PCOS Sucks! Take the Lemon Face Challenge!

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When women team up in support of one another they can sure get things done!!  And when it’s Ashley Levinson who is @PCOSGurl on Twitter teaming up with an entire PCOS community there is no telling what can be accomplished! Wow!




I nominate YOU to Take the Lemon Face Challenge!  

Join the Facebook Group – Lemon Face Challenge

Upload your picture or video and challenge someone else spread awareness and/or donate to PCOSChallenge.org


Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/pcos-sucks-take-the-lemon-face-challenge/

Precision Medicine & PCOS Q&A on PCOS Nutrition Center Blog!

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Angela GrassiI’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself”

. I waited a long time for someone to create the kind of healthcare I would like to have access too but it just wasn’t happening and so I became a true believer in that saying.  When I first decided to tackle women’s health from a patient perspective I couldn’t figure out why no one was doing this already but it quickly became pretty obvious to me – it is damn hard!

There’s another saying that I believe in with all my heart: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!” Helen Keller

Helen Keller apparently said it and wow, if anyone knows what it took to achieve something phenomenal she did!

Of course no one can do it alone so I appreciate all the support of the people who have helped me get this far and especially the PCOS Community.   One such amazing person is the award winning Angela Grassi from PCOS Nutrition Center.  Angela is so passionate and was excited to learn about the Precision Medicine PCOS Program I’ve put together that she featured a Q&A about it on her super-informative and beautifully redesigned blog – PCOS Nutrition Center.

Check out my Q&A with Angela: Sonya’s Q&A on Angela Grassi’s PCOS Nutrition Blog

I love having Angela’s support – she’s a trailblazer herself!  As a Registered Dietician and a woman who has PCOS, she has done some pretty amazing things to help the most underserved medical community – which I believe is PCOS. She has published 3 pretty incredible books specifically to provide women and dieticians the resources they need to help navigate their journey with PCOS.  Check them out here:


Angela Grassi - Book_PCOSdieticiansGuide_1000pxAngela Grassi 2Books_WorkBk_CookBk_1000px












I look forward to keeping you informed but even better, if you want to help create the future of Precision Medicine for women’s health, starting with PCOS, drop me a line using the contact form below or subscribe to updates at myAva.com.  I think you’d be amazed at what you can achieve.




Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/precision-medicine-pcos-qa-pcos-nutrition-center-blog/

World Thyroid Day

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Hypo Butterfly from World Thyroid Federation

Hypo Butterfly from World Thyroid Federation

There are so many thyroid patients around the world that the tiny little butterfly shaped gland has it’s own special day of significance around the world!  Actually it has it’s own week – this whole week is dedicated to Thyroid Awareness which is near and dear to my heart because I have subclinical hypothyroidism which is controversial among doctors as to whether to treat it or not.  Sometimes I feel like a ping pong ball with the different advice I get.

Thyroid Federation International (TFI) was founded in 1995 in Toronto and is now a worldwide organization that includes a network of patient organizations from a variety of countries around the world.  TFI established Thyroid Awareness Week & Day – May 25th.

As common as it is, thyroid dysfunction seems to cause a lot of confusion and awareness is critical.  One of the important aspects to understand is that thyroid disease can run in families and children often go undiagnosed.

This year the World Thyroid Federation’s theme is

“Catching the butterflies: Spotting the symptoms of thyroid disorders in children.”

To help children and their families learn about Thyroid Dysfunction TFI created these little animated cartoons depicting the symptoms of Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism.

Hypo is a blue butterfly, showing the symptoms of hypothyroidism, that moves slowly compared to his friends and not growing as fast. The hypo butterfly is often tired and sometimes sluggish.


Hyper Butterfly from World Thyroid Federation

Hyper is a thin, overly active, fidgety pink butterfly reflecting the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. The hyper butterfly is irritable and easily upset.

Know the signs of thyroid disorder and if you have questions or want to learn more Thyroid Week or TFI are two great places to start.









Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/world-thyroid-day/

Mother’s Day After a Miscarriage

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Do you know what is considered the shortest story ever written?  It’s a tragedy in six words and it goes like this:

For Sale.  Baby Shoes. Never Worn.

Sadly, that tiny story is the reality for more women than you may realize.  Mother’s Day brings up intense and mixed emotions for a lot of women.  You feel like you are a mother or wait you were a mother or wait, was I? Nobody else is treating me like I am a mother.   At least that’s what I went through – or something like it.  And then…one day you meet the person who knows you are, indeed, a mother.   I recall the validation I felt at being told that it was ok to consider myself a mom even if no one else did. It was such a relief.

Only those who are part of this group understand what it’s like to get through a Mother’s Day after miscarriage or stillbirth.  Sadly the cost to enter this group is high.  Having gone through pregnancy loss is the only way to become a part of this group – something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

A lot of women face miscarriage alone.  And then they face Mother’s Day alone.  Mother’s Day is a time for celebration.  But for those who have experienced pregnancy loss, it can be really tough.  You may still spend the day celebrating with your own mother or other women in your life but no one acknowledges your motherhood experience. Lots of reasons why, such as: it was too brief, you didn’t hold your baby, your babe didn’t have a name, you didn’t even hear his heartbeat or just simply people don’t know what to say or are afraid to bring it up.

If you know someone who has gone through pregnancy loss it only takes a small acknowledgement to ease the pain of the day – just a little bit for mom’s who never got the chance to meet their babies.

This Mother’s Day I’ll be thinking of all the mom’s whose pregnancies were too brief, who didn’t get to hold their babies, who weren’t told they could name their baby, who didn’t get to experience the joy of hearing that first heartbeat, who still have baby sleepers that have never been worn. Even if you have baby shoes that were never worn, you’ll always be a mom.

Heartfelt Hugs.


Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/mothers-day-after-a-miscarriage/

What I Want My Family & Friends to Know About Perinatal Mood Disorder

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I sent a message to my family and friends today because I want to spread awareness among people who don’t need to know they need awareness!  Most people who read my blog or who have connected with me on social media are already a step ahead – they are seeking information about hormone topics for some reason or another.   I thought I’d share it with you too.  I appreciate all of your support as I try to create awareness around women’s hormone health.  Thanks!  
Today is the First World Maternal Mental Health Day! This is REALLY Important to me on a personal level.
I am spending my day spreading awareness because I suffered from Perinatal Mood Disorder, probably with each pregnancy but definitely after my baby boy. I usually reserve my oversharing :) for my Hormone Soup page but this is really important to me and it is so important to end the stigma around this debilitating illness.
My kids are learning about Mental Health this week at school and my guys are already well informed about Maternal Mental Health Awareness because we talk openly about it at my house. I never want my kids to feel like their mental health is less important than their physical health. My 9 year old son asked me if I could print off the Hormone Soup Perinatal Mood Disorder jpgs that I am sharing on Facebook and Twitter so he could take them to school!  Love that kid!
Here’s what I want all my friends and family to know: (That includes the men too! Maternal Mental Health is EVERYBODY’s business.)
  • Perinatal Mood Disorders are the #1 Complication of Pregnancy!
  • Perinatal Mood Disorders are an Invisible illness!
  • Postpartum Depression is NOT JUST depression – it can manifest as Anxiety (pick me!), OCD (me again), Bipolar, Psychosis, PTSD and can involve mood swings. And in fact Anxiety is more common than depression. Perinatal Mood Disorder is a much better term.
  • Postpartum Depression is NOT JUST postpartum – it can happen during pregnancy too.
  • Up to 20% of women will deal with some form of Perinatal Mood Disorders. That is 1 in 5! You are not alone!
  • Perinatal Mood Disorder is not the same as Baby Blues. It can be a serious and sometimes life threatening emergency.
  • If you have Perinatal Mood Disorder or ANY mood disorder you MUST get your thyroid checked! And by that I mean PROPERLY checked not just a simple TSH Test. There is a specific disorder called Postpartum Thyroiditis and is treatable.
  • Perinatal Mood Disorders are treatable!
  • Perinatal Mood Disorders are considered a hormonally triggered mood disorder.
  • Perinatal Mood Disorder can happen to New Moms and Veteran Moms! Don’t assume because someone is having a second or third or fourth child that she isn’t suffering. Every pregnancy is different. Every mom is at risk.
  • Sometimes the person experiencing the PND is the last person to recognize it! Do not be afraid to reach out.
  • Many women are afraid to get help because they think they will be given a pill and have to stop breastfeeding. There is help available that does not always have to include pharmaceuticals.
  • Do not assume you or your friend will be screened by your doctor. You probably won’t be – just because it is recommended that your doctor screens does not mean it happens, it hardly ever does.
  • If you know someone is experiencing Postpartum Psychosis call 9-1-1 it is considered a medical emergency!
  • Do not share your “scary/tragic baby or mother” story with other women – it can act as a trigger and who needs to hear such devastating stories anyway.
  • There is a movement called #askher happening.  When you know someone who has recently given birth, miscarried or had a stillborn child #Askher how she’s sleeping or how she’s feeling. Do Not be afraid.
  • Sleep is one of the most important factors and one of the easiest things to do – help a new mom get the sleep she needs. 
There are lots of resources out there and I know almost all of them through my blogging and social media connections. Please feel free to reach out or send anyone you know to my Hormone Soup blog or Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest page.
#maternalMHmatters #askher

Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/what-i-want-my-family-friends-to-know-about-perinatal-mood-disorder/

Perinatal Mood Disorder & Other Hormonally Triggered Mood Disorders

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I’m going to bet that you’ve never heard the term “Hormonally Triggered Mood Disorder” mentioned by your doctor.  But yes it is really a thing, the problem is that it’s not an actual “diagnosis”.  You may know that I believe that too many women’s health issues are being painted with a mental health brush.  The problem with this is that we aren’t getting to the root cause.

There is good news. Dr. Jennifer Payne, M.D.  and Psychiatrist Karen Swartz, M.D. created the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at John Hopkins Hospital to study hormonally triggered mood disorders and provide expert evaluation of women who suffer with such symptoms.  Though they are located in Baltimore, Maryland they will see Patients across the USA as well as International Patients!  Great News!

What is a Hormonally Triggered Mood Disorder?  

Perinatal Mood Disorders are one of many hormonally triggered mood disorders that are treated at the Women’s Mood Disorders Center, others are premenstrual dysphoria disorder (PMDD), perimenopause & menopause-related depression, and major depression or bipolar disorder — which are both marked by gender differences.

Dr. Jennifer Payne is the first doctor I’ve heard quoted as saying this which is something I have believed for years:

“I believe there’s a distinct group of women with unusual sensitivity to normal hormone fluctuations,” Dr. Payne says.  “And their problems aren’t tied to actual hormone levels so much as to changes in those hormone levels.”

Source: John Hopkins

That statement certainly fits me.  And I am not alone. I often hear from women who say they are told their labs are in the “normal range” but they don’t feel right.  Could it be that maybe it’s being looked at all wrong? 

After 15 years of research, I absolutely believe too many women are being denied the proper help because our medical system relies on “normal ranges”~Sonya

Thank you Dr. Jennifer Payne!  Now can we get you to shout it from the rooftops?!

“Mood disorders in women are understudied, to put it mildly,” says Dr. Payne and she cites the desperate need for more research.  

One of the problems is that it takes  17 years on average for research findings to “find” their way into clinical practice.  Yup…by then your reproductive years are long gone.  Which is why I say do your research and advocate for yourself.  But research is necessary and I’m excited about the future of research in this area. 


Participate in Dr. Payne’s Pregnancy & Postpartum Research:

Perinatal Mood Disorders need more of the type of research Dr. Payne is involved in. I wish I had been able to participate in a study and if you feel the same here’s information on the research she is doing – check it out:


Symptoms of Hormonally Triggers Mood Disorders

  • Irritability or tension
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Changes in sexual interest
  • Food cravings or overeating
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Decreased concentration
  • Increased productivity or interest in new projects
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in energy level
  • Mood changes (sadness or elevated mood)
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Racing thoughts/rapid speech

The John Hopkins Women’s Mood Disorders Center evaluates and treats women with mood disorders, with a special emphasis on the treatment of hormonally-triggered mood disorders such as premenstrual, postpartum, and perimenopausal mood disorders.  The center offers:

  • Pre-pregnancy Consultation

  • Pregnancy Consultation

  • Postpartum Consultation

  • Menstrual Cycle Symptom Consultation

  • Peri-menopause Consultation


For the full arcticle & information on the clinic:




The information provided on this site is not intended as medical advice  – seek medical advice from a doctor.  If you take medication never stop taking them without the supervision of your doctor.  Postpartum Psychosis is a medical emergency if you or someone you know is suffering seek medical attention immediately – call 9-1-1. 

Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/perinatal-mood-disorder-hormonally-triggered-mood-disorders/

Postpartum Depression is NOT just Depression

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I do a lot of research about Postpartum Mood Disorder and talk to a lot of women and, of course, any “expert” that will talk with me about it.  As a result of my experience, I have a lot of my own theories, thoughts, and opinions about Postpartum Depression.

Someone recently asked me what kind of “Awareness” I would hope to see spread to the point that everyone you could meet would know.   That’s a tough question because there’s so much to talk about but I think because there’s lots of other things happening in terms of awareness one of the biggest for me is to let women know this:

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is Not One Disorder

For a long time, I’d noticed that Postpartum Depression is talked about as if it’s “one disorder”.  In fact, Postpartum Depression is the common term used as if it’s expected that women will recognize that symptoms such as OCD, Anxiety, Panic, BiPolar, Psychosis and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are a part of it.  I had trouble finding any information about postpartum anxiety and it’s still often buried at the bottom of long lists of symptoms of PPD.  Women are falling through the cracks because of it. People need to know – Postpartum (and in fact, Perinatal Mood Disorders) are actually a group of disorders: 




Perinatal Mood Disorders are

under-diagnosed and under-treated

yet remain

the most common complication of pregnancy.



Postpartum Psychosis is a medical emergency – if you or someone you know is suffering call 9-1-1

If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

 If you are looking for local pregnancy or postpartum support and resources in your area, please call or email:

Postpartum Support International

1-800-944-4PPD (4773)

Warmline (English & Spanish)


Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/postpartum-depression-not-just-depression/

Amy called me a Diva! My Interview with PCOS Diva

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PCOS Diva - Podcast-41-Satveit-Blog Image

I am so excited to be able to share this with you!  It isn’t every day I get called a Diva let alone by someone I have so much respect for – PCOS Diva, Amy Medling!  Amy is a Certified Health Coach, Women’s Health Advocate and the Founder of PCOS Diva.  She is a woman who transformed her life by becoming an empowered patient.  She is passionate about helping other women transform their lives and find their own path to better health while living with PCOS.

Amy interviewed me about the Personalized PCOS Program that I am creating as Founder of Open Source Health Inc. and our myAva platform.   I’m excited to share my vision for the future of women’s health.  It is this vision that has enabled me to be able to bring together the most incredible experts to help in the creation of a brand new type of healthcare program and we are starting with PCOS.  My team includes a collaboration of physicians, scientists, policy advisors and of course, women with PCOS.

If you’d like to hear more about the Personalized PCOS Program grab a cup of tea or coffee (it’s a 30 minute interview) and have a listen.

Send me questions or comments or if you’d like to stay informed as we launch the program sign up to receive updates at myava.com.  I’d love to hear from you.

PCOS Diva – Podcast

Thanks so much to you Amy for featuring me on your Diva Podcast!


Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/amy-called-me-a-diva-my-interview-with-pcos-diva/

Hello Again….

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My poor neglected baby – Hormone Soup!  It is probably hard for you to believe that my blog is one of the true loves of my life! Talking out in the open about hormones has led to so many amazing experiences for me.  Including leading me to another of the loves of my life – working on disrupting women’s health from the patient side of things!  I truly believe the only way we can make the changes we want to see in women’s health is to create it ourselves. So even though it seems like I’ve pushed my beloved Hormone Soup to the side, it’s been for a good cause.

I’ve been working on the most exciting project I’ve ever been involved in – something I think you will really like to hear about. Through my blogging efforts I’ve learned so much about women’s health, especially of course hormone, sexual and reproductive health but also delved into the latest innovations happening in healthcare like precision medicine or personalized medicine.

I bet you’ve heard of Precision Medicine? President Obama and other government leaders around the world have shone the spotlight on Precision Medicine (also referred to as Personalized Medicine).  But my guess is you don’t really have a good understanding yet of what it is and how it is going to affect your life.  You aren’t alone – even the experts are still trying to figure that out!  Unlocking your DNA holds big promises but the focus has largely been on cancer and maybe you’ve heard of MTHFR mutation but there’s just so much more.

Would you like a molecular picture of yourself instead of constantly fighting for just one little TSH or hormone test?  What about hundreds of markers that you have access to and can share your data with whomever you want? Now that’s what I’m talking about.

The potential benefits are huge and I really believe will lead to improved outcomes and experiences over time.

There is good news and bad news.  The good news is that we are finally able to access all sorts of valuable information in your blood and urine and vagina and poo!  The not so great news is that in just over a few years of analyzing that much information contained in one person we are going to need a place to store it all and it’s going to amount to 1Terabyte of data for each of us! If you can’t imagine 1TB of data here’s help:

  • 50,000 trees made into paper would be needed to print out all that data!
  • 250 million pages printed both sides, over 10 miles high!
  • 250,000 MP3s which is about 2 years of non-stop listening!

Some people are really excited about it and even though it might sound boring and that it doesn’t relate to you I am here to tell you it does relate to you and it is all actually quite exciting.  We are finally at a stage where it is possible to store and analyze this much data.  And the clincher is what do we do with it?  Well that’s the best part as far as I’m concerned. We can use it to inform care in terms of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.  But also being at the forefront of this kind of medicine means that as new research gets published you’re the first to benefit.

So I used to wonder why no one is really doing this yet because there are a lot of people out there who know a lot more than I do and are probably more qualified.  But I’ve discovered a couple reasons – this is damn hard, it takes a lot of money and a ton of guts.  Another reason is that it takes a lot of collaboration with a lot of smart people to put a medical program like this together because no one has all the pieces.  In my experience not many people can see the whole picture either.  Over the years I have met experts who hold one super important piece of the puzzle and then there are those who know a ton about all this great science and stuff but not a damn thing about women’s health. And there’s the women’s health experts who don’t know about all the science and innovations that we could tap into.  And the doctors, well in many ways even the doctors that want to innovate have their hands tied or are so busy taking care of patients there’s no way they can get all of this figured out.  One day I realized this put me in a really unique position, by listening to the discussions in all of these areas over the past 2 years or so I’ve really learned where the gaps are and figured out a way to close the gap.  I’ve developed an incredible network of healthcare providers, research scientists, technologists and patients that are as passionate as I am about disrupting healthcare with the latest innovations and I’m setting out to do all that and I’m getting started with the most underserved of all women’s hormone health issues – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

I have so much more to tell you but I will save it for another day.  If you’re interested in learning more head on over to myava.com and let me know you’ll like to stay in touch.  Or drop me a line here at Hormone Soup.

If you have PCOS definitely reach out and I’ll let you know when we’re launching the program in your area.

Thanks so much for your support.


Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/hello-again/

Looking for the Silver Lining: Maternal PCOS & Autism Risk

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I am sure some of you saw the results of this study into Maternal PCOS and risk of Autism.  Well if you haven’t, for the first time, researchers have identified a link between a mom with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and increased risk of having a child with autism.  I have been noticing the reaction of women to this new research throughout the day and I saw a variety of reactions – some women were commenting and blaming themselves for a child born with autism, some people pathetically used it to give a voice to the vaccine/autism debate, some women with autism and aspergers were saying ‘what’s wrong with being like us’, some women with PCOS who have had children were sharing their pregnancy outcomes in terms of whether they had children with or without autism.

My first reaction was that I wanted to give every woman with PCOS a hug today.  My heart sank for women with PCOS, imagine feeling like now you have one more issue to deal with, one more burden among a sea of health symptoms related to your health condition.   Looking for the positive I began to think we have to find the silver lining in this piece of “bad news” and it’s this: FINALLY people everywhere are taking notice of a chronic, lifelong disorder that has not been given the attention it deserves and has no cure.

I work in healthcare and every single time I bring up Polycystic Ovary Syndrome I am in awe – almost no one has heard of it – maybe now they will.

almost no one has heard of it – maybe now they will

It’s the number one cause of infertility and people haven’t heard of it.   It’s the number one endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age and people haven’t heard of it.  It causes diabetes in 50% of the women who suffer and yet we haven’t heard of it.

Clearly awareness campaigns are a must even among the medical community.  When I was at a PCOS Challenge Symposium in September I overheard two women discussing PCOS and one said when she sees a new doctor and she tells him/her that she has PCOS it’s like “they’re hearing about it for the first time”.

“There isn’t a women’s health group that is more medically underserved than the PCOS Community.”

  And this syndrome has so much confusion going on in the medical community – there are several different diagnostic criteria to choose from depending upon which side of the debate you sit on.  It’s so bad that one doctor/researcher at the same symposium said when they (doctors/researchers) discuss how to diagnose this syndrome – “it’s the person with the loudest voice” who usually wins the debate and gets his way!   Every doctor on the panel mentioned in one way or another that the current state of affairs in the medical community for PCOS is pathetic, pitiful, heartbreaking.

I follow a LOT of women’s health topics and I can safely say there isn’t a women’s health group that is more medically underserved than this community of patients. The women who suffer from PCOS deserve MORE – better diagnosis, better care, more treatment options instead of just bandaid solutions and more awareness.  It’s time to DEMAND more.

So let’s keep a positive outlook – the time for PCOS patients to get heard is now.  It is my sincere hope that this brings to light a health issue that affects up to 10% of women.  

Turn some bad news to good:  Make PCOS go viral.    #bettercare4PCOS 



For more information on PCOS:

PCOS Challenge

For more information on the Study:

Medical News Today – PCOS – Autism Link


Permanent link to this article: http://hormonesoup.com/looking-for-the-silver-lining-maternal-pcos-autism-risk-study/

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