As mentioned in the last post, after the bad experience with Zoloft, I revisited a website shared with me by a friend who has also run this course with hormonal imbalance. I looked at the information & articles there in a new light; my motivation to get healthy had been renewed. For hours I read every article I came across that related to my issues. I read the letters from other women, I read about the background of their clinic located in Yarmouth, Maine and I researched references and reviews outside of Women to Women, including the Better Business Bureau.
I was pleased with what I discovered about Women to Women at every turn and recommend them as a resource. I think it’s especially nice that you don’t have to sign up for anything in order to benefit from their plentiful referenced medical articles, symptoms and risk factors pages and Q&As. I did, however, decide to register my email and take their free hormonal health profile. It was a fairly brief evaluation, asking key questions about my general health, symptoms of hormone imbalance, daily living, stress factors, nutrition and exercise habits. It took into account my whole lifestyle rather than focusing on my chief PMS complaints, an approach I appreciate very much.
My results ranked in the “severe” category, meaning that the demands placed on my body are severe when compared with other women. Above average demands placed upon the body (such as high-stress job or relationship, being overweight, not getting adequate sleep, smoking, recovering from or dealing with emotional/physical trauma, poor nutrition, etc.) can overwhelm the body’s ability to balance hormones naturally. By the same token, my results also showed that I did give myself substantial support, meaning that I take measures to alleviate some stressors I have control over and make efforts to give my body what it needs, such as good foods, vitamins and exercise. My results were emailed to me and provided some good insights and basic changes I could implement to improve my health. The best part is that it’s a free service and also provided links to other articles related to my assessment results. They do sell various programs which incorporate their vitamins and supplements, but you don’t have to make any purchases in order to benefit from the learning opportunities.
On December 29, 2010, I called the toll-free number to ask about the program for hormonal imbalance. After speaking with Laura ( an English speaking, non-script reading, informed lady) for 15-20 minutes, I knew I wanted to try the program. Their policy is hard to beat --- they’ll refund your purchase price if you aren’t happy with how things are working , even if you’ve used all the vitamins/supplements! I only have to return the empty boxes they arrived in to receive a refund. That was the security which motivated me to go ahead and try it.
I’m going into my third week of taking the vitamins/supplements and I’m happy to report that I haven’t had any ill side effects thus far. I was concerned about that, naturally, because even herbal supplements and vitamins don’t agree in the same way with everyone. Years ago, it even took some trial & error for me to find a suitable prenatal vitamin during my pregnancies.
As I mentioned earlier, I had been taking a liquid multi-vitamin from Nature’s Plus called “Source of Life” multivitamin supplement -- liquid for good reason. I have trouble swallowing large pills and this was my only concern about starting the Women to Women program. The tablets are large. The vitamins/supplements arrive in single dose packages containing two multivitamins/mineral formula tabs, 1 calcium-magnesium formula tab, and 1 essential fatty acid formula (fish oil) containing the omega-3 essentials. I was assured by Laura during my toll-free call that I could crush the tablets and consume in applesauce or yogurt. This is what I’ve been doing and it works well -- all except the fish oil of course. If there was a YouTube video of me taking the fish oil for the first few days, I’m sure it would’ve entertained you. ; ‘ )
I've never taken fish oil, even though my husband has taken it for years. The size of the capsules always dissuaded me from trying it. I knew, from him, that it was good for memory/brain function, but what I didn’t know was that it is good for a whole lot of other things too! Such as: (found here)
* Heart health -- helps to reduce the risk of arrhythmia and sudden death by heart attack
* Improved concentration, memory and less likelihood of depression and reduced risk of ADHD in children
* Cholesterol & Triglycerides - by lowering triglycerides and balancing cholesterol
* Joints & Arthritis - better joint function from reduced inflammation
* Skin & Beauty - improves the health and appearance of skin, helps keep nails strong as well as hair healthy and shiny
* Immune System & Cancer -- helps to build a stronger immune system, lowered risk of breast and prostate cancer
* Digestive System - by improving intestinal health and reducing inflammation assisting those with IBS or Crohn’s Disease
* Allergies - Omega-3 fatty acid intake by mothers during pregnancy may protect babies against the development of allergies.
* Diabetes - fish oil enhances insulin secretion from beta cells in pancreas, regulating blood sugar levels.
Reading that list alone motivated me to take the fish oil. The first capsule I took, I busted open and poured the oil into a spoon. Ugh. I don’t recommend this. I tasted that powerful fish oil for 30 minutes in my mouth. The next day I opened the capsule and poured the oil into a drink of water. Ugh. That wasn’t any better at all - and so, the third day, I put that large capsule on my tongue, added a dollop of yogurt and down it went. I’ve also learned that taking the fish oil in the evening, just before supper works best for me.
In the photo above you’ll notice a separate bottle labeled, “Herbal Equilibrium”. This also came with my program since my results were in the severe category. This is an herbal supplement, in use for many years, to help the body naturally regulate hormones. I’ll write more about that as well as the literature that came with my program in the next post, but you can learn a great deal about phytotherapy (the use of plants for healing purposes) here.