Which came first: hormonal imbalance or Ulcerative Colitis?



I have been wondering about this “chicken or the egg” question for a long time – which REALLY came first: my hormonal imbalances or my Ulcerative Colitis?  Or were both issues stewing in my system for years and feeding off of each other? I’m highly intrigued by the possible correlation between my out-of-whack hormones and my UC diagnosis., and have done a decent bit of research on the topic.  In addition, I plan to start myself on a “Healthy Hormone” Supplement Plan courtesy of The Hormone Diet by Natasha Turner, ND, and will outline below the supplements I plan to take as suggested in the book for my specific* hormonal issues.

*My supplement plan is NOT for everyone – the book outlines really great HOLISTIC supplement/diet/lifestyle suggestions for ALL hormonal imbalances, so it’s definitely worth a read for yourself if your hormone issues vary greatly from mine.

When I was 15, I found out I had excess testosterone through a blood test and was put on birth control for 7 years.  I stopped taking birth control a little over a year ago, because I was tired of putting yet another drug in my body everyday (9 pills a day for my UC was enough, thank you), and since then my issues have slowly returned.  I currently have mild acne, darker hair growth on my body/chin/cheeks and breast reduction – all signs of excess testosterone or excess androgen in females.  Not to mention, I seem to have “flare-ups” around the same time as my periods which are not regular.

No connection? I think not…

Realizing that my hormonal problems had not been fixed, but just masked by birth control, and remembering the strides I’d made with treating my Ulcerative Colitis with diet, supplements and lifestyle changes, I dove into research about how to naturally regulate my hormones and have learned some pretty encouraging information, the most important of which is that:

Systemic Inflammation is the underlying cause of most hormonal imbalances, as well as autoimmune diseases! 

Natasha Turner, author of The Hormone Diet, created the hormonal “Treatment Pyramid”, which outlines how inflammation can lead to a host of other hormonal imbalances (click on the “Treatment Pyramid” link for a photo of the pyramid), and should be the first issue to be addressed before correcting the rest of your hormonal imbalances.  All this time I was thinking I needed to simply lower my testosterone, where as inflammation could be at the root of the problem…

Here are the basics of the “Treatment Pyramid” / Hormonal Imbalances, starting from the base:

3.  “Stress and Anti-Stress Hormones” (in order of Importance):  A) Low Cortisol  B)  Low DHEA

4.  “Sex Hormones” (in order of Importance) :  A) Excess Estrogen  B)  Low Estrogen  C)  Low Progesterone                             D)  Excess Progesterone  E)  Low Testosterone  F) Excess Testosterone

5.  “Metabolism”: Low Thyroid

6.  “Renewal” (in order of Importance):  A)  Low Acetylcholine  B)  Low Melatonin

7.  “Strength”  Low Growth Hormone

I actually found by taking the hormonal imbalance test in the book that I have multiple imbalances – Inflammation, Excess Insulin, Low Serotonin, Low GABA, Excess Cortisol, Excess Testosterone and Low Thyroid.  Damn – that’s a lot of problems.  As Turner suggests, I am going to start by treating the inflammation and if that doesn’t work, move on to treating the next imbalance (for me, it will be Excess Insulin) and so on.  My current diet of no grains, no dairy and low sugar to treat/heal my Ulcerative Colitis has already begun to help me regulate my insulin levels.

Erika’s Hormonal Balance Supplement Plan:

General Supplements and doses for ALL people regardless of hormonal imbalance:

  • Probiotic – I use one specifically for Colon Health, but there are lots of great options out there
  • High Quality Multivitamin containing 800-1,000 IU of Vitamin D3, Iron and Folic Acid (important for women of reproductive age)
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil High in DHA – 2 to 4 grams a day with meals
  • Calcium-Magnesium in a Citrate base with Vitamin D3

Supplements for Specific Hormonal Imbalances (I’m going to start with treating my inflammation and then move on to the next hormone levels if need be:

1st – Inflammation – (Pyramid Base)

  • Turmeric – also supports liver function and detox – 500 – 1,500 mg/day on empty stomach
  • Organic Green Tea – 2 to 3 times a day in tea form or capsule form

2nd – Excess Insulin –

  • CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – has anti-inflammatory properties – take 1,500 mg 2x/day with food for 3 months – “conjulite form”

3rd – Low Serotonin –

  • 5HTP – 50 – 400 mg/day – divide in 2 throughout the day or take whole does at bedtime

4th – Low GABA –

  • GABA – 500 to 2,000 mg 1-2 hours before bed
  • also helpful to regulate GABA is getting more regular sleep and practicing yoga!

5th – Excess Cortisol –

  • Vitamin C (lots of it!) – 2,000 – 6,000 mg spread throughout the day – should contain bioflavonoids

6th – Excess Testosterone –

  • Saw Palmetto 160 mg 2x/day on empty stomach
  • supplements taken for Excess Insulin and Excess Cortisol can regulate testosterone also!

I’m truly hoping to NOT need to take all of these – but it feels SO good to have a clear-cut plan to begin to deal with hormonal problems that have been plaguing me my whole life.  It would be such an awesome plus if my Ulcerative Colitis followed suit and responds to the reduction in inflammation.

I’ll be sure to post updates about my progress!







instead of wallowing in my pity, I decided to dive into some research to learn how I could naturally reset my hormones.