The contraceptive pill and my gut health
As many of you would have seen on Instagram and Facebook, over the weekend I had the pleasure of listening to Nat Kringoudis deliver the final talk of her Debunking PCOS tour around Australia. Whilst I haven’t been diagnosed with PCOS myself, I understand the role that our hormones play in our overall health and wellness, and after just recently coming off the pill earlier this year, I was keen to get the low down on how I can help my body thrive.
It was incredibly difficult to keep the pen out of my hands during this presentation; everything Nat said hit home and resonated with me. This kind of information just blows you away, and you are left wondering how on earth this stuff isn’t shared with every year 9 sex-ed class on the planet. I could go on for days about all the vital information I took away from these two hours of magical wisdom, but the power in this information is the a-ha moments that arise as you lay Nat’s guidance over your own individual story and circumstances, and begin to see how and why certain symptoms have played out in your life. It’s mind blowing – I can't recommend her work enough (Check out her e-course here!)
For me, Nat’s information on gut health stood out above everything else, and helped me see the light at the end of a dark tunnel I’ve been hopelessly starting into aimlessly for years. Here’s why..
I have been aware of some of the negative affects of the contraceptive pill for about a year now (unclear on what these are? Click here). And whilst I didn’t feel 100% comfortable coming off the pill this time last year just before I was going overseas for 9 months, I tried my best to adopt a lot of Nat’s diet suggestions throughout my travels, and then finally came off the pill as soon as I returned home earlier this year (after a good 7 years of taking it).
Whilst I have been lucky enough to get my period back on a regular basis after coming off the pill (when so many don’t), I’ve certainly been hit with some crippling pain in the meantime. Alongside this, my once glowing skin has seen a few moments of weakness, and my digestive system is struggling more than ever. I’ve struggled with stomach issues for most of my adult life, and whilst I now see this was likely a result of popping a pill daily that was stripping my gut of all its good bacteria (a.k.a the pill), I’m afraid that a combination of a long term gut problem and the nasty parasite I contracted towards the end of my South American adventure, has now put my gut health at an all time low.
After more than one case of food poisoning on my RTW trip, I got hit hard with a parasite whilst in South America, and found myself in front of a Spanish-speaking, emergency ward doctor for a second time on the trip, whilst in Lima, Peru. Despite taking probiotics regularly, not drinking alcohol and being incredibly careful of what I ate for the duration of my time overseas, I had found myself constantly in fits of pain which ultimately ended in me being violently ill for 11 days in a row and desperate for help (and just in case your wondering – NO, being violently ill in the stomach and travelling through developing countries on chicken buses is not fun. At all.). I was given a strong dose of antibiotics which seemed to settle my stomach for the remainder of the trip, but to this day I can feel the parasite’s presence (and negative affects of the antibiotics) still haunting my insides, despite it no longer coming up on any test results.
My gut feels weak, tired and undernourished.
It's as simple as that. And whilst my gut has never really felt 100% fighting fit and strong, it's never quite felt this weak.
And despite no longer feeding my body the pill, and continuing to nourish it with beautiful, organic produce each week, it’s simply not enough. I need to rebuild this baby from the ground up, nurture it, support it and restore the damage that has been done over a long period of time.
I feel that I am now at a point in my life where the information I have been looking for my whole life is staring at me in the face; I have the resources at my disposal to do something about it; and an opportunity to finally correct things once and for all by being an active participant in my own health, instead of simply sitting back and hoping one day I will have that iron gut I've always dreamed of.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the gut acts as our second brain. It is the rock that holds us together. If our gut is off balance, so is everything else in our life. And when our gut is weak, so is our intuition.
And as I have trodded along on this journey of health and wellness over the last year, in the direction the universe has been pulling me towards, I have based so many of the big decisions in my life on my ‘gut feeling’ and intuition. And all of these decisions have led to complete happiness in my present life.
So without a crazy, strong iron gut to support me and keep me balanced, how can I have a future where I continue to put the utmost faith and trust into what my intuition is telling me?
How can I expect to lead a balanced, guided life when my core is fragile and weak?
So with that, I am making a conscious decision to up my game. Whilst I already consume a very healthy diet which supports my gut to an extent, I need to kick into fifth gear and start serving up some gut-boosting goodness to my body on a daily basis. I need to really commit to healing my body from all angles.
It’s going to take time. And it is going to take one small step at a time. But if that's what it takes, well then so be it. It can take as long as 16 months to restore your gut health. And that’s 16 months of continuous, nourishment on all levels – no stress, no harmful toxins, no harmful thoughts and worries impeding on your hormone balance. So whilst I realize that I could be here for a long time, trying to improve my gut health and therefore overall health and wellness – isn’t that what life’s all about anyway? Continuously working towards being the healthiest and happiest version of ourselves, to support a life we love?
So as I begin to dive deeper into the world of gut health and share my experiments, recipes, and journey with you, I hope it can inspire you too to commit to your own personal goals surrounding your health. We will never reach a point in our life where we are done with bettering our health. As long as we are alive and kicking, we will forever have the responsibility of looking after the bodies we have been gifted with, and supporting them as they enable us to live out our dreams.
Thank you again for being here with me and letting me share my story with you. I am ever so grateful. And please if you feel called to, hit ‘Share’ and share this around amongst your friends.
Have a beautiful, gut-friendly, day! xx
Image sourced from here.