It never flippin’ fails! Every time I’m starting to feel really awesome, I’ll get my period; and, everything goes to crap! The hormonal fluctuations cause bloating, cramping, digestive issues, food intolerances, and extreme fatigue. I started wondering how much my hormones were actually affecting my healing. So, I decided to use myself as a test subject once again. The results were pretty amazing.
First, I decided to keep a journal, reflecting how I felt on each day of my hormonal cycle, beginning on day 1 of my period. I also recorded any food reintroductions I did throughout the 24 to 28 days of the cycle (mine fluctuates between 24 and 28 days). I kept this journaling process going for 3 months. The reason I also included food reintroductions was because I was having trouble tolerating some previously successfully reintroduced foods during certain times of the month. I wanted to see if there was a connection to the hormonal fluctuations. At the beginning of EVERY cycle, I suffered a decrease in my healing efforts. This is when estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels. Now, knowing that I have a tendency to have low progesterone levels and high estrogen levels on a regular basis, I have been, under a doctor’s care, supplementing with natural progesterone cream. However, in order to keep these hormones in balance, you cycle them with your body’s natural rhythms. Because of that cycling, I do not supplement with progesterone on day 1 through 7; so, my body is able to allow that hormone to dip the way it would naturally.
Something else very interesting was happing on days 1 through 7. I observed that ANY food reintroductions I tried to do were unsuccessful. And, some of the foods I had previously successfully reintroduced, were causing bloating, gas, rashes, and/or digestive distress. Were my hormones affecting my food reintroductions, too? It was time to look into it further. I started doing food reintroductions on days 8 through 24 or 28, depending when day 1 was coming up again. Every food I tried during this time period was successful, including almonds, which had previously been unsuccessful. I was able to eat all successfully reintroduced foods without a problem up until about day 20. As my estrogen and progesterone levels started to drop, I began having more problems with my digestive system. However, on days 20 through 23 or 27 (depending again on when day 1 came about), my energy levels were through the roof. And, if I stayed to an elimination phase AIP diet, I felt the healthiest during this time period. Of course, this is the time period when testosterone is at it’s highest in women. Usually, it surges at around day 12 and then a slight rise right before your period. In order to test it further, I tried a few reintroductions on days 1 through 7 again. They all failed!
So, what do we do with all this? Well, I formulated a plan that I’ve started following with some success. I don’t do any reintroductions from days 1 through 7 (that’s the first day of your period to 6 days afterward). I also tend to stick with the elimination phase of the AIP, even eliminating foods I’ve successfully reintroduced. Drinking a few cups of red raspberry leaf tea throughout days 1 through 7, has helped to keep my hormone levels balanced. Making time for exercise is also important for hormonal balance. Although most estrogen is produced by the ovaries, smaller amounts are produced by the adrenal glands and in fat tissue. If you have too much fat tissue, you have a higher chance of over producing estrogen. Estrogen dominance can lead to many different health disorders, including breast cancer. So get up and move around! If this sounds like something you’ve been dealing with, perhaps hormones are affecting your healing and reintroduction efforts. My advice is to start keeping a journal, like I did. This will help you to monitor any issues you may be having. You can experiment with different healing treatments and food reintroductions. Your body will usually tell you everything you need to know. I would also suggest, if you find you are having a problem with healing and/or food reintroductions during certain times in your cycle, to seek out a professional in dealing with women’s hormonal health. And, as a side note, if this professional just does one random blood or saliva test to test your hormone levels, that’s not good enough. You should be tested at different times of your cycle in order to get an accurate reading. My doctor did 4 tests, over the course of 28 days. My arm hurt like hell after all those tests; but, I was happy to have the accurate information afterwards. If I had had all those tests earlier in my life, I may not have experienced the infertility issues I’ve had over all these years. Should you do this experiment, I would love to hear about your discoveries. Each person is different. Although I discovered the link with hormones affecting my healing and food reintroductions, you may not. But, I would still love to know about your discoveries. SPECIAL NOTE TO MY MEN READERS: I apologize for you having to read all this about women’s cycles. LOL! Now, you know more than most men ever care to know about it. But, I did want to let you know that men can also suffer from hormonal fluctuations. If you’re having trouble with food reintroductions or your healing taking a dip during certain time periods, you may want to have your hormones checked as well. Studies have shown that men may actually suffer more organ damage with their autoimmune disease because of their lack of estrogen levels. And, estrogen levels that are too high in men can lead to breast cancer as well. So, don’t be hard-headed. If you think there may be a correlation, go get it checked out! As always, I wish you good health……..and, good food! Some helpful reading: *This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive compensation. Thank you for helping to support my blogging efforts here at Paleo Cajun Lady.- Tara Perillo