sarah gottfriend hormones

Stick with us this month as we host hormone pro, Dr. Sara Gottfried as our monthly Guest Editor. We promise you at least one revelatory moment per week...

What do you know about hormones? Exactly. Where would you have learned? Those of us who have an interest in wellness usually start by learning a little about fitness and enough about nutrition to stay relatively healthy and fit, but have a huge blind spot when it comes to the mood, sex and mystery weight issues that can be caused by our hormones.

Stick with us this month as we host hormone pro, Dr. Sara Gottfried as our monthly Guest Editor. We promise you at least one revelatory moment per week as Doctor Sara breaks down, in her signature thorough, but accessible style, what this whole hormone business is all about. News flash: this is not a topic for the over-50 crowd only.

When Dr. Gottfried, a Harvard-graduated doctor with twenty years of experience as a gynecologist under her belt, began experiencing the symptoms of hormonal imbalance, she decided to essentially bio-hack her own health. After visiting her doctor and finding that anti-depressants or birth control were her only treatment options, she decided to look a little further and find out what more could be done. We couldn’t be more grateful that this highly-educated women decided then and there to take her health into her own hands. Not only did she bring her own body back to glowing health, she has been teaching the rest of us how to deal responsibly with our hormone levels ever since. Her second book, The Hormone Reset Diet is released this month and is a follow-up of sorts to her NYT best-seller, The Hormone Cure. Here is Sara, our March Guest Editor with a little about herself, her journey, and just why she decided to partner with us for the first month of spring.

Come back every week for more – we promise you won’t be disappointed…

Hi, Chalkboarders!

I’m blissed out to be your Guest Editor for the month of March! Spring is nearly here, ripe with potential for getting impeccable about self-care and resetting your hormones. By the way, I learned that lesson the hard way—which I sometimes call “The Day I Maxed Out.”

As a gynecologist, I’m Board Certified in everything that can go wrong with the female body, but I had no idea that my hormones were to blame for my downward spiral of health when I was in my thirties. I got married, gave birth to two daughters, couldn’t lose the baby weight, ate poorly, drank too much wine, and PMS’ed every month. I was a fat, frayed, frazzled frumpster. I stopped following my daily rituals and started improvising day to day, which is a total disaster for me.

“The Day I Maxed Out” came when I sat in my primary care doctor’s office, shivering in that pathetic paper gown, listing my woes: I had 25 pounds of baby weight I couldn’t lose, felt like a basket case, and would rather mop the floor than have sex with my husband.

You can imagine his advice: take an antidepressant, exercise more and eat less, and let me give you a birth control pill, since that will solve your hormonal problems. His advice was totally wrong, and I was frustrated. Then I got angry because I realized millions of women were being given the same bad advice, across the U.S. and the world.

So I left his office and checked my hormones. Cortisol, my stress hormone, was behaving badly and three times normal. I had estrogen overload and a sluggish thyroid. I thought I was normal, but had no idea—even as a doctor—that I was insulin and leptin resistant. My hormones were misfiring! It took me four weeks to fix them, and then I began working with women just like you to help balance hormones naturally so that you can re-harness the vitality that may feel a bit fadey. But you don’t have to come to my office in Berkeley to benefit from my work—I’m at your service here on The Chalkboard for the next month.

When I began my quest to link symptoms with hormones, I learned that hormones dictate what your body does with food. Whether you are looking for more energy, are losing hair, or just want to feel more alive in your body, I’ve got a lot to share in our next few weeks together! And it’s not some big project—resetting your hormones can actually be tons of fun and will raise your oxytocin, the hormone of love and bonding and the best antidote to stress-crazed emotions. Consider it a hormone dance party, and you’re invited.

To your best health and hormones,
Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD

Meet's Posts


  1. I am SO looking forward to this! Thanks so much for having this intelligent, cool woman guest edit!

    katie | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  2. YES!! A strong, intelligent woman telling women to take control of their health! Thank you CB!!

    Lauren Burke | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  3. I found you through Donna Gates Healthy Gutt Summit and I want to thank you Dr. Sara Gottfried for helping me see some of my trouble spots. I thank you in advance for helping me turn my health inside out, and for rescuing my troubled thoughts, and for giving me the confirmations I already felt inside but wasn’t sure of completely for a healthy future. Thank you from my heart! You are saving lives young and old with these studies and examples….God Bless you always…

    Gayle Williams | 03.02.2015 | Reply
    • Thanks, Gayle! I love Donna Gates and how she’s helping us reset the microbiome! Glad you’re here!

      Dr. Sara Gottfried MD | 03.05.2015 | Reply
  4. I would be pissed if I heard the Dr give me the advice you were given. So glad you as a women, decided not to take his stupid anti depressant pill, BS., and I’m so glad you figured out a way smarter solution…This is where I’m at right now with Dr.s like that too, and so thankfully I found you…only I’m 45 and peri menopausal and now I just need to apply eating greener and eliminate the dairys, sugars and eliminate the wheat glutens. Thanks…

    Gayle Williams | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  5. Get her book! I constantly refer to The Hormone Cure. I wish I had it my 20’s and 30’s. Dr. Gottfried is very thorough and easy to understand. Once again the Chalkboard ladies are right in tune with who to watch.

    therese | 03.02.2015 | Reply
    • Thanks, Therese and Everyone! Keep the comments coming and I’ll weave these questions into my content for the month. Such good questions! Sally, I can totally relate! Sarah, short answer: YES! Even with low estrogen, chances are progesterone is extra low – resulting in estrogen dominance, especially if you’re a stress case like me! Thanks, Y’All!

      Dr. Sara Gottfried MD | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  6. Perfect timing!! I’m in my mid-thirties, just finished nursing my second child, and feel like everything is out of whack! Can’t wait for these articles. 🙂

    Sally | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  7. I’m very interested in this topic, but having lost both ovaries at 33 am wondering if your book would still be relevant for me? Thanks!

    Sarah | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  8. Looking forward to this, but please address those of us now in menopause! So much now in the blog world is strictly for the younger women issues.

    Lori | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  9. So many things discussed are women in perimenopause or menopause. I am interested in knowing causes for low estrogen levels in a 29 year old. Also, the significance of a high P/E2 level. What are symptoms of low estrogen in terms of estriol and estradiol. Even if progesterone is normal? Can it affect pregnancy? Affect the brain? Be a problem due to the gut? Not able to take probiotics? Thanks!!!

    Katie | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  10. had a total thyroidectomy in 1987 at the age of 27, hysterectomy at 41. Currently 54 and have a high stress job. Need to lose about 20 pounds but can’t seem to shake it.

    Cindy | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  11. Hello! I’m following a strict diet to try and naturaly fixt endometriosis and pcos after a failed IVF. I’d rather not ever try fertility treatments again. I’m currently free of alcohol, caffiene, gluten, dairy and sugar aside (from fruit). How long do I need to stick to this strict regimine before
    I expect to see results!?

    Margo | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  12. hello! Is there hope to live without synthroid? I’m 32, fit, good health so low thyroid came as a big surprise. Now after 18 mos on meds I’ve only lost about a half a head of hair and nothing more. Wish I would’ve never gone on meds since I felt fine but had a 5.94 TSH at a yearly exam. I’m now trying to use the Gottfried protocol to get my body functioning properly so I can rid myself of this horrible med. Am I doing the right thing???

    Elizabeth K. | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  13. Why do hot flashes get worse at night does it have anything to do with my cortisol levels? I’ve noticed sugar (fruit or stevia only) also seem to make them worse. I ordered your new book can’t wait to get it and see what I can do to balance my hormones. I’m currently working on healing my gut and getting rid of SIBO. Thanks for any light you can shed on this!

    Kathy | 03.02.2015 | Reply
  14. Each time I have a baby (this will be my third) I have 3 day debilitating migraines.. It runs in my family
    And I know there is a hormonal connection. I would love some advice on how to prevent these from recurring after this birth!

    Lauren. | 03.03.2015 | Reply
  15. Will the hormone reset diet work for vegetarians?

    Also, any suggestions for a 35-year old that STILL struggles with acne? It is worst the week AFTER my period but I have it all month long. I’ve done everything there is to do in mainstream medicine (OTC, RX.. even Accutane). I’ve also done almost every alternative medicine treatment that I know about: JJ Virgin’s elimination diet, I’m gluten-free, gut healing (probiotics, glutamine, omegas, fermented foods, etc), hormone testing (they are perfect!), topical potions, etc. You name it, I’ve tried it! I see a functional medicine physician as well, but we’re not making much progress. Am I missing something???

    Alanna | 03.03.2015 | Reply
    • I’m not a doctor, but I was just wondering from reading your post. Do you still eat dairy?

      Klean-Slate | 03.03.2015 | Reply
      • Yes, but I have eliminated it before and have not seen a change.

        Alanna | 03.03.2015 | Reply
  16. i was wondering if your hormone reset diet was for 30somethings with infertility? I know your main focus is per menopause and menopause, but I have recurrent miscarriages that after thousands spent on diagnostic tests- the doctors still cannot fix. Can you help?

    Denise | 03.03.2015 | Reply
  17. Wow what timing. I’m actually trying to work with some wellness coaches because of what my general gyno wanted to me to. I knew in my gut it wasn’t the right direction. I am right now 30, never had children and am going through PCOS with many of the symptoms that follow. I am trying to figure this out in a holistic way, but there are so many avenues. I am already vegan, health conscious and work out constantly. I’m trying to not fight my body but work with it. Its a tough road especially with some of the devastating symptoms.
    Its a shame more doctors don’t address this and instead give you birth control or Metformin. My goal is to heal myself and heal others through my experience. More woman need to know there are other solutions out there.
    I am open to all advice you have to give.
    Thank you.

    Klean-Slate | 03.03.2015 | Reply
  18. Twelve years post menopause, using bio-identical hormones to good effect, but… Doctor had me taking progesterone capsule by mouth at bedtime “to help me sleep.” It does, for 5 hours,then its diuretic effects kick in and I have to get up. It takes up to 2 hours to get back to sleep. And is this affecting my gut bacteria? I’m recently working to fix non-celiac gluten intolerance, have many food sensitivities, and am looking for help to address possible SIBO. Will oral progesterone undermine my efforts?

    Wendy b. | 03.03.2015 | Reply
  19. i enjoyed the article
    I had a complete hysterectomy 6 weeks ago
    I’m on a estrogen patch
    I’m presently doing the saliva test
    How would I know that my hormones are balanced???

    Barbara | 03.04.2015 | Reply
  20. I was skinny – honey skinny until I got pregnant. Ever since I have been overweight and unable to lose the weight. Is this due to hormonal imbalance?

    Lila Nissen | 03.04.2015 | Reply
  21. Would like to know about foul vaginal odor after cycle. I am pre-menopausal.

    Yvette | 03.04.2015 | Reply
  22. Dr. Sara, I am hypothyroid and have Hashimoto’s disease. I started telling my endocrinologist the same things you told your PCP and he told me that it was just part of being female and to see my psychiatrist ASAP!! I fired him and found a functional medicine PCP who started me on Armour in August and Spironolactone in January!! I feel tons better but am anxious to read your new book!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a provider who is willing to really dig into finding the cause of hormonal imbalance for ladies!!

    • Ann, good for you for having the strength and courage to fire the doc that dismissed you! I don’t blame them – honestly, they just don’t know any better. I’m so glad you’ve found some relief in the Armour and Spironolactone. That’s BIG. And, it’s like a continuous improvement project but the payoff is immense! Delighted you’re here with us and thanks for the kind words of support on the new book. It starts shipping next week! Woot! Now I need to get through the book launch without dating HIGH Cortisol or his sidekick, SLOW THYROID 🙂

      Dr. Sara Gottfried MD | 03.09.2015 | Reply
  23. I’m so excited and can’t wait to get both of these books. I am 39 and have been dealing with these hormone imbalances since after I had my last child 2012. I have gone to many doctors because I know my body and things have been out of whack (peri-menopause symptoms). I too have been given the same choice of anti-depressants and/or birth control. The last time I went to my gyno which was 2/9 I was made to feel like I was the crazy person and left sobbing. Thank you for doing the research and for caring to help other women solve these HUGE and very important issues.

    Janet | 03.10.2015 | Reply
  24. I’m 54, menopausal (it’s been 8 months since my last period), I have hypothyroidism, struggle with weight loss, IBS, tested positive for SIBO (if that is the same as the h pylori bacteria), and just went through an extended period of hair loss which seems to have corrected itself. I take biotin, acidophilus, and a supplement known as “Flash-Fighter” which doesn’t seem to be working well anymore. I hope you can help our family to be able to sit in the same room and watch TV without me having a window open and my daughter and husband requiring parkas and blankets!

    Mamavalveeta03 | 03.12.2015 | Reply
  25. I am so EXCITED for this book. I am 50 and menopausal. I lost a lot of weight taking Topomax, which I was told stimulated my pituitary gland. I stopped taking it after I learned all of the health risks with the medicine. I haven’t been able to lose the weight ( 20 pounds) I put on. I am sure my hormones are wacky. I am so looking forward to a new me!! Thanks for shedding the light so we can shed the weight!

    Lori | 03.13.2015 | Reply
  26. Hi Dr Gottfried,
    I am a fit & healthy 44yr old who is about to embark on IVF treatment. I am deeply fearful of the effects of the synthetic hormones on my mind & body. Could you please give me a point of reference to help me through it with diet & lifestyle.
    Hugely appreciative,

    louise | 03.17.2015 | Reply
  27. I just finished the Fast Track and Loved it!!! I can’t wait to get this book. I’m joining the Facebook party now!

    Aleksa Chmiel | 03.17.2015 | Reply
  28. I just finished Dr. Sara’s Fast Track and Loved it! I can’t wait for this book and I’m learning so much. Joining the FB party now 🙂

    Aleksa Chmiel | 03.17.2015 | Reply
  29. I am 51 years old, fit and try to eat heathy. I am also 1 week away from a laparoscopic hysterectomy due to fibroid tumors. I know my hormones are out of wack now and very worried this surgery is going to really throw me off. Could you point me in the right direction so after surgery, I can be strong and healthy in both mind and body?

    Mary | 03.20.2015 | Reply
  30. I’m wondering which book would be best for me, The Hormone Cure or The Hormone Reset. I’m 42 years old and had a complete hysterectomy at the age of 32 due to long battle with PCOS (no hirsutism), endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease. 6 years ago I started suffering from severe eczema on my hands and feet and found out a couple of year’s ago that I was gluten intolerant. I now eat a grain free, whole food diet and the eczema is not quite as bad. I’ve done the AIP elimination and found that I also have a sensitivity to night shades and coffee which I now avoid. In the last month, I’ve noticed that my hair is falling out and is very brittle. I’ve also started this week to have mood swings and the increased androgynous hairs on my chin. I’m just trying to figure out what I need to do as a post hysterectomy menopausal woman to balance my hormones. I’ve been able to lose weight for the first time since going gluten free and eating a lower carb diet. I’m down 40 pounds since June, but still I’m about 90 lbs. over weight. I do currently take estrogen and DHEA vaginally and progesterone cream. Sorry to blab on, but I wanted to give you as much information as possible so that you could direct me to the correct resource to begin the journey of getting my hormones in balance. I would love to be healthier and sexier at 43 than I’ve been the rest of my life! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your passion to heal others as you have healed yourself.

    Kristeen | 03.21.2015 | Reply
  31. Hi,
    I’m a 50 yr old african american female, who has had a lot female issues. I started my period at the age of 15 yrs. I have been very irregular, having cycle every other month and going as long as 4 to 6 months without a cycle. I had my only child at the age of 31. Since having her my cycles then started coming monthly with cramps. I’m at the point where my body is having symptoms of my cycles starting (cramps, bloating, IBM, as well as constipation), and hot flashes. My body aways seems to be warm. I also have severe insomia and have been taking abiemen and xanax for panic attack for about 7 yrs. I’ve consulted my doctor about these issues and was told that I was not pre-menopausal. I’ve had occasions where I’ve have 2 cycles per month before. I have been told that i have a hormone imbalance. I’ve also have gastic bypass surgery where I lost a total of 100 lbs but, since having the surgery 8 yrs ago, I’ve been more miserable as I can’t eat and always have stomach cramps, iron defiency, inability to sleep or concentrate. And most of all I constantly shake as if I have parkinson disease, I’ve been checked for this and was told that I do not. Apparently, per the Dr. I just have a nervous condition but was not prescribe anything to correct this. I constantly, am asked by people why do I shake so much, to which I have no answer. Can you please advise as to how I can correct any or some of these isses.

    Cheryl Lane | 03.26.2015 | Reply
  32. I stumbled across this from a Twitter post (I think), and thank God I did. I am also about to hit that half century mark, but have suffered from many of these symptoms for so many years, and just thought it was part of the process. My health is reasonably good, and recently was able to shed 25 of the 35 lbs that have needed to go, which helps a little, but the “monthly” symptoms just continue to plague me and control most of my life. Just ordered both books, and am eager to learn more about what I can do to regain some control and sanity. Thank you, thank you for your posts!

    Sheryll T | 03.29.2015 | Reply
  33. I’ve had a total hysterectomy. I do not take hormone replacement. Would I skip the estrogenn? Can this book help me?

    Sally | 07.10.2015 | Reply

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