Contributed by our friend Kate Kordsmeier from Root + Revel
It’s been over 4 years since I was first diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), and nearly 2 since I reversed the hormonal condition naturally.
That was after years of struggling with debilitating symptoms like irregular periods, acne, PMS, weight gain (particularly around the midsection), extreme PMS symptoms and cramping, and insulin resistance.
Pssst…not sure if you have a hormonal imbalance? Take this free quiz to find out if you have PCOS.
That was after years of seeing countless doctors who told me there was nothing I could do and I should just go back on the pill until I was ready to have kids.
Boy were they wrong.
With a few simple diet and lifestyle changes I was able to completely reverse my PCOS, balance my hormones and live a symptom-free life. And I did it all naturally, no prescription medication required!
Even more amazing? I was able to get pregnant on my first try–something many doctors had told me was nearly impossible. And I did it without harmful and controversial medications, like Metformin, Clomid and Spironolactone.
I don’t even hate to say it–I told them so!
I knew that I could get my body into a healthy, thriving state without relying on scary drugs with even scarier side effects. I knew it!
So what’s my secret?
Well, like anything health-related, there are a variety of factors that go into healing.
Then I ditched all prescriptions for safe and natural supplements that would actually treat the root cause of my hormonal imbalances, instead of just slapping a Band-Aid on my symptoms.
I started practicing tons of self-care, like yoga and meditation, Epsom salt baths, essential oils, massage and acupuncture. And perhaps, most importantly, I tossed toxic products that disrupt hormones. This is a big one, and one that’s often overlooked.
eliminating toxic products
But in the same way that what we put IN our body is important, so too is what we put ON our bodies.
And unfortunately, most store-bought products contain dozens of harmful chemicals that are proven to cause cancer, asthma and allergies, neurotoxicity and hormonal imbalances (including PCOS and infertility).
As it turns out–nearly every single product I was using, from shampoo to face wash, mascara to perfume, was filled with toxic chemicals that were disrupting my hormones. And if my hormones were already out of whack, why would I knowingly use products that would further imbalance them?
Eliminating these products was particularly important for reversing PCOS, as many of these toxins mimic estrogen, androgens (the male sex hormone), and thyroid hormones in the body, potentially producing overstimulation and further exacerbating estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalances.
Other chemicals can block hormone production and/or interfere with the way natural hormones or their receptors are made or controlled by altering their metabolism in the liver. As the famous meme goes: “If you eat organic, but also spray, wash and rub your largest organ with chemicals, you’re doing it wrong.”
And what do you know? After tossing all of my endocrine-disrupting products, and replacing them with safe and natural alternatives, slowly but surely, my symptoms started to disappear.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet to balancing your hormones and reversing PCOS with non-toxic products:
Avoid the most common endocrine disruptors
Look for natural, organic skincare products
…with minimal ingredients and full disclosure, like AnnMarie Skincare (obviously!). My favorite products include the Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin, Kaolin Micro Exfoliant, and Citrus Stem Cell Serum. You can learn more about my green beauty routine here.
Make your own cleaning products
Making your own cleaning products is super easy, affordable and the best way to ensure your products won’t disrupt your hormones.
Eliminate all plastic
…and BPA-laden cans and materials from your home, including plastic wrap, plastic food storage, conventional canned goods, coffee pots, plastic straws, water bottles, etc. Learn more about eco-friendly plastic alternatives here.
Filter your water
The United States Geological Survey found low levels of pharmaceuticals in 80% of all the water supplies they tested. EIGHTY PERCENT! These pharmaceuticals include antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and all manner of steroids, and you better believe they’re messing with your hormones. Check out our water filtration guide here.
Did you know that all non-organic ingredients and foods (even those used in personal care products) contain pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, fumigants and/or nematicides. And while these chemicals combat rot, pests, fungus, and more, they also disrupt our endocrine systems (among other ills). So be sure you choose organic options as much as possible to avoid these hormone disruptors. Likewise, non-organic animal products (meat and dairy) contain added synthetic hormones, so always opt for organic choices.
Improve Air Quality
According to the EPA, the air inside your home could be 2 to 5 times MORE TOXIC than that of outdoor air. Isn’t that crazy? Here are my favorite natural ways to clean and purify the air in your home, and make it smell good naturally! Make sure to avoid conventional methods, like plug-ins, room sprays, air freshening pots and scented candles, nearly all of which have been proven to (once again) disrupt our hormones, cause cancer, induce asthma and allergies, irritate our skin AND harm the environment.
Get Off Hormonal Birth Control
I get it–hormonal birth control (also known as The Pill) is easy and effective. Not only does it accomplish the job its name implies (preventing pregnancy), but some doctors also prescribe the pill to treat things like irregular periods, acne, PMS, and cramps. But here’s the thing–the pill doesn’t treat those things; it simply masks the symptoms by synthetically altering your hormones. In fact, did you know taking birth control pills can even compound existing hormonal problems and cause worsened symptoms? Learn more about the hormonally-damaging side effects of The Pill here.
Kate Kordsmeier is a food journalist turned real food expert after her own chronic health issues (PCOS, hypothyroidism + IBS) catapulted her into a long journey of trying to heal her body naturally. To learn more about reversing PCOS and her healing journey, check out Root + Revel.