Estrogen Sucks

It’s become very clear to me over the last several weeks that estrogen completely sucks and progesterone completely rocks. In a healthy young woman they’re ideally balanced and estrogen does important stuff in the body – especially during the reproductive years. I am done reproducing, however, and I have many of the symptoms of estrogen dominance.  I stopped taking Progest E last Wednesday in order to have my period.  I didn’t want to stop, because it had been doing such a great job of managing my typical PMS, anxiety, depression, and I just felt good.  I tried stopping a few days earlier but these symptoms came back and I caved – “Help, save me, Progest E!”  And it did. I had a 37 day cycle because I kept taking progesterone, well past the typical window of “days 14-28”.

But I did force myself to stop taking it, and ever since I’ve been experiencing the effects of all the unopposed estrogen in my body: mood swings, cramps, anxiety, depression, sore swollen breasts, even headaches which I don’t have often.  So now, 4 days into my cycle, I’m hitting the progesterone again.  I don’t care that I’m doing it wrong. I’m listening to my body, and it is begging me to to save it from the estrogen.

These last few days of estrogen-intensity have made me aware that I need to focus more on liver support in order to better clear estrogen.  I think I’m going to go back to the supplements that were recommended by Jack Kruse back when I did a consult with him.  I understand his recommendations so much more now, and they make a lot of sense.  I feel bad that I made so many bad decisions over the last year.  I wonder sometimes if I would have been able to “make it” in California if I hadn’t been taking estrogen supplements.  I think that kind of destroyed me.  I’m just glad I stopped before developing cancer or losing my mind.


“There’s a lot wrong with you.”

Well, I have to tell you…Having a consult with Dr. Kruse was the best thing I could have done right now.  I feel overwhelmed by the whole thing…mostly because of the things I learned about myself and my family, and the implications this has for going forward.  I keep trying to remember this is about putting one foot in front of the other, and that regrets are pointless.  But it doesn’t matter.  I feel how I feel and I guess I just have to let that be ok.  Stupid emotions.  Whatever.  Probably hormones.

So here’s what happened.

Dr. K. called at the appointed time (a few minutes early actually) and launched right into it.  Let me tell you, he pulls no punches.  He is very blunt and I’m sure also aware of the time constraints of the call – no time for subtleties or small talk.  One of my favorite quotes from the conversation:  “There’s a lot wrong with you.”  The man barely stopped for a breath the entire half hour.  It was exactly as I had hoped.  I took notes the whole time, unable to get my Skype recording software to work.

In a nutshell, my biggest problem appears to be my hormones…specifically my progesterone/estrogen (Pg/E2) ratio, which is, and I quote, “horrible.”

“You want to know what your problem is?  Why you can’t lose weight? That’s it. Done.”

He reviewed my family history – specifically the health problems my mother and grandmother have had – and my labs, and said that there’s a link between all three of us – we all have low progesterone.  That accounts for my grandmother’s cancer, my mothers current health problems, and my current health problems.  He said that everything in my labs and family history adds up to that, and nothing contradicts it.  If I don’t change something he says I’m setting myself up for breast cancer or ovarian cancer (which my grandmother died from).

Cancer?  But I was worried about heart disease!  Cancer never really crossed my mind.  Isn’t that funny?  You know…in the ironic sense?

Hahahaha….ah yes…we laugh to keep from crying…

I think the best way to relay the rest of what I learned from this call is a list.  I’m not feeling creative enough to make it narrative.  So here we go:

  • My increasingly severe PMS and irregular periods indicate I’m probably closer to menopause than I think.
  • My infertility and labs indicate I may have PCOS, and he was surprised I hadn’t been diagnosed with it while trying to get pregnant.  (I know absolutely nothing about PCOS, so I can’t even comment on this right now.)
  • My family pattern is low progesterone – my grandmother, mother, and I all share it, and almost certainly my daughter will too.  The fact that I had her late in life increases that probability, as older eggs are lower in progesterone.  I have the opportunity to fix this in her and stop the family pattern by getting her off dairy and off grains.  He said if she’s low in Vitamin D that would be an indicator that her body isn’t making enough progesterone.  Dietary changes implemented before age 6 could help or even fix this epigenetic problem in her – the earlier the better.  (I’m not sure exactly why age 6 is the threshold – I assume it has to do with a certain degree of brain development being completed by then.)
  • I need to find an anti-aging doctor or a functional medicine practitioner who will be willing to prescribe Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) even though I’m not yet menopausal.
  • My having had gestational diabetes while pregnant increases my child’s risk of becoming diabetic 60%.
  • I’m probably hypothyroid.
  • I probably have stage 3 or 4 adrenal fatigue.  But – thankfully – “Your adrenal isn’t completely dead.”  All right!!
  • The order of awfulness in my health is as follows:
    • 1.  my Pg/E2 ratio
    • 2.  My adrenal fatigue / “cortisol issue”
    • 3.  My thyroid function
  • I shouldn’t drink alcohol at all.  It will cause a problem with my brain that increases my risk of breast cancer.  Maybe someday I could have some alcohol, “But not right now.”
  • I should use supplements for liver support: NAC, Milk thistle, Reseveratrol, Coconut Oil, Tumeric, CoQ10 Ubiquinol.  He liked that I’m taking Calcium D-Glucarate for the management of my estrogen (which is high).
  • I should be taking more Vitamin C.
  • I have too much artificial light in my life – he knew this by my high AM cortisol level, compared with the other cortisol levels throughout the day, which are all low-normal.
  • I should stop drinking so much water and drink green tea instead, which will help with the hormonal imbalance.
  • My daughter and I should both have genetic testing done.  (I’m not sure exactly what information this would yield…there was just not a lot of time for questions and this is one of them I didn’t ask).
  • I should watch his webinar on hormone replacement therapy (recorded just last weekend.  I wanted to see it but I was traveling while it was taking place).
  • My prognosis is good if I keep my diet clean (no grains, no dairy, no alcohol) and get BHRT.  My daughter’s prognosis is also good if I change her diet.  “You control her epigenetics.”

I talked all this over with my husband and he’s on board with doing everything necessary to fix this problem.  We were in the car while discussing it and made a stop to buy additional supplements (Vitamin C, Resveratrol, CoQ10 Ubiquinol, Milk Thistle, and Tumeric) and green tea.  I joined as a paying member of Kruse’s site so I can watch a recording of the webinar on BHRT (haven’t been able to access it yet…a technical glitch that I hope is resolved soon.)  After I watch the webinar, which he says contains info for finding a doctor, I’ll get busy finding a doctor.  I live 2 hours from Chicago so I hope there’s someone within that radius that can help me.

David and I talked about getting our little one off dairy.  We’re going to do it gradually, and be sure we have plenty of preferred food that is nutritionally equivalent to milk/cheese.  I need to research this.  All I know for sure is that our last experiment with getting her off dairy went so poorly…I need to be mindful about this and be sure she’s eating enough high-quality food as we taper off the milk.

As I mentioned, I didn’t ask many questions during the consult.  I didn’t go into it prepared with a list of questions as I should have, plus the experience was overwhelming and I kind of lost my head.  The one question I most regret not asking was about CT.  Is there any point in continuing these cold baths as long as my hormones are all messed up?  I know I haven’t been enjoying them as much lately, and they’re taking up a significant chunk of my free time every day – time I could be using to get my consulting work done or to do yoga or otherwise relax.  I’m thinking about putting CT on hold for a while and getting the rest of my life in order.  If I’m going to be getting testing done soon with a new doctor I’d like my body to settle down and stop detoxing (I still get weirdly-timed emotional flares, which suggest there’s still excess estrogen in my system related to doing the CT).

During the call, it seemed pointless to ask about exercise and leaky gut stuff.  Those are details I’ll get to later after tackling the massive problem of preventing cancer.

So here’s my plan:

  • Add the new supplements to my regimen. (<–done)
  • Drink loads of green tea (this one is easy!)
  • Tighten up diet (no more dairy, no alcohol, otherwise do what I’ve been doing)
  • Stop CT for now.
  • Watch webinar on BHRT.
  • Find a doctor, make appointment, go see him/her.
  • Fix hormones.

I sense a long road ahead.

But really…what else am I doing that’s more important than this?