Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
7 Jul

A Primal Primer: Estrogen

estrogenThe human endocrine system exists in a state of delicate balance. None of its constituents function in a vacuum, and trying to explain every hormonal interrelationship would take volumes, but one statement is fairly safe to make: one hormone affects another. Secreting one often inhibits the next, which in turn sets off an entirely different chain reaction of hormonal secretions, inhibitions, and syntheses. I almost feel like trying to micromanage your entire endocrine system is tedious and counterproductive (and probably impossible to do effectively). I much prefer to simply eat right, exercise smart, get good sleep, normalize stress, and take advantage of simple lifestyle hacks. Still, it doesn’t hurt to understand some of the major hormonal players, especially one as widely maligned by the strength and fitness community as estrogen.

When people talk about estrogen, people are usually referring to estradiol, which is the major form of estrogen in both men and post-pubescent, pre-menopausal women (after menopause, estrone is the major estrogen, while estriol appears mostly during pregnancy). Today, for our purposes, estrogen will refer to estradiol, since it’s the hormone with the most wide-ranging effects on both men and women:

Skeletal Growth

Estrogen inhibits increases in height, with estrogen therapy having been used to effectively “normalize” the heights of tall girls. It’s also an important player in bone mineralization for both sexes, but especially for women; people with genetic aromatase (the enzyme responsible for synthesizing estradiol from testosterone) deficiency often suffer from unchecked vertical growth and poor bone density because they are unable to produce normal amounts of estrogen. Estrogen replacement therapy generally rectifies this.

Female Reproduction

Estrogen is responsible for the maturation of the female sex organs: thickening of the vaginal wall, production of natural lubrication, growth of the cervical glands, growth of the various walls of the uterus. It helps prepare the uterus for implantation, and baboon research indicates that estrogen production is crucial for sustaining a pregnancy and avoiding a miscarriage.

Male Reproduction

Though testosterone is responsible for most male reproductive development, estrogen inhibits sperm cell apoptosis, or cell death, in vitro (try having kids with a bunch of suicidal sperm at your disposal), and the testes are rife with estrogen receptors. Most research confirms that estrogen indeed plays an important role in male gonadal function. Interestingly and somewhat paradoxically, excessive estrogen levels have been linked to low sperm counts, but it’s obviously not a simple “more estrogen/bad for sperm, less estrogen/good for sperm” type of thing.

Mood

Women suffering from clinical depression produce far less estrogen (and more testosterone) than normal, and estrogen replacement therapy tends to alleviate their condition. Depressed men produce far more estrogen than normal.

Arterial Function

In women, estrogen appears to increase the function of atherosclerotic coronary arteries. Estradiol production remains high in women until menopause, perhaps explaining the relative paucity of heart events in pre-menopausal women.

Brain Health

In animal Alzheimer’s disease models, estrogen was shown to reduce the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain. In vitro, estradiol displayed potent neuronal protection against oxidative stress, while other steroid hormones did not.

Cancer

Most breast cancers (as many as 80% of cases) contain estrogen receptor sites and rely on estrogen for “fuel.” A common, effective treatment for these types of breast cancers is suppression of estrogen production and function. Males exposed to supranatural levels of estrogen in the womb are at a greater risk for developing both testicular cancer and prostate cancer as adults.

Estrogen seems pretty useful, right – so why the bad rap? Estrogen gets a bad rap from a lot of (male, bodybuilding) people because it’s responsible for the secondary sexual characteristics of females: fat deposition in the breasts, hips, and butt, along with a widening of the hips (man, what grave injustices evil estrogen perpetrates on women – curves, breasts, and the hourglass shape). Excess estrogen in men can even lead to gynecomastia. Men, by and large, don’t desire these characteristics on their own bodies (others’ bodies is an entirely different story). Estrogen also has the reputation of reducing strength and lean muscle mass while promoting body fat accumulation, as estrogen-dominant males are often obese and under-muscled – check out this article from a bodybuilder’s perspective for exhaustive info on how estrogen can actually promote fat burning and appetite suppression. It’s definitely coming from a different perspective, but it’s useful for breaking down some estrogen myths. And finally, the idea of “height stunting” sounds negative when you first hear it, but then you realize that unchecked growth can have terrible health consequences.

Read that back – “estrogen-dominant.” It’s not the mere existence of estrogen that poses a problem. It’s the preponderance of large amounts of estrogen throwing off the delicate hormonal balance and causing problems. To assign blanket blame to estrogen misses the mark. We (both males and females) produce estrogen for a reason – it has some pretty important responsibilities in the human body. We need the stuff. The real issue lies in unnatural amounts of the hormone and unnatural resistance to the hormone. Insulin isn’t the problem; it’s insulin resistance brought on by Neolithic foods causing chronic, unnatural increases in insulin that we need to worry about. Estrogen isn’t the problem; it’s estrogen dominance brought on by exogenous phytoestrogens (from food, like soy, bran, and other legumes) and xenoestrogens (from plastics, pesticides, herbicides, and other synthetics). I’ve discussed the potential complications arising from widespread exposure to bisphenol A, a potent xenoestrogen, in the past, but we live amidst dozens of various other estrogen-like compounds – and it’s not a stretch to think they might be disrupting our natural hormonal balance.

Estrogen is absolutely necessary, for both men and women. Estrogen imbalance in males and post-menopausal women can lead to fat gain and muscle loss, but it’s unwise to demonize a hormone for transgressions committed in a false, unnatural state.

Stay tuned next week for more on exogenous sources of estrogen. Thanks for reading and Grok on!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I know you have related prior posts, but I would still like to hear more about dairy (particularly cow’s and goat’s yogurt, kefir, etc. since you seem to recommend those), the hormones they contain (amounts and types), the body’s insulin response, and the possible effects of all this on the body.

    Justin wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • Same here. I am not sure on Dairy. I love the flavor but only eat sparingly since I know I can’t digest it well. So knowing more about how it effects thew body would be great. And, your thoughts on raw milk vs. pasteurized milk.

      Primal Toad wrote on July 7th, 2010
      • Hey there Justin and Toad,

        I just wrote an article with some of my opinions concerning dairy.

        http://bit.ly/bChdS7

        Maybe you’ll find some good nugget of information.

        Sebastien wrote on July 8th, 2010
  2. Hey Mark, are you saying that if we are exposed to zero phytoestrogens that we will have a proper amount of estrogen and be in balance? What about unprocessed soy products? Soy is renowned for its high phytoestrogen content and was even once touted as a great hormonal balancer for women and PMS and menopause symptoms.

    Susan Campbell wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • Susan, you bring up an interesting question. You said that soy was once regarded as an estrogen balancer. I do not know this to be true or not but I will propose a question of my own.

      What if soy is both an estrogen balancer and an estrogen promoter? Here is my train of thought. Scientific studies show increases in estrogen with the consumption of soy products, but perhaps the study itself does not see what the body does to compensate over time.

      Since the body is always trying to reach homeostasis, would it not be plausible to conclude that the body would signal for release of more testosterone in order to counter the increase in estrogen.

      John wrote on August 2nd, 2013
  3. Thanks. I feel most of the time estrogen is seen as being ”evil” and testosterone as ”god-like”.

    I’m enjoying the primers about hormones you have been doing. Thanks.

    Jean-Patrick wrote on July 7th, 2010
  4. Great post, Mark.

    Keep the hormone balance line coming!

    jenella wrote on July 7th, 2010
  5. Great info! This much maligned hormone deserves a break.
    Let’s hear it one more time for the curves it produces!!!

    Clint White wrote on July 7th, 2010
  6. Estrogen is important. Women do not always have high estrogen until menopause. For many(before menopause), progesterone will drop first and since the body tries to balance, estrogen will lower. If progesterone is increased, estrogen goes back up. It’s common to be estrogen dominant with low levels of estrogen. It just means that the ratio of progesterone to estrogen is even lower.
    Another problem with too much estrogen is that it binds thyroid hormone and makes it unusable.

    Since excess estrogen is stored in the fat cells, it’s a good idea to have less fat cells.

    Crystal W. wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • You cannot “lose” fat cells unless you get liposuction.

      Vince wrote on July 9th, 2010
  7. “Estrogen isn’t the problem; it’s estrogen dominance brought on by exogenous phytoestrogens (from food, like soy, bran, and other legumes”

    I’m pretty sure other legumes (not soy) do not have phytoestrogens in them. I can’t find the study now, but I recall reading that they can actually increase testostorone, along with cheese and some other food.

    Claire wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • Chickpeas have similar phytoestrogens as soy.

      Erin wrote on July 7th, 2010
  8. Hey all–

    Does anyone (Hi Mark!) have thoughts on estrogen, hormone-hormone interactions, and menstruation? I stopped menstruating about a year ago when I was under a lot of stress at school and also lost all of my excess weight quickly (am now a happy 20 BMI with plenty of lean muscle). I hoped that once I started eating primally my hormone balance would be restored, and menstruation would continue, but no luck.

    Stefani wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • I’ll raise my hand here too. I have stopped menstruating after losing a significant amount of weight and I had hoped that moving to a Primal lifestyle would balance things out. But still no monthly visits. I am at about 16% body fat with lots of lean muscle. At what point should I worry. (Guess I should call my doc…)

      Kiersti wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • women who lose their period due to low BMIs will not get them back at ‘normal’ BMI’s…your body lost trust and stopped reproductive abilities…i wager a bet you will need to allow your body to get close to a BMI of 23-24 before you will see a period. not that you have to stay up there, but you wont get it back hanging around at a BMI predetermined by you…also, watch the exercising too

      mallory wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • Amenorrhoea is very serious. If you don’t want to see a doctor continue gaining weight until your body is happy enough to menstruate. I’m not sure your BMI is 20 if you have plenty of muscle; a BMI of 20 should be enough.

      Sonia wrote on July 8th, 2010
  9. hi, Mark — i appreciate the mention of the differentiation of the various estrogenic hormones, and why you chose to go ahead and use the generic term…. it IS useful, though, to know the specific one that produces specific effects! i think it would also be helpful if you’d carry on this line of discussion and include much more about progesterone!

    thanks!!!

    tess wrote on July 7th, 2010
  10. Since I was just given my estrogen patches today, I’m so glad to read this! Thank you :)

    Debbie wrote on July 7th, 2010
  11. What I’m so wondering is, with all of your comments regarding hormones, do you believe in hormone replacement: thyroid, estrogen, testosterone for women of menopause age?

    Dorothy Ruper wrote on July 7th, 2010
  12. Dorothy, I am not in menopause yet(40) but I am on bio-identical progesterone, testosterone as well as DHEA and Growth Hormone. I also have to take thyroid medication. As far as menopause goes, it’s individual.
    As important as nutrition is, it can’t always fix the suffering that hormone problems cause. Thyroid medication doesn’t work unless certain nutritional deficiencies are fixed anyway.

    Crystal W. wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • So, What do you mean thyroid medication doesn’t work unless nutritional deficiencies are fixed…What deficiencies are you referiing to and where did you hear this?

      penny wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • Why would you be taking all of these hormones? Don’t you feel that the correct diet should help balance your hormones, especially if you’re still producing your own. I went off my bio-identicals to find my own balance even after menopause. Primal women did not have hormone supplements.

      Dorothy wrote on July 8th, 2010
  13. i have fibroids and a low fat no red meat diet has been suggested on all the websites. What do you say to that?

    Netty wrote on July 7th, 2010
    • i’ve been on thyroid supplementation ALL my life, and i’m only just now getting a clear picture of the problems! (thank you, internet, without which we’d all know only as much as our ignorant, conventional-wisdom-following doctors care to learn about, let alone pass along!)

      the recent shortage of *real* thyroid supplements (not that gawd-awful synthetic stuff) has forced me to get up to speed on the subject. i still have a low-functioning thyroid, but wise nutrition has helped me immeasureably.

      in the morning, half-an-hour after my systemic enzymes, i take one T-100, an over-the-counter preparation that contains a good quantity of multi-glandular supplementation, and also three Iodoral tablets (iodine and potassium iodide).

      mid-day, i take an iron supplement with a low-calcium lunch (calcium inhibits iron absorption), along with selenium and b-12, and my home-made lemonade (sweetened with stevia).

      ALL day, i get plenty of protein, few carbs, and lots of good saturated fats.

      last thing, i take another dose of T-100 and Iodoral, like in the morning.

      **and i’m symptom-free** :-D if i listened to the endocrinologists, i’d be pumped full of synthetic hormones, pass the lab-tests, and feel like hell!!! i KNOW — i’ve been there!!!

      tess wrote on July 7th, 2010
      • …and i forgot to mention what i consider some of the most important things — i avoid fluoride and chlorine as much as is possible — they both inhibit iodine absorption significantly. also avoid things like soy and wheat (and other goitrogens) which actively interfere with thyroid function!

        tess wrote on July 7th, 2010
        • I was on armour thyroid for many years and read that in many cases it not even being effective. So when the shortage came around I was worried that I would have to stop taking it anyway (not wanting to take the synthetic version) so I weened myself off of it slowly over the course of two months. I have not taken any for about two months now and have not noticed any symptoms or problems at all. I am going to wait for another couple months and then have my level checked and compare with tests that have been done over the years. I’m so happy I’m not running to the pharmacy and spending mega money. I believe I should be able to balance everything with the correct diet and I think it’s working.

          Dorothy wrote on July 8th, 2010
    • What do fibroids have to do with a low fat diet? Was there any explanation? It just doesn’t make any sense.

      Dorothy wrote on July 10th, 2010
  14. Penny
    Hypo folks, especially those that have had hypothyroidism for a long time tend to have many nutritional deficiencies due to lack of absorption, conversion etc.

    Ferritin(iron storage)needs to be optimal as well as b-12 in order for your body to use thyroid(Rx or your own production). Folate and the other B’s are also necessary. Otherwise, you won’t feel well or you’ll feel hypo and hyper at the same time. Never feeling well but never tolerating more thyroid, or any. Optimal levels of vitamin D, iodine and selenium are needed to convert thyroid hormone into the active form, the form(t3) that makes you feel good. Vitamin C is needed to support the adrenal glands as well as the B’s. With low functioning adrenal glands, you won’t be able to tolerate any thyroid meds. It is interesting how many hypo/hashimotto people have celiacs disease or intolerance to grain. This further causes malabsorption. Gluten(grain protein) weakens the adrenal glands too.

    This info is common knowledge to those who know how to treat to thyroid problems. I moderate here http://www.realthyroidhelp.com . The average person would improve drastically just by eating right and fixing known deficiencies. For those who need medication, they still need to eat right and fix deficiencies, diet.

    Yes, armour co. reformulated their product after over 100 years in business in 2009. It basically doesn’t work anymore–they added cellulose and perhaps other fillers that actually bind it up making it useless. There are other brands that people have switched to. Canada allows their brand to be purchased with a Rx. Some have switched to the synthetic versions of t4 and t3.
    Did you know that fluoride used to be used to treat hyperthyroidism (overactive)? So, lets put it in the drinking water and add chlorine…not smart.

    Crystal W. wrote on July 7th, 2010
  15. I have been frequenting the site for a few months now, but this is my first post into the grok community! It’s somewhat comforting to hear others who say they have dealt with hormonal issues, as I have been for a while now. I would also like to read some info on the dairy inquiry.

    Chelsea wrote on July 8th, 2010
  16. Well, this is true for any hormone really. Or anything for that matter! Too much of anything throws off the balance of your body leading to an imbalanced image and health. Estrogen, insulin and even testosterone are no different…

    Bill Pairaktaridis wrote on July 8th, 2010
  17. Once again Mark posts on a topic with perfect timing for me…how does he DO that? I have always preached, solve health problems with diet, rest and exercise. But after several months of poor sleep (waking up as much as hourly with hot flashes and a racing heartbeat) I decided to just TRY taking hormones, to see if that was the problem. Problem solved. No, Grokette did not have artificial hormone pills or patches. But I don’t think that’s the point. She didn’t have access to any medical care…and I think most of us do believe that there is a time and place for modern medicine. I mean, she didn’t have GPS or a mountain bike either–and I’m not about to give those up. I had hoped I could just “get through” menopause on my own, with my good lifestyle. But when I lived it, I changed my mind. Still, I’d rather not take anything artificial, so I am open to alternatives. The typically recommended herbal remedies did not help. Also, I gave up caffiene, which did not help the menopause symptoms (but I do feel better without it.)

    DThalman wrote on July 8th, 2010
    • Here here! I will emulate Grokette in all ways that will improve my overall health. Hot flashes, excess facial hair, and the irresistible urge to kill Grok will in no way improve my health. So replacement therapy it is!

      Amy wrote on July 14th, 2010
  18. So far what I’ve learned is that the Balance of anything is important.
    Omegas need to have the correct balance…now Hormones.
    Minerals need to be balanced too, Potassium highest, Calcium next and right under that phosphorus, and all the rest under those.

    Estrogen does not build bone, but prevents bone loss slightly all your life not just during menopause. Osteoblasts have Progesterone receptors and build bone according to Progesterone levels, not Estrogen!

    So all you men out there, Testosterone only prevents bone loss slightly during andropause (just like estrogen does for women) but has absolutely nothing to do with actually building bone mass.

    On top of all this Sunlight does not only make VitD3 within the skin, it builds a precurser to a lot of other hormones important for other functions.

    Also, all those bone building mineral supplements with multiple minerals in them don’t do any good if they’re not balanced. Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Oxide should be the first signs of a product being garbage.
    Calcium Carbonate (such as corals, eggshell or dolomite) are alkaline and BAD.
    Calcium needs to be in an acidic form to be able to be absorbed…such as Calcium Citrate/Malate (Chelates)

    You also need 4 key elements to absorb calcium: manganese, strontium, zinc and copper. Boron, Sulfur,unlimited amount of magnesium, VitK and Vit D3 are also important.

    If you are a woman and reading this in hopes to find a solution to combat osteoporosis ( i know most women do ) there is one complete food source that gives you everything you need (except folic acid) and in the correct balance of every single nutrient present, it’s called: RAW Goat’s Milk. (not cow milk)

    I know Mark will probably have a heart attack, i’m not sure why he is so against dairy but promotes chocolate which most have refined sugar + soy lecithin and alcohol (sugar). Even as a sensible vice they build up over time.
    Soy Lecithin is equal to hydrogenated fat and make cells hard and cause cancer. No anti-oxidant in the world will be able to fight this one off if you don’t give your cells time to recover. It’s said to take 2 years to get rid of a cell damaged by soy lecithin. Are you willing to only have chocolate 1x every 2 years? There are some chocolates that don’t have any emulsifiers.

    Eating primal is probably the best way to combat any disease, and if you cook most of your foods make sure to include raw goat milk in your diet.

    suvetar wrote on July 8th, 2010
    • Actually, in my understanding (and I have just finished his book – awesome!!!) Mark is not against RAW dairy at all provided you are not lactose intolerant. It is conventional pasteurized, homogenized, hormone and toxin laden stuff he takes issue with. Have you noticed he takes his coffee with heavy cream?

      Peachy wrote on July 8th, 2010
      • In his book which I have read, too, he promotes NO Dairy as his first suggestion.

        Page 129 Dairy Products:
        1. NO Dairy at all (gotta love this guys’ style!)

        My guess is he focuses mainly on cow’s milk, which I have to agree = not good.

        suvetar wrote on July 9th, 2010
    • Mark allows for very dark chocolate, not to be confused with Milk Chocolate.. It is not loaded with sugar and soy lecithin, it is essentially cocoa and fat.

      Vince wrote on July 9th, 2010
      • He suggests Green & Black Dark Chocolate 70% +(or Black & Green )in one of his posts which has Soy Lecithin = another word for hydrogenated soybean oil.

        But then in older posts he says he orders some of his coconut oil from Tropical Traditions, they also have dark chocolate without Soy…he should order that , too!

        suvetar wrote on July 9th, 2010
  19. I think as with everything else…there is an overrealiance on modern sedicine so to speak. More poepl need to tkae the time to determie the problem rather than simply accept what their “medical professional” is being ask to prescribe but the drug saleman. I have a lot of faith in alternative options and while I do beleive that drug therapy may be the recourse, exploring other alternatives never hurts.

    Alicia Kirschenheiter wrote on July 9th, 2010
  20. I had been on birth control pills for years- from age 16 to 30. I had been getting very sick from them but no doctor had ever suggested getting off, they would just play around with my dosage. I was not aware enough to think about it myself. Come to find out the migraines I was having are linked to stroke in women under 30 and being on the pill increases the chance. Over the past two years I’ve seen 4 doctors and finally have one that is helping in a holistic way. One put me a synthetic progesterone pill but that made me feel mentally unstable. I went off of it completely but then my periods became very, very weird- long with 2 or 3 days break. I gained 15 pounds over a 2 month period without changing anything in my diet or lifestyle. Went to see another doctor- she put me on an IUD to control menstruation issue, AWFUL thing for someone who has not had a kid (worst experience in my life). Another had me on T3 but it was such a low level and very synthetic, that all it did was show “normal” test results.
    My current doctor has me on bio-identical progesterone, a specifically formulated t3/t4 combo, along with Vit D, C, Iron and a multi vit. I was severely low in Vit D which made no sense to any of the doctors because my lifestyle is very outdoors. I wish I could straighten everything out by eating balanced but it is not happening. My doctor now has the goal of getting me off everything when my body is ready.

    Two months later I’m starting to feel better, my periods are becoming normal, I am not insanely exhausted or overly emotional. I dont do any soy products. I’ll get retested for everything at the end of next month.

    colleen wrote on July 13th, 2010
    • oops- i forgot to put the why to all of this- My current doctor did spit tests and all of that and I am estrogen dominant, which relates to thyroid issues from what he explained.

      colleen wrote on July 13th, 2010
  21. Nat Geo had a documentary on ‘unchecked growth’ in both male and females.

    It was said that the pituitary gland isn’t functioning properly.
    Weston A.Price states that a small, underdeveloped, narrow maxilla is to blame, not giving the pituitary gland room to develop normally…thus resulting in abnormal hormones.
    A boy with Down Syndrome had his upper palate expanded and went into puperty, grew in height by inches, grew facial and body hair within 3 months after the expansion. He had also gotten intelligent, from sitting on the ground playing with blocks to travelling great distances by train, changing trains and counting his own money. All within a few months!

    So for all of you men out there not being able to figure out what’s screwing up your hormones, making you grow boobs and a plump skin might want to go to a capable orthodontist and get their maxilla width checked…if diet alone isn’t helping.
    Consultations are free.

    This might sound far fetched…but I’ve read the book and looked at the medical evidence and pictures. I am also doing an expansion on myself atm…done professionally of course by a reputable orthodontist.

    Primal Palate wrote on May 30th, 2011
  22. Isn’t true for any hormone really. Or anything for that matter! Too much of anything throws off the balance of your body leading to an imbalanced image and health. None the less, good article.

    ThyroidGuy wrote on October 23rd, 2011
  23. Good God, it would get old having to worry about taking pills every day in hopes of balancing something we don’t really understand fully.

    How much of each diff. estrogen strand do we all need? Would it not be based on genetics, too?
    Why not just leave it all alone and age gracefully, eating healthy, grass-fed, clean, pastured foods…

    Why women are so hung up on estrogen beats me. I’m female myself (41) and not at all worried about my hormones. I do not want a buttload of estrogen! Some forms of estrogen cause boob cancer (soy). Just like there are at least 12 different vitamin D’s…there are at least that many hormones that fall under estrogen category…there might even be 150 different estrogens, and here we are taking 1 or 2 forms of lab produced estrogens to feed “Youth”.

    Instead of trying to look like 20 when 50, why not try and just look healthy.

    Gretchen wrote on April 14th, 2012
    • Gretchen, when I was your age, I felt much the same way. Less than a year ago, however, I started experiencing real pain during intercourse. After less than a week of estrogen cream, I was able to relax and enjoy intercourse with my darling husband again. Turns out that when estrogen goes, the vagina can actually shrink! I am not trying to “look 20″ I am just interested in continuing to have sex. I hope that you never experience this difficulty and continue to be scornful of women who “are so hung up on estrogen.”

      Jo wrote on September 7th, 2012
  24. Nobody’s gonna read this, but what the hey! Ok, I’m a 63 year old male, found out recently my testosterone was so low not even on the charts, probably been that way for decades, so taking replacement. This may sound crazy, but not having female companionship due to some social anxiety since childhood, I think my mind has internalized the female I seem unable to connect with. [It's not that I'm unattractive to females as I've been told I am.] I’ve begun wearing a skirt sometimes at home
    privately. I removed body hair pretty much all over. It feels like what I imagine having a woman around might feel like. So I’ve read up on estrogen etc, and though I would not contemplate becoming transgender [I'm only attracted to females] at this age, I’ve
    begun taking some bio-identical estrogens. Why? I want to feel things more sensitively emotionally, want to be able to cry more easily. I just started taking non-prescription estrdiol and two other estrogens, and I
    must report that it makes me feel good
    already; I don’t think it’s a placebo effect as I can feel the hormones kick
    in after taking twice a day, and they give me a little rush. I’m basically taking them for psychological reasons.
    I have a theory that women can access their unconscious feelings more easily simply because estrogen has more affect upon feelings than say, testosterone, or so I’ve read. I’m not worried about risks of the unknown. I wish I had been more experimental with a whole range of options throughout my life, instead of always having been inhibited and never knowing what possibilities I may have missed. I was abused as a child, then doubly when sent to a boarding school, and I never really recovered, everything was hell for me thereafter. But finally I’m marking some recovery, having found Alice Miller’s great insights and a psychotherapist on-line who is my enlightened witness, a term that Miller coined. It just feels right for me to make this move and see what good might come of it in terms of recovering the lost child feelings and mourning the loss of the true self which will never be. I’ve internalized woman, I’m almost certain that’s what is happening. I searched the web to see if it’s ever been heard of, and I found nothing. So maybe this is something new. I’m not changing gender; I’m merely incorporating the desired gender I’ve not been able to have over my lifetime, into my psyche by internalizing the female, and so I feel male and female inside, and apparently the internalized female wants to externalize a bit as well. I wish I could just start wearing skirts in public, and maybe I’ll get there but a bit inhibited about that. it’s not at all that I’m cross-dressing or wanted to appear as female. I just would like to wear skirts cause it simply feels good, that’s all. Maybe some day.

    RockyFjord wrote on January 19th, 2013
  25. I’m 35, female and am having the loss of sleep, racing heartbeat, anxiety, and night sweats. Symptoms of menopause, however… Since I’m still having my periods regulary no doctor will give me a diagnosis (except low thryroid) and help me. I’m trying my hardest to take care of myself but don’t know what to do?

    melanne wrote on March 6th, 2013
  26. What do you think of maca root? I used it for 2 months to help balance my hormones and after 4 years of trying to get pregnant, I just found out this past Saturday that I am pregnant!
    From everything that I’ve read it’s simply dried, powdered root, no other processing.
    The taste is definitely not something that I would call “good”. It tasted a lot like strained peas baby food, blech! But boy, did it do what I was hoping, and some!

    Lindsey wrote on April 16th, 2013
  27. My mother was given DES when she was pregnant with all of us girls in the 50’s thru 1960. (Diethylstilbestrol). All 4 of us ended up with reproductive organ issues, all 4 of us have had hysterectomies due to varied (and estreme) health issues. I am estrogen dominant, and my son (23-yrs) appears to be as well.

    There are MANY studies happening on the long-term genetic problems believed to be linked to the DES issue. http://www.cdc.gov/des/consumers/about/effects_daughters.html
    http://www.douglasandlondon.com/docs/DES-Timeline.pdf (that one is a PDF)

    This drug also affected the males born to these women, and to the males born to MY generation of women.

    Just something for everyone to consider when researching this.

    Casey wrote on July 14th, 2014
  28. Thanks for commenting on that Casey. I’m just reading this now because I was recently diagnosed severely anemic so I’ve been researching. What I’m learning is that it’s all interrelated, and complex, but my issues all seem to have started with estrogen/progesterone imbalance (estrogen dominance). Lack of progesterone led to excessive menstruation led to severe anemia led to chronic stress led to excess cortisol led to even less progesterone led to even more cortisol, and hypothyroid, which led to weight gain (and a tremendous, gnawing hunger), etc. After crashing and being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue (and the anemia) I’ve been on a quest to find out what’s going on. I always ate better than the SAD but i went primal a few years ago, so I was sure I’d get healthier, not crash. My maternal grandmother and my mother both had the same issue. They ate fairly primal without knowing it (clean living country folks). What I’m coming up with is a speculation that something was taken/or exposed to back along the line that really messed with the hormones in my family. As my Primal guru son told me recently, if I were living in the Paleolithic I wouldn’t (be living). So I’m taking my IV iron infusions and bio-identical hormones and am actually grateful for modern medicine for a change. (Interesting side note: after the first IV iron infusion the gnawing hunger abated. Now to lose those 40 lbs!)

    mary wrote on September 6th, 2014
    • Your story is almost identical to mine. I also have fibrocystic breast and thyroid nodule and spleen cyst. We live in such a messed up chemical world.
      Ka

      Kamila wrote on September 29th, 2014

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