When I was in Alabama, during a physical the Dr. asked me about my menstrual cycle and asked me when the last time I had one was. I looked in the files in my brain and could not even remember the last time I had a period. It had to have been at least a year and a half. Maybe more. We ran some tests and according to the ultra sound and the very fun women's annual exam, I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/polycystic-ovary-syndrome/DS00423 It's both a hormonal and physiological problem many women encounter.
When I was at Arizona State I went in for a physical. I told them about my PCOS and an unusual period of weight gain I had experienced and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothyroidism/DS00353. I was medicated, lost some weight and started to feel a lot better.
I was not ordered to receive more testing or any further investigations on either of my hormonal issues. I went to Northern Michigan for a year and then Colorado Springs for a year and can't remember how dedicated I was to taking my medications or if I was receiving proper treatment.
I moved back to Arizona and was again experiencing weight gain and extreme fatigue. All I wanted to do was sleep. Sleeping a lot and excessive weight gain are not fun experiences.
One of my team mate's Grandfather and Uncle are doctors that work on hormone balancing and therapy and I thought I'd give them a try. I was ordered very extensive blood work, body fat percentage tests, physical tests, and when we got the results, I was both surprised and not surprised.
I was surprised that my lipids and cholesterol were on the higher ends. My vitamin D, DHEA, and thyroid were low and on top of that, my estrogen and progesterone levels were completely thrown off. All of this contributed to big weight fluctuations, thinning hair, extreme fatigue, and irregular menstrual cycles.
If you have ever taken an anatomy and physiology class and you start to learn about the endocrine system or have had detailed blood panels done you may have felt like this:
After discussing our options and following proper USAD protocol, we started a program of a new diet, supplementation, and medication.
Right now, regulating my menstrual cycle isn't number one on my priority list but, it will be something we address after the Games. Tweaking that seemed like too big of a risk before the biggest competitions of my life.
Since having a new and more appropriate RX for thyroid medication, I have noticed a dramatic increase in my energy and recovery. Because I don't sleep all the time, I can sleep at more appropriate times and make sure my diet and supplementation is done correctly.
After doing follow up blood work, we found that all of my cholesterol, dhea, lipids, thyroid levels (everything but female hormones) were back within a normal range. All of this was solved by having my thyroid work properly and changing my diet slightly.
Because I am healthier I am able to recover better and have more energy resulting in performance gains. The difference between my performance at Pan Ams/Worlds and how I performed at Olympic Trials was an astronomical difference.
I highly recommend having some blood work done to see where your hormonal imbalances or deficiencies are. Primarily for your health and secondarily for performance.
If you're around the Mesa, Az area and would like work on getting healthy on the inside visit Deseret Aesthetic and Lifestyle Institute. Click on their image at the bottom of the page for more information