I have Hashimoto's and a few other issues thrown in which all appear interconnected in some way or other. One of my main concerns is the fact that my estrogen is a bit too high. I have been doing a heap of research into this lately as i feel addressing my estrogen issue could be the key to helping my thyroid somewhat. I know a few others had estrogen excess too so thought i'd post what i found out.
I used to think that estrogen was an issue all on it's own or possibly my estrogen was thrown out of balance due to my thyroid/adrenal issues.
I came across the fact that estrogen comes in many forms from plant based estrogens found in food, herbs and spices, estrogen from pollution, exhaust fumes, medication (brith control pills), cosmetics/perfumes, using plastic containers to store hot food, heating foods in plastic, styrofoam cups/containers, pesticides, canned foods, hormones in non organic meats, leading a stressfull lifestyle and glandular issues........basically there are loads of ways of becoming estrogen dominant. Some of these things you can avoid and some you can't.
The ones you can try to avoid would likely be destressing and avoiding phytoestrogens (plant based estrogens) and look at the types of containers you store/heat food in, also not buying cosmetics and hair care which include parabens and detergents. Phytoestrogens are said to inhibit conversion of T4 to active T3 thyroid hormone and can trigger hypothyroidism. This one interested me greatly. This means not only do you cut out goitrogenic foods for your thyroid health, but also estrogen containing foods to help lower excess estrogen to help your hormonal and thyroid health.
Some of the strongest phytoestrogen containing substances are soy, lignans found in flax seed products, red clover, black cohosh, chasteberry, and dong quai, caffeine. By soy it means: soybeans, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, roasted soybeans, soy granules, soy protein powders, miso, and edamames. Basically the lot. I guess soy is double trouble as it's no good for the thyroid and no good for your estrogen levels. Now they did say it's ok if you are consuming a 'little' phytoestrogen type substances, as i guess it's unavoidable. Just about every food i know, from chocolate to bread, contains soy, even if you buy gluten free products, they fill them with soy a lot of the time. There are other foods where estrogen is found naturally, but then there are packaged foods where estrogen content would be higher due to the type of packaging used eg: milk, yogurts, cream, desserts, soft cheese. The other factor is alacahol, which inhibits the ability to clear estrogen from the blood stream.
I've been on a herbal mix from my naturopath for 3 years and the mix contains chasteberry as it's supposed to "settle" hormones. Most sites on the net talk about how wonderful it is, but i'm coming across a few where they caution you as chasteberry (Vitex as it is commonly known) can make a person with excess estrogen even more estrogen dominant. Today i'm seeing my naturopath and will discuss what we'll do. Sometimes i think it might be best not taking anything. I'm just not sure.
I also found a list of mild, moderate and severe symptoms for estrogen and i'm definitely in the moderate and heading to severe as i have most of the symptoms listed, save about 3. The moderate symptoms are: Adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, headaches, severe menstrual cramps, heavy periods with clotting, joint/muscle pain, decreased libido, insomnia/restless sleep, decreased libido, dry eyes. A lot of these symptoms are almost like carbon copy of hypo thyroid symptoms.
This interests me greatly because most times when people post their symptoms, with symptoms like the above, i'd be telling them "it's definitely your thyroid", but it makes me wonder now as some people mightn't have a thyroid issue (yet), it could be the estrogen excess, but if left untreated it could lead to thryoid issues???
Some of our organs have sensitive estrogen receptor sites eg: uterus, breast, thyroid and i've read elsewhere that the liver should be included here. It's beneficial to rid the body of estrogen from these receptor sites and replace with progesterone. The estrogen load will reduce then. For instance, if there is an accumulation of estrogen at the liver, this can lead to fat deposits which are difficult to shift. I know a lady who has been working on losing weight for the last 6 years. She lost some of it, but has hit a brickwall now and can't lose anymore of her weight. She doesn't have a thyroid problem, but does have adrenal fatigue with low cortisol and extremely high excess estrogen. She is now going to see a doctor who only deals in hormones and weight loss. I'm glad she'll be getting help as she's been so totally dedicated to weight loss and was simply told by doctors that she was in a small minority who can't lose weight. She's happy she has persevered as she has a better understanding of what could be causing her to not lose weight.
For 4 months i've been on a supplement called Indolplex (DIM) which my doctor said would help metabolise and turn the excess bad estrogen into good estrogen. I'm not sure whether this has worked, especially if i've been taking the herbal mix which included the chasteberry.
The other thing to do is exercise which keeps the liver strong, which in turn then can expel excess estrogen. Doesn't matter if it's light exercise like walking, any exercise will do, so long as it involves stretching and gets you breathing.
Now i see there are more reasons than potential breast cancer to reduce estrogen. I was wondering also what others are doing for their estrogen excess and also for those who have a thyroid condition and have never tested their other homrones, it might be an idea.
I have estrogen dominance and am going to be starting on natural progesterone in a couple of days. I did the saliva test. I had normal estrogen levels, but low progesterone levels, so I will be supplementing.
I, like you, have other things going on that I think are interrelated. I have Hashimoto's, anemia with a ferritin of 2, low cortisol, low DHEA, low vit. D. It's hard to know what symptoms are coming from what, but I am trying to do what I can on each issue.
I do know for a fact that I have symptoms related to estrogen dominance that are caused only by estrogen dominance. Things like enlarged uterus (14 week pregnancy size), thickened uterine lining, fibroids, breast cysts, painful periods with clots. I can't wait to start on the natural progesterone and see if I get some relief from these things.
My doctor is also a BIG believer in going on a gluten free diet and it is a TOUGH thing to do!!!!! Gluten is in everything, it seems. She said if I wasn't willing to go on a gluten free diet, I may as well forget about getting well. She believes that I can see a huge difference with this diet change.
Interestingly enough, about the goitrogens in food, she believes that these foods are the ones that you SHOULD eat (broccoli, cabbage, peanuts, etc.), to get the kind of estrogen that is highly absorbable and usable in the human body, the kind of estrogen that you need. The kind of estrogen that she says stay away from are the synthetic estrogens like what is found in milk, meat, plastics, etc. She says buy organic milks, meats, cheeses, that haven't had the synthetic hormones given to the cows. If you eat the highly absorbably estrogens in foods that are good for you, your body is using it for the good of your body, and not building up and causing harm.
Most people don't have too much estrogen, they just don't have enough progesterone, and that is what causes the imbalance. My estrogen was fine, my progesterone was way too low. Have you done the saliva test to check your levels? It might be worth a try and see what's going on with your hormones.
Last edited by herekittykitty; 02-27-2009 at 07:50 AM.
Great points, I'm the one who posted long ago about my estrogen issues. But for me, I am past menopause due to hysterectomy in my early 20's. My estradiol was over the range, along with fsh and lh. My endo wasn't concerned, urgh...my pcp was very concerned, even had a ct of my adrenals to ck for a tumor caused by estrogen. Well, my endo gave me a script for estrogen! to help my "symptoms". I gave it a try and sure enough it greatly helped my insomnia. But, have since stopped taking it in fear. My dhea was very low, per a naturalpath dr, hence now taking 25mg dhea. I feel a bit better with it. Sleep is not as bad now. The hormone issue is so confusing! not sure if dhea may increase the estrogen from what I've read it can? but, labs show low dhea and I'm sticking with it, read too many great things about dhea to let that one go. My latest labs on thyroid were not too bad, free t4 1.22 and tsh 1.52 could use a tweak, we'll see what endo replys on that one? But with this darn Hashimoto's its hard to know if our female hormones are the culprit or not? the dry eyes, sleep issues and the bloating and fatigue are my main complaints. I have a lot of back pain but I've had many herniations and surgeries, so that is from osteo arthritis and scar tissue.
But it can't hurt to try and avoid plant estrogens, chemicals etc etc. I'm taking a b complex, vit e, selenium and magnesium, that's about it other than Synthroid and dhea, I think less is best . But don't go by Suzzane Sommers, gee she's a walking chemical factory!!! Hope we all can just feel better soon!!!cj
Hashi's / Hypo Jan 2008
C 5-6-7 fusion
L-5 s1, discectomy, ddd, o/a, scoliosis
Very interesting... I am estrogen, testerone heavy, low progesterone. Taking low dose of natural progesterone to "balance" the others. Also found very high DHEA on blood serum and saliva... and no ones knows what to do?? I am repeating test ( blood) because dr thought it was lab error ( both blood and saliva???).I also have HIGH cortisol, (? why) and am trying to reduce it.. ( terrible insomnia with it).
I am hypo- low antibodies so no hashi's diagnosis.
Anyway I try to avoid soy, except for one glass of soy milk a day... it really helps my hot flashes. I did not know about all the other things like plastic, in milk, ect...
Thanks all for enlightening me!!! This is a confusing world to live in... darn if we do, darn if we don't.
Yes, my doctor got me to do the saliva hormone panel test which tested ALL my hormones from adrenals right through. He did this prior to medicating my Hashimoto's.
I've been on Indolplex (DIM) for 4 months and now i'm about to get retest to see if it's helped metabolise my excess estrogens.
I visited my naturopath on friday and i queried the fact that Vitex (Chaste berry) is said to contain estrogen and the fact that the Vitex is in my herbal mix which i've been on for 3 years. She said that Vitex has progesterone raising qualities and a higher progesterone would balance out the excess estrogen. She's also thinking of adding some homeopathic remedies.
If it wasn't for the herbal route i took, i don't know what would have happened with my monthly cycles. I had begun to bleed heavily and i was anemic. My cycles became irregular and i was spotting constantly. Since being on the herbs, which took some months to kick in, i have noticed vast changes for the better with my cycles.
My naturopath says if the herbs can help raise progesterone and/or lower estrogen, it would mean the fibroid i have would stop growing and/or shrink it and at the very least prevent more fibroids. I understand fibroids love an estrogen environment. I've also developed a slight thickening of endometrial lining so the naturopath realises the importants of dealing with the estrogen excess and luckily so does my thyroid doctor.
Kindspirit, i do remember your post regarding your doctor giving you extra estrogen.
That is plain silly!! I have been wondering if these herbs don't do the trick then i might be best taking a natural form of progesterone cream. I'm wondering how do they know how much cream is enough. I wouldn't want to go the other way and have too high progesterone.
A friend at work doesn't have the thyroid issues as yet, her T3 is a little low though, her adrenals aren't good and her estrogen is sky high. She is visiting a hormonal doctor and i'll be very interested in the treatment advised. I'll post here on what this new doctor recommends.
In one way i keep thinking that due to it taking 8 long years for me to get medicationg for my Hashi's, maybe this is why now things have gotten so bad across the board for me. This could mean it could take a longer time for things to revert back to normal. Maybe once everything is corrected i will see a difference estrogen-wise. The naturopath did say that excess estrogen is a BIG problem and quite widespread. A lot of people i'd say are suffering due to it, but don't know it and a lot of doctors don't test hormones or don't care if your results are close to the edge, so long as you are within range, they don't advise you on what part of the day to get tested for various things, don't go into detail on what type of testing is best eg: blood/saliva.
Apart from progesterone creams, is anybody using anything different for estrogen or heard of anything which helps?