What are the Signs of Low Testosterone in Women?

Testosterone is a hormone found in both men and women in differing amounts. Some of the functions of testosterone are the same in both genders, such as those tied to energy level and sex drive. However, testosterone is produced differently in each gender. In females testosterone is produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands. If these two organs are not functioning at optimal levels, which can happen for a multitude of reasons, then it is possible that your testosterone levels are out of whack.

In January, I talked with my doctor about feeling exhausted all the time, having severe mood swings, decreased libido, feeling anxious for seemingly no reason, and not wanting to spend time with friends or family. I was not my normal self and I am only 27 years old.

After talking through some options, my doctor suggested some blood panels to see if everything was functioning normally. The following week, when my results came back she said that I had low Vitamin D (I’ll talk more about this vitamin deficiency in a separate post) and low testosterone.

My reaction was similar to the man in this cartoon…

'Low T? How's the rest of my alphabet?'

First of all, notice that the two characters in the cartoon are both men. I had heard all about men having low testosterone, but women? Secondly, remember that number I mentioned a few paragraphs up – I’m NOT EVEN 30 YET!?! My body is supposed to be in peak physical shape NOW. Right?

After some online research, I learned that I had quite a few misconceptions about low testosterone in women.

According to AllWomensTalk, the following 7 warning signs may indicate that you have low testosterone:

  1. Weight Gain
  2. Low Libido
  3. Brain Fog
  4. Lack of Motivation
  5. Depression
  6. Constant Fatigue
  7. Just “Not Feeling Right”

An article in Prevention Magazine, also adds that “having a weak grip” and other indicators of osteoporosis may also be cause to get your testosterone level checked.

In “10 Signs of Low Testosterone in Women,” Anna Fleet mentions that disrupted sleep, irregular periods, anxiety, hair loss, and anorgasmia, or the inability to orgasm, are also associated with low levels of testosterone in women.

As previously mentioned, I experienced quite a few of these symptoms. I was reassured by the results of my research, because they corroborated my doctor’s diagnosis. I plan to discuss the treatment methods that I have chosen to raise my testosterone levels in a future post.

I would like to take a moment to caution my reader’s not to assume that you have low testosterone based on the above-mentioned symptoms or internet research alone. I tend to google symptoms and have frequented WebMD on occasion, so I do not want to add any fuel to my fellow hypochondriac’s fire.

As an additional disclaimer, I would like to remind everyone that I do not claim to be a medical professional or an expert on low testosterone. I am only sharing the results of my research and my personal experiences with you.

Lastly, please consider that many of the symptoms associated with low testosterone are also associated with other vitamin deficiencies, hormone imbalances, and mental health concerns. There truly is a lot of overlap! Therefore, it would be wise to consider all options and seek the input of a medical professional rather than self-diagnosing.

In my opinion, if you are concerned about your testosterone levels based on the symptoms outlined above, then I encourage you to share your fears with your doctor and request that a comprehensive blood panel be completed.

Thanks for reading! Writing about low testosterone was therapeutic for me and hopefully informative for you. My intention in writing this post is to shed light on a subject that women don’t usually talk about and encourage others to know that they are not walking this path alone.

What Does it Mean to Have a Grateful Heart?

Some of you may be reading this and thinking – “A blog post about gratitude, but it’s not even Thanksgiving…”

I know. You’re right. Yet, the Lord moves in creative ways and is teaching me this timely lesson right this very moment.

Psalms 107:1 – “O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever.”

I have always liked this verse, because it reminds me of one of my favorite worship songs – “Forever” by Chris Tomlin. Moreover, it reinforces the point that God is good and merciful, regardless of our circumstances.

  • Although the student loans are accruing interest, literally moment by moment – He is my Provider (Luke 12:31).
    • When I am exhausted, beat down, and fatigued – He is my Healer (Matthew 14:14).
      • When I am challenged by the overwhelming needs of the students that I serve – He is my Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).
        • Even if I’m approaching thirty and still living with my mother-in-love – He is still somehow SO good (1 Samuel 16:17).

If I’m being honest – I’m so bad at being grateful. I take many of my material possessions for granted, struggle with being content in this season of my life, and look with envy on the lives of others.

The Lord is using the flood that has been plaguing Houston this week to point out this sin in my life.

Here’s some statistics about the Houston flooding:

Want a better visual of how much water we’re actually talking about? Check out this video footage of the flooding in Cypress, Texas.

Many of my coworkers and friends have experienced damage to their cars, homes, and property. Some of the items that they have lost in the flood can never be replaced.

Other Houstonians have lost their lives and I’m complaining about my circumstances. Really!?!

Sometimes I am so ashamed at the thoughts that travel through my head. Even still, if we revisit the truth that we started with in Psalm 107:1 we are reminded that His mercy endures FOREVER. God’s grace and love covers a multitude of sin – even my selfishness – and it extends throughout this lifetime. Thank you, Jesus!

Want to help those impacted by the flood?

  • If you’re local, then you can partner with the Langham Creek YMCA or one of the many churches planning flood relief for our community.
  • If you want to help, but you live outside of Houston, then please visit the American Red Cross website to learn how you can support our city.

How Can You Get a Full-Body Workout in 40 Minutes at Home?

We’re all busy, right? If you’re like me, then you’re frequently trying to keep all of your balls in the air and workouts can sometimes become an after thought.

On my busiest days when I find time for my workout, I work my way through a POPSUGAR Fitness video, like the ones listed below:

*40-Minute Full-Body Workout

*40-Minute Metabolism Boosting Workout

*40-Minute Bikini Body Workout

*40-Minute Full-Body Workout -Beginner Strength Training

class fitsugar

The only equipment that you’ll need are some 5 to 8 pound free weights, a mat, a towel, and some water. I also like that the exercises are easy to follow and change pretty frequently. Plus, each video is broken into ten minute segments – cardio, core, arms, and legs – and includes a cool down stretch.

Do you have any workouts that you like to do on busy days? I’d love to try them out!

What Does the Bible Say About Worry?

Are you a worrywart? Prone to anxiousness? Fearful about the future? Me too.

If we ask around we will find plenty of advice, like the quote depicted below:

worry quote

There’s nothing wrong with this quote. I actually like it and think that it summarizes the burden that worry can leave in its wake, but I cannot be assured that it is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16).

As a Christ follower, I should look to God’s word for wisdom and truth regarding worry.

Matthew 6:25-34 says “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I am by no means a Biblical scholar, but I think that this passage is pretty straightforward – do NOT worry. That does not leave a lot of room for interpretation. If I choose worry over trust, then I am being disobedient.

UGH! Then, why is it so difficult for me to choose to trust in the Lord? Maybe this is a challenge, because I think that my plans are better than His plans. Maybe I struggle, because I do not want to relinquish control. Francis Chan provides another perspective:

Francis-Chan-worry-quotes

Whatever the reason, I can confidently say that it is a sin issue and something that the Lord is working on in me. Some days I am defeated by my worries, but the more I talk to God about my stress the easier it gets. When I feel the fear creep in, I will seek to meditate on Psalm 56:3“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” 

There’s another piece to this worry puzzle that is much more important than our struggle. This passage is full of God’s goodness – He really is our loving, Heavenly Father! He knows our needs and cares for us in unimaginable ways.

How do you fight your fears and renew your trust in the Lord? Do you have any examples of God’s faithful provision? I’m open to suggestions and would love to hear an encouraging testimony from you.

What is PanAway?

PanAway is a Young Living essential oil blend of Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Clove, and Peppermint.

PanAway may reduce pain and inflammation, increase circulation, and accelerate healing. It is included in the Starter Kit and I have a few powerful testimonials that I would like to share regarding this unique blend of oils:

A friend of mine suffers from ovarian cysts and was regularly taking prescribed pain medication. I shared some PanAway with her which she applied “neat,” meaning just the essential oil without a carrier oil, and she was able to stop using the pain pills. Wow!

My husband has a benign tumor in his hand, which pushes against his nerves. He had surgery to remove it, but it has grown back. Last night the pain was so bad that it woke him up. He took some over the counter pain medication, but was still unable to fall back asleep until he applied some PanAway “neat” to his hand. Amazing!

Check out this pin from Oil Revolution Designs for more information about how to use PanAway.

panaway

Would you like to try or order some PanAway? Comment below. 🙂

What are Paleo Freezer Meals?

I’m frequently too busy for my own good, which tends to get in the way of my desire to eat Paleo. Hopefully, I’m not alone in that – Can I get an amen?

In an effort to be proactive, I have been pinning various Paleo meals that can be prepped ahead of time, frozen in gallon size plastic bags, and warmed up in my slow cooker.

Over Spring Break, I finally made some time to prep some of the recipes listed on Jam Kat’s post, “Paleo Slow Cooker Freezer Meals,”and Life Made Full’s post, “Paleo Freezer Meals.” These are the recipes that I tried:

*Hawaiian Barbeque Chicken

*Chicken Balsalmic

*Yummy Italian Chicken

*Italian Sausage

*General Tso’s Chicken

*Cilantro Lime Chicken

*Garlic Ginger Beef

It took about 3 hours to grocery shop, prepare all of the ingredients, bag each meal, label it with cooking instructions, and pack in the freezer. I did not take any pictures along the way, but suggest that you check out the previously mentioned blog posts for pictures, if needed.

It has been so convenient to not have to answer the dreaded “What’s for dinner?” question during this busy season at work.

Do you have any Paleo freezer meal recipes that you would like to share? I’m always looking for new ideas.

How Does Stress Affect Us?

According to Psychology Today, stress occurs when we respond to a triggering event which disrupts our sense of balance. These triggers can be positive or negative. Stress can come from multiple sources – relationships, exercise, worry, finances, busyness, work and more.

As someone who works in public education, I can personally attest to the fact that people’s jobs can interfere with their quality of life. Check out “The Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs” from Salary.Com. My career field made the list. What about yours?

This infographic below was created by C3* for Stress. While I have never tried their product, I think that this image does a wonderful job of breaking down the effects of stress.

The Effects of Stress

Lately, I have been struggling with many of the negative effects of stress. What about you?

Long-term stress can result in sustained exposure to the chemicals released by our nervous system. Psych Central’s article entitled “The Physical Effects of Long-Term Stress” explains how stress contributes to heart problems, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, skin problems, pain, diabetes, and infertility.

I do not want any of these side effects to be a reoccurring part of my life. Therefore, I have to find a way to reduce and cope with my unavoidable stress. Future posts will focus on different stress relief strategies and ideas.

You can also check out my “Relax!” Board on Pinterest to find ways to start de-stressing now. 🙂

Who Are Your Friends?

One of my wise friends, and sisters in Christ, recently made the comment that people too readily use the term “friend” to define their relationship with others. In a culture filled with Facebook friends and Instagram followers, her insight encouraged me to take a moment to stop, reflect, and redefine my connection with others. Who are my friends really?

Let’s take work for example – I have coworkers that I regularly call friends. We have the same faith, similar values, lots of crazy shared experiences, and spend time together outside of work. I have cried in front of them, laughed with them, traveled with them, prayed with them, and been encouraged by them. Do they meet my friendship criteria? I would argue that yes, they are true friends, and recognize that I am very fortunate to be able to experience this type of work environment daily.

In terms of my church community, I have been blessed to have female friends who are in the same, or similar, life stage as I am. We share prayer requests and praises, and I enjoy spending time with them weekly. These women celebrate each other’s milestones, accept one another’s differences, seek to love unconditionally, and share their life experiences with one another. These are the friends that I hope to have by my side as we travel from one life stage to another.

Then, there are my friends from years past. My high school friends who were there for me in my darkest of days. Young men and women who became my family during a season of grief and sadness. They attended my father’s funeral, brought me countless meals, prayed with me, distracted me, and built me up. They exemplified the truth found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” After high school we attended different colleges and grew apart. Since my family no longer lives in the town that I grew up in, I do not visit very often. I am also terrible about calling people on the phone to catch up, so I do not speak to them frequently. Unfortunately, I use social media to attempt to maintain our relationships and try to get together with them at least once a year. Regardless, when we do have the opportunity to get together we pick up right where we left off. So many shared memories and a common history forms bonds that are not easily broken. Do you have friends like this?

I have many friends who do not fall into the categories listed above. People who I have met through mutual friends, classes, and organizations, have touched my life and inspired me in countless ways. Our friendship has reached various depths and cannot be discounted. It is difficult to ascertain how each person in my life has contributed to who I am today.

As a middle school counselor, I can attest that some friendships take place for a season. I have students who are friends with each other one day and posting rude comments on social media about one another the next day. Although their immature view of friendship can be humorous, it is not uncommon for adults to build relationships with people based solely on a shared experience or interest for a short period of time. I assert that these relationships can still constitute as friendships, even if they are temporary. In my opinion, there is no minimum length of time that is required for us to be acquainted before I call you a friend.

The Bible is clear that community is a key to healthy living and friends help us “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). It is safe to say that friends are important – we need each other.

Tell me about your friends:

  • What are they like?
  • How did you meet?
  • What do you enjoy doing together?

Share this post with one of your friends today and let them know that it made you think of them! 🙂

 

Why Create a Young Living Independent Distributor’s Facebook Page?

Hello Everyone! I recently wrestled with and created a Young Living Independent Distributor’s Facebook Page.

I am sharing a post on my blog that I wrote specifically for people who accepted my invitation to join this page, because I want to set the record straight.I hope it will answer some questions that you may have, or really to address some things that I often wonder when I get invited to “like” Direct Sales Facebook pages similar to the one that my Facebook Friends have joined.

Whether you join my page, or not, the following questions and answers may help you understand my mindset about selling Young Living.

Why did you create this page?

– I created this page to create some healthy boundaries between my personal Facebook page and my Young Living Facebook page. I want to promote Young Living products through social media, but I do not want to give the impression that Young Living is the most important thing in my life by posting about it regularly on my personal Facebook page.

How often will you post on your Facebook page?

– I plan to post information a few times a week. I will not be posting every day, because I do not want to add more busyness to your already full lives.

What will you post about?

– How to use essential oils, blends of essential oils to target specific concerns, the benefits of essential oils, recipes using essential oils, and DIY gifts created with essential oils. Pretty much anything involving essential oils is fair game!

Do you expect me to purchase something?

– No! I recognize that everyone has different opinions about essential oils. Furthermore, certain factors may prevent people who are interested in essential oils from purchasing them.
– My relationship with each of you is way more important than anything else!

How do I find out more information about Young Living products?

– Come talk to me! Check out the Young Living website, or comment on any of my posts with questions or concerns. You are also welcome to send me a private message at anytime.

Can I try Young Living products?

– Absolutely! I’m happy to provide you with free samples, or essential oil suggestions tailored to your specific needs.
– Just let me know that you are interested by having a conversation with me in person, call me, email me, text me, private message me, or comment below – whatever is easiest for you!

How do I purchase Young Living products and support you at the same time?

– Go to my website at http://bit.ly/Christine_Hards.
– If you have a hard time accessing this link through Facebook, then try to copy and paste it into your Web Browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer).

Why Young Living Essential Oils?

I was first introduced to Young Living Essential Oils during Thanksgiving dinner. A family-friend, and Young Living Independent Distributor, was raving about the benefits of essential oils and encouraging us to smell the different types of oils. My mother-in-love suffers from arthritis in her hands and was encouraged to try “Deep Relief,” a blend of Peppermint, Wintergreen, Dorado Azul, and Helichrysum essential oils that provides a refreshing, cooling sensation. It also comes with a convenient roll-on top, so you can apply it mess free.

deep relief

Needless to say, my mother-in-love was hooked! She signed up to be an Independent Distributor that day, so she could receive the wholesale prices. She ended up saving $8.00 on the “Deep Relief” oil alone.

I was a little more skeptical. I thought that essential oils smelled great and couldn’t argue with the pain relief that my mother-in-love had experienced, but was concerned about the price. Why did they have to be so expensive?

Early on in my research, I watched this Young Living video. I thought that it did a great job advertising the products and sharing a few testimonials, but I thought that the video was truthfully no more than an effective marketing tool – a really good commercial.

Next, I looked into the different quality levels of essential oils and came across this article written by Jade Shutes, an aromatherapy practitioner and Herbalist. In her article, Shutes defines the term “therapeutic grade,” explains the regulatory agencies surrounding essential oils, describes the purpose of GC/MS spec reports, and outlines qualities that consumers should look for in an essential oil supplier.

If you don’t have time to read the article, trust me when I say that Shutes lists quite a few qualities that an essential oil supplier should have and recommends a lengthy assessment process to identify this type of supplier. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Although Shutes has no connection or relationship with Young Living, all of her parameters support Young Living’s policies and procedures. Slowly, my argument against Young Living was starting to fall apart.

Finally, I learned about The Young Living Difference.  Young Living uses high quality ingredients and nothing more. See some examples of their ingredients below:

How Concentrated Are Essential Oils

Since I am hoping to use these essential oils in conjunction with the supplements I received from my doctor at the Natural Health Clinic, I want high quality oils to support my endocrine functioning. Therefore, Young Living sold themselves as my Essential Oil provider.

In order to get the best price on the oils (wholesale price vs. retail price), I joined Young Living as an Independent Distributor (Member #:3761441) and decided to be a part of their Essential Rewards program.

I recently placed my order for my starter kit with diffuser and look forward to sharing my joy upon receiving it in a future post. 🙂

Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or would like more information about anything related to this post by emailing me at christine@wordsfortheweary.com.