What Are the Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance?

Plus 7 Holistic Ways to Decrease Estrogen Dominance

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

The conventional medical mindset is that menopause is an estrogen deficiency disease resulting from ovarian failure. Women have been led to believe that at the slightest symptoms, they should run out and get estrogen replacement. While estrogen levels will decrease during menopause, the truth is, estrogen levels do not fall appreciably until after a woman’s last period. In fact, far more women suffer from the effects of “estrogen dominance” during the transition — that is, they have too much estrogen relative to progesterone. And some women can suffer from the symptoms of estrogen dominance for 10 to 15 years, beginning as early as age 35.

Estrogen Dominance Symptoms

The symptoms listed below, as well as many others, often arise when estrogen overstimulates both the brain and body. All of these symptoms are exacerbated by stress of all kinds. Many women in their thirties and early forties find that they experience moderate to severe symptoms of estrogen dominance as they approach perimenopause.

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods
  • Bloating (water retention)
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Headaches (especially premenstrually)
  • Mood swings (most often irritability and depression)
  • Weight and/or fat gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips)
  • Cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction)
  • Hair loss
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Foggy thinking, memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • PMS

Estrogen dominance has also been linked to allergies, autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, uterine cancer, infertility, ovarian cysts, and increased blood clotting, and is also associated with acceleration of the aging process.

What Causes Estrogen Dominance

When a woman’s menstrual cycle is normal, estrogen is the dominant hormone for the first two weeks leading up to ovulation. Estrogen is balanced by progesterone during the last two weeks.

As a woman enters perimenopause and begins to experience anovulatory cycles (that is, cycles where no ovulation occurs), estrogen can often go unopposed, causing symptoms. Skipping ovulation is, however, only one potential factor in estrogen dominance. In industrialized countries such as the United States, there can be many other causes, including:

  • Excess body fat (greater than 28%)
  • Too much stress, resulting in excess amounts of cortisol, insulin, and norepinephrine, which can lead to adrenal exhaustion and can also adversely affect overall hormonal balance
  • A low-fiber diet with excess refined carbohydrates and deficient in nutrients and high quality fats
  • Impaired immune function
  • Environmental agents

7 Ways to Decrease Estrogen Dominance – Spiritual & Holistic Options

Here’s what you can do to decrease estrogen dominance:

  1. Increase nutrients in the diet: Take a high potency multivitamin/mineral combination.
  2. Follow a hormone-balancing diet:
    • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
    • adequate protein
    • and moderate amounts of healthy fat.
  3. Remember to get enough fiber. Estrogen is excreted by the bowel; if stool remains in the bowel, estrogen is reabsorbed.
  4. Use transdermal 2% bioidentical progesterone cream: Many of the symptoms of estrogen dominance can be relieved with natural, bioidentical progesterone, available over the counter in a 2% cream (one-quarter teaspoon contains ~20 mg progesterone). Use one-quarter to one-half teaspoon 2% progesterone cream on skin (e.g., face, breasts, abdomen, hands) daily for two to three weeks prior to onset of period. If periods are irregular, use 2% progesterone daily, or from the full moon to the dark of the moon. (That way you’ll be teaming up with the cycle of the Earth itself — the same cycle that governs the tides and the flow of fluids on the planet.)
  5. Lose excess body fat and get regular exercise — especially strength training.
  6. Detoxify your liver: Traditional Chinese Medicine explains that menopausal symptoms are caused by blocked liver and kidney chi. This makes sense. The liver acts as a filter, helping us screen out the harmful effects of toxins from our environment and the products we put in our bodies. When the liver has to work hard to eliminate toxins such as alcohol, drugs, caffeine, or environmental agents, the liver’s capacity to cleanse the blood of estrogen is compromised.
  7. Decrease stress: Learn how to say no to excessive demands on your time. Remember, perimenopause is a time to reinvent yourself. This means investing time and energy in yourself, not everyone else.

Learn More — Additional Resources

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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  1. Khatyrah
    1 month ago

    I am 22 years old. I do not have a regular menstruation. As I can recall my last normal period was about 2 or 3 years ago. I deal with fatigue, and depression and I am overweight. I have been trying to conceive a child but it just isn’t happening. What should I do? Reading this has made me scared to go to the doctor.

    1. Kali
      1 week ago

      Have you checked your prolactin levels? You are too young to not have periods for so long. In my opinion, your problems are probably not related to what is referenced in this page. Finding out what is wrong and fixing it will allow you to have children so my kind suggestion would be to visit a doctor you trust (primary care, endocrinologist or gynecologist) and tell them about all the issues you are dealing with. They may be related. Also, ask for your prolactin and thyroid levels (including antibodies) to be checked. All the best to you!

  2. Catherine
    1 month ago

    Dr Northrup,
    I am 38 y.o., want children, and just learned I have a 10cm fibroid against my uterus. I have several other symptoms of estrogen dominance. Old lifestyle (stress, meat, dairy, alcohol consumption) would explain it.

    I am reading that progesterone cream would help, but not in the case of large fibroids, as in my case. I am reading large fibroids can feed off of progesterone.

    What do you think?

  3. L
    2 months ago

    Anyone hear of taking calcium d-glucarate to help with estrogen dominance ?

  4. Bri
    2 months ago

    Can you get the transdermal 2% bioidentical progesterone cream online?

  5. Cindy L.S.
    2 months ago

    For the past few years I’ve been receiving BHRT…Testosterone only, via pellets, in the beginning and then Testosterone w/DHEA and Pregnenolone, via troches, the past couple months. Never any Estrogen. In both instances, for some reason, this seems to drive my estrogen way up and then I suffer from all the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance. Everything listed here which completely cancels out any benefit of the Testosterone. My doctors think I’m talking crazy even though my blood tests show so. It’s not possible they say. I quit the pellets and gave my body a year to rebalance and felt so much better. I got a new doctor and have been on the troches mentioned above for two months and I’m already experiencing the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance again. I’m willing to bet my next blood test will show a huge increase. I used the Progesterone cream the doctor mentioned for a period after I quit the pellets and I felt so much better. I’m 51 and I don’t have periods due to a partial hysterectomy many years ago yet my ovaries are still going strong. I’m quitting the Testosterone therapy and when I tell my doctor why, she’ll call me crazy…but I know there’s some connection here. I think Progesterone is far more helpful to women suffering these symptoms and that doctors too often mistake them for inoptimal Testosterone levels.

    1. cathy Jones
      4 weeks ago

      Testosterone can convert to estrogen via the aromatase enzyme. Same thing has happened to me. I’m not a doctor but the doctor should know this because it’s common knowledge. Talk to your doctor about options to stop the conversion to estrogen.

  6. Cindy Reckley
    2 months ago

    Hello
    Im 64 and take low dose of estrogen and a progestrone cream. Ive gain a lot of stomach fat and a lot of fatigue. No lenergy. Can it be connected to the replacement therapy?
    Thank you
    Cindy

  7. Lorrell
    3 months ago

    Hi I am 45 years old and had a hysterectomy 10 years ago leaving 1 ovary. For the past 1 to 2 years I have experienced no sex drive ,headaches, weight gain, tired all the time but worst of all every couple of months I fight really bad with my husband to the point that I want to walk away from him and have thoughts of suicide, the only thing that stops me is my two children, but I am scared that this won’t be enough soon as each time it gets worse, please help.

    1. Shelly
      2 months ago

      Talk to your doctor. It sounds like hormone imbalance. Sorry you’re hurting.

    2. Alicia
      2 months ago

      Lorrell, how are you? I hope you are feeling better by now.
      Please take, for a start, until you get in to a very good natural doctor or consultant, St. John’s Wort (daily), herbs for rest/sleep/destressing (such as Valerian, Chamomile, Passion Flower, Hops, etc.) before bedtime, and take homeopathic Ignatia (decrease frequency of doses as your symptoms improve.).
      I pray that you will feel better. 🙂

    3. Chantelle
      2 months ago

      Have you tried vitamins, lots of B-vitamins, speaking with your Dr. to see if you have an imbalance, is good advice, take care and explain to your family how your feeling and that you feel like something is taking you over, they love you they will help.

  8. Tam
    3 months ago

    I am 56 years of age. I have always been very active, didn’t smoke or drink alcohol (not that am downing anyone who does) however, I drank diet coke for approximately 35 years. The last 1 1/2 I was drinking about 6-32 oz cups per day. Well, I am happy to say I have gotten rid of that forever! Since I have stopped drinking that horrid stuff, I have started having energy and weight problems. Oh also, I was diagnosed with a goiter about 25 years ago and I am on Levothyroxin. I’ve been on the same dosage for the period of 25 years and I have never had a problem. Now, I cannot lose an oz. of weight and I have lost my energy. I was like the energizer bunny right up until 2 years ago. People used to laugh because I never quit. This change in energy and the weight gain has just begun in the past 2 years. My doctor says it is menopause but hasn’t run any test to confirm this. Is there anything I can do to try to kick start my metabolism?

    1. Tam
      2 months ago

      Any input for my issues? Please help.

      1. Justme
        2 months ago

        The diet coke gave you the energy. It likely also caused cortisol and adrenal problems. You had excess energy which helped you lose weight and move around a lot causing even more problems to your system which is linked to our hormones. Staying overly active for too long shifts your body into high alert all the time. That eats at your zinc, B6, magnesium and vit c levels.
        Is goiter something to do with your adrenals and /or thyroid. If it does that would make alot of sense.
        Take a deep breath. Change your diet to that of the anti candida diet and use this time to REST and repair. Walk at a slow to moderate rate 30 mins a day is perfect.

  9. Dasha
    3 months ago

    Hi Dr Northrup,
    I was wondering if you have any advice on how to balance the hormones after breastfeeding and pregnancies. I am 28 and just had 2 children in the row and breast fed both for 18 month each. So about 5 years of being pregnant and breastfeeding. Last year in the winter I started showing sings of PPD but nothing severe. I stopped breastfeeding my son about 3 month ago but stared experiencing PMS symptoms, night sweats and even hot flashes. I am extremely tired all the time and have no energy. My naturopath recommended Chaste berry supplement as well as Cortex ( b vitamins) and I have been taking them about 2 month now but I don’t feel better, in fact it my libido went from 6-7 out of 10 to 1-2. I exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. I think I am too young to experience peri-menopause. Would love to hear any advice. Thank you

  10. Sarah
    4 months ago

    Hi! This sounds like me! I’m 34, and just experienced my 3rd miscarriage but have two healthy children from before the miscarriages happened. I noticed the changes in myself after my son was born, who is now 3.5. I used to have thick beautiful hair, now it’s thin and wiry, especially at the back of my head, and it can’t hold a curl (before if I curled my hair, it would stay for days), I have dry itchy skin, stubborn abdominal fat, constant fatigue, constant bloating. What are your thoughts? I thought it was a gluten allergy, but my intuition is telling me it’s high estrogen/low progesterone 🙁

    1. Meg
      4 months ago

      Sounds like you may have hypothyroid- 3 miscarriages, dry itchy skin, abdominal fat, constant fatigue are all classic symptoms. I would encourage you to have a full thyroid panel- TSH, Free T4 Free T3, Reverse T-3 and TPO’s/Antibodies.

    2. Maureen
      3 months ago

      It could be blood sugar. Even high (but still in the normal range) blood sugar causes problems. I recently read a book called brain grain and the dr. who wrote it said we should all be shooting for a fasting blood glucose level of 90…but the AMA says to 107 (which I had) was still in the normal range.

      High blood sugar can cause lots and lots of heath issues including the ones you described above. You may want to reset your blood sugar by doing a low carb/high fat fast of 20-30 days.

      It worked for me. I lost some weight and feel so much better. Also…look into Magnesium. Most of us are deficient due to weak soil used in farming. I recommend buying a magnesium oil spray and using it on the skin a few times a day. It worked wonders or me…almost immediately I felt more “relaxed” but oddly had more emery as well!

      Best Wishes!

      1. Bettyjoe
        2 months ago

        You can also take Epsom salt baths. Your body will absorb the magnesium from the Epsom salts and release the bad toxins that are taking up residence. Shaving your legs also allows for more absorption thru your pores as well.

  11. kathy
    4 months ago

    I tried bio-identical prog. Cream .ended up in er. With unstable look pressure.couldn’t sit up without blacking out ect. Hrt made me worse. An antidepressants are not working .I eat ok .I suffer so bad trouble with balance .muscle stiffness .head pressure,ect. Tried herbs ,chiro,yoga,supplements help

    1. Teri
      4 months ago

      Check iron levels. Being dizzy/passing out sound like anemia. I have that.

    2. Amr
      2 months ago

      Also if you stop taking prescription antidepressants there are 2 natural ones that help a lot with no side effects 5 HTP and SAM-E which also helps with joint pain. Coq10 with ALA(alpha lipoic acid) will help your heart and energy.

    3. Amr
      2 months ago

      Most people are deficient in magnesium and it will help your muscles. You may want to research it online. Magnesium oil is good and there are lots of quality supplements.

  12. Joy
    5 months ago

    I am a 58 years old women and was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in Nov of 2015. I had a double mastectomy in Jan 2016. The oncologist is working on a chemotherapy schedule beginning in Mar. When I was pre menopausal I took a plant based supplement with soy, black cohosh, Don quai and a few other ingredients to ease the symptoms of menopause, i suspect this supplement could have contributed to my cancer. Needless to say I’m devastated and angry at myself for choosing this supplement, it did ease the effects of menopause but at what cost.

    1. Joe
      4 months ago

      Dear Joy, don’t be hard on yourself…there are many reasons why people get cancer, and chances are it wasn’t the supplement. Many of the plant based estrogens have been found to be anti cancer. Flax estrogens, for example, have been found to bind to the estrogen receptors in the body, blocking some of the synthetic estrogens, which are far more reactive in changing the dna. From my years of reading after my own cancer experience, i can say that most cancers are most likely the result of lots of factors coming together, most of which we are unaware of – so don’t blame yourself.

    2. Heather
      3 months ago

      Joy you should check out,
      A Global Quest-The Truth About Cancer videos…
      Priceless information

  13. Kell Brigan
    5 months ago

    I just love the “lose excess body fat” recommendations when ALL WEIGHT LOSS ATTEMPTS FAIL AND MOST CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN. But, let’s keep telling those fucked up lies because doing real research is too boring. Any “doctor” who utters this bullshit should BE IN JAIL FOR MALPRACTICE. IT’S LONG PAST TIME YOUR KNOCKED OFF THIS CRAP.

    1. Joanna
      3 months ago

      The reason this is recommended is because estrogen feeds off fat.

    2. Stephanie
      3 months ago

      Diets fail. Lifestyle changes like eating a low-glycemic index diet, getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, and practicing self-love, compassion and gratitude (not anger and loathing) really help you to bloom into the person you are inside.

      1. Maureen
        3 months ago

        Great advice and well said.

    3. Lisa S
      1 month ago

      Kell Brigan – Follow Dave Frahm on Facebook, as well as Google him. drfitt.com aka Dr. Roby Mitchell

  14. Lyn
    5 months ago

    Isn’t it estrogen deficiency that causes breast cancer and other major health issue? I have always heard that but here you are saying that its too much estrogen?

    1. margaret
      3 months ago

      Definitely too much estrogen. Read the menopause book by dr. Lee.

    2. Lisa S
      1 month ago

      Read ‘A Cancer Battle Plan’ Athr Dave Frahm. He’s also on Facebook. Roby Mitchell, MD aka drfitt.com

  15. Fitness Guru
    6 months ago

    If I had my way I’d make health catching instead of disease. ~Robert Ingersoll

  16. Rhonda Whomble
    7 months ago

    Hi Dr Northrup,
    Went to dr about fatigue…estrogen level came back close to 800… Was told normal was 50-100…rather alarming !!! I’m 52! Thank you for teaching about his subject. Will work on implementing your suggestions. Any other thoughts ??
    Sincerely, Rhonda

  17. Clare
    7 months ago

    Dr. Northrup,

    My 23 year old daughter is having a difficult time with PMS. She is quite anxious, depressed, irritable 7 days before her period (she is on Tri-prev birth control)… and if she drinks alcohol the week before her period, it often can result in more drama. She just graduated college, and transitioned into a high stress job in NYC. I have her take a good multi-vit, magnesium, and b6 after doing some research, taking CALM (a magnesium drink) at night before bed. It seems that sleep in a factor, so she has been concentrating on trying to get more sleep.

    These things have helped, although, that week before her period is still brutal, to the point where she is concerned. Could she have a hormonal imbalance? Could that be stimulated by her Birth control? Would a BC switch be merited? I don’t want a doctor to tell her she need depression meds…. I want her hormone levels tested.

    Can you give some guidance?

    1. Philyssa Grammar
      4 months ago

      Try to get her on a birth control pill that doesn’t have synthetic progestin or synthetic estrogen. Bioidentical progesterone is better. I have horrible responses to the bc pills that have synthetic progesterone in them. They causedon’t the same symptoms your daughters experiencing. I’m 37 and everyone’s different, but I stand behind bioidentical hormones.

    2. Stephanie M.
      3 months ago

      Is she getting enough exercise and drinking enough water? Is she perhaps eating foods that she is allergic to? These symptoms are common food allergy symptoms that can be exacerbated during hormonal shifts.

    3. Maureen
      3 months ago

      Her blood sugar may be a possible problem. it was for me.

      Try reducing carbs to about 100 grams per day for about 20-30 days while making sure she knows to eat nutrient dense foods (not ANY processed ones…not even whole wheat bread) and see how she feels.

      The first week or so of this diet can be really tough (sugar withdrawal symptoms may be strong) as her body learns to get energy from proteins in stead of sugar so you have to be patience and stick to it.

      Best wishes!

    4. Lisa S
      1 month ago

      Dave Frahm ▶ follow on Facebook / Google search. drfitt.com aka Dr. Roby Mitchell.
      Hormonal imbalances are known causes of pms.

  18. Ann
    8 months ago

    Hi!

    I have estrogen dominance and starting taking 2percent topical progesterone creme .5 mL one time per day at night for days 14 to 27 for the last 2months. Since then I have felt angry and emotional. My nutritionist wants me to take a 1/2 teaspoon morning and night for 21 days per month but not the first 7 days of my period. I started this dose last night and this morning but was alarmed by the quantity. I have read that the more the symptoms the higher the dose. Please help! I don’t want to overdose but I am not sure if I was taking enough either. Thanks!

  19. jami
    8 months ago

    Dear Dr.
    I am 50, have been dealing with hypothyroidism/hojimotos since 14 yrs old. Premenapause started in 40’s period off and on for past few years, hot flashes, changes in my levels of synthroid as I get bloodwork every three months. Was doing great for couple years as they pit me on bystolic 2.5mg, and lorazepam and Ive stayed 112 synthroid after determining the generic played with me terribly, even had heart cath, and cardiologist released me stating it was thyroid. All of a sudden I get period after almost a year of nothing right after my 50th bday. No big deal until nov 19 went to ER for severe dehydration, due to uncontrollable peeing, which has not stopped. 3 trips to ER for fluid iv treatment, catscan of abdomen, ultrasound of pancreas, liver, gall bladder, and all vitals showed nothing. I have a small right kidney with a cist the size of a peach on it, so I thought the pylonephritus was acting up again, as I have been on antibiotics over the years to keep the chronic infection at bay. Which it has been several years since I needed to that med. But urinalysis come back clean, and urologist says cant figure why I am losing all my fluids sends me back to primary care doc. More bloodwork checking thyroid levels and hormones, ultrasound of corroded artery, thyroid, bladder, and transvaginal as well. Still awaiting these results. Hormonal levels showed menopause except estrogen showed high levels that I should have periods every 12 months???? Also a 2hr glucose test was done showed nothing. I am getting cleared on all tests done, but feel very bad, and literally living on pedialyte.I am scared they are not finding why the urination will not stop, nor the fact that I cant replenish enough on my own for what I am losing. My hot flashes are back and I am losing fluid in bed at night too. Any idea you may have as to what direction or what type doctor to go to because I feel my primary will cut me loose after these results come back clear as well. Could high estrogen but all other hormones show menopause be a culprit in this terrible ordeal? Also I have been losing weight, which for the past several years has been an issue for me previously. I have cut back on my intake and started exercising, which could be the reason for the weight loss. I feel tingley all over, cold feet, light headed when I start losing too much fluid, and very weak. There was mention of checking pituitary gland, but not sure if primary will go that far if everything else shows fine. PLEASE HELP, my quality of life is dimished literally overnight on the 19th of Nov. I spend all day in the john and drinking water and pedialyte, still only to feel bad. I truly look forward to your reply. God Bless you for allowing these requests. Jami

    1. shannon
      5 months ago

      Sounds like u have diabetes insipidus! No its not blood sugar diabetes. Look it up !!!

      1. Teri
        4 months ago

        Yes, my mom had Diabetes insipidus and I think that she took a water pill to keep her fluids in her body. She developed this condition after giving birth to me and my twin sister.

  20. wendy
    8 months ago

    Hi Dr. Northrup,
    I have been suffering with horrible fog, fatigue, no sleep, dizziness, and dizzy vision I call it, that seems worse before I get my period but I have all month. . Dr’s all say I am healthy. No MS, no lyme, no anything . Except for mthfr gene mutations ( folic acid/ detox issues ), acid reflux, estrogen dominance, migraines with aura, and bad sinus surgeries leaving me with chronic sinusitis along with allergies to everything along with my celiac. Could what I am experiencing be estrogen dominance and controlled and cured? I am so tired of the fatigue… no sleep… and I started waking up sweating off and on. Not every night. I am 50. 3 kids.

    Any advise would be sooo appreciate.

    1. Maureen
      3 months ago

      You could be pre-diabetic…look into trying a ketogenic diet to bring blood sugar back to normal.

      It is hard but well worth!

      Also look into Magnesium. Try a good oil spray…I had the EXACT same issues reducing sugar and adding magnesium were two of the corner stones for getting back to health.

      Exercising outside will help you get your Vitamin D as well.

  21. Joanne
    9 months ago

    Hello Dr. Northrup,

    I have been struggling with a weight problem for 17 years now and don’t know what to do anymore. I had two big babies, one weighed 10 lbs. and the other was 11 lbs. After my two pregnancies I developed hypothyroidism, which I was treated for some years until I developed Hashimoto then I received no treatment.
    The only way I have been able to lose weight in the past is by following a 500 calorie daily diet and exercising extremely vigorously 1-2 times a day 6 times a week. Problem is that I am burned out and don’t feel that its normal for me to have to starve and over exercise in order to lose weight. I have always eaten very clean, I almost always cook my own food and make the wisest choices possible.
    Even though I always have a clean diet I have gained about 60 lbs. throughout the last 17 years. It has slowly crept up on me and is concentrated in my abdomen, breasts, and back area.
    Sometimes I just feel like giving up and just eating whatever I want whenever I want. The only thing that keeps me from doing that is the memories of what I used to look like 17 years ago.

    I suspect estrogen dominance, hypothyroidism and a fatty liver perhaps. My current doctor always makes me feel like I’m a liar with regards to my weight and my concerns. I don’t know what to do or where to go from here.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Joanne

    1. Krysta
      8 months ago

      If you have Hashimoto’s and are not being treated for it, I would think that is where your primary problem lies. I would not go untreated. And eating only 500 calories a day is dangerous w/extreme exercise up to twice a day is dangerous…you will sooner or later become nutritionally deficient in essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, neurotransmitters, etc

    2. NoNameRequired
      6 months ago

      First of all, you have always HAD Hashimoto’s – that’s what has caused your hypothyroidism. Your hypothyroidism isn’t being treated properly, which is causing you to not be able to lose weight, and with your thyroid hormones being out of whack, so are your sex hormones and adrenals – they all work together. You need to find a Functional Medicine or Holistic doctor in your area, such as Dr. Northrup, who will LISTEN TO YOU. Endocrinologists and general practitioners/doctors do not treat hypothyroidism unless you’re practically dying on their doorstep.

    3. Amy
      3 weeks ago

      Hi Joanne, I too experienced this weight gain even though I was working out and eating very few calories. I’m 38 and had a partial hysterectomy a year ago so I thought I needed to be extra vigilant. I gained more fat on my thighs, back and lower belly in obvious pouches of fat deposits. As it turns out my body was in fight or flight mode from over excersizing and under eating. I started eating small amounts of healthy food every two-three hours and sleeping more and resting more in between weights sets and doing less cardio. All better

  22. Shirley
    10 months ago

    Hello Dr. Northrup I’m 57 years old and have been taking Estradiol 2mg daily and Medroxypr ac 2.5 mg daily for years now however once a month usually the third week I expierence allergy and cold symtoms that last about a week or so but it never fails I catch a cold every single month /allergy sinusitis problems . I know this is a hormone related problem . What can I do? And when should I stop taking hormone therapy all together? Your reply would be very appreciated for at this time I’m in the process of finding a new Dr. Thank you.

  23. Sarah
    12 months ago

    Hello,

    I was hoping to get your opinion on my situation. To try to give you a detailed look, I’ll try to provide as many details as I can, though I’m not sure if they will all be relevant.

    I got pubic and underarm hair at 8, and I started my period at 10. My first two periods were perfectly normal and regular–they were beautiful. My third was light and was also late, and then my fourth skipped months before I got it. Ever since then, my periods have been awful. I’ll maybe get three or four a year if I’m lucky, and they’re always very light and only 3-4 days. My doctor didn’t bother to find out why–she merely put me on birth control and left it at that. I recently decided that I want to figure out what is really wrong with me, so I stopped taking the pill so that I can monitor my real body. Every single doctor I go to (even my gyno) doesn’t seem to care about my horrendous period schedule. They give me a weird look, say something with a super uncomfortable tone, and then move on. (And in the case of my gyno, she just told me that I’d probably have trouble getting pregnant, and then sent me out of her door.)

    Here goes some misc. things that I’ve noticed in my life (I’m not sure what’s relevant or not):

    Around the same age that I started my period, I started getting these weird red circular blotches all over my thighs. They still come and go.

    My optometrist told me that I have really dry eyes, and because of it, my eyelids rub off the coating on my eye.. Or something to that effect.

    I was skinny when I was young–never had trouble at all. Soon after I started my period I started gaining wait at more than a normal or healthy pace. I am definitely way overweight now, and very bottom heavy. Most of my weight is in my waist, hips, butt, and thighs (blah).

    A few years ago, my doctors and I were so sure that I had hypothyroidism, that they basically tested my blood as a formality. I had all of the symptoms (and still do)–extremely tired, cold hands and feet, slow metabolism, etc. Well, turns out, the blood test told us that I didn’t have hypothyroidism, and I basically got yelled at by the doctor and told to “stop making excuses and never come back.”

    I am so tired, all of the time. I have a Fitbit that tracks my sleep, and I can sleep for 12 hours and only get 4 hours of restful sleep. My sleep efficiency is atrocious.

    Since I’ve stopped taking my birth control, I haven’t had a period. It’s been 5 months. I’m not pregnant. I checked like 5 times at home, and once at the gyno. It’s not because of my weight either, I don’t think. It was just as bad when I had a normal BMI years ago.

    I used to have over 20/20 vision. Since I started my period, my eyes got insanely more awful every year. Now I’m basically blind without my glasses (nearsighted). I can only see at books length. Anything else is only a very, very vague shape.

    I don’t know if any of that helped–but do you have an opinion on my situation? I am so sick and tired of how fucked up my body is, and I just want answers–answers that no doctor gives a flying fuck about finding. I’ve been to 6+ doctors in my life, and every single one was either obviously super uncomfortable talking about it, or just told me I should be on birth control.

    I don’t want to mask my awful periods with birth control. I want to find out why they’re so off. Why I’m so off.

    Thank you so much,
    Sarah

    1. Sarah
      12 months ago

      I just left the above comment, and I totally forgot to tell you my age!

      I just turned 22

      (Also, many women in my family are very overweight/obese, including my mother)

      1. Krysta
        8 months ago

        Hi Sarah. I’m so sorry for the way that Dr’s have been treating you. In all honesty, I do not believe its you…what I think is happening is that is that these doctors simply do not have a clue as to what is going on with you. Unfortunately, Dr’s with that only practice conventional, western medicine do not always have the most open minds, nor do they have the time or the desire to “think outside of the box”. That’s why I’d start looking for a practitioner in holistic or functional medicine, now. Based on your history and present symptoms, he or she will know right where to start with you, getting you on your way back to health do you can start living your life again. These are also the type of doctors that will treat you for hypothyroidism, even if your levels are “normal”. What is normal for one individual may not be normal for the next. I’m paraphrasing here, but as Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum explains, blood tests can be helpful, but not reliable due to the way we come up with “normal” reference ranges. Out of 100 people, they will take use the 2 highest levels and the 2 lowest levels and even if you are in the lowest twentieth percentile, all your Dr will see is that your levels are within normal range, therefore your thyroid is fine. Pretty absurd, I think. I was misdiagnosed as having a normal thyroid for 5 yrs. So you could very well have a low functioning thyroid. I can relate to your sleep too. For me, it was due to very low cortisol and dhea levels, this could be a possibility for you as well. I have had very our vision since a young age, but not with my eyelids. And you are exactly right to have that addressed. When we notice strange things, they need to be addressed bc that is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. I think that you were right on, getting of of that birth control, synthetic hormones are terribly toxic. I cannot say what the root cause of you not having a menses at 22 yrs old is, but it’s not normal. Your doctors may have ignored it, but you are smart not to. You can go to endfatigue.com, which is Dr. Teitelbaum’s webpage. He had a web link to help you find the nearest holistic physician, as well as a link to help you find the nearest physician practicing integrative medicine. I know there’s an answer it there for you! Best of luck!

        1. Krysta
          8 months ago

          And Sarah, those red blotches that come and go? You may talk to your new physician about Chronic fatigue syndrome, transient rashes are a symptom and it could very well be contributing to how fatigued you are…getting plenty of sleep, but waking up feeling unrestored as well as the unexplained weight gain. Adrenal dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction, insulin resistance, and a deficiency of your reproductive hormones are all very common in people with CFS/FMS. I know, bc I’m one of those people! Again, try to find a good holistic physician. They will not treat you as if you are just lab values, they will treat you and your body as a whole!

      2. Jkbp
        8 months ago

        Hello,
        Have you ever done a salivary cortisol test to test for Cushings? Your symptoms sound so much like Cushings… Google it.
        Also, I have hypothyroidism that was undiagnosed for years because I was always “within” range. I now am medicated based on how I feel and I don’t feel normal until my tsh is very below range at .004. You need to find a good naturopathic md who can try you on thyroid meds. You’ll lose weight pretty quick if that is the problem.

    2. Sarah
      12 months ago

      Hi Sarah,
      Dr. Northrup talks about causes above. Do you have any issues with the following?

      -Too much stress, resulting in excess amounts of cortisol, insulin, and norepinephrine, which can lead to adrenal exhaustion and can also adversely affect overall hormonal balance
      – A low-fiber diet with excess refined carbohydrates and deficient in nutrients and high quality fats
      – Impaired immune function
      – Environmental agents

      These are deep places to go, but they start with you. Doctors won’t know your life or body like you do, and healing begins with you, beginning with how you talk to yourself. Notice how you use words like “i’m off” and “insanely more awful” and “flying fuck”…you are angry, understandably so—our doctors are supposed to know everything right? We trust them to analyze our symptoms, and deliver a diagnosis in a neat package. Well they don’t know anything when it comes to treating autoimmune issues, because there’s a very good chance that it is caused by our beliefs about ourselves and our beliefs about the safety of the universe we live in. Doctors can’t handle problems that big, and Pharma can’t make pills that don’t have harmful side effects. Besides, that’s treating the symptom, not the underlying problem.

      But healing begins with using loving words when we talk about ourselves and we thank our big strong body (the only one we have in this lifetime), and with acknowledging all the good things that we DO have. And it also helps to make sure we’re not eating processed food, aren’t suffering from anemia from a leaky gut caused by too much processed food and stress, and it helps to make sure that we are getting enough vitamins…and WATER. Have you had any water today, yet?

      Louise Hay has an affirmation that she tells herself, and she is a healthy, happy 88 today! She thanks her body and tells it “I love you.” and “I love every cell of my body” (you can view this pretty affirmation here: http://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/)

      Good luck, sister! You can DO THIS! Health is yours!
      – Sarah

    3. Maureen
      3 months ago

      look into your blood glucose…you may be pre-diabetic.

    4. Deborah
      2 months ago

      Have your Prolactin levels checked (simple blood test). Your symptoms fit with a prolactinomia – including the problems with your eyesight. I wish you well.

  24. karen
    1 year ago

    Hello Dr Northrup
    I have breast pain – specifically on left side, it comes in waves, like tightness and into the top of my underarm, have just started applying trans dermal cream. Could you clarify a few things for me ?
    sometimes i apply it and the pain starts like just now…..
    when i first did apply it to my chest It felt good so i guess that’s good but I think it may have brought on my period…is this possible ?
    I’m nearly 47yrs old. it seems to come on when my little ones are being seemingly demanding and when in front of the computer.
    i started using it after hearing you on embodied wisdom talk about it……
    thank you and hope to hear back

    karen

    1. Jill
      2 months ago

      Did you find a solution? My symptoms are strikingly similar.

  25. Karen
    1 year ago

    I experienced nodules in my thyroid for over 30 years and it has been over active or under active. during that time. A few years ago after my partner died a sudden and tragic death, I started forgetting things, unable to focus as well as sleep through the night. I was in a constant fog. My doctor said that my estrogen and progesterone were non- existent from my blood tests and suggested estrogen & testosterone implants while taking oral progesterone. I started after being being post menopausal for ten years to have break through bleeding every month for over a year. I went to a top doctor in Chicago who works with post menopausal women and he took me off progesterone all together. I told him I would bleed more and he said he didn’t care. Sure enough within months, I started bleeding for 60+ days. He then said I had to back on it as I had a thickening in my uterus lining. The oral prescription was the exact same thing he took me off. I continued to bleed and still bled every month. Eventually I saw another doctor who gave me a progesterone cream. Now three years later my breasts have more cysts and I worry about breast cancer. Any correlation?

  26. Gail M Drouin
    1 year ago

    Good Morning,
    I am 61 years young. I had my uterus removed at 36 ( large fibroid ) & at 52 I had my ovaries removed ( l ovarian cysts & endometriosis throughout my abdominal cavity). Not once has hormone balance been discussed. For the past 8 or 9 years my vagina has thinned out, intercourse (if it were a part of my life) would be extremely painful. I am quite sure my cortisol is high ( lots of stress ). Whenever I try talking to my pcp about hormone imbalance she tells me I am postmenopausal. And then that is the end of the discussion. Do you have any recommendations?

    Fondly,
    Gail

    1. Philyssa Grammar
      4 months ago

      Get a better dr. She should not be dismissing what you’re telling her.

  27. Rebecca Casey
    1 year ago

    I am in remission from Stage 3 breast cancer (diagnosed and treated 2012) –high estrogen –and am now on Anastrozole. I am experiencing its side effects–hair loss, fatigue, weight gain, bone ache, etc. Are there any alternative treatments to Anastrozole (which is an estrogen blocker)?

  28. Shannon
    1 year ago

    Dr. Northrup, I am a 46 year old woman who is fairly active but slightly overweight (+10-15 lbs.). I have read one of your books, but I am still not clear about when kind of birth control/hormones I should be taking. I believe I have a hormone imbalance, as the last two years i have been getting migraines about two weeks before my “period” is to begin (most often I do not actually have a period). I am on birth control pills and last year at my annual checkup I mentioned the headaches to my doctor and noted that I thought they were related to PMS and it was suggested to change my BC pills and increase the estrogen (I thought I remembered from your books NOT to do that so I declined). Also, I have severely dark skin on my neck which i have recently come to believe is acanthosis nigricans. Last year, my doctor sent me to a dermatologist who took a biopsy and stated that is was an allergic reaction to something (NOT for five years!). I believe I need to have some blood tests done for diabetes and will talk to my doctor about that at this year’s visit. I know I need to lose some weight and I am working on that. I want to know what kind of birth control/hormones I should be taking as I believe that is part of the issue (with the dark skin and the headaches). I want to take some BC pills, because I did stop taking them for a few months earlier this year and my headaches got even worse and I believe I still need some form of birth control. I apologize for the length of this question. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  29. Jacqurline
    1 year ago

    Dr. Northrop, what is the correct ratios of Estrogen to Progesterone one should be on? I am currently taking a combination of 1.5mg Estriol, 7.5mg Estradiol and 125mg Prosterone (bio identical). The Estradiol was reduced from 1.5mg to 7.5mg because I had breast tenderness and weight gain. I take them together in a slow release capsule and am wondering what is your opinion. I am 57 years young. I look forward to your response. Thank you!

  30. lori
    1 year ago

    Hi Dr. Northrup,

    I am 53 and no periods for 3 yrs. My only neg. symptom of menopause has been chronic insomnia. I eat a high fiber predominately vegetarian diet with antibiotic free poultry and some salmon or other seafood. I have eaten this way since my 30s. My last labs showed low serotonin, high cortisol am and pm and low progesterone and high estradiol. I exercise 4-5 times per week, also meditate and do yoga and have been practicing Tai Qi for 25 yrs. I am confused as to how my serotonin got so low and why the progesterone is so low compared to estradiol and why estradiol is high at all. I am 5’2 and weigh 135 so that could be one reason but I wouldn’t say I’m overweight. I know cortisol is a problem but I didn’t have trouble sleeping until my periods stopped, I may have had high cortisol before that. Even with all I do to counteract stress, it’s there. I am going to start a bio identical progesterone sublingually, I am taking phosphatidylserine at night for the last 3 wks and just started 50mg of 5HTP and will increase it slowly. What do you think?

  31. Heather
    1 year ago

    I am 43 years old and am in early remission from triple negative breast cancer. I have always had very low progesterone levels and took a synthetic progesterone to get pregnant. I have been using a natural progesterone cream each nice about once or twice a day. Is this healthy to do while in remission? is it a healthy way to prevent unopposed estrogen? Can I do this everyday or should I take a break and is this a good thing for triple negative cancer? Thank you!!! I am desperate for some alternative, preventative advice

  32. Lillian Roberts
    1 year ago

    Estrogen dominate after menapause

  33. heather
    1 year ago

    Hello Dr. Northrup,
    My name is Heather I am a mother of two and very active 35 year old. I am healthy, workout and eat smart. I need some direction. I only feel normal about one week out of the month. The rest of the days are controlled by estrogen dominance. Severe: breast tenderness, weight gain, bloating, mood swings, fatigue and depression. When I have my period it’s like the black clouds go away and I can physically feel my body come back to normal. I have tried birth control and seen many doctors and have tried progesterone (and was told this is feeding the fire). I need some direction, I am a nurse so very knowledgeable but I am really at a dead end please help.

    1. ANNA
      1 year ago

      Heather,
      Like you I only feel like me one week a month the week of my period. The rest is severe bloating, water retention, moody, headaches, irritable, fatique and deprssion. My doctor prescribed spirolactolone (25 mg) starting two weeks before my period. It seems to have made a difference with the bloating and water retention and my moids seem a bit more stable. I was wondering what Dr. Northup thinks about this?
      Sincerely,
      ANNA

    2. Anna Irby
      5 months ago

      I have the same problem. I am 49 and have estrogen dominance. Did you find anything that helped you?

  34. Stephanie Kartinos
    1 year ago

    Need a progesterone cream safe for having had breast cancer at one time. Thank you

  35. Julia Dederer
    2 years ago

    Greetings,
    I am 66 years old, was on the vivelle patch for at least 10 years.
    I had stage 1 breast cancer – high estrogen, then, lumpechtomy, radiation, now arastrazole for 5 years (diagnosed March of 2014). Oncologist said not to be on
    estrogen of any kind. I tried A-Ma-Ta not thinking it had estrogen. In 30 days my bad hot flashes, nite sweats,
    and dry vagina were 75% better. I was so happy. I mentioned what I was taking to my oncologist last week.
    He did not recognize any of the ingredients, but said, if it was having those kind of results, it must have some form
    of estrogen, and, he requested that I back off slowly and not take it.
    Does it contain estrogen. If, yes, what is the amount. Is there some indication that it operates differently than normal estrogen? Should I stop. If, yes, do you have another recommendation for the hotflashes, etc? Thank you very much, Julia

  36. Joan
    8 years ago

    you may find peppermint too stimulating for sleep.

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