To Spearmint or Not To Spearmint...PCOS

To Spearmint or Not To Spearmint...PCOS

Spearmint, it is more than just a flavor of chewing gum!


If you have symptoms of hiruastum or other male hormone related issues, you may have looked into spearmint capsule, tea, or oil.


Not long ago, in quite a few PCOS communities on social media, the question of spearmint causing increased facial hair growth became a popular subject. 


It was based off of a post in Reddit from a few years back. Here is that post. I was curious as to where the information was coming from, so I dug into the rabbit whole. 


Here are the few points from the Reddit post that stuck out to me and what I was able to find through medical texts, pub med, and google scholar. 


  1. High Androgens can be caused by too much estrogen.

I did not find any information in any medical resource that leads me to believe this happens. In women, testosterone is converted into estradiol. When our bodies make too much testosterone, our bodies cannot keep up with it and symptoms arise. However, estradiol does not create more testosterone.


  1. Dosing: There was reference to dosing at 1000mg and the amount in a tea bag. 

In my research, what I am finding as a good dosing is 500 mg per day. Which works out great for when you are taking the capsule form. However you may notice that tea bags could have as much as 1500mg. Keep in mind that you are not ingesting that amount of spearmint when drinking tea. Plus you could steep a tea bag at least one more time if not more than that. When drinking tea, the suggested amount is a 250 ml cup 2 times a day.


  1. Spearmint raises LH (Lutenizing Hormone) which raises androgens.

There are three studies on spearmint that are commonly referenced by Ataabadi, et.Grant, and Akdogan. The overall consistency in these studies show reduced testosterone (free levels more specifically), and increased levels in LH, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), and estradiol. Here is the good and some thought that come to mind with that information:

  1. If estradiol rises, our uterine lining thickens. You may want to look into counterbalancing this with bioidentical progesterone as many of us have low in this hormone. 

  2. Estradiol helps with insulin resistance.

  3. Having LH and FSH is rise together in a balanced ratio and stay within normal range, this is a non issue

  4. If your LH and FSH is not a balanced ratio (2:1 or more) then having a rise in both of these does not help fix one of your issues. It may in fact, exacerbate it. This ratio balance has the potential to play a role in androgen elevation.

  5. Not all androgens (testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA, DHEAS, and DHT) are not shown to be reduced with spearmint

  6. Truly more research needs to be completed with longer testing periods to see what spearmint is doing to the body on a longer term basis. Especially since hair grow cycles are longer than the testing in these studies. 



Here are a few other items that many also play a factor in negative outcomes:

  1. Quality or purity of the supplements or tea that was used. Whatever was sprayed or used to fertilize the plants used to create the supplement or tea may play a role in the outcomes people are seeing. 

  2. What other things are they doing and taking along with their spearmint. Many women with PCOS make lifestyle changes to help with management as well as take medications or other supplements. These other items or lack thereof could also play a role in their results.


At the end of the day, our PCOS is different from the girl next door. So before just grabbing for a supplement, make sure it is a good fit for you and your PCOS. What works well for one or a few, may not work for you. 


Wishing you well on your PCOS journey,


Terra

The Mightiness of Progesterone

The Mightiness of Progesterone

I can remember a time in my life when I would ask myself, “When was my last period?” Which is pretty common when your body is not ovulating. Naturally going to the doctor to fix this problem is something I did. 


Unfortunately the problems began to continue from there. This is what happens when what you are taking is not the real deal. I had to change what I was getting in those pills and here is why: 




So like I said the problems I had began to develop into something more. I wish I knew then, what I know now. There is a big improvement when I made the switch to natural progesterone from synthetic progestin. 


Let’s compare the differences: 


I wanted nothing more than to sleep during the afternoon. I would curl up on the couch with a comfy blanket, turn on a movie I had watched a million times, and nap. 


Even now that sounds like an amazing idea! Luckily, I do not feel like I need to do that any more.


When you are taking progestin based products, adrenal fatigue is a common issue. Since making the switch, my energy levels began to improve and napping was no longer a necessity to make it through the day.


When I would have a period, they would be crazy heavy and miserable. I would go through so much famine product and have to do laundry often. 


While both are great for this, natural progesterone does it just a bit better.


Oh and of course...my mood would be unreal. I honestly had to go to counseling to adjust my attitude and as well as work on my depression. 


One thing progestin does not do well is help with your mood. In fact, it is linked with progressing mood disorders. 


Progesterone on the other hand has been such a blessing for me in this area. It is a promoter of good mood and also better sleep. Also when you sleep better, you are in a better mood. The two go hand in hand. 


Other benefits that you may gain from natural progesterone is it supports the cardiovascular system, nourishes hair and skin, supports breast tissue, and helps build muscle and bones. 


Natural progesterone for the win!


Now the trick is, how to get your hands on this stuff?


The first place to focus is getting your body back to naturally ovulating. I know this sounds tricky. 


This can be done when you address the underlying issues that are keeping you from ovulating. For many PCOS women this is easier said than done, but it can be done with lifestyle changes, I promise. 


The second piece to help support you while you are working on the above is to get micronized or bioidentical progesterone.


This comes in the form of creams, serums, and capsules.


Ready to switch to natural progesterone? We discuss this and more in the Thriving with PCOS community on Facebook.  Come join us in taking the steps to acquire natural progesterone for yourself. 


See You There, 


Terra 

Tips for PCOS Hair Growth

Tips for PCOS Hair Growth

To the ladies out there with the hair all over the floor. To the ladies with thinning hair. To the ladies with hair that only grows so long. I feel you!


I remember my brother always getting upset with me with how much of my hair would be on the floor of our bathroom. 


Shoot I did not know then, what I know now. If I did, I would have been more concerned for sure. 


However, over time, I began to see the other changes besides how much hair I was losing. I would see that my hair would only group to a certain length. Making me concerned about getting my hair cut too short. 


My hair thickness began to thin more over time as well. I would also begin to get more split ends. 


I would try all of the tricks like biotin and hair growth shampoos. While my hair would grow back in, I would still lose it in large mass and nothing more would come of my hair length nor did it ever get thicker. 


Now is a different story. I am finally seeing  improvement and I am excited to see how this progresses over time. 


But first, I do feel it is important to know how hair growth works. In this video, I walk you through the cycles for hair growth. It is important to know this, because you will not truly be able to judge if what you are doing is working for a few months. If you do not understand these cycles, you may be expecting a quick fix. 




Now for the part you have been waiting for, how to improve your hair. 


Well, like most things, it starts on the inside...your hormones. Many of us have hormonal imbalances that cause us to have these issues. If you are a PCOS woman, androgen levels are most likely the cause. 


Getting this balance back is key. So here is my approach to that: 


  1. Cut out the endocrine disrupting hair products: many of us use products with SLS or parabens, and fragrance. Do some homework on what you are using on your hair. I use a combo of the no-poo method and curly-girl method for washing and conditioning my hair. Since doing that, I have less greasy hair and I do not need to wash my hair as much...two bonus side perks!

  2. Nutrition: yes, you are truly what you eat. If you are not nutritionally balanced, you cannot feed your hair follicles what it needs to grow the hair you once had or the hair you wish you had. 

    1. Make sure to eat enough to fuel your body

    2. Eat balanced meals with fiber, protein, and fats to keep blood sugar balanced

    3. Get most of your nutrition directly from quality plant and animal food sources (skip processed foods as much as possible)

    4. Address any vitamin and mineral deficiency (B12, D, Magnesium, calcium, zinc)

  3. Hormone Balance: while you are doing that with the above items, you may find you will need more help with androgens for example. That may require a visit with your physician to get some lab work completed. Adding Zinc because of my androgen levels has been a big game changer for me. If you and your physician decide this is important, please start small and build up to an appropriate level for your body and needs. 


Androgens can be tricky and we all have different things to address within those levels. You may have some stress management to work on that affects your DHEAS. Or you may need to consider what is causing inflammation in your body that may be increasing your androgen levels.


No matter where you choose to begin your hair improvement journey, please know that step #2 is an absolute must! Without it, what you wash your hair with and which supplements you choose mean very little. Nutrition is king!


Happy Growing, 

Terra 


Disclaimer