The Important Hormone That You Never Hear About

“You have an abundance of prolactin,” my doctor stated during my last appointment.  Prolactin, what?!  Don’t you mean progesterone, testosterone, thyroid????  Up until my 36th year, I had never heard of this hormone and certainly had no idea what it was for or the many issues it can cause in your body.

Wikipedia’s definition states that Prolactin “also known as luteotropic hormone or luteotropin, is a protein that is best known for its role in enabling mammals, usually females, to produce milk.”  Wikipedia goes on to state that it “is secreted from the pituitary gland in response to eating, mating, estrogen treatment, ovulation and nursing.”   Synopsis: it is responsible for lactation.  Well, as a woman who has never been pregnant, this shouldn’t be something I should be concerned about, right?!  Wrong!

An increased amount of prolactin can affect the body significantly.  In women too much prolactin can cause:

  •  Irregular menstrual periods/or no menstrual periods
  • Milky discharge from the breasts when not pregnant or breast-feeding
  • Acne and excessive body and facial hair growth
  • Infertility

Women, you aren’t alone.  Too much prolactin can affect the men in our lives as well.  In males it can cause:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased body and facial hair
  • Uncommonly, enlarged breasts

In both sexes, it can cause:

  • Low bone density
  • Loss of interest in sexual activity
  • Headaches
  • Visual disturbances
  • Infertility

The body never ceases to amaze me and the craziest thing about too much prolactin is that it can be caused by tumors on your pituitary gland (you know, that small gland that sits at the base of your brain….that basically controls all of the other hormones in your body!!!).  Most of the time, the tumors are benign but need to be lessened with medication or surgical removal.

Long story short, if you have any of these symptoms, make sure to ask your doctor to check your prolactin levels with a simple blood test.  Listen to your body; it will tell you if something is wrong.

In the meantime, spread the awareness about this ignored, yet crucial, hormone…PROLACTIN!!!!!

 

What NOT to Ask a Woman of a Certain Age

Happy Healin’ Vegan is a blog that will help you “create a happy and healthy life.” Although I intend to maintain a positive space, I will also share parts of my story that we can all learn from. This blog is a vulnerable one for me but is hopefully something that can help us all grow as happy and healthy individuals.

 

As I reflect back, I realize the most difficult part of being in my 30’s has definitely been not having children. And this was not because of my desires to have a baby, but because of society’s expectations for me to do so.

It was literally the day of my 30th birthday when people started sending diaper coupons to my email and when people started asking the “none of their business” questions regarding my fertility. In the six years since then, people have said things to me like, “You’re not getting any younger,” “Have you been to the doctor,” “Being a mom is the greatest gift in the world,” and my all-time favorite, “If you’re not going to use your uterus, maybe you should just have it removed!”

Maybe part of it was my fault. I always loved children and was a nanny who couldn’t stop raving about what Bobby or Tiffany did or said during my workdays. It was only natural that I would get married and immediately have children. But as I grew up, my desires changed. I longed to have a successful, life-changing career. And being diagnosed with an incurable illness was an obstacle that put being a mother on the back burner.

I am not saying that I don’t want to have children (Lord knows that I have been saddened and have cried with every baby announcement that has come my way). However, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that my time will come if and when it is right. In the meantime, not being a mother doesn’t make me any less of a person….or a WOMAN. I have amazing gifts to offer, a kind heart and a passion to heal the world.

The bottom line is that a woman’s desire to have a child is no one’s business, except those that she decides to share her aspirations with. It’s not a question that you should ask or a subject to comment on. You never know what that person is going through or how long your questions will stick with them. So next time you meet a childless woman in her 30’s, ask her about the weather, about her job, or about her pets…Do not ask her if she is having children. If you are someone she wants to discuss it with, she will bring it up.

 

 

My Loss and Tips on Dealing with Grief

Hello friends,

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2017!

I normally try to stay extremely upbeat and positive with my posts, and I promise that I will be back to those soon.  However, before I can move into this year I wanted to share this post with you.  Please forgive me 🙂

For me, as well as for many others, 2016 was a year filled with sadness and heartbreak.  There were many close to my heart who suffered great losses and I too lost a dear, loved one. I experienced my first real grips with death when losing my dog, Jake.  I know that some may be thinking, “come on, it’s just a dog!” But for me, Jake was my best friend.  He was in my life for over ten years and was honestly my child (since I haven’t been blessed with a human one yet).  We did absolutely everything together and no person will ever love me with the unconditional love that Jake did.  Plus, this was my first true experience with death and watching someone have their last moment on this planet.  It’s a tragedy that will take me a long time to get over.

I could go on and on about my Jakey but that is not why I am writing this.  I am here to give you my tips on how I am dealing with grief.  I share this with you for two reasons: 1) I know that so many people are suffering from grief right now.  If I can help you with even one of my tips, my job here is done. 2)  It’s cathartic.

Here are the tips that are helping me deal with grief:

  1.  Go Outside.  There is something about being outside that reminds me that the world is so much bigger than me.  It reminds me that there is good in the world, regardless of how sad I am in the moment.  Put your feet in the sand, look at the trees and flowers, breathe in the fresh air.  Staying inside and dwelling on our sadness never helps.
  2. Move Your Body.  For me the thought of doing a difficult workout during a period of grief is unbearable.  However, it is crucial to get out of your own mind and to move your body.  Increase those endorphins with some Yoga or go for a walk.
  3. Eat Healthy Food.  I know what you’re thinking, “all I want is comfort food when I am sad!”  I did too…pizza, soup, french fries!!  But did you know that some foods can actually make us more depressed?  Try to get in some veggies and healthy meals.  Also, try to throw in some grounding foods like sweet potatoes or beets.
  4. Talk to a Friend.  If you are lucky enough to have a good friend who will listen, talk to them about your feelings, experiences and memories.  Do not bottle it up.
  5. Take Care of Yourself.  Remember that grief can actually have a negative impact on our health.  We saw this through the passing of Debbie Reynolds after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died.  Self care is crucial during this period.  Take baths, increase your vitamins, get extra sleep, journal, meditate, etc.
  6. Remember that You are Human.  This tip is the most important of all!  There are days where I forget that death is a part of being a human being.  I try to be strong and hide my feelings but it is crucial to allow ourselves to feel the way that we are feeling.  If you are sad, it’s okay…more than okay….to cry.  It’s okay to be angry, tired, confused, depressed, selfish.  Feel the way that you need to feel to get through this.

 

I hope that some of these tips can help you through your healing.  If you are suffering the loss of a loved one, please comment below and share your story.  We can get through it together 🙂

I hope that this can be a wonderful year for everyone and I will be back with some happiness and joy soon 🙂

5 Tips for a Great Night’s Sleep

photo-5Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep?!  Here are some of my favorite tips to help you sleep like a puppy:

5 Tips for a Great Night’s Sleep

1). Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. (Yes, even on the weekends).
2). Exercise during the day. Even a slow walk during the day will help you sleep better.
3). Meditate for 5 to 10 minutes before bed. This will help clear your mind of all the stressful events from your day.
4). Turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime. A bright screen tricks your mind into thinking it should be awake!
5). Rub a few drops of Lavender Essential Oils onto the balls of your feet. (I personally use Young Living Essential Oils). This works for me every time!!

Sleep tight! 🙂