Women and Excess Androgens

Stesha Birth Control, Women's Hormones

Ladies, should you consider taking a prostate support supplement??

Let’s dissect a super taboo subject that NO female ever wants to admit dealing with => excess androgens

For the past 4 months, I dealt with and treated some pretty manly symptoms…

No, I didn’t grow a penis overnight, but I DID start to experience some other physical characteristics including excess facial/body hair, cystic acne on my jaw and back, weight gain, PMS, and even a deeper/raspier voice.

Hell no! Get TFO!

So why was I experiencing such nasty symptoms? Well, I came off hormonal birth control early this year and oh lawwwwd the aftermath was worse than I could have ever imagined.

You know those people that come off birth control and everything is sunshine and rainbows?

And then there’s the other group whose body responds by submerging itself in gasoline and lighting itself on fire?

You can probably guess which category I fall under or I wouldn’t be here writing this post…

So what happened?

Little did I know, for 8 months I was setting myself up for failure by taking one of the most androgenic birth controls out there…progestin-only IUD (aka Skyla, Mirena, Nuva ring, Nexplan implant).

These birth controls use synthetic progestins that have a “high androgen index,” which means they are testosterone-like.

The purpose of hormonal birth control is to stop ovulation (even though most IUDs claim not to), which means your natural progesterone levels TANK.

Progesterone is not only important to balance estrogen in the body (as well as a whole list of other duties), but it is also considered ‘anti-androgenic’ because it inhibits 5-alpha-reductase.

So not only was I taking something very androgenic, but I was also suppressing my own body’s ability to combat the excess androgens – DOUBLE WHAMMY!

Does this sound familiar? Are you taking a synthetic progestin? Are you struggling with these symptoms?

Here’s how I Reduced Excess Androgens:

1. Switch to a non-hormonal birth control (copper IUD, condoms, etc) or, better yet, come off it all together (Fertility Awareness Method). I suggest reaching out to a coach during this fragile process because it can feel like a lonely road less traveled…

2. After 3-6 months off hormonal BC, get your blood tested – the DUTCH TEST would be the most band for your buck here – otherwise, test for total and free testosterone, 4-point cortisol, DHEAS, SHBG, estradiol, progesterone, and prolactin.

Signs of excess androgens:
-high free Testosterone
-high DHT
-high DHEAS
-low SHBG
-high Prolactin

3. Rule out PCOS. The defining feature of PCOS is ovulatory dysfunction and the overproduction of testosterone and androstenedione by the ovaries. There are actually 2 different kinds of PCOS: adrenal-androgen PCOS (caused by Stress and adrenal dysfunction) and Ovarian-Androgen PCOS (caused by insulin resistance). Find yourself a doctor that knows the difference AND give you a treatment that doesn’t involve metformin, BC pill, or spironolactone (you deserve better than that sista).

4. Reduce chronic inflammation of androgen receptors by:
-removing all dairy, sugar, and wheat
-no smoking, drinking, partying
-eat colorful fruits and veggies (8ish servings per day)
-re-establish healthy gut (check out RESTORE to heal gut permeability)
-supplement with anti-inflammatory minerals and compounds zinc
-Inhibit 5-alpha-reductase (which is responsible for converting testosterone into a super androgenic compound called DHT) by taking a Prostate Support containing: Saw palmetto, Stinging nettle root, Pumpkin seed extract, pygeum)

5. Improve insulin sensitivity by cutting out sugar and supplementing with myoinositol, magnesium, or berberine

6. Optimize natural progesterone production through ovulation (look into Vitex for suppressing prolactin and promoting ovulation)

It is highly advisable to research this topic on your own and work with your doctor to ensure you have a safe and effective plan to reduce androgenic symptoms and start feeling better in your body!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19390322
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6542470
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25008465
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22499220
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22134564