Hi, I’m Tenika. This is the story of my journey so far.
When my acne first started, I experienced a range of symptoms such as weight loss, stomach pains, and heavy painful periods. Blood tests revealed that I was anaemic. The iron deficiency anaemia led me to experience more symptoms that really impacted my mood and made simple day to day tasks a real chore.
Other symptoms I experienced were:
My doctor prescribed a course of iron tablets. I took them for over a year while having quarterly blood tests to monitor my progress. Every blood test during that time revealed that I was still anaemic.
The stomach pains persisted and seemed to get worse with the prolonged use of iron tablets. I knew something wasn’t right, so I insisted my doctor investigate my symptoms further. Finally, tests revealed that my stomach pains were a result of gastritis.
Gastritis causes the protective lining of the stomach to become inflamed after it’s been damaged. Acute forms of gastritis can cause sudden and severe inflammation. If chronic, gastritis can cause long-term inflammation.
Due to the inflammation in my stomach, I developed a range of food sensitivities which caused me pain and/or a sick feeling after consuming certain foods. The lack of absorption had also caused me to become deficient in many nutrients.
Last year I decided to take charge of my health and be intentional about bringing my body back to balance using herbs, a diet focused on tackling my deficiencies and a self-care plan to manage stress.
Since 2015 I have suffered with intermittent (often cystic) acne. I spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of pounds on high priced skincare products and treatments that I believed would help treat my symptoms and cure my acne. Nothing worked!
At this point I felt as though my health had spiralled out of control. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me, since I had a relatively ‘clean’ diet. I was desperate to find something that worked for me. I just wanted to find the ‘magic formula’ that would get rid of my acne once and for all.
Many acne sufferers (like myself – once upon a time) invest their time solely on topical treatments, which only treat external symptoms. I wanted to get to the bottom of what was causing my acne and find a long-term (workable) solution for keeping it at bay.
Last year, I started working with an herbalist. The experience has really helped me to understand the importance of getting to the root cause of my acne, I believe exploring your body and tackling the issues internally, is the best way to heal externally.
My first session involved a detailed discussion about my health, dating back to when the symptoms first started. In the discussion we managed to trace the onset of the symptoms to a particular time when I had gone through a series of stressful events, which lead to a bout of gastritis and other symptoms.
Additionally, my hormones were completely out of sync. I had recently stopped taking contraceptive pills because they were causing my migraines. Prior to coming off the pill, I treated my migraines with painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, which probably contributed to the inflammation in my stomach .
Between 2012-2015 I experienced a series of stressful events which really began to take a toll on my health. I wasn’t sleeping very well, I had migraines regularly and I always felt tired and depleted because I was anaemic. My son was still quite young at the time, so taking care of me wasn’t very high on the priority list.
Foods that I ate regularly started to make feel sick or I would get stomach pains after eating them. My periods were heavy and sometimes so painful it was crippling!
My skin started to break out – it was cystic acne, and according to the doctors the best solutions were the pill (even though I had a history of migraines) or antibiotics (my stomach was already inflamed and damaged from gastritis).
My skin, my hormones and my gut were out of balance. I really wanted to find a long-term solution that didn’t involve me taking pharmaceuticals, for the foreseeable future. I wanted something that was tailored to me – not a blanket approach.