I recently wrote about Estrogen Dominance. You probably guessed that I had a personal reason to research it. Of course I did.
What brought this up? Recently my wonderful new doctor put me on a dhea supplement because my blood levels are so low as to be almost off the scale. Adding some certainly seems to be a reasonable approach. Right up until my hair starts falling out by the handful. Always a bad sign. So I go to one of my favorite patient based sites and start asking questions about dhea. There I find that dhea is know, in people with severe adrenal fatigue, to convert directly to estrogen, causing estrogen dominance in many people. I don’t know why it does that, but now at least I know it does.
Let me be clear, I’m not blaming my doctor. She is not an endocrinologist (because they have decided that adrenal fatigue isn’t really a problem they treat) nor is she a specialist of any kind. She’s a wonderful nurse practitioner with an open mind. I’m pretty sure when I take her a print out of some research, she’ll read it and be better informed for the next person.
It’s all SO COMPLICATED. I could wish I could find an expert in all this stuff, but I don’t think it’s sexy enough to be a specialty. Here’s how I think it went. First you have a food sensitivity that causes inflammation and damages your gut. The inflammation causes your adrenals to work overtime keeping things in balance. The first signs of adrenal fatigue should be hypoglycemia, but everyone ignores that and puts you on a low fat diet, guaranteed to make you worse. Meanwhile the damage to your gut is letting all kinds of proteins and things into your blood stream, where they definitely don’t belong. After a while your adrenals can’t keep up. Your body is so busy fighting inflammation that it can’t also get you the right amount of cortisol to uptake the T3 your body is making. Since you have a lot of random T3 running around loose in your blood, your body decides that you have too much and starts making higher and higher percentages of Reverse T3. So your metabolism slows down, you gain weight, your body temperature drops. But your thyroid is actually doing the job it is supposed to be doing, so the TSH test says you’re fine and they put you back on a diet.
Mean while all that stuff that is getting through the leaky walls of your gut are clogging up your liver as it tries to keep your blood supply clean. So now your liver is getting over worked. Fortunately your liver is a complete workaholic and it also regenerates. But since it is very busy, it isn’t clearing out all the excess estrogen in your blood. Your gut normally clears a bunch of it out, but it’s damaged from the original food sensitivity so it doesn’t move things along promptly and your system has too much time to scavenge for useful things, so it grabs out all that extra estrogen that you don’t need. In case that wasn’t enough, your fat cells now also make extra estrogen. I don’t know why, I think it has to do with nature protecting post-menopausal women but I haven’t really researched it.
So now you’re trapped in this endless cycle of low thyroid, adrenal fatigue, leaky gut, high estrogen, low everything else. And you’re fat, fatigued, and malnourished. Welcome to my world.
But it isn’t only my world. There are a lot of women (and men) who are trapped in this endless cycle that western medicine isn’t helping us with.
I’ve been wondering a lot lately what is causing so very many people to fall into this trap in the first place. Why the incredible increase in food sensitivities and thyroid issues and adrenal fatigue.
I’m pretty sure it’s the food we’re eating, but that’s a conspiracy theory for another day.