Tag Archives: birth control

My Experience With Everlywell Women’s Health Test

Read my honest review of Everlywell Women’s Health Test, and how I applied the results to improve my PMS symptoms, anxiety, sleep, and other hormonal health issues!

Everlywell Women's Health Test

Hey friends! So many of you appreciated my review of Everlywell’s at-home Food Sensitivity Test, and the results from it were so helpful in me pinpointing exactly what was causing my symptoms and alleviating them with an elimination diet.

To further improve my health after some recent issues I’ve been dealing with, I thought it would be wise to take another test to see how my hormones were doing. I ended up taking the Women’s Health Test and I want to share my experience with you, in case you were curious about doing something similar.

Why I Chose Everlywell Women’s Health Test

If you’ve been following me along on the blog for a while, you know I’ve gone through several hormonal health issues in the past and it’s one of the reasons why I’m so careful about the food I eat and the products I use on my skin. I had a long period recovering from adrenal fatigue, suffering from stress-induced hypothyroidism for a few years, and not having my period for several years after I went off of hormonal birth control.

I’ve been slowly recovering for the past several years by taking extra caution to take care of my health, but there are still some issues that linger that seem to be hormone-related, like:

  • not sleeping well at night,
  • being super sensitive to stress,
  • intolerance to cold at all times,
  • painful menstrual cramps,
  • anxiety,
  • and being easily fatigued.

It was time for me to tackle these issues and see where I currently stand, and the hormones measured by Everlywell Women’s Health Test seemed to be the ones that would be the most helpful to know. With the positive experience I had with Everlywell taking the Food Sensitivity Test, I decided to try out the Women’s Health Test as well.

Test Process

Everlywell does a really great job of making their at-home tests easy to take with simple step-by-step instructions, as well as a video tutorial, to help guide you through the entire process. Once you order the test through their website, you get it in in the mail and the kit has everything you need, as well as a prepaid shipping label to send it back to their lab.

The first thing you do is to register your kit online so you can receive updates about your shipping and test results. Then, I had to collect 2 blood samples and 4 saliva samples within 18 days of my cycle. I actually couldn’t take the test for a few weeks after receiving it because you have to wait until day 3 or 4 of your menstrual cycle to take the first blood collection. Here is the schedule for the samples you take:

  • Day 3-4 of menstrual cycle: take first blood sample
  • Day 19-21 of menstrual cycle: take 2nd blood sample + 4 saliva samples (in the morning, at noon before lunch, before dinner, and before bed)

Taking the blood sample

Everlywell Women's Health Test

The blood samples were actually easier for me to take because I’m not afraid of needles and I’ve gone through the same process with the Food Sensitivity Test. They provide alcohol swabs, a few lancets, bandaids, and a blood collection card that you have to fill with your blood samples. You pierce the end f your finger with the lancet provided and fill 6 circles on the collection card, and that’s it.

Taking the saliva sample

I found it a bit more challenging to provide saliva samples, especially the first sample of the day which you have to collect in the largest tube within 30 minutes of waking up before food and water. I honestly didn’t feel like I had enough saliva to fill up the large tube first thing in the morning so it was a bit of an effort for me. The samples for the rest of the day were a bit easier because the tubes were smaller and my mouth wasn’t as dry as it had been in the morning.

Once you label the tubes, you can keep them in the freezer until you ship them out. When you have all the samples collected, you fill out a form that they provide. You input your personal information on the form and then you ship it out, along with all the samples, in the prepaid envelope that they provide. They then reach out to you once the results are ready.

The Results

I couldn’t believe it but my results were ready just 2 days after the lab received my samples!

The Everlywell Women’s Health Test measure 11 different hormones that are known to be instrumental in women’s health:

  • Cortisol

For the women’s reproductive system, as well as our overall health, to be functioning properly, all these hormones need to work together in a harmonious balance.

I got my results via email, and was able to look at them through the Everlywell online portal that you can access when you register your kit. You also have the the option to download the PDF version that you can print out to look over and/or share with your doctor. Here’s what it looked like at a glance:

Just from looking at the color code next to each hormone, I was fairly within the normal range for most the most part. I was actually thrilled to see that my cortisol was at a normal range throughout the day, because I’ve had blood sugar issues in the past which now seem to have normalized. I was also very happy about my thyroid numbers (free T3, free T4, TSH, and TPO antibodies) being well within the normal range, because I suffered from hypothyroidism for a little over a year during my worst days of adrenal fatigue

However, the red dot next to Estradiol and yellow dot next to Progesterone/Estradiol Ratio gave me pause, although I wasn’t surprised by them.

I knew that because of my past of chronic stress and how sensitive I am to stress still, that my estrogen levels would be higher than normal. Estrodiol is one of the 4 main estrogens occurring in women and it is the most predominant one. Estrogen dominance is a common health issue in the modern world because of everyday stressors, environmental toxins, and the harmful chemicals prevalent in the personal care products we use.

Here’s what showed when I clicked on each of these hormones:

everlywell women's health testeverlywell women's health test

Beyond these explanations, Everlywell gave some basic tips to regain my hormonal health like making changes to my diet, and more importantly for me, managing my stress. It’s something I struggle with the most so I wasn’t surprised to see this recommendation:

everlywell women's health test

While the rest of the hormones were within the normal range, I still looked them over to see if they were within the high or low ranges of normal just to make sure. Thankfully, my levels looked really good for the rest.

In addition to the practical recommendations, Everlywell also suggested various articles that I may want to check out about different hormonal health conditions like thyroid disorders, testosterone levels in women, PCOS, and more, which I found interesting and helpful. Even if they didn’t directly apply to me, I loved learning a bit more about various conditions and it also kept me aware of how I can keep my hormones healthy and happy.

Lifestyle Changes I Made Since the Test

After learning that I am estrogen dominant from the Everlywell Women’s Health Test, I decided to take further action to help regulate my hormones. It became clear to me that my stress level was a huge contributor to a variety of health issues I was dealing with.

Here are some actions I’ve taken to reduce stress in my life:

  • Meditation at the end of the day for 10 minutes.
  • Trying to journal everyday. Writing down my thoughts like what’s giving me anxiety and what I’m thankful for each day has been such a game changer.
  • Working smarter. Instead of trying to multitasking or doing all the things at once, I’ve been better about breaking up my tasks and doing one thing at a time. I’ve also been putting away my phone when I work so I’m not distracted by social media and notifications.
  • Giving myself weekends. It’s difficult as a business owner and as someone with a type A personality to stop working when you have free time. This one is still hard for me, but I’ve been trying to put work aside and give myself time to do nothing when I need it.
  • Cleaning up my personal care products. I started doing this a long time ago and I’m so glad that I did. Turning to safer brands like Beautycounter who make amazing products without harmful chemicals that disrupt our hormones has been the best decision.
  • Taking chaste tree supplements. Chaste tree supplements are amazing for PMS symptoms, estrogen dominance, and hormonal imbalance. I’ve been taking this one for about 2 weeks now, and I’m excited to report that my latest period cramps and pain have been significantly diminished! I plan to keep taking it for 3 months. Please consult with your doctor before taking this, especially if you are taking exogenous hormones.

Take the Test Yourself!

If you are having hormonal issues like menstrual cramps, irregular periods, low sex drive, hair loss, infertility, depression, and/or insomnia, Everlywell Women’s Health Test is an easy-to-use and comprehensive test that lets you get a snapshot of your hormonal health by testing out the levels of your various hormones. The test is easy to take with well written instructions to help you guide you through the process.

I’m honestly so glad I was able to take this test and see how my hormonal health was doing. I knew that I needed to take action because I was going through several symptoms which I mentioned earlier in this post, but I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with me and what I specifically needed to do to improve my health. The test has been such a great tool, and I plan to take it again in the future to see if and how much my numbers improve.

Ready to take the test yourself?

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE EVERLYWELL WOMEN’S HEALTH TEST!
Take 15% Off Orders Up to $249 or 20% Off $250+ Orders with code GIVETHEGIFT! Ends 12/24.

This post contains affiliate links. In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

5 Safer Birth Control Options

Looking to avoid hormonal birth control? Learn about 5 safer birth control options that you may want to look into without the harmful side effects.

Before I talk about the negative effects of birth control pills and safer birth control options, I want to state that I’m not against hormonal birth control in general. However, I do think women need to be educated and informed about the side effects of going on any kind of contraceptive thoroughly before making a decision, which isn’t the case many times. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before making any changes to your health regime or medication.

Safer Birth Control Options

As a woman in the modern world, one of the biggest decisions we make is regarding out birth control. Will you take the pill? Stick with condoms? The patch? Or maybe the implant? There are so many choices these days that it’s hard to know what the best option is, especially when there are so many stories about the negative side effects of some of these options.

Why I Avoid Hormonal Birth Control

If you want to know the details about my experience, as well as some of the negative effects of hormonal birth control, you can read my post here. To sum it up, I lost my period after going off of birth control and it took years for me to finally get my cycle back.

Also, during the time that I was taking the pill was when my digestive issues and food sensitivities started. I know there are other factors that may have contributed to this, but this is a common symptom of the pill, due to yeast overgrowth and estrogen dominance.

There are also nutrient deficiencies that may occur, reduction in your chance of pregnancy for when you do want to have a baby, increase in inflammation, and more. To learn more about some of the other negative effects and what your body may go through, check out my previous post about this topic.

Safer Birth Control Options

So what are some safer birth control options? These may not be as convenient and “easy” as taking the pill, but I think they are 100% worth the extra effort for your health now and in the future.

Condoms

Oh, the good ol’ condom. Is it annoying? Yes. Is it effective? Hell yes. They are cheap, easy to use, and most protect against STDs. I suggest using male condoms rather than female, because female condoms do not have as high of a success rate (79%, while it’s 98% for the latter).

If you are easily irritated by latex condoms or you just want to try ones with less harmful chemicals, there are better alternatives on the market that you might want to check out:

Safer Birth Control Options

  • Sustain Lubricated Latex Condoms: Sustain makes ultra thin latex condoms that are fair trade certified, paraben free, vegan, and free of nitrosomine, carcinogens found in most latex condoms. It also doesn’t smell like latex and many women who are irritated by other latex condoms find that they don’t have issues with these.
  • Lifestyles SKYN Condoms: These are latex free condoms made with polyisoprene, which provides a more natural and more sensitive look and feel than latex condoms.
  • TROJAN NaturaLamb Condoms: These condoms are made with lamb intestines, so you may need some time to get used to that idea and the scent. These are great for monogamous couples, because they do not prevent against STDs. Many couples swear by these because they are extremely thin and provide ultrasensitivity.

Diaphragm with Spermicide

Also called a cervical cap, a diaphragm is a mini cup made out of silicone placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix. There are no hormones involved and it act as a physical barrier to prevent the sperm from entering the uterus.

You do want to use it with spermicide (kills the sperm) to make it the most effective and you do have to insert it with the spermicide every time you have sex, so this may not be the most convenient option. However, if you do decide to try it out, I’ve heard great things about Caya Contoured Diaphragm.

Copper IUD

Unlike hormonal IUDs, copper IUDs do not contain any hormones and are very effective. They are also convenient because once inserted, they can stay in the uterus for up to 10 years. They do have a chance of slipping out, especially during sex, but they have a 99% success rate.

The only caution with copper IUDs is that your PMS symptoms may worsen, such as cramping and bleeding, and there’s a risk of copper overload or toxicity.

One way to reduce this chance of copper toxicity is to supplement with some zinc (I recommend this brand), because zinc and copper balance each other out in the body. Too much zinc causes copper insufficiency, and vice versa, so supplementing with zinc helps the body keep a healthy ratio of these minerals if you decide on the copper IUD for your preferred form of birth control.

Natural Family Planning (NFP)

My favorite form of birth control (or pregnancy planning), and the one that I follow, is natural family planning. It’s most appropriate for committed couples in monogamous relationships because it doesn’t protect against STDs. However, it’s the most natural and noninvasive form of birth control because it works by listening to your body’s natural cycle and rhythms.

Safer Birth Control Options

What exactly is it? It’s a way to monitor the fertile and infertile phases of your body during the cycle to time out when to get intimate with your partner. This works for both avoiding pregnancy, as well as if you are trying to conceive.

You can do this by tracking it on your own with a calendar, but there are so many awesome apps that do it for you! My favorite is the Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker, and not only does it track your period and let you know when you are fertile and not fertile, you can also track your PMS symptoms to have it tell you why you are going through those symptoms. I highly recommend it.

Low Dose Hormonal Birth Control

Finally, if you do not want to part with your pills and don’t want to bother with the inconvenience of other safer methods, you may want to explore low dose hormonal birth control options.

Safer Birth Control Options

Low dose pills are still as effective in preventing pregnancy as regular pills, with fewer risks involved when it comes to the negative long-term side effects. However, the downside of low dose pills is that you may experience spotting in between periods and breakthrough bleeding.

There are many options on the market when it comes to low dose, or even ultra-low dose birth control pills. I suggest you talk to your doctor to discuss these options and find out what may be the most appropriate for you.

Do What Works and Feels Best For You

No matter which option you go with, make sure to choose a birth control method that you are completely comfortable with. Take time to fully learn the side effects of each, the pros and cons, as well as what’s important to you in terms of safety, convenience, and ease.

It really saddens me that most women have a limited understanding of how hormonal birth control can affect their health, so it’s important to do your homework to educate yourself because we can’t always rely on our doctors to do this for us. Your health is YOUR responsibility so it’s important to take the time to learn what foreign substances are entering your body.

I hope the breakdown of these safer birth control methods help you gain a better understanding of these options and explore each one a bit more on your own. If you have any questions or if you have any more to add to this list, comment below! I am always open to talk about safer birth control and women’s health, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to discuss the normal things that our bodies go through.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Why I Will Never Go Back To Using Hormonal Birth Control + 6 Negative Effects of Birth Control Pills

Before I talk about the negative effects of birth control pills, I want to state that I’m not against birth control in general. However, I do think women need to be educated and informed about the side effects of going on any kind of contraceptive thoroughly before making a decision, which isn’t the case many times. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before making any changes to your health regime or medication.

Negative Effects of Birth Control Pills

If you are a woman reading this, have you ever been on any kind of hormonal birth control? You are probably nodding yes. After all, more than 99% of women aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. That’s a crazy high number.

It’s not surprising, especially since more than half of pill users (58%), rely on the method at least in part for purposes other than pregnancy, such as menstrual pain or regulation, acne, and other hormonal issues.

It’s also ridiculously easy to gain access to birth control pills, patches, or rings. You go to your doctor and say that you are interested in some kind of birth control, and they write a script on the spot after a few questions and you are good to go for at almost 0 cost these days. Well, maybe except for the cost of your health.

Some people take the pill without any side effects hormonally, but many others, like me, are not so lucky.

I lost my period for over 2 years after I stopped taking the pill.

I took the pill for about 7 years. I first started it in college because I was having horrible menstrual cramps so I figured the pill would help. It did. Later on, I continued to use it to also prevent pregnancy once I became sexually active.

There was a 6 month break during those years when I decided to stop taking the pill because I felt that I didn’t need it anymore. During the entire 6 months, I didn’t get my period. I freaked out and to get my period back, I decided to go back on the pill. I know this might seem like lopsided logic but in my young, reckless mind, it made sense to me.

Around 2011, I started learning more about holistic nutrition, and began to hear stories about how much hormonal birth control can mess up your hormones and can even make women permanently infertile. That’s when I decided to quit the pill for good.

Throughout the 7 years that I was taking the pill was when my digestive issues were at its worst and I developed severe food sensitivities.

Once I was quit the pill, I didn’t get my period for over a year. I went to a gynecologist, who told me this happens sometimes, it’s not a big deal, and told me to wait it out. Say what you want about losing your period, but I now know that it’s a SERIOUS ISSUE that shouldn’t be ignored. It’s a sign that your hormones are completely out of whack and the root cause of why this happens needs to be addressed.

When I finally got my period back, it was about 14 months later and it was the most painful menstrual cycle I have ever had. The next period came after 10 months, and then 8 months, then the intervals kept reducing until my cycle started to normalize. After almost 2 years of this, I now have semi-regular cycles every 35 days without missing a beat. Hallelujah.

The entire period of me getting my cycle back happened in conjunction with me doing a complete overhaul of my diet: cutting out gluten, dairy, and processed foods, and replacing them with real, whole food nutrients. I really do believe that part of the reason why my period was able to normalize was because I started reducing inflammatory foods in my diet and really worked on healing my gut. Even now, the better I manage my stress and cleaner I eat, my PMS symptoms are far reduced during my period.

I still have hormonal issues like being extremely sensitive to stress, occasional painful cycle, and digestive issues that easily arise from what I eat and my emotions. After what I put through my body with the pill and what I know about the pill now, I’m not surprised at all. Some may have had positive experiences with the pill but I am not one of them. And I don’t ever want to go back to taking hormonal birth control again.

These are some of the negative side effects of taking any kind of hormonal birth control, and what it does to your body.

What may happen to your body on the pill

Negative Effects of Birth Control Pills

1. Nutrient deficiency. Just like any medication, the pill passes through the liver to metabolize. In order for this to happen, the liver uses extra nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and folate. When women go on the pill for years, which is the case many times, these nutrients are increasingly depleted in the body and that’s why many women, including myself, lose their period once they decide to go off the pill. It can take months to years to get the body back in balance after this. If you are on the pill, I highly recommend you follow a nutrient-dense, whole food diet to replenish your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals.

2. Reduces chance of pregnancy. When women want to get pregnant, it is absolutely crucial for them to have enough folic acid, or folate, in their diet. Since folate is one of the key nutrients that gets depleted while on the pill, it’s no surprise that women have a more difficult time getting pregnant after going off the pill. Also, the pill has been shown to thicken the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg.

3. Digestive issues and yeast overgrowth due to estrogen dominance. It’s common for women who have been on hormonal birth control to have estrogen dominance, a condition which contributes to a host of hormonal symptoms, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and even cancer. Another common effect of estrogen dominance is yeast infections and candida overgrowth. Because of this, women who have been on the pill for a long time may suffer from more yeast infections than those who haven’t. I personally have been suffering from candida overgrowth, which started while I was on the pill and I’m still working on this health issue currently.

4. Masks symptoms and causes hormonal imbalance. While taking hormonal birth control may clear up the skin and reduce PMS symptoms, this is just putting a band aid on deeper issues you body may be going through. Acne, PMS symptoms, irregular periods, and menstrual cramps are signs from our body that something is off hormonally. We need to figure out what the root cause is, instead of temporarily masking the symptoms with the pill. And what’s worse, taking exogenous hormones in any way causes even bigger hormonal imbalances, and it’s common for women to experience low sex drive, mood swings, depression, and bloating.

5. Increase in inflammation. Taking hormonal birth control is known to lower free testosterone levels in women, and this is NOT a good thing. A woman’s health is dependent on her testosterone level, and a drop in testosterone really can cause inflammation in the entire body, affecting sleep, bone health, mood, energy level, and even hair loss.

6. Increases risk of cancer. Studies have shown that the longer a woman is on hormonal birth control, there’s an increased risk of breast and cervical cancer. This risk is even higher for women who start the pill in their teens and for women who regularly consume alcohol. Both the pill and alcohol elevate estrogen levels, and many breast cancers are fueled by excess estrogen in the body.


Our hormones work together in a beautiful symphony, and a little bit of imbalance can throw off the entire system. While stress, poor diet, and toxins play a huge role in this, exogenous hormones and hormonal birth control really interfere and override our body’s delicate hormonal balance, and may cause so many problems that you might not have been aware are related to our hormones.

If you feel the need to go on the pill, educate yourself first, and make an informed decision that you feel is the least invasive and the safest for your body.

If you want to learn about some safer and less invasive birth control options, read part 2 of this post HERE.