Hormonal Imbalance Update & Review of Beyond The Pill

Welcome Friends!

Acne, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and more. Sexy! It’s no doubt that the symptoms of a hormone imbalance can be pretty frustrating. There is a lot of information out there on how to balance your hormones and figuring out what works and doesn’t work is quite daunting.

I looked at a hormone imbalance quiz, seed cycling, elimination diets, and more.

Use code “veganshmegan” on Dr. Brighten’s website to save $7.99!

I tried a couple of these things on their own, but I wasn’t consistent and I couldn’t tell what was working. I actually reached out to my Instagram followers and one them shared Dr. Jolene Brighten with me. I immediately started following her on Instagram and was intrigued.

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She talked about birth control and hormone imbalances in women in a way I hadn’t come across. It was so refreshing to have someone telling me that my symptoms all added up to a hormone imbalance. It was also helpful that that someone was able to teach me how to overcome my imbalance.

I want to share with you how I was able to overcome my worst hormone imbalance symptoms. In this post I will go over what my symptoms were, review Dr. Brighten‘s book Beyond The Pill, what I did to balance my hormones and how I’m feeling today.

My Hormonal Symptoms

I quit taking hormonal birth control in July of 2018 and my hormonal imbalance struggles started to peak around November 2018. My main issues were hormonal acne, hormonally driven anxiety and depression, weight gain and hanging on to belly fat. I go into more detail about these symptoms in this post where I first addressed my issues.

I got my period and was ovulating right after quitting the pill, so I thought that was a good sign. I had frustrating acne basically from the get go – that was the first sign something was going on. Around November/December my deeper than skin issues began to peak. I started to feel anxious (more than usual) and I was depressed. I had never been truly depressed before and, let me just tell you, I never want to feel it again.

I had a little bit of hormonal imbalance weight gain, nothing crazy, maybe 5-7 pounds. But I noticed that my stomach and hips were particularly holding on to the weight more than they ever had in the past.

Taking Action

I knew that it was time to get help. I went to my primary doctor and explained my symptoms and issues. He told me that it was in my head, that women are supposed to feel these things and that the pill will help me feel better. It was like he didn’t hear anything I said. He said he could give me topical acne cream and an antidepressant. I told him no thanks and walked out of the office.

When that didn’t work out so well I started digging into online resources to help me out and I came across Dr. Jolene Brighten. Actually, one of my lovely Instagram followers suggested I look her up and I am forever grateful.

Dr. Brighten is a pretty incredible human being who is changing how we view women’s health. She coined the term “post-birth control syndrome” and is helping women understand the long term side effects of the pill. Her goal is not to hate on the pill, but to educate women on what it does to their bodies, how to safely come off of it and what precautions you need to take if you are going to take the pill.

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She wrote a book called Beyond The Pill, which launched early in 2019, and it was exactly what I was looking for. The book begins with an introduction to to how Dr. Brighten can help you then goes into a hormone imbalance quiz to help you identify your personal imbalance issues. The rest of the book covers every hormone topic you can imagine – good stuff guys – and then finally helps you come up with a supplement and diet plan to get you on track.

Use code “veganshmegan” on Dr. Brighten’s website to save $7.99!

Dr. Brighten swears by her 30 Day Brighten Protocol and now that I’ve done it I have to say that I do as well.

How I Began To Heal Myself

The quiz that I took told me that my big trouble makers were too little thyroid hormone and too much cortisol. My less prominent issues were too much estrogen and too little progesterone. Now, I was kind of surprised by this. I thought that too much estrogen was for sure going to be my biggest issue, but that wasn’t the case.

This was extremely insightful information and I was able to target the book’s chapters to pay close attention to the thyroid and cortisol sections of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I read every damn word of that book. I needed it!

I powered through the book in a matter of days and began to build my plan based on Dr. Brighten’s 30 Day Protocol and recommendations.

Changing My Diet

Dr. Brighten provides a ton of valuable information on what types of foods to eat and avoid during the Brighten Protocol. This will help you identify if certain foods are irritating your system and causing you further hormonal disarray. She provides a lot of recipes, but keep in mind that they are not vegan friendly for the most part. I just avoided the foods she said to avoid (like gluten, soy, etc.) and ate a whole foods plant based diet.

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I managed to stay pretty strict to only eating the recommended foods for about three weeks and then I began to incorporate foods back into my diet. I learned that soy is actually hard for me to digest. I didn’t used to have a problem with it before, and maybe that has to do with changing gut bacteria, but I was kind of surprised. I noticed that after I ate it my stomach hurt and then the next day my eyes were kind of puffy underneath and I looked really tired. This is still true today, I just pick and choose when to eat soy and understand what my symptoms are.

Vitamins & Supplements

When you get toward the end of the book you get to create a personalized list of supplements to help you balance your targeted hormone issues. Dr. Brighten gives you her recommendations on specific supplements and brands to take – including her own line – or you can purchase the supplements on your own. I chose to purchase the supplements on my own from vegan brands that I knew I liked.

My Results

I’m happy to report that while completing the Brighten Protocol I immediately noticed a difference. I felt more stable emotionally and I got my period back on my very next cycle! My acne took a little bit longer to get better, but after about two months it was so much better. And now I might get one or two small pimples right before my period, but they are nothing like the deep, painful acne I was experiencing.

I have always had anxiety, but it went bananas after coming off the pill. It was getting difficult to manage. The Ashwagandha supplement and relaxing techniques I learned from Beyond the Pill have greatly helped me. I feel much more level headed and capable of making decisions and tackling everything on my list.

Another symptom that I had never dealt with prior to coming off the pill was depression. I truly didn’t care about doing things that I liked and I just wanted to lay down all the time. It was exhausting and mentally draining and it took me a couple months to finally realize what was going on. After the 30 Day Brighten Protocol I can say I haven’t felt depressed whatsoever. I’m so grateful that this symptom doesn’t seem to be sticking around. I definitely have so much empathy for people with depression now.

To summarize, I am feeling great. I feel like myself before going on the pill, but better. It’s kind of wild getting to know your body after you’ve shut it down for 12 years, but I’m enjoying it. I am feeling much better mentally and I’m happy that I nailed down my soy intolerance.

Use code “veganshmegan” on Dr. Brighten’s website to save $7.99!

Keeping My Hormones In Check

It’s been much more effortless to stay on top of my hormonal health now that I have some tools in my belt. What has impacted me the absolute most is what I’m eating. I stick to healthier plant based whole foods, but I do have processed vegan food once or twice a week.

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A tip that I picked up from my research is seed cycling. This is the act of using different seeds throughout the month to encourage your estrogen or progesterone levels when they need it the most. I usually just throw whatever seeds are on the seed cycling chart into my smoothie or oatmeal in the morning.

I have found that if I’m eating a bunch of junk I feel like junk!

Next up is the supplements. I don’t take nearly as many as I did while I was on the Brighten Protocol, but there are a few that I continue to take everyday.

Everyday I take 1 multivitamin, 1-2 probiotics, Ashwagandha, and an Omega 3. I always shop from the Deva brand for my vitamins because they are vegan, they are effective and they have a huge line of products. My multivitamin, probiotic and omega 3 are all from Deva. I highly recommend!

My Ashwagandha is from the brand Purely Holistic and I found it on Amazon. I think it’s really effective and I can tell when I miss a day.

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I also take Evening Primrose Oil (also from Deva) after ovulation up until I start my period. This really helps me get good sleep and decrease my PMS symptoms.

And lastly to stay on top of my hormonal health I am keeping a healthy mindset. I do that by getting in some daily movement, whether that’s walking, yoga or going to the gym. I find that this is the best way to keep myself mentally well. I also like to journal when I feel like it. It’s very helpful to pour yourself into a journal to work through things.

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Fixing Your Hormonal Imbalance

I can’t recommend Beyond The Pill enough if you’re struggling with a hormonal imbalance. It’s also great if you’ve been on the pill and you want to come off the pill. You might get some bad side effects, but if you start following Dr. Brighten’s Protocol right away these can be seriously decreased.

Use code “veganshmegan” on Dr. Brighten’s website to save $7.99!

Final Thoughts

Have you ever dealt with a hormonal imbalance? What were your symptoms? Do you have some tricks to staying on top of your imbalance? Let me know in the comments below!

Related posts: Dealing With A Hormonal Imbalance

Discount Code: Use code “veganshmegan” on Dr. Brighten’s website to save $7.99!

Talk to you soon!
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4 Comments
  • frolep rotrem
    May 12, 2020

    I got what you mean ,saved to fav, very decent internet site.

  • Taylor
    September 17, 2020

    Thank you for this review! I am vegan, just switched from the pill to the copper IUD, and am planning to start Dr. Brighten’s 30 day program soon but was nervous about what to eat. This was very encouraging to read!! I am really struggling with acne (have been for a long time already) so all my fingers and toes are crossed hoping this helps.

    Did you use her plant based detox packets as well or did you skip that? I’m wondering if you used it and would recommend it!

    • Melissa Eaton
      September 17, 2020

      Hi Taylor! I did not use Dr. Brighten’s supplements, but I did purchase and use supplements from other suppliers. Just make sure it’s a reputable source wherever you buy from.

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Hormonal Imbalance Update & Review of Beyond The Pill