For some background, please check out my blog post detailing my history with wacky hormones and why I decided to try a seed cycling protocol. If you’ve never heard of seed cycling, Kelli does an awesome job of explaining what it’s all about and how it works.
Guys, I don’t even know how to begin this post because so much has happened in the last 46 days. Let me start off by saying two things about seed cycling:
1. It’s working. *knock on wood* (I feel like every time I talk about something good happening with my health, I jinx myself. Let’s hope it’s not the case this time!)
2. I’m shocked… to the point where I actually called my OB/GYN, before I even started the seed cycling protocol, to ask her to prescribe me another birth control pill, just in case my mood swings were brutal and acne popped up all over my face. I really didn’t think it was going to work. Plus, after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2011 and trying every diet protocol and supplement under the sun with NOTHING ever working, I just figured seed cycling wouldn’t work either. (Mrs. Optimistic over here.)
On Day 1 of seed cycling, I started a journal to track all of my symptoms, including my waking temperature, moods, skin changes, energy levels… honestly, anything that was new, different, or changing. Taking the time each day to sit down and reflect has been a huge benefit to understanding what is going on with my body. Additionally, reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility was key to making sense of it all. It’s seriously the best book ever. It’s taught me so much, and I honestly can’t believe I waited until I was 37 years old to learn some of these things, like tracking your waking temperature (and other changes) to predict fertility. (FYI: I bought this basal thermometer.) It’s made navigating these past several weeks so much easier because I understand what’s happening to my body – and it’s so cool. It’s like a fun body experiment! 🙂 Anyway, I think having this knowledge and frame of reference will definitely help me moving forward, especially if I start to encounter any sort of unwanted symptoms.
Speaking of symptoms, let’s get right into them because I’m still shocked and, of course, pleasantly surprised by my experience with seed cycling. So much has changed in a short amount of time!
- Overall mood and well-being. Ok, this is how I knew for sure the pill wasn’t for me. Within just a few days of stopping it, I felt like a whole new person. It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders – even Mal noticed right away. I was in a much happier mood, and I didn’t snap at him about random dumb stuff. I actually explained it to him as feeling like I was “hangry.” When I get super hungry, I’m able to function at a normal level, but if anything bothers/annoys me, it sets me off more than usual. I just felt like I was on edge all the time when I was on the pill, so coming off of it has made me a much more peaceful and chill person – like I used to be! This “lighter” mood has pretty much carried though the past 46 days with just a few days that I felt anxious or emotional, which was right before my period. (I cried in my car after I dropped Quinn off at school.) I honestly didn’t realize how messed up my moods were until I came off the pill. When I started the whole pill “game” about a year ago, trying to find the right one, I started on a low-dose pill and then move my way up to higher and higher levels of hormones. The change was gradual, so I didn’t realize just how much the hormones were changing my mood and outlook until I stopped taking them. I actually feel kind of terrible that I put my family through months of terrible moods, short tempers, and, well, bitchiness. I’ve since apologized, but, man, hormones can do crazy things to you!
- Acne. Before going off the pill, I contacted my primary care doctor about prescribing me an acne medication, just in case my face exploded with acne. She prescribed me Clindamycin, which I initially used twice a day, morning and night. I’ve since reduced my use to once a day or once every other day because *knock on wood* my acne has stayed away. In addition, I used to struggle with dry spots and even eczema on my forehead, chin, and neck, but my skin has definitely changed for the better. When I first stopped taking the pill, my skin immediately got oily, which, of course, I thought would lead to breakouts. The oiliness eventually mellowed out and my skin has been soft and smooth since. In fact, it’s weirdly good right now. I’ve struggled with acne on and off since puberty, so this is a big surprise for me. I also think switching to safer beauty products has helped my skin calm down and regulate itself. (And, hopefully, I didn’t just jinx myself!)
- Night sweats. Night sweats have plagued me for years now. And they’re usually brutal, waking me up 3-4 times a night to change my clothes because I’m completely drenched. They’d typically last for one week out of the month, but there were times when I’d have them for 2 weeks or more. Ugh, it was awful. I was so tired from waking up to change my clothes all night long. Since going off the pill, I’m happy to report that my night sweats have been considerably reduced. There were a few nights last week that I woke up a little sweaty, but nothing like before – I didn’t need to change my clothes once! And, silver-lining, the minor night sweats let me know that my period was coming (drop in estrogen). The rest of the month/cycle, I was totally night sweat-free! I’m still amazed.
- Weight. Since stopping the pill, I’ve lost 7 pounds! Isn’t that nuts!? I knew the pill was causing me to gain weight. I always felt bloated and puffy when I was on the pill, so I’m glad to know that it wasn’t just in my head!
- Energy levels and motivation. This kind of goes back to my overall mood mentioned above, but I feel like myself again. I’m typically a go-go-go type of person, who is pretty much always motivated to get things done, but I really struggled at times when I was on the pill. I just couldn’t focus or felt blah about getting simple tasks done. Since stopping the pill, I feel so much better!
Overall, I’m happy with my seed cycling results so far. Kelli and I chat a couple of times a week (I always have a zillion questions for her), and she thinks my body is responding so well to the protocol because of the work I’ve done with reducing inflammation via the LEAP Diet and eliminating chemicals that can mess with my hormones. (I’ve switched most of my beauty products to Beautycounter, use Crystal Essense Deodorant, and swapped all of our plastic containers for glass ones.) I’m only on cycle #2 (yep, I got my period after 39 days, which is kind of on the long side, but the pill might have delayed ovulation), so I’m planning to continue the same seed cycling protocol for the next few months and then slowly wean off the seeds/supplements.
That’s it for now. Never in a million years did I think seed cycling would work so well, but I’m a believer now. If you’re struggling with wacky hormones, I highly recommend giving it a try. You never know if it’ll work, and it’s seriously so easy to do! 🙂 If you have any specific questions, just let me know. I love taking about this hormone stuff – it’s so interesting!