The Hormone Cure, a book by Harvard-educated gynaecologists Sara Gottfried has been out since 2013. But since this book has been a significant influence on my journey towards healing my endometriosis (which I described here), I believe it deserves a dedicated article.
I do believe that every woman should read this book and return to it every time her health and energy levels go awry. Reading this book should be mandatory for everyone with PMS, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, irregular periods but also problems such as hair loss, insomnia or migraines. Hint: All these issues are commonly caused by messed up hormones, which is something that more and more women are suffering from.
It’s much more useful to read this book and empower oneself with Sara’s wisdom than seeing an average gynaecologist who still lives out of a 1980s textbook and preaches the contraceptives and other hormonal pills doctrine as a panacea to every female problem.
The truth is that there is much more you can do to reclaim your hormonal (and all related) health, than popping hormonal pills. And that’s what this book is about.
Don’t get me wrong. I come from a country where every woman over the age of 15 is expected to have an insurance-covered preventive check-up by a gynaecologist every year to make sure that nothing bad is growing inside. And certainly if you are experiencing things like inexplicable bleeding, go have it checked. But once you did, read the book to widen your options.
I made the lucky decision three years ago not to follow advice of NHS gynos to have my periods stopped with hormonal pills and undergo surgery to have my endometrial cysts removed. That was allegedly the only way to get rid of the type of cysts I had. I followed Sara (and other similarly bright sparks) and now I am here cyst-free, without surgeries and hormones.
Out of the box
Sara Gottfried is one of the courageous out-of-the-box thinking doctors that our world so desperately needs. Educated and trained within the conventional medical paradigm, she came to realise that the dogma is not in line with what is best for health after experiencing her own hormonal upheavals in her early thirties.
She understands that disease doesn’t happen out of the blue. It takes years of poor life style choices to develop. And conventional medicine frequently contributes to that by feeding people symptom masking drugs, being it synthetic hormones, anti-depressants or drugs against high blood pressure.
As another female health guru Christiane Northrup fittingly says in her preface to the book, using symptom-masking drugs is like switching off indicator lights on your car’s dashboards. There’s no way such a choice can lead to a better functioning of the system.
But the pharmaceuticals-driven healthcare system refuses to hear that.
Better food and yoga
Sara wants to empower you. She doesn’t want you to be a passive recipient of prescriptions, waiting for a miraculous cure from your omnipotent doctor. There are no magic pills. But you have more power over your health than you think and your new-age holistic doctor should be here to figure out the underlying cause behind your symptoms and help you devise strategies to allow the body heal.
If you are an alternative medicine fan, you may think that what Sara preaches is not all that new. All she recommends are dietary and life style changes, supplements, vitamins, herbs, distressing techniques, exercise and perhaps a tiny little bit of bio-identical hormones.
However, she takes the alternative medicine approach to an entirely new level. She is rigorously scientific. She tailors her advice towards mitigating various types of hormonal imbalances using knowledge confirmed in randomised scientific trials.
She is also someone whom those self-proclaimed reasonable sceptics and alternative medicine haters can’t too easily dismiss as an irresponsible quack. Her credentials are enough to stand up against them even though she recommends things such as meditation and yoga.
How to approach this book
There are two ways how you can approach this book. If you are in a hurry and really want your answers fast, go to page 24 and take the hormonal imbalance test. This test should give you a basic understanding of what hormonal imbalances you are likely suffering from based on the symptoms you are experiencing.
(you can also take the test online, here)
Then you can go directly to Part 2 and read chapters related to the hormones you seem to have a problem with and learn how to correct them.
If you are more of an intellectual type or want to learn about Sara’s story and the thinking that got her to develop what she calls the Gottfried Protocol for healing hormonal imbalances naturally, start with the preface.
You will learn some rather shocking facts, such as that menopausal women had for five decades been prescribed a combination of hormonal pills, which was later found to contribute to heart disease.
And these were not the only magic pills to have been rolled-out without proper scientific evaluation of their long-term side effects.
The hormonal primer at the end of part one provides a scientific enough but not too overwhelming explanation of the nitty-gritty of the hormonal system and the interconnectedness of everything in the human body (did you know that if you are constantly overstressed, your high cortisol may actually affect your progesterone levels?).
The bottom line is – take your hormones seriously. Because it’s them and not aging that makes you feel like shit, develop cancer and depression. And the good news is that you really do have quite a lot of it in your hands.
Get a taste of Sara in this fab interview about biohacking your hormones: