Women & Excess Androgens

Stesha Uncategorized

Ladies, should you consider taking a prostate support supplement??
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Let’s dissect a super taboo subject that NO female ever wants to admit dealing with => excess androgens
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For the past 4 months, I dealt with and treated some pretty manly symptoms…
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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.
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Hell no! Get TF out!
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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.
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You know those people that come off birth control and everything is sunshine and rainbows?
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And then there’s the other group whose body responds by submerging itself in gasoline and lighting itself on fire?
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You can probably guess which category I fall under or I wouldn’t be here writing this post…
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So what happened?
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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).
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These birth controls use synthetic progestins that have a “high androgen index,” which means they are testosterone-like.
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The purpose of hormonal birth control is to stop ovulation (even though most IUDs claim not to), which means your natural progesterone levels TANK.
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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.
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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!
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Does this sound familiar? Are you taking a synthetic progestin? Are you struggling with these symptoms?
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Here’s how I fixed it:
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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…
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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
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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).
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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)
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5. Improve insulin sensitivity by cutting out sugar and supplementing with myoinositol, magnesium, or berberine
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6. Optimize natural progesterone production through ovulation (look into Vitex for suppressing prolactin and promoting ovulation)
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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!
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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