Dating and Hirsutism: How to Tell Them

Dating and Hirsutism: How to Tell Them

Dating is one of the many things that looks different these days thanks to the pandemic. The unfortunate thing is that dating with hirsutism (excess hair) may be just as tough as it was pre-pandemic for some people.

In this post, we will be talking about dealing with excess hair while dating and how/when to talk to the other person about it.

About hirsutism

If you are stopping by to my blog and know about or have hirsutism, feel free to skip over this! If you are stopping by and don’t know much about (or are just plain interested) it, feel free to keep reading!

Hirsutism is the clinical term for excess hair growth in women. The areas on the body that this growth occurs at includes the upper lip, chin, chest, back, abdomen, thighs, neck and jaw line.

While it is normal for women to have some hair growth in the aforementioned areas, hirsutism is different in that the hair is thicker and coarser. This means that you have to work a little harder to get it off than you would if it were just some light hairs (peach fuzz).

There is a scale that scores a person’s level of hirsutism severity. This is called the Ferriman-Gallwey Scoring System. Not all medical practitioners use this scale anymore because everything is subjective. For example, a person might only score a two on the scale for upper lip hair but for them it is more severe than that.

There are several causes of hirsutism and they include the following:

  • PCOS
  • Menopause
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Androgen secreting tumors
  • Oral minoxidil
  • Obesity
  • Certain medications

Having hirsutism can cause depression. This is due to possibly not feeling feminine because of having the same hair growth patterns seen in men. Or if the hair is just simply unwanted. They may also feel embarrassed about it, too.

There are some ways that hirsutism can be managed and treated if one chooses to do so. They are as follows:

  • Shaving (razors and other types of shavers)
  • Waxing (professionally or at home)
  • Plucking
  • Epilator
  • Depilation- Be extra careful with this one!
  • Birth control (like Yaz)
  • Antiandrogen medication (like Spironolactone)
  • Vaniqa– This only slows the new growth and does no get rid of the current hair.
  • Laser therapy- This is more expensive than the other options. One should make sure to check out the pros and cons of having this done.
  • Electrolysis- This is more expensive than others on the list and can take up to two years of regular treatments to see results. One should make sure to check out the pros and cons of having this done.

Here is a wonderful resource for learning more about hirsutism: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2012/0215/afp20120215p373.pdf

How to date during a pandemic

Before we get into dating with hirsutism, it is important to know just how dating is done these days (if trying to be safe).

The pandemic has caused in-person things to be risky. This has made people turn to dating virtually. A person can meet someone on one of several dating sites or through someone they know and then continue the relationship through video calls.

Zoom and Google Duo seem to be popular choices to have video call sessions on. While getting to know each other on these platforms may not be as great as in-person, a good time can still be had and a wonderful relationship can bloom.

There are many activities that can be done outdoors. While they are safer than indoor activities, there is still a level of risk that seems to be higher now with this more contagious variant. This means that safety measures should still be taken.

In the event that people in a relationship want to meet and be close together indoors, they should proceed at their own risk. They could quarantine themselves for two weeks, get tested beforehand or just get together without any precautions.

Check out this webpage for more ideas on how to date safely during the pandemic: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-date-more-successfully-during-covid-5113503

Dating and hirsutism

You can still get ready for a video call date!

Picture this…

You have been messaging someone on a dating site and are ready to have a video call with them. Looking nice and put together is something you think is important even if you aren’t meeting in person.

You decide to put on attractive clothes first-picking out the most flattering thing you have. Then you get your face ready. This includes getting rid of any hair that you may have on there (however you do it) due to hirsutism. You find the excess hair to be embarrassing and you do not want your date to see it.

So in that scenario, you are being proactive about making sure that your date does not know about your hirsutism so that you can make the best first impression.

Now, let’s picture this scenario…

Things have been going wonderful with this new person you found on the dating site. You talk to them often and enjoy each other a lot. One day you have a video call planned with them. Since you feel comfortable being without makeup on the calls, you don’t put any on.

You also forget to get rid of the excess hairs.

During the video, you see yourself and realize that those pesky hairs are showing and very visible. You start getting really embarrassed and hope that they don’t see them. This then causes you to feel distracted and cut the video call short.

The second scenario might be a little more of a nightmare for you. For it to not occur and be something you have to worry about-you may want to consider telling the other person about your excess hair.

Your hirsutism can be talked about in different ways and at different times. Here are some ideas on how to do it:

  • Tell them straight-up, right away- If you are a bold person, you could tell them shortly after meeting them. This could be really tough for some people. The good thing about it is that it would weed out people if the hirsutism makes them want to bounce right away.
  • Tell them after things have gotten a little more serious- This is something that you can do if you are not the most bold person out there. When a relationship has been building for a while, you may feel slightly more comfortable talking about your hirsutism. You could find a quiet moment in your video call to bring it up. There are good chances that they won’t care about the excess hair since they have been rocking with you for a while.
  • Anytime while playing “Get To Know Me”- You could suggest to play a game like this where you answer personal questions about yourselves. You may have to sneak it in to whatever question they ask that is related or strategically suggest a question that you both are to answer.
  • Email them- If you don’t have the courage to tell them on video, you can always email them about your hirsutism. Mention that it is really tough for you to talk about it on a video call.

Instead of never telling the person you are dating that you deal with excess hair and setting a timer/reminder to shave before each video call, you should really consider telling them about it at some point. Forgetting to take your excess hairs off before frequent video calls or in-person dates is something that is bound to happen a time or two.

How I did it

Just showing my dry, wrinkly hands to say that it all worked out!

My husband is the only person I ever dated (sad, huh?). Back when we were first getting together, my hirsutism was not as bad as it is now but still visible. At that time I was getting it all waxed off and didn’t think I needed to tell him about my diagnosis.

After a while, my hirsutism did get a little worse for whatever reason. One day I even caught him looking at my chin. That was when I decided that I needed to tell him about how I have excess hair due to PCOS.

I just sat there and told him all about it. He was not turned off by this at all (obviously since we are married now!). In fact, he knew other women who had PCOS and dealt with the same issues.

My hirsutism has gotten even worse these days, unfortunately. The great thing is that my husband says he doesn’t even notice when I go a couple days without shaving.

Maybe he is just lying out of love but I will take it. Sometimes I forget to shave or just don’t feel like it!

In conclusion

Dating can successfully happen even if one has hirsutism. If you think things might get more serious between you and the other person, being frank about the issue is something to consider. It is important to remember that if someone truly cares about you, they will see beyond some extra hairs on your face and/or body.

Does anyone reading this have hirsutism? If so, did it affect your dating life at all?

Thanks for reading!

#datingsites #freedatingsites #OKCupid #Zoom #PCOS #hormones #hirsutism #hirsutismtreatment #shaving #hairremoval

What I Learned From Tracking My Health

What I Learned From Tracking My Health

Months ago, I created my very own book that combined a health tracker and daily planner all in one. I did this because I wanted to be able to do these two things daily without having to get two different books.

I am coming up on a year of using these and it has been pretty eye opening for me. In this post, I will be discussing what I have learned about myself in the past five months.

What health stuff I track and why

Ever since about two weeks after I had COVID-19, I have experienced many different symptoms that can be attributed to post-viral syndrome (I have a whole post about that). I am also really sensitive to hormonal fluctuations which has caused uncomfortable symptoms. These two things combined have greatly disrupted my life.

After a couple months of the post-COVID symptoms, I decided that I was going to start tracking how I felt each day. I began tracking my mental/physical status, the food/supplements I consumed and what day I was on in my menstrual cycle. I have kept up with doing this since then.

The reasoning behind tracking everything has been to see if there are any correlations and/or causations. Finding any may help me figure out how to fix things or be able to anticipate things happening so I am prepared.

What I have learned from tracking my health

As I stated above, tracking has been eye opening. Looking over these five months and analyzing everything has made me realize that I am not out of the woods yet with the post-COVID and menstrual cycle issues.

Here are the things that I have learned:

Post-COVID/general-

  • May-June were horrible overall. I had lots of bouts of my post-COVID crud (GI, neurological, respiratory and heart issues). I guess I was too proud to admit that the symptoms didn’t totally go away.
  • I am groggy on days without vitamin B12.
  • Allergy-type symptoms (itchy nose, swollen throat, itchy skin) are a regular thing for me. I believe this is another post-viral annoyance combined with a mast cell issue.
  • I will randomly have actual cold-like symptoms about three days out of the month. I have gone to get drive-through PCR swab tests but they are always negative. This must be a post-viral thing, too.
  • I was taking turmeric and Aspirin because I read that they can have health benefits that are needed during the pandemic. Things were going good with them for a while but within the past few months they started to mess with my GI system. I am no longer able to consume them.
  • My mental state consists of being happy and motivated most of the time.
  • I have developed heat stroke symptoms whenever I try to mow the lawn for some reason.

Menstrual cycle-

Before I start with the list, I wanted to give an explanation of the “GI and mental distress times” that you will see on it. This is when I get extremely anxious, upset, worried and experience horrible stomach issues (pain, bloating, nausea and sometimes loose stool) all at the same time.

Here are some general things about my menstrual cycle symptoms:

  • Since taking the full dosage of Claritin everyday starting in early July, my GI and mental distress times have reduced greatly. They don’t last for more than 1.5 hours and I am able to just breath through them most of the time.
  • Any hormonal nausea I do get that is too intense for me is taken away by red raspberry leaf tea and half of a Meclizine tablet.
  • The length of my cycles switched from 27 days to 31 days and then back to 27 again. I am not sure why this happened. PCOS maybe?

My last two cycles yielded pretty much the same symptoms on all 27 days of them. Here is a play-by-play of what I experienced during them-

  • Days 1-4: Menstrual cramps (days 1-2), fatigue, mild headache, low appetite, post nasal drip, happy and focused.
  • Days 5-8: Itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, happy, motivated, focused and bloody gums.
  • Days 9-11: No physical symptoms, happy and motivated.
  • Days 12-15: Leg aches, bloating, appetite increase, lightheadedness upon standing, ovary aches (day 14), GI/mental distress time (day 15), happy most of the time and bouts of sadness.
  • Days 16-19: Appetite increase, good energy for workouts, irritable at times, happy at times and easily startled.
  • Days 20-23: Lightheadedness at times, irritable at times, happy most of the time, some bloating and not enough energy to workout on day 22.
  • Day 24-27: Tender breasts, nesting, neck aches, nausea (day 26), smell of blood in my genital area, insomnia, some bloating, rumination, irritability and night sweats.

The main takeaway

What I take from all of this information is that I have some health issues that I probably won’t be cured of. All I can do is keep managing my symptoms so that my life is not disrupted further. Things have been going pretty good lately and I want that to continue on.

Do any of you track your daily health symptoms?

Thanks for reading!

If you are interested, you can find one of my health tracker/daily planners here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0915M7S3B

#journalsandplanners #health #women #nonbinary #pms #pmddtreatment #postviralsyndrome #COVID19 #symptoms #mentalhealth #physicalhealth #hormonalproblems #pcos

Zinc: What It Can Do for Hormones

Zinc: What It Can Do for Hormones

Many women/non-binary people with hormonal conditions are willing to try a lot of things to reduce or eliminate the accompanying symptoms of them. While there are medical interventions that exist, some are still interested in going the supplement route.

Zinc is one of the supplements that is said to possibly help with hormonal conditions and we are going talk all about it in this post!

Introduction to Zinc

Zinc is one of 118 chemical elements with an atomic number of 30. It is essential for living things due to the roles it has in keeping organisms healthy. In humans it is responsible for regulation and helping with the proper functioning of various systems.

The human body stores it in various places (i.e. organs and cells) but it is not found naturally in us. To obtain zinc, we need to either get it from food and/or take a supplement.

This mineral is used for industrial, supplemental and topical (ointments and creams) related purposes.

In terms of supplements, zinc comes in different types. These include gummies, liquids, lozenges, capsules and tablets. Some of them have the zinc combined with other minerals/vitamins or it is by itself.

There are several forms of zinc which include acetate, gluconate, picolinate, orotate, sulfate and citrate. These forms differ when it comes to absorbability, price and what it could specifically do for our health.

In terms of food, zinc is found in a variety of things. The foods with the highest amount of it include beef, pork, oysters, tofu, chicken, cashews, oatmeal and mushrooms.

Zinc and hormonal conditions

Zinc supplementation has shown to have some positive effects when it comes hormonal issues that plague many women/non-binary people. This is said to possibly be because of zinc’s ability to regulate hormones.

. The following are the hormonal related issues that supplementing with zinc may help with:

  • Fertility- Studies suggest that zinc may help shorten the time that it takes to get pregnant.
  • Metabolic syndrome in people with PCOS- A sufficient amount of zinc is essential for insulin regulation and for having a proper response to it. It also reduces glucose and triglyceride levels. Getting all of this under control reduces the risk for things like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Painful menstrual cramps- This problem is also called, dysmenorrhea. It is very common and can get in the way of having a quality life. Studies show that zinc has anti-inflammatory actions that may prevent and treat the painful cramps.
  • PMS- For some women, the levels of zinc get lower in the luteal phase (after ovulation and the two weeks before your period starts). Getting one’s zinc levels up during this time may reduce the brain sluggishness, mood swings and bad sleep.
  • Acne-The anti-inflammatory action that zinc has may help with the acne that can come with hormonal issues.
  • Excess hair- Many people with PCOS have too much androgens which then causes excess hair to form in unwanted areas (i.e. upper lip and chin). Zinc is shown to have anti-androgen effects so it may help reduce the amount of hair that is grown.

The above reasons are why quite a few professionals (the ones that are okay with supplements) that specialize in women’s/non-binary health recommend zinc supplementation for hormonal issues.

Magnesium and calcium are two other supplements that are touted as being great for hormones. Luckily, you can find products that contain all three things in one! An example of a combination product is this one by Solaray.

The dosage for zinc should be no more than 50 mg per day to avoid negative side effects. These uncomfortable effects include GI issues, chest pain, fatigue and headaches.

Other things zinc can do for our health

There are quite a few other things that zinc is said to possibly do for us. They are as follows:

  • Increase the strength of our immune systems.
  • Improve the frequency and severity of acne.
  • Improve age related vision loss.
  • Reduce signs of ADHD if taken with prescription medication.
  • Shorten lengths of colds.
  • Improve low moods.
  • Improve brain fog and memory issues.
  • Improve smell and taste ability.
  • Heal bed sores and diaper rash when applied in cream form.
  • Help with male fertility issues.
  • Help improve metabolic syndrome markers.

As with any supplement, the benefits of zinc are not definitive. However, there is a lot of good evidence for them.

Our favorite supplements

My husband and I both take zinc. I had stopped for a while but ever since I did more research on it- I have started taking it again. This is partly because I noticed that my cramps got worse when I stopped taking it (I use a health journal everyday!.

If you have a sensitive stomach, the lozenges I use are a great option. You can find them here.

My husband does not have a sensitive stomach by any sense of the word. Because of this, he is able to take a larger dosed pill from Nature’s Bounty that may be hard on some people’s stomach. You can find the product here.

Zinc may be the thing to try

If you are struggling with hormonal problems, you could give zinc a try. It may not cure you but it could end up helping you a little bit.

Are any of you taking zinc? If so, what do you feel it is doing for you?

Thanks for reading!

Affiliate disclaimer: Some of the links on my blog may be affiliate links. This means I will get a commission on any clicks and purchases you make.

Health disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any kind of a medical professional. I am not telling you what to do and nothing I say is a substitute for professional medical advice. You should consult with your doctor before making changes that could affect your health.

#zincsupplement #immunesystem #hormonalproblems #pms #pmddtreatment #pcos #health #women #nonbinary

Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

How cute is this?!

If you are like me, caffeine is a daily part of your life in some way or another. You may not be able to imagine a life totally without it.

If you are like me, you also may have women’s/non-binary’s health related issues. Could caffeine be making these issues even worse or actually causing them? Those are two questions I was interested in having answered.

So to answer them, I did some research and decided to put up a post about what I learned!

A little bit about caffeine

Caffeine is actually considered a drug but it is accepted and used by many in various forms. It is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

It was first isolated in 1819 from mocha (coffee) beans. From there, the usage of caffeine really exploded (it had been gaining popularity since the 1600s). Coffee beans aren’t the only things that it is found in as things like tea, cocoa, Yerba Mate (plant), guarana (plant) and more have it too.

Some things that don’t have caffeine naturally in them, have the extraction added to them. This is the case for energy drinks, energy patches, pre-workout mixes, supplement/vitamin blends. There are also caffeine pills that just have it as the active ingredient.

Caffeine content is generally reported in milligrams. The following is a list of the amounts of caffeine in various commonly consumed things-

  • Kola nuts: 10-50 mg per serving (2-3 nuts).
  • Coffee: 80-130 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Energy drinks: 80-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Soda: 30-58 mg per 12 ounces (Pepsi One has the highest amount).
  • Puerh tea: 60-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Black tea: 40-50 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Yerba Mate: 85 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Oolong tea: 35-75 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Green tea: 20-70 mg per 8 ounces.
  • White tea: 10-60 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Hot chocolate: 5-18 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Chocolate candy: 0-60 mg per serving.
  • Caffeine pills: 100-200 mg per pill.
  • Pre-workout mixes: 150-375 mg per serving.

These numbers are just estimates. There are different variables and factors that go into the actual amount of caffeine that something contains.

Positives and negatives of caffeine

Consuming caffeine can have good and bad effects. The effects that one gets depends on how much they takes of it and how their individual body responds to it.

Here are some of the pleasant as well as uncomfortable things one may experience when putting caffeine in their body:

Positive-

  • May wake you up to be less groggy in the morning.
  • May increase strength for weightlifting workouts.
  • Increase in cardiovascular performance: You may be able to go for longer and/or push harder during cardiovascular work.
  • Fat burning: It may increase your fat burning ability.
  • Increase in memory and alertness: It may help your memory and the ability to be alert for work tasks and learning.
  • May prevent diabetes.
  • May provide a mood boost.
  • May treat headaches and migraines.
  • May decrease the risk of Parkinson’s.
  • May stimulate growth, stop loss and thicken hair.

Negative-

  • Causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit or reduce intake. These include GI issues, insomnia and headaches.
  • May make mental conditions worse.
  • May cause anxiety and nervousness.
  • May cause irregular heartbeats.
  • May have a laxative effect and/or cause urine frequency.
  • May change how fast your body breaks down medications.
  • May block the effects of medications.
  • May mess up blood sugar levels.
  • May cause dehydration in your body which in turn may give your skin an aged appearance.
  • May increase blood pressure.
  • May deplete necessary nutrients such as vitamin B6 and B12.

Even though there are benefits to caffeine, taking a lot of it only increases the chances of experiencing the bad effects. Experts say it is best to not take more than 400 mg per day.

Caffeine and hormones

There is some evidence that caffeine can interact with our hormones in negative ways. Here are two hormones that caffeine can effect:

Cortisol-

One of the hormones it may have an effect on is cortisol which is a stress hormone. Caffeine has shown to increase the hormone which then causes an increase in blood sugar levels. Having high blood sugar can lead one to experience things like nausea, increased hunger, headaches and brain fog.

Estrogen-

One thing that has been seen with caffeine is that it can actually last longer in the body when one is taking estrogen treatments or birth control. This is not a good thing as it may be messing up one’s sleep cycle.

Another thing is that it can change estrogen levels especially if too much is taken. The direction that the estrogen level goes in, seems to be dependent on ones race. In Asians and blacks, a rise in estrogen has been seen. This is in contrast to whites in which a decrease in estrogen has been seen.

Variations in estrogen level can lead to things like hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

Putting it all together

As you can see, caffeine can have negative effects in regards to women’s/non-binary people’s health. It can:

  • Make anxiety and irritability that is experienced with PMS/PMDD, worse.
  • Mess with one’s sleep cycle which can worsen mood issues (among other things).
  • Raise blood sugar which in turn adds to and/or makes PMS/PMDD symptoms worse.
  • Cause a hormonal imbalance which in turn can cause worse PMS/PMDD, lower sex drive, irregular periods, worsening mental conditions, headaches/migraines, weight gain, hair loss, ovarian cysts, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog and heavy bleeding.
  • Deplete B6 which helps regulate hormones.
  • Deplete B12 which can cause things like mood swings, fatigue, brain fog and memory problems.

Not every woman/non-binary person will experience these things. If one is experiencing a lot of mental and physical discomfort during their cycles, it may be a good idea to look at how much caffeine is being consumed. Quitting or reducing it may be the answer to feeling better.

My caffeine consumption and hormonal issues

I am guilty of having a higher than recommended maximum dosage of caffeine. Each day, I take in around 450-480 mg of caffeine. Yikes right?

I used to get most of my caffeine in the form of coffee, special coffee drinks (caramel macchiato to be exact!) and tea. Now it is mainly just caffeine pills and tea. I typically take 200 mg from the pills in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and another 200 mg from the pills before working out in the evening.

Since upping my intake of caffeine, I believe that I have had worse PMS/PMDD symptoms. When I look back at my health tracking journals, I experienced a lot of severe symptoms up until starting Claritin. It was like I barely ever had a good day.

While things are better, I still have my bad days (bad moods and extreme GI distress) and I think that maybe reducing the amount of caffeine may help me. My plan is to try and get my intake down to 300 mg for a while and see how I do at that amount.

I know that there will be always be some discomfort I feel due to my hormones and life itself but if reducing caffeine can help me in any way- I am willing to take less.

It is your decision

It can be hard to break up with caffeine-either part of the way or all of the way. For some people though, it may be a good idea to be more mindful about how much is being consumed. In terms of women’s/nonbinary health issues, it may be making them worse or it could be the cause of them.

How much caffeine do you take in each day?

Thanks for reading!

#caffeine #caffeinemolecule #womenshealth #nonbinaryhealth #pms #pmddtreatment #hormones #coffee #tea

Be Careful With Supplements: Vitex (Chasteberry)

Be Careful With Supplements: Vitex (Chasteberry)

For the past six or so years, I have been continuously trying to figure out how to deal with hormonal issues. This has led me to read about many different supplements and medications that have helped other women who go through the same things as I do.

Vitex (a plant) is one of the things that some women swear by when it comes to dealing with their menstrual cycle issues. Upon learning about it, I decided to try it. Needless to say, my experience with it was not good.

In this post I will be talking all about vitex and specifically how it affected me.

Women’s hormonal discomforts

Many women and non-binary people experience varying levels of discomfort during their menstrual cycles. This can be due to their hormones being out of balance and/or because their bodies are sensitive to hormone shifts. Either way, it is very common.

Some of the things women deal with are as follows:

  • Physical PMS/PMDD symptoms: Acne, bloating, increased hunger, joint aches, headaches/migraines, lightheadedness, breast pain, insomnia and more.
  • Mental PMS symptoms: Sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability etc.
  • Mental PMDD symptoms (more extreme than PMS): Sadness, depression, anxiety, rage, mood swings etc.
  • PCOS: Acne, oily skin, hair loss/thinning, weight gain/difficulty losing, bloating, fertility issues and more.
  • Heavy periods.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Endometriosis flare ups- Abdominal pain, nausea, painful periods, pain during sex and more.
  • Infertility.
  • Menopause/perimenopause- Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, weight gain and more.

There are some other things women and non-binary people go through but these are the most frequently talked about things. Not all women have it bad or experience much of anything though.

Women who want to treat these issues usually end up taking/doing the following things:

  • Birth control: May balance hormones.
  • Diet and exercise: May help to balance hormones and is goes toward an all-around healthy life.
  • HRT: Replaces hormones during menopause.
  • Spironolactone: Blocks androgens and reduces blood pressure.
  • Pain relievers: Tylenol, Advil, Naproxen etc. for aches and pains.
  • Antidepressants: These may help the mood issues some women get during their cycles.
  • Acne products: These can include creams, antibiotics, gels etc.
  • Hair growth products: These can include serums, oils and shampoos/conditioners.
  • Fertility medication and IVF
  • Alternative/Traditional medicine: Some examples include herbal teas, plant extracts in capsules, vitamins etc.

These treatments effect each person differently so it is best to look into them as much as you can and consult with your doctor.

Vitex as a women’s health supplement

Vitex is the name of a plant that is used for women’s health purposes. It is also known as chasteberry and vitex agnus castus. This plant is native to the Mediterranean region which includes Italy, Greece, Spain, Tunisia, Syria, Monaco and Libya.

Vitex needs to be grown in hot and dry conditions with full sun. The tree can grow to be about 10 feet tall and looks great in one’s yard/garden. It is very pretty with violet flowers and berries. Just like most other plants, it contains flavonoids, essential oils and fatty oils.

In traditional medicine starting in the 14th century, the leaves were used for suppression of the libido in men and women. It was eventually found that the leaves and fruit possibly provide hormonal benefits for women. Since this finding, it has been marketed for this purpose.

Its use for women’s hormonal health is due to how it can alter hormone levels. Vitex has been shown in some studies to increase progesterone levels, regulate prolactin levels, increase estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels.

Because of the effects on hormones, some studies and anecdotes claim that it treats the following ailments:

  • Breast pain/tenderness: This is something that commonly occurs around ovulation and shortly before one’s period starts.
  • Bloating: This is something that commonly occurs before one’s period starts and sometimes lasts throughout it. For some women it also occurs during ovulation day.
  • Mood issues: Women who experience PMS or PMDD tend have mood related problems. With PMDD, the mood problems are more severe.
  • Hot flashes: This is commonly seen in menopause but some women also experience it shortly before their periods.
  • Insomnia: This is something that happens shortly before one’s period starts and during menopause.
  • Acne: Some people are plagued with acne before their periods start or the whole month due to a hormonal imbalance.
  • Infertility: Some people have a hard time getting and/or staying pregnant. This can be due to not ovulating frequently and/or progesterone levels being off. Infertility is commonly seen in people with PCOS and endometriosis.
  • Heavy bleeding (menorrhagia): Some people have periods that include a lot of bleeding. This involves needing to change a pad/tampon every hour and passing large clots. These types of periods may even last longer than the usual range of days (2-7 days).
  • Headaches/migraines: These commonly occur shortly before one’s period and during menopause.

Even though the medical research done on vitex isn’t considered as providing the strongest evidence of efficacy, there were some positive results for these issues shown in them. Also, if you take a look at reviews and women’s health forums, you will see that many people have been happy with the supplementation of it.

Despite some people getting good results, there are also many people who have gotten bad results from it. Because of this, it has been found that vitex can cause the following undesirable effects:

  • Worsening headaches/migraines
  • Mood issues
  • Bad acne
  • GI issues
  • Rashes
  • Insomnia

As you can see, taking vitex may lead to uncomfortable side effects. It can potentially add new symptoms or make current ones worse.

Another thing to be aware of is that vitex can interact negatively with certain medication and conditions. Below are some precautions that comes with vitex supplementation:

  • May interact with birth control.
  • May interact with antipsychotics.
  • May interact with Parkinson’s medications.
  • Should not be taken if you have breast, ovarian or uterine cancer.
  • Women with PCOS and endometriosis should think twice about taking it.
  • Should not be taken if you are receiving fertility treatment.
  • Should not be taken by someone with Parkinson’s even if they are not on medication for it.

If one does decide they are going to take vitex, there are quite a few brands that sell it as a supplement. You can find it in capsules, liquid drops and teas. There are even some women’s health related supplement blends that contain it.

Dosages of up to 40 mg of the concentrated fruit extract and up to 1000 mg of the dried fruit are recommended. It is said that supplementing with vitex may take three months of consistent use to start working.

My experience with vitex

I had read about vitex helping some women on a reddit forum. It sounded like it was worth a shot at the time.

Instead of doing research into it, I decided to just buy some right away (not a good idea!). I went with capsules that contained 400 mg of the dried fruit in each one and planned on taking two of them a day as the label stated to do.

I was hoping for the vitex to help me with the bloating, acne, headaches and low moods that I get before my periods. Balancing my hormones with birth control was not something I have ever been excited about so I thought that this could possibly be a good alternative.

Unfortunately, vitex was not a good alternative for me. Yikes!

Every possible negative side effect that one could have from it- I experienced. This meant that the issues I was trying to fix got worse! The nausea, horrific rashes on my back, ice pick headaches etc. were unpleasant to say the least.

The silly thing is that I took vitex for a few weeks because I thought things would get better. Of course they never did so I have no one else to blame but myself for feeling miserable. I should have stopped taking it after a couple days.

Clearly, vitex was and is not for me. You live and you learn I guess. I am really glad that it works for other people though!

In conclusion

Vitex is a hormonal health supplement option for those that are into plant based treatments. There are some benefits that have been seen from it as well as some risks. As with everything, it is best to do some research on it before trying it.

It was disappointing that it didn’t work for me. Since then I have continued to search for ways to make my menstrual cycles go better. All I can do is keep reading and trying things out.

Have you tried taking vitex? If so, what was your experience with it?

If you are interested you can check out my other post about a women’s health supplement (evening primrose oil).

Thanks for reading!

#womenshealth #menstrualcycles #nonbinary #supplements #chasteberrysupplement #vitexsupplement #menstrualcup #periods #pms #pmdd #hormones