My personal hormone journey started a little bit – let’s say – bumpy.
I got on the pill when I was 16. At that time, it was super normal to take it – all of my girl friends would. The day I went to see my gynecologist to get the pill was the first time I went to see a GP ever. And let me tell you – it was disturbing. My gynecologist at that time had been doing his job for many many.. many years (yes, he was about to retire). I remember sitting down in front of him, telling him I wanted to go on the pill. He gave me the prescription. I left. That was it. No medical briefing, education on possible side effects, questions about my health, my mother’s/grandmother’s health story and thus potential genetic predisposition. Nope.
So then I took it. For twelve years. I had no idea what it was doing to my menstrual cycle, that it was completely shutting it down. That I was not ovulating. I honestly believed that the blood I saw coming out of my body once a month was an actual period. I was not educated well, but to be fair, I also did not do any research myself either.
So then, twelve years after I started taking hormonal birth control, I decided to quit. To be honest, I never really minded taking the pill. I never experienced any major (for me obvious at time!) side effects, I did not gain/loose weight, I thought my mood was normal. The reason why I quit the pill was simply because from social media and my friends group, I started learning more and more about what hormonal birth control was actually doing to my body, my hormones and cycle. And I started to become suspicious about this little thing I took almost every evening.
So then I did it. I finished my last „cycle“ on the pill and then I quit. And – believe it or not – but in my opinion this actually happened – within one week – the grass was greener. The sky was bluuer (if that’s a word). I simply felt MORE. Not necessarily good feelings. Oh girl, let me tell you, I had incredibly sad and dark feelings, like wow, who is she. But also I had these deliciously sweet feelings of happiness and pleasure! I honestly felt like myself as a teenager again. Like the girl I was before I got on the pill. With all the ups and downs. It was wild. Exciting. A bit scary. But I loved it.
So there I was, feeling all the feelings, so happy my skin was still clear, waiting for HER to arrive. The wonderful period. But well, she obviously had other plans. She did not come and frankly, I was devastated. I waited another month. And another one. Nope.
After four months of not having a period, I went to see my GP and was told it could take a while for her to come back, an unfortunately very common phenomenon also known as post-pill amenorrhea. On top of that, my hormones suddenly decided hey! let’s make her skin break out. My whole back was covered in pimples. After a while they started on my neck near my lymph nods as well, up to my face a little (much less than on the back, but still). At that time, my mental health was very much affected.
But then, after 5 long months of getting off the pill, she f i n a l l y arrived. Mainly in the form of spotting, but hey there were eventually the first signs of a menstrual cycle. WUH!
After this wonderful event, I thought – nice – see you again in 28 days boo!
Little did I know that first of all, only around 12% of menstruators have the classic textbook 28-day cycle and second of all, that it was common to take a while after the first period for her to come back again. But she did at least. The consecutive cycle she arrived after 21 days already, much too early for my liking. The next cycle only after 40 days. I had a cycle, but it was irregular.
I felt something was not quite right and that I needed to support my hormones further, which had obviously just woken up from their twelve-year hibernation. That was the time when I actually started educating myself very intensely on the menstrual cycle and female hormones. I
d e v o u r e d books and books, spent hours listening to podcasts, reading hundreds of scientific articles, talking to hormonal experts.
So I started changing my lifestyle, sleeping routine, nutrition and (slowly but steadily) my way of thinking of and perceiving myself as a woman. Let me tell you, this was not easy. But very early I started realizing these small, incremental improvements which gave me the motivation to continue.
Over the course of time, I had several dates with my friends and almost every conversation ended up with me speaking about my favorite topic – hormones (woops!). They soon understood this was my thing now. I loved (and still do!) talking and educating about it. I started giving them (sometimes unsolicited) advice on how to (re-)balance their hormones and as my friends‘ feedback was very positive, I continued. One thing led to another and now I’m here and you’re there, reading this. (By the way, wow. Props to you for still reading! I know it’s a long story but I feel like it’s important to have given you the whole picture.)
Today, my daily habits differ v e r y much from the ones I had three years ago. I have established routines which are sustainable for me and which make me feel my best. My cycle is regular, my period has a normal duration and is healthy in intensiveness and color and I suffer from no period pain.
One thing I regret is not having known all these things earlier. So this is why I’m now doing what I’m doing. I want to educate others to understand their bodies, their rhythms, their needs and to be able to feel in tune with themselves every single day of their beautiful individual cycles.