Sorry for the delay…I’ve been working on the gut blog and it’s taking a while.
A short one for today – I’m going to tackle oestrogen.
I must start this by saying that everyone is different. As I’m female I can’t really talk about male hormones.
My journey to feeling better actually began here. I was very lucky I changed two things and it made an enormous difference to me BUT I have these characteristics and I know a good proportion of women don’t.
First off I don’t have polycystic ovaries, fibroids, endometriosis or anything irregular in relation to my reproductive system.
This is important. If you have any of these things or others I’m pretty sure what I’m going to say may be irrelevant to you.
My reproductive system has always been rock solid, predictable and one of the things I HAVEN”T had to worry about.
1.Prior to getting Hashimoto’s thyroiditis my periods were regular and normal – 28 days/ 5 days long
2.I got some cramps and flow was normal
3.From a PMT point of view I got tired the week before and tense 2-3 days before (including some teariness)
4.I got pregnant easily (first try both times) and my pregnancies and deliveries were both textbook.
It’s nice to be able to write that something works without struggle! I feel very lucky to able to do that.
After childbirth (when Hashimoto’s kicked in) things changed
1.My cycle shortened to 24 days (an acupuncturist said that he sees this a lot). It was still regular like clockwork.
2.PMT got much worse. Specifically I got horrible constipation a week before for ~ 3 days. PMT became brutal (full head-swivel, anger, teary, cramps – full swamp creature!)
I rode these changes out. I didn’t really think too hard about them but they got worse.
At this stage I should mention age.
My mother had children at 36, 37 and hit menopause at 52. I had my first child at 37, second at 38. My guess is I’m peri-menopausal at the moment.
I haven’t done a full hormone panel yet but will in the next month or so.
As my DHEA levels are compromised (see previous blog on Adrenals for more) production of sex hormones has to be out of whack.
Back to symptoms.
The PMT symptoms got worse over time but I didn’t really register (think frog in water that’s being heated up slowly.)
BUT I now realise I became almost impossible to live with. My mood swings became intolerable for me and my husband but it took time. It’s always easy to justify your behaviour by looking at the world around you and blaming it for what’s wrong. This is human nature. I’m not perfect. Neither’s my husband but I was plague with anger and resentment. On some level I remember thinking ‘what’s going on? This isn’t me’. I tried to correct my behaviour but the gaps between the peaks and troughs were few and far between and the feeling of all-consuming tension never let up. It was like having PMT 3 out of 4 weeks.
I had zero libido and zero tolerance.
I can’t quite remember how I came to ask the question that prompted me to dig deeper and look at my hormone balance.
Anyhow I started reading – discovered progesterone was the ‘happy hormone’ and that oestrogen dominance existed.
I know – there are loads of you out there who already know about this. I filled out the symptom checker for oestrogen dominance. I had all the symptoms. Somewhere a penny dropped. I wanted things to change.
Around this time I’d been for a breast scan. My breasts were agony 2out of 4 weeks. One of the doctors suggested starflower or evening primrose oil. Her exact words were – we don’t know why it works but sometimes it does.
I looked them up. Both contain gamma linoleic acid – a good form of omega 6.
I like this reference nccam.nih.gov/health/evenin...
I tried evening primrose oil (1g/day) The breast pain went.
At the same time I started taking a supplement called Premular (Flordis) it contains vitex agnus castus (Chastain) equiv 180mg dry root. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitex... This supplement is used widely in Germany to treat PMS.
Within 10 days ALL my symptoms had gone. I still get slight symptoms 3 days before my period but that’s better than 3 weeks before!! My husband was staggered. So was I. I’m back to being my ‘normal’ self mood-wise.
My views on this…
I was only interested in taking natural remedies. I couldn’t do anything else without the help of an endocrinologist but my training makes me VERY wary of messing around with sex hormone balances. The only way I’d consider actual medication would be after long thought and debate, even if an endocrinologist suggested it. It needs very careful monitoring. I’d have to really trust my doctor.
I know this is unlikely to make a difference to many people but I’d urge you to consider oestrogen dominance if your moods are see-sawing uncontrollably. Menopause is often the diagnosis we’re handed if we’re a woman of a certain age but I had NONE of those symptoms.
After my next spit test I intend to do a proper hormone panel and assess where things are at. In the meantime I thought I’d share that this worked for me. Also - I did this BEFORE I changed anything to do with thyroid/adrenals etc. I think it’s interesting it had such a profound effect. In many ways if it hadn’t I’m not sure I could have made it through the past 2 months as I’ve changed how I treat my thyroid/adrenals/gut. Clearly everything needs to balance out…and in the absence of happy adrenals my sex hormones are going to be challenged at best.
On that note – I’m going to do gut next. I have test results here and insights that made me change the way I manage my diet and the supplements I take…
In the meantime go well and as always – I’m happy to take questions…