There’s a line in hormone expert Alisa Vitti’s first book, WomanCode, that perhaps says all we need to know about the lack of widespread, accurate information about women’s health and wellness. Vitti writes that after years of helping clients identify and overcome life-disrupting endocrine imbalances and issues, she had yet to meet a woman who could draw a chart of her own fluctuating hormones throughout a 28-day menstrual cycle. She concludes: “When you’re not properly taught this information, you simply can’t make informed decisions about what ails you when the problem is hormone-related.” For experts like Vitti, that’s simply unacceptable.
Vitti’s frustration with the state of women’s health is personal. When she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) 15 years ago, she was told she’d require lifelong medications to manage the hormonal condition, which, in her case, caused weight gain and cystic acne among other severe symptoms. Vitti threw herself into developing a nutritional and lifestyle protocol to address her endocrine disruption and says she effectively healed herself of PCOS.
“Most of us don’t know enough about the hormonal patterns involved in our menstrual cycle,” she says. “Not knowing about how they work, how they affect major systems of your body, and how you need to care for them is absolutely holding you back from your best health.”
Dr. Alyssa Dweck believes that, despite the historic lack of education, resources, and candid conversation around menstruation, the landscape of women’s health is slowly starting to change. “I feel we’ve made great strides in this regard thanks in part to technology, new products for menstrual health, and media,” she says. “Menstrual apps are all the rage and allow women of all ages to really understand, track, and manage bleeding habits, PMS, and fertility/family planning.” But there’s still plenty of work to be done.