My Experience with Seed Cycling to Balance Hormones

This blog post is about my personal experience with seed cycling to balance hormones. 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.

My Experience with Seed Cycling to Balance Hormones

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 charcoal deodorant from Primally Pure, 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! I hope you found this blog post about my experience with sed cycling to balance hormones to be helpful!

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54 Comments

  1. This is so interesting to read! I don’t know anyone else who does seed cycling– such a new concept to me. Please keep us updated! I’m definitely intrigued. I’m on the pill right now, but am very open to better options.

  2. I really thought seed cycling had to do with all the pumpkin seeds you eat every morning lolol

    Glad you’ve been feeling better off the pill! I went off about 10 years ago and never looked back!

  3. So awesome that seed cycling worked so well for you! I stopped taking birth control for good in the winter and I don’t regret it at all (plus I feel like I’m ahead of the game for when we’re ready to start trying for a baby). My periods are still funky, which I definitely want to look into, but it’s so hard to do that with typical OB/GYNs. Seems like BC is the answer to everything!

  4. Are you planning to do a post on how you’re handling the birth control (as in not getting pregnant) situation? I’m interested in how you feel about FAM if that’s what you’re using. I like the idea of it, but it scares me to death.

    1. I’m on the fence about writing a post. I don’t feel like I’m “qualified” to talk about FAM since we’ve only done it for a month now, and I’m still figuring things out myself. Maybe down the road though I’ll write one? I am totally fascinated by hormones! I love “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.” It’s been such a huge eye-opener, and I highly recommend it for learning more about FAM!

  5. What an incredible story! I don’t think you should feel bad for having crazy moods for the past year. It is basically assumed that women will go on some sort of birth control and no one (not even doctors) recommend anything different. It is insane to me that it is just accepted that women will start taking hormones (hormones!!) even at very young ages to address period issues or as it’s intended birth control use. And no one tells us what the long term effects of those synthetic hormones are. Women should be outraged! And thank you for sharing your story 🙂

  6. I feel like I am the only one that is pro-birth control pill these days. I have been on the lowest dose pill for seven years now and I haven’t had one problem… It actually helped me lose weight and my acne disappeared, and my period was regulated. I feel like I should be waiting for something bad to happen with all the horrible things I’m starting to read about it! 🙁

  7. This is very interesting and thank you for linking to what it is and how it works. I like how there is no harm in ingesting any of these items since they are already healthy, good for you foods that you can incorporate into your daily diet. I am going to try this cycle next month and see how it goes.

  8. Thank you for sharing and being so open about your health! I can’t believe the results so far! 7 pounds once you stopped the pill?! I can’t wait to stop taking it. I’m holding off for a little while longer, but I’m convinced it’s getting to be that time.
    Enjoy your day!

  9. Gosh, the pill can mask and/or cause so many underlying symptoms! Glad you’ve found FAM. I will say, make sure you stick to seed cycling for at least 3 full months. That’s the time it generally takes for natural or holistic approaches to really “show up” as results for hormonal balance. Just because women’s hormones change so much in one month (check out Alissa Viti, Nicole Jardim for more info on that). Seed cycling was great for me too!

  10. Suuuuuper interesting! I would love to hear how phase #2 goes! The body is magnificently interesting and variable. I am glad you are having success. I have been on a low dose birth control for years, and have been on birth control for about 13 years (?!?!). Honestly, I am not sure how my body is naturally without it, but, it seems to bee working for me. However, now I am curious… 🙂

      1. Hi, can we eat the required seeds after our regular breakfast? and like we have to take two type of seeds per day so what is the suggested intake gap between consumption of both seeds?

  11. I was just talking to a friend about this last week because she was starting it and I find it really intriguing. I would actually really like to try it for myself, but as someone with pretty severe periods (heavy, painful, clotting) due to endometriosis, the idea of getting off birth control terrifies me. And since I do a 3 month cycle birth control right now, I feel like I have no idea if I could do both until I felt comfortable. I may just have to do more research before diving in. Glad to hear it’s going well for you!

  12. So interesting! I’ve been dealing with some GI and mood/fatigue issues for 8 months or so, and it has amazed me how many women around my age are dealing with similar issues. I rarely hear this from men so it makes me wonder how much hormones can play a role. Have you heard of IUDs having similar effects as birth control?

  13. I’m curious to learn more about this myself! I haven’t been on any form of birth control since 2013. I will not ever take birth control again. Not ever. I’m pretty adamant about that, but it completely destroyed my world! I had similar symptoms as you (i.e. weight gain, night sweats, moodiness, acne) and I’m never putting my body through that again. I also have irregular cycles at times (varying between 28-36 day), and honestly, that’s normal, so I wouldn’t sweat it. I’m also looking into cleaning up my beauty regime as well, because, though my skin has cleared up considerably, I know I could be treating it even better!

  14. This is going to sound really stupid, I think. But do you think this would be worth trying while still on the birth control pill? I ask because the BCP is our preferred method of birth control and neither my husband or I are comfortable with other methods at this time. I don’t feel like I have any crazy hormonal issues or negative side effects from it but I do think there’s room for improvement with a couple minor things. Just wondering if you or your RD who prescribed it had ever heard of it working for minor balancing while still on the pill. OR if it would negatively effect the effectiveness of the BCP. Thanks!

    1. @Ashleigh V: Hi Ashleigh! I’m the RD she has been working with. Unfortunately, since you are putting external hormones in your body the seed cycling will not be able to help you balance your hormones. It won’t harm you to try it, but it is way less likely to work. If you get good results though I’d love to hear about it!

  15. I’m so happy you’ve found something that works! Especially with those night sweats – they’re the worst! I’ve had to put towels down under me before and just sleep naked because I hated stripping off sweaty clothes in the middle of the night.

    Question: Do you use the BeautyCounter face oil? I’ve struggled with oily skin and acne for a long time, and it got worse when I went off the pill in my late 20’s (eeks – not a good professional look). I found that when I started using oil on my face, the oiliness went away and my breakouts are much less frequent and much more mild. I’m a convert!

  16. Holy cow, I’m so fascinated by seed cycling! I’ve been off the pill for almost two years now (NEVER GOING BACK), but I’ve been dealing with the roller coaster of hormonal adjustments (especially with my skin) ever since. I just learned about FAM about a month ago, and starting reading “Taking charge of your fertility” last week, and it’s fun to see that you’re on a similar journey right now! Good luck and I can’t wait to hear more about how things go for you!!

  17. So glad this is working for you! I did seed cycling about a year or so ago (easy-peasy: threw the seeds into my smoothies) for many months and found immediate regulation of my cycle (I’ve NEVER been this regular). I’ve since stopped, simply because I’m not eating as many smoothies. But guess what? I’M STILL INCREDIBLY REGULAR. Is it supposed to create lasting hormonal balance even without following the protocol? Or does Kelli recommend staying on this routine for life?

    And honestly, to any of the commentors who read this: TRY IT. It’s low-cost, easy, nutritious anyway, no downsides, and WORKS.

  18. Good for you Tina 🙂 I’m sure you’re well aware of the link between hormones and autoimmune disease. I hope your health continues to improve!

  19. Hi Tina! I actually started seed cycling after you posted the link about it!! Do you do the hemp seeds and if so how!? I gave up on them as I could no choke them down…

  20. My hormonal fluctuations are not due to the Pill…just my age, I think. At 45, I’ve gained about 10-15 pounds in the last year and a half…for no apparent reason. I eat the same (relatively healthy) and workout 5-6 times a week incorporating running, kettlebells, and HIIT classes, so I was befuddled. My chiropractor suggested Seed Cycling about a year ago, but I didn’t give it enough of a try. Seeing your post is encouraging me to get back with this and give it a good go! Thank you for posting about this! I’m so glad to hear it’s working for you!!!

  21. I’m kind of late to this party; but about 7 years ago, I stopped taking hormonal birth control and did the seed cycling for one year. It was AMAZING. I had never had a regular period (it would be anywhere from 24-40 days long!) and after two months, it was 28 days, on the dot. After the year, I stopped doing the cycling and my period stayed consistent but if I find that my life is getting stressful, I can always tell because the stress will translate into more acute PMS symptoms. And then I might do a month or two of seed cycling and everything balances out again! I find the seed cycling so helpful and healthy- I just add the ground seeds into my smoothies and don’t even notice 🙂

  22. So I’m just reading this post and I am totally going to try the seed cycling. Cant hurt right? I’ve had an absent period for 2+ months now after counting macros for almost 2 years and having extremely low body fat percentage. I am attempting to not track and eat more intuitively. I’m hoping this will work to balance hormones out!

    I refereed back to Kelli’s post for more details and I think I got it. Now just to figure out where to start Phase 1 or Phase 2 since I am currently not menstruating and have also quit birth control.

  23. Well, first I have ever heard of this, but I am going to try it! I am starting peri-menopause and having some period issues and the whole shebang of mood swings, sweats and on.
    I am having the blood work and ultrasound just to ensure there isn’t something major wrong.
    I think if I can help myself even a little by throwing a bit of seeds into my food, that is so much better and so easy.

  24. Do you have an update on how seed cycling is going for you? I am thinking of starting to help with hormonal acne/mood swings post-baby. Also–is seed cycling something you do until you have regulated, or something you do indefinitely to help support hormones? Thanks!

  25. Hello, I did try seed cycling but I guess I get more constipated doing it . So stopped it.
    I have digestive issues as well.
    Could you tell me how you had them,

  26. I’ve started to read up on seed cycling since you mentioned it on your blog. What seeds/“dose” do you take in the first phase (days 1-14) vs the second phase (days 14-28). Do you find it necessary to grind the smaller seeds (flax, sesame; hemp)? If so, Can you recommend a grinder? Thanks!

  27. i have a lot of hair growth on my face and little on the other parts of the body.My periods has always been normal.Do you think seed cycling can be of any help to me?

  28. Hi,

    I just started seed cycling with my current cycle and have noticed a significant difference in my symptoms. It’s my first cycle since I stopped taking Norethindrone. A progesterone/hormone pill that slows and eventually stops your period. The reason I gave this a shot is because I’ve been struggling with endometriosis and recurring cysts. Well, after three months of Norethindrone I gained weight, puffy hands, legs and ankles. And I had periods lasting for 18-20 days long. So, I started seeing an acupuncturist and she mentioned seed cycling. I’m all about natural body and so this spoke to me. I went out and bought a grinder all of the seeds (organic) and started the first day of my cycle. I’m not sure yet but I had almost zero cramps after the first day. Which is unbelievable because I cramp and pain so bad I call out of work because of it. The flow was heavy the first day as usual but every day after that was like having a light period. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I usually have a lot of clotting too and had less clotting. The most incredible thing is my period lasted for five days! Barely. Usually my periods will last 7-8 days. Like I said this is my first round of seed cycling. I’m going to keep this up and hopefully things will just getter better from here but I do have a question. Are you suppose to stop cycling at some point ? I’m curious.

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