When in Doubt, Start with a Seed (Literally)

Seed cycling is a growing trend claimed to balance hormones, boost fertility, and ease symptoms of menopause. It involves eating flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds at different times of the month to balance certain hormones.


Admittedly, I’ve been pretty good about venting about what’s going on with me, but not so great at actually doing something about it. Honestly, that’s my life M.O. – so, not so unique to this whole perimenopause thing. But when I think about what’s keeping me from doing something, anything, to feel even moderately better, I keep coming back to fear. Yeah, the ghastly and dreaded “F” word that holds so many of us captive from the well-being and happiness we deserve. Even so, with his familiar and seductive hold – it’s getting pretty old.

It’s the tail end (I think) of my menstrual cycle, and pretty much like clockwork, I’m feeling inappropriately hostile. Things were going along pretty well on days one through three…but then, day four hits and oh boy, WTF?!?! EVERYTHING IRRITATES ME…and I’m over it. So, while I think I’m ready to do something about it, the question I’ve been wrestling with, is what???

On my last visit to the OB-GYN (seven months ago), I talked to him about the hostility and the night sweats. He assured me this was normal “for [my] age” and probed about the extent to which these things were affecting my everyday quality of life. I told him that I was concerned about the intensity and consistency of them both – the hostility was affecting my engagements at work and the relationships in my personal life. And the night sweats, well, the night sweats were keeping me from getting a restful night’s sleep (along with a full bladder), and on the worst nights actually break my sleep altogether, because I have to get up and change the sheets…

He offered that EstrovenTM might be a good option for me, or some other OTC drugs that include estrogen and progesterone. I ask him about supplements next, and it’s pretty clear he has a strong bias against them — although his reasoning about “the countless number of unregulated supplements that lend themselves to counterfeit,” made pretty good sense to me. I then asked him about low-dose birth control pills. And he paused for a minute, and said that he hadn’t recommended them before because of my history with fibroids (I’ve had two myomectomies in the past five years). But he quickly follows up with, “you’re older now” so the propensity for fibroids lessens with age…”Let’s try it. And if the fibroids grow, we’ll address it then.”

So, I’ve had the pills for six months now…in fact, they auto renew every three months and for some reason, I recently picked them up when the pharmacy called to let me know that my next 90-day supply was ready for pick up. And now I have a six-month supply of low-dose birth control pills, which I’m scared to take (ah! My old friend, Fear), because the notion of ANOTHER myomectomy or worse, a HYSTERECTOMY, completely stifles me.

Well, last month I attended a women’s summit in Northern California (an “un-conference conference”) where I was introduced to the concept of seed cycling by a naturopath during a workshop on women’s hormonal health. Basically, it entails adding seeds – pumpkin and flax during the first 14 days of menstrual cycle and sesame and sunflower during the second half of the month — to balance your hormones.

I was intrigued by the concept and have decided that, despite the fact the discipline this practice requires (it can take up to 3 months to recognize the benefits) just adds another thing for me to think about and do EVERYDAY. Even so, I’m going to give it a try… “Do or do not! There is no try!” – Well okay inner Yoda! I’m going to do it for at least 90 days. If nothing else, it’ll be an action I’m taking and something to write about along the way. I’ll also reap a range benefits of adding “healthy” seeds to my diet…YUM! And, if, at the end of three months I feel the same as I always have, I have a stockpile of low-dose BCPs to try next. Will keep you posted.

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