If you have followed my health journey for any period of time you know that I have been working incredibly hard and yet still struggle with seeing the results I think I should. It’s not that I don’t put in the work, because I do. I press my limits at the box, I follow a clean eating plan from a nutrition coach with the exception of a few meals out with family per month. Still, despite all my work I was seeing little to no progress. I mean, yea, I was making better choices for my health but as hard as I have worked I should be further along… I know everyone says that! But it’s true!
I chalked most of that up to the fact that my thyroid is whack thanks to my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. 98% of the time I accepted that my reality would be that I would have to work twice as hard for half the results. The other 2% of the time I threw myself a big pity party that included fried pickles, burgers, loaded fries, and ice cream. Because if I wasn’t going to lose weight I was going to eat whatever the heck I wanted anyway. This lasts for about a day before I start feeling sick. Then I get back to business and keep working. The thing that always bothered me is that since starting my medication my labs have always come back as normal. That means everything should work like it is supposed to, right? Wrong…
I started to notice more signs that something wasn’t right in the last few months. I was having crazy headaches, I was sleeping on average 8 hours most nights but still feeling extremely fatigued, generally felt “off” and “foggy brained”, and the biggest red flag was my ability to go from happy go lucky to extremely irritable in 0.6 seconds… particularly when dealing with my daughter. That was a huge eye opener. If you know my daughter you know that she is seriously the best kid ever. I’m not just saying that because she is my daughter, but she is seriously the sweetest, kindest, most well behaved child I know. So when I lost my patience with her on a regular basis that was a huge red flag. Not to mention my lack of results with hard work on the diet and exercise front. I really started to feel like I was legit going crazy. I had my thyroid checked again just to see if my levels fluctuated… but nope. Still normal. My nutrition coach, Jamie from Precision Fitness STL, suggested the theory of Estrogen Dominance. When I read the symptoms I felt like I was reading through a description of my life. Check these out…
- Decreased sex drive
- Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods
- Bloating (water retention)
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Headaches (especially premenstrually)
- Mood swings (most often irritability and depression)
- Weight and/or fat gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips)
- Cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction)
- Hair loss
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Sluggish metabolism
- Foggy thinking, memory loss
- Trouble sleeping/insomnia
Uhm, HELLO! McFly! This is seriously my life. Could THIS be reason why my thyroid is jacked up to begin with?!
I brought it up to my general practitioner who deals with my thyroid issues and she hadn’t ever really dealt with it, but was interested in doing so. We got my blood work done and I was on pins and needles waiting for the response. So, it turns out that my estrogen levels are normal… HOWEVER… My progesterone levels came back in the range of someone who was Post Menopausal. Meaning there was practically no progesterone in my system.
My first reaction? I’M NOT CRAZY! YAY!
Then I was a bit confused, My estrogen levels were “normal” after all… so it wasn’t that I had too much estrogen… It was that it wasn’t balanced with the other hormones in my body. One of the places I was reading about it made it make the most sense to me “the theory of estrogen dominance is very real, but its significance lies in the overall ratio of estrogen to progesterone”
So, it isn’t that I have an excess amount of estrogen, it is that I am not producing enough progesterone to balance it out. So, I am going to start using a natural progesterone cream to help supplement. This is a tricky issue as too much can cause my body to swing the other way. Another complication to the issue (and a TMI alert) is that I have the Mirena IUD and don’t have regular periods. I can’t tell you the last time I had a period. I do plan on having it removed in the next few months and I hope that helps things to balance out.
I know this is long winded, but I wanted to share this with you in case any of you were struggling with the same things.
Have you ever felt crazy? Were you really crazy?
21 thoughts on “Estrogen Dominance (aka – My Hormones Make Me Crazy)”
Good lord I just read this whole thing and was just shaking my head yes to everything!!! I am having the same exact issues. I am going to bring this up to my doctor as well! Thank you so much!!!
It isn’t something a lot of regular doctors know a lot about. I’m lucky to have a doctor who is interested in learning about it and has gone out of her way to make it happen, if you have issues with your PCP try talking to your OBGYN!
Wow I can answer yes to almost all of them espeically the mood and hair loss that was my biggest things I have noticed. I did go to the dr over the weekend to find out why I am just so irratible cant sleep gaining weight etc. He ordered blood work to check my estrogen and progesterone levels. Still waiting on the results. Hope it gives some answers to know I am not totally losing it. I don’t have periods anymore since having novasure where they took lining of utuerus out so I have no cycle to gage how things are.
Sounds like you’re in the same spot I am! I have Mirena and haven’t had a regular cycle in a long time so it is hard to measure it! Hope you get some answers soon!
Court, the estrogen dominance comes from a lot of every day things we use that produce xeno estrogens in our body. This is like so many times stronger than our natural estrogen. The worst culprits are plastics, styrofoam, teflon, and meat and dairy hormone in take as well as pesticides on our fruits and veggies and crap in our cosmetics.
We just got rid of all our teflon and stopped buying water bottles. Bought a stainless steel food grade on and just fill it with filtered water. That’s already helped a TON!
Maybe some things to think about considering. Flushing all those out will naturally bring your progesterone up. Progesterone cream is great temporarily but you have to consider that if you put more estrogen in your system your body may just see too much of both and stop producing much of anything.
I mean progesterone not estrogen on that last sentence
Great information! I’ve heard a bit about the xenoestrogens but haven’t looked too much into it. I’ll have to ask my doctor about it!
I’ve been reading your blog for a while and love your posts. I haven’t commented but your Hashimoto’s and not losing weight hit close to home for me. I also suffer from the same disease and struggle to lose weight. One thing that helped me was reading “Hope for Hashimoto’s” by Dr. Alexander Haskell, ND. He talks about a lot of ways to help your symptoms naturally including using a Selenium supplement. I spoke with my endo about not losing weight and I switched meds (now take Tirosint instead of Synthroid). He also recommended taking 100 mg of Selenium every day (he also had no idea that I had read my book). Once I did these two things partnered with Crossfit and clean Paleo eating, I lost a large amount of pounds. I would suggest talking to your GP again and maybe consider going to see an endo (Endocrinologist) to confirm that they agree with your GP. Good luck! I know it is so frustrating.
How did changing over from Synthroid to Tirosint help you? I’m not familiar with the difference in the two. I’ll have to ask about the selenium and look into that book! Now we are dealing with hormone issues on top of the thyroid issues so it is so confusing! Dang body, just work the way you are supposed to!
Tirosint is a liquid tablet instead of a powered based one like Synthroid. My body just never responded to Synthroid like it should have. When reading your post, a lot of your symptoms also look like thyroid symptoms so I thought you may want to revisit it. Good luck!! I know it’s so annoying when your body won’t do what you want it to do.
I always enjoy that you keep it real, but this particular post sort of knocked me upside the head. I feel exactly the same way..those symptoms are all things I’m dealing with. I’m going to talk it over with my husband and schedule a dr appointment. I’d really love to know what’s going on with me!
Thank you for being so open and raw with us! xoxoxox
It is good to know that even if we are all a bit crazy we aren’t crazy alone!! Hope you find some answers soon!
OMG! This is exactly what I dealt with a little over a year ago! I had all the same symptoms, I found a doctor that specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement and he found the same thing for me, I was estrogen dominant – basically I had no progesterone or testosterone. So I started bi-weekly hormone injections (over using creams), I did them for about a year and honestly I didn’t see THAT many benefits! Especially when I weighed it against the cost of the injections, which insurance doesn’t cover. Does your insurance cover your creams? So the last injection I had was back in November 2013 and I still can’t see a huge difference either way. But, I loved this post and I hope you will keep us all updated with how it goes and what other things you try! What med are you taking for your thyroid? My entire thyroid was removed back in 2008, I was on synthroid, but the new doctor switched me to Nature Throid. Anyway, its nice to know I’m not alone, or crazy too! xo
The bottom line is, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!! Frustrating, irritating, painful … but at least you know what road to start traveling. I’m SO happy that you’ve gotten to the bottom of this!
Definitely keep up posted, I hope the progesterone helps!
This is super interesting, I have some of these symptoms too–and I remember having low progesterone when I was pregnant with my second child. Thanks for sharing this is really important information! Visiting from the SITS health & Fitness thread 😉
At the end of last summer, I felt “off,” but couldn’t figure out what was going on. One Dr ran a bunch of tests and concluded I wasn’t a Celiac, but sounded like I had a gluten intolerance. I cut all gluten, but still felt just as crappy as ever. Then I found out I was pregnant and after a random blood test, found out I was Type 1 Diabetic. I was started on insulin two days later; that was in October. I’m about to deliver this baby that started it all, and while the end of pregnancy is kicking my ass, I no longer feel as crappy as I did before the Diabetes diagnosis.