Like many young girls, Laurie Christine King was treated for severe acne and crippling periods with the birth-control Pill at age 16. Two years later she was diagnosed with an underachieving thyroid, and eventually Hashimoto’s disease. Thyroid medication had no effect, and it led to an eating disorder, a way for her to cope with the loss of control of her body.
Laurie’s progressing sickness led her to pursue a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She says on her website that she was motivated not only to “remedy MY own issues with eating, but to put myself in a position to help others NEVER be in my position. I continued taking thyroid medications for over 10 years and it wasn’t until I got off the Pill, addressed underlying hormone imbalances with better nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, and environment that I was able to pull optimal thyroid values and become completely medication-free.”
Laurie is passionate about full body health, and, as a result of her experiences, she can see the big picture connection between nutrition, fitness, hormones, and fertility, and how they all impact each other. “Unfortunately, I’ve realized that women’s health is very underappreciated and misunderstood,” Laurie tells me. “Most women don’t understand how their body works, how hormonal birth control impacts them, or that pregnancy can be prevented in ways that don’t involve shutting down our hormones or menstrual cycle.”
She shares these passions on social media, and her content is so refreshingly bold, honest, and factual that she has attracted nearly 24 thousand followers.
Laurie, who also goes by her initials, LCK, graciously agreed to speak to Natural Womanhood for Thyroid Awareness Month, and answered questions regarding hormone health, how it relates to fertility, FABM, fitness, and overall health.
Some of the Most Common Hormone Problems
Laurie Christine King said that the most common hormonal concerns people reach out to her for help are for cystic acne, low sex drive, heavy and painful periods, cramps, and/or lack of a menstrual cycle. “Hormonal birth control is typically prescribed for these common symptoms. There is usually zero discussion on addressing the root cause, such as making changes to diet, lifestyle, environment, exercise, and so on,” she said.
While most doctors offer the Pill, IUD, implant, or other hormonal birth control in response to common hormonal problems, these not only cover up the root causes, they come with serious side-effects for women who take them.
“Hormonal birth control is doctor-prescribed hormonal imbalance,” Laurie tells me. “Estrogen and progesterone are vital to happy hormones and operate as a see-saw in the body. Hormonal birth control prevents us from ovulating and if we don’t ovulate, we do not produce progesterone.” As a result, hormonal birth control is not a catch-all solution, and in some cases, it can make a woman’s symptoms worse, including mental health problems.
Identifying Root Causes
Because women often don’t hear many options besides hormonal birth control to manage their symptoms, many women feel helpless when it comes to addressing hormone-health issues. Laurie Christine King emphasizes paying attention to your body and what it is telling you, in order to get to the root of your problems. “Super short cycles might indicate that someone has low estrogen levels. Lack of ovulation, aka anovulatory cycles, indicate low progesterone levels (since we have to ovulate to produce progesterone). Breakthrough bleeding and spotting may indicate low progesterone or short luteal phases.”
A hormone problem can also rear its ugly head through a basic health or fitness routine, Laurie adds. “Less-than-healthy hormone levels could be the problem if you aren’t seeing regular PRs (personal records) in the gym, having no ‘second gear’ in a workout, not seeing muscle gain, struggling to see fat loss, or body composition changes.”
Starting a Journey Toward Improved Hormone Health
If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, don’t despair. It’s possible to bring hormone health back from the edge of imbalance. The first step, Laurie says, is to “transition off hormonal birth control immediately. It takes time to rid the body of all the artificial hormones, and rebalance natural ones.”
Also you will want to reconsider your diet. “The body has to feel safe to care for a baby, so it’s important to be eating enough dietary fat and calories, to be not overtraining or exercising too much.” She recommends a total audit of diet, lifestyle, exercise, and environment, and to replace potentially toxic items with natural ones such as natural skincare or shampoo.
From her own personal experience, Laurie saw that hormonal birth control inhibits thyroid function on multiple levels. She had already taken care of her diet, lifestyle, and environment, but it wasn’t until she transitioned off hormonal birth control, she says, that things took care of themselves, and her health found its way back on track.
Laurie Christine King encourages women to seek other surprisingly simple solutions, such as supplementing zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D, and B complex. Furthermore, make a few lifestyle adjustments such as sleeping 8 hours a night, eating a protein/carb/fat/veggie at every meal, and getting adequate fiber and water can make a difference to hormonal health. Reading books like The Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden, and Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried can offer helpful insights.
Involving Your Doctor
Ultimately, King recommends speaking to a doctor and requesting a full hormone panel. She speaks highly of dutch tests, as she says they are the most comprehensive, but EverlyWell is a viable option as well.
“Keep in mind that hormone levels vary throughout the month,” she said. “So you need labs that include values during both the follicular and luteal phases of your cycle. You can’t test levels if taking hormonal birth control, as natural hormones become overridden. If transitioning off hormonal birth control, we recommend waiting three months prior to lab work.” Finally, she recommends that women consider taking a four-point cortisol test, which tests your cortisol levels over four different times.
The practice of a fertility awareness method is key to timing the test at different phases of the cycle and understanding what is really going on with your body. Learn more about fertility awareness-based methods today.
To get in touch with Laurie, you can find her online at https://lauriechristineking.com. Follow her on Instagram for lots of free and informative information on FABM, women’s and men’s hormone health, nutrition, and fitness @lauriechristineking
Check back next week for Laurie Christine King’s recommendations on how to improve your hormone health right now.