really have come as no surprise. As Dr Helen Kennedy, GP at Marlow Medical Group says, “Problem skin is often improved on the pill particularly if you take Dianette, Yasmin, Marvelon or Cilest so stopping can therefore make acne return or worsen”.

What did I learn from this experience? Not to take a decision to come off the pill lightly. Hormones affect every part of our lives and determine whether we feel tired or awake, hot or cold, relaxed or stressed, happy or sad. Powerful stuff!

While I was always prone to a spell of PMT (… who isn’t?) I didn’t notice a huge difference in symptoms when coming off the pill. Just the usual feelings of reduced motivation, alertness and fatigue that I’ve come to expect from this time of the month – often predictably followed by a surge in energy from serotonin and dopamine, that sends me skipping all the way to Barry’s Bootcamp.

Whilst I’ll be going back on the pill for now, next time I’ll plan my exit and put steps in place to help counteract the hormonal disharmony. Steps such as detoxing my body and taking a herbal support like Shatavari.

Revered in Ayurveda as the primary ‘women’s’ herb, this supplement contains natural precursors to female hormones to balance irregularity. It is also a powerful adaptogen that nourishes adrenal glands, protecting them from stress and exhaustion.

Pukka Herbs’ improved Womankind supplements join NEW supplements Womankind Cranberry Cool, Motherkind Pregnancy and Womankind Menopause and Wholistic Shatavari. These new and improved additions to Pukka’s women’s range are available to buy from independent health food stores and from 1st September.

Photo: Stocksey

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