Estrogen Dominance

by Amy
(St. Petersburg, FL, USA)

Hi Wray,
I am trying to figure out what has happened to me since having children. After my 1st born (easy pregnancy but severe morning sickness and vomiting), I developed postpartum depression, even though it was more anxiety and panic. Tried western medicine to alleviate symptoms which it did except for 2 weeks before my period. Got pregnant with 2nd child, and immediately had heart palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, and nobody could offer me an explanation despite going to several docs. these symptoms went away completely during the second trimester but reoccurred in the 8th month of pregnancy although I had numerous stressors on my plate (I read your page on stress so that could of been dropping my progesterone levels). Could these symptoms in my 1st trimester have been the progesterone stimulating the estrogen receptors, much like when you first start taking progesterone? It makes sense to me since my body was beginning to increase its production of progesterone. However, if I was deficient in progesterone, how was I able to conceive and not miscarry?
I also suffered from postpartum anxiety after my 2nd pregnancy and subsequent pregnancies and am just now finding out about progesterone and amazed no one has told me this before. Could this be that I am just overally sensitive to hormones? I just finished reading Womens Moods by some doctors and that was their explanation and there suggestions were SSRIs. Did not like that book.
I have been feeling a little worse though since starting progesterone, I am now taking oral 100mg but I feel worse and feel depressed even through menstration. I am going to bump it up to 300mg on day 8. The only time I feel really good is near ovulation when both hormones are high, making me think maybe am deficient in estrogen too. I have been reading that you can have a estrogen dominance where estrogen in low (causing depression) but progesterone is even lower. I read your page on stress and I have had tons of stress, and I think a lot of it is due to the fact I don't have any hormones to handle stress. I am not overweight, small breasted, so I don't think I really have high estrogen, but perhaps high estrogen in relation to Progesterone. I take tons of vitamins, minerals and supplements (5htp and inositol) but still having symptoms. Thanks in advance for your help!

Comments for Estrogen Dominance

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Feb 24, 2013
Estrogen Dominance
by: AMY

Wray,
It is Amy again, I forgot to mention that I did have a lot of labs drawn, and my vitamin D was a 39.6ng/ml and I also had some thyroid antibodies in my blood. Perhaps a a progesterone deficiency could have led to this since it is an autoimmune disorder and I know I saw that somewhere on this site. Also, been reading your comments to others to use the progesterone straight through periods. Will this cause me more adverse symptoms that I will have to deal with later on? I am cycling now so will my periods cease tricking my body that it is pregnant? I am a little scared to do that to be honest. Thank you!

Feb 25, 2013
Estrogen Dominance
by: Wray

Hi Amy You are 100% correct about the beginning stages of Pregnancy. Progesterone is rising, this does stimulate oestrogen, hence the same symptoms as when using supplemental. Very few make this connection which I find surprising. Progesterone is being secreted by the corpus luteum only, this obviously has a limited capacity. It's not until about week 8 that the placenta has grown enough to begin secreting it. But it's not until the third month, that's it's making sufficient to take over. At this point the corpus luteum begins regressing. The hyperemesis you had can be helped by progesterone, but I've found if already started amounts of 400mg/day or more are needed. Dr Dalton has something to say about it too, see here. It's an interesting point you make about your heart palpitations, insomnia, anxiety and morning sickness. I think the explanation is relatively simple. You did have enough progesterone to sustain the pregnancy, but your oestrogen to progesterone ratio was too high. If your oestrogen had been higher it would have resulted in foetal death, see see here. Put 'estrogen excess' into 'find'. If your testosterone had been higher, that too would have resulted in foetal death, see here. The paper says "The level of P over 12.3 ng/ml was found to be sensitive and specific with respect to detecting a normal pregnancy (95% and 90%, respectively). All patients whose fT ratios were 1.05 and higher, subsequently miscarried whereas the ones whose fT ratios were lower than 0.84 were considered as normal pregnancies." Nausea and vomiting are caused by substance P, it's a neuropeptide which is also involved in pain. Oestrogen stimulates it's release, see here. Substance P inhibits progesterone, see here, but if enough is used, progesterone suppresses substance P, see here. Hence the need for amounts of 400mg/day and over to stop the nausea. Conception is distinct from pregnancy. About 50 hours prior to ovulation progesterone surges, along with oestrogen, see here. Continued below

Feb 25, 2013
Estrogen Dominance Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Amy And here, here, here and here. After ovulation it continues to rise, it's this early luteal rise which is critical to an embryo implanting, see here. Evidently you had the surge followed by an increase after ovulation. I feel many so called 'infertile' women are not, but fail to have this combined increase in progesterone. I mentioned oestrogen surging 50 hours prior to ovulation, but unless there is the progesterone surge too, there is nothing to counter the oestrogen effect. This explains why many women get migraines, seizures, palpitations, panic attacks and asthma attacks around ovulation. You say you feel good then, due no doubt to your progesterone surge. And no you are not overly sensitive to hormones, what c....! Excess oestrogen causes 'women's moods', it's an excitatory hormone. It stimulates glutamate, our most excitatory neurotransmitter, see here. It increases free radicals, plus destroying beta-endorphin neurons in the brain, these produce endorphins which promote a feeling of well being and relaxation. Beta-endorphins also appear to boost the immune system, protecting against cancer, see here. This paper says "Although it is widely accepted that exposure to estradiol throughout life contributes to reproductive aging.... Recent evidence ..... of chronic estradiol-mediated accelerated reproductive senescence now suggests such a hypothesis. It has been shown that chronic estradiol exposure results in the destruction of greater than 60% of all beta-endorphin neurons in the arcuate nucleus .....This loss of opioid neurons is prevented by treatment with antioxidants indicating that it results from estradiol-induced formation of free radicals", see here. Whereas progesterone protects against glutamate toxicity, it also increases BDNF (brain-derived neuroptrophic factor) in itself protective, see here. Continued below

Feb 25, 2013
Estrogen Dominance Part 3
by: Wray

Hi Amy And here. If glutamate is too high, it allows calcium, an excitatory mineral, to enter the cells. Progesterone also protects against calcium induced excitotoxicity, see here. I hope this covers the extraordinary info you read about "estrogen dominance where estrogen is low (causing depression)" SSRI's?! Use progesterone, take magnesium with vitamin D, taurine too, all these calm us down. Glycine is another calming amino, GABA too. More about these on our Anxiety page. Oral progesterone is the least effective Delivery system, "The liver and gut region removed a mean of 96 per cent of the progesterone entering these tissues" see here. So you are getting very little, but enough to stimulate oestrogen. Please empty the contents into a small amount of skin cream, and apply that to your skin. You'll be getting the full benefit then, it does work, see here. Low vitamin D leads to depression and other mood disorders, yours is too low. Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml (175-250nmol/L) and not the 30ng/ml (75nmol/L) most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although recent research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. Low levels also reduce the benefits of progesterone, and lead to thyroid disorders, see here, here, here, here, here and here. I do often recommend using progesterone daily, it's entirely up to you. Follow your cycle and see if it helps. If not you might have to use it daily. Take care Wray

Feb 25, 2013
Estrogen Dominance
by: Anonymous

Hi Wray,
Thank you for taking the time and energy responding to me. Your response is so informative and makes so much sense. For the longest time, I have really felt hopeless and inadequate because of the hormonal struggles I have endured since having kids. I have spent thousands of dollars seeing multiple docs, acupunture, prescription drugs, therapy and counseling and none of it helped. I do feel the natural supplements and vitamins have helped. All along, deep down, I felt it was all my hormones. When I would tell people that they would say "you're to young for that" or "I never had any issues after I had my baby," and all of those remarks made me feel even worse about myself and the situation. There is already such a negative stigma about Postpartum Depression and anxiety and that really is a shame.
I read all your responses to other questions and I couldn't help but wonder about my baby in regards to your response to WONDERFUL SITE AND TESTING TIMES/Daughter headed into puberty. The subject of epigenetics. Is epigenetics specifically to the time in the womb or your overall environment from the womb through adolescent? I just wonder if my baby will be affected by estrogen dominance symptoms I had in the first trimester (the heart palps, insomnia, anxiety and all the resulting stress) and my low vitamin D levels. He is only 6 months...His demeanor is mostly calm although much more fussy than the others when he wants something or is uncomfortable, but he is my 1st boy. I know I am being overly paranoid about this...it is probably my hormones and all my anxiety causing this worry! Do you know how young is too young to start vitamin D? Much love and gratitude to you Wray!

Mar 01, 2013
Estrogen Dominance
by: Wray

Hi Amy I'm so pleased it made sense to you, that's all important to me. And we're never too young for hormone problems. The youngest on record to start her periods was a one year old baby. There are a great many children from five upwards who've not only started bleeding, but had a baby, including the five year old. I had depression at puberty, and PND which I forgot to mention to you. I eventually crawled out of it four years later, only to be hit a few years later by Peri-menopause! I was 33 when I had my daughter, and never wanted another after the PND! Epigenetics is a serious problem now, and so few know about it, which is why I asked the webmaster to add the video about it at the end of our page on Pregnancy. Your vitamin D was low, but nowhere near as low as some I've seen. Please don't worry about it unduly, it's never too young to start vitamin D. Also at the end of the pregnancy page are two excellent videos explaining about vitamin D and breast feeding. And how much to give a baby too. And please see these papers here
and here. The first paper concludes with "Vitamin D supplementation of infants should consider their rapid body weight increment. We postulate vitamin D daily dose close to 100 IU/kg body weight as favorable for infants up to age 12 months." The last paper gave far more to the infants, "Conclusion:Vitamin D3 supplementation with up to 40 μg/d from age 2 wk to 3 months was safe and caused no hypercalcemia or hypercalciuria. The 40-μg dose maintained S-25-OHD above 80 nmol/liter in all infants." There are approximately 40iu per mcg. So the highest dose given in the study was 1600iu/day. Dr Cannell recommends healthy children under the age of 1 years should take 1,000 IU vitamin D3 per day, over the age of 1, 1,000 IU vitamin D3 per every 25 pounds of body weight per day. Your 'paranoia' is caused by hormones, so don't panic! The one thing about epigenetics they have found is it's not written in stone, unlike genetics. They have found it is possible to change the way a gene expresses itself via nutrition and our minds. So giving vitamin D to your baby couldn't be better. If interested please watch this video of Wayne Dyer interviewing Bruce Lipton. He was one of the discoverers of epigenetics. Love to you too! Take care Wray

Sep 11, 2015
Body Twitching, Spasms and Jerking (especially at night)
by: Suzc

Hello,
I'm 49. I haven't had a period much this past year (maybe three times). About two months ago, I got hit hard with hot flashes. I had my hormone levels tested, and they tested as "menopausal." I went on HRT. I've been taking Transdermal Estradiol (.075 mg) and progesterone (prometrium--pill form which I break open and apply as a cream on my skin). I've been a crap sleeper since I was thirty, but for the first 3 weeks of HRT, I was amazed by how the progesterone made me blissfully sleepy. And, then, wham, my body began jerking/spasming at night, enough to make it nearly impossible to sleep. Is this a sign of estrogen dominance? I upped my prometrium/progesterone to 200mg/day, but the jerking (restless body or periodic movement) is going on 2+weeks. I need to sleep. (BTW: I also take 10 mg of prozac). I am grateful for any thoughts on the matter.

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