Estrogen Dominance, Perimenopause & T-Tapp – Oh My!

oh my estrogen dominance woman

Lately I’ve turned another corner with perimenopause. I’ve always had really regular periods during my adult life until the past year and a half. But this past month introduced ‘spotting’, a really early period, and a blood test result showing that my estradiol (estrogen) is way off the charts high and my progesterone is low!

A term for this syndrome is estrogen dominance.

Yikes! I freaked out at first and realized this explains all the changes and increase in my weight I’ve been experiencing the past several months. I also learned it’s really common and that there are ways to work with this syndrome naturally.

What Is It?
Estrogen dominance occurring during perimenopause is commonly due to the increase of anovulatory menstrual cycles (missed ovulation and late periods). As the quantity of our ovaries’ eggs wind down, we start missing ovulation and periods. Without ovulation the corpus luteum doesn’t get created by the ovaries and therefore progesterone doesn’t get developed by the corpus luteum. The normal balance between estrogen and progesterone gets thrown off, and estrogen doesn’t get kept in check by the regular production of progesterone.

I have a history of breast cancer in my family so it’s really important to get this excess reversed and hinder the chance of estrogen provoked cancer. It’s also REALLY disturbing to have high estrogen — I’m irritable, gaining weight REALLY easily, moody, exhausted and the list goes on!

So, what to do?
A mixture of natural supplements, diet and exercise can quickly help to balance out this situation. I find the supplements are KEY to balancing estrogen dominance. I don’t think I would see a change in my hormonal balance without them.

1. Remove excess estrogen from your system – DIM
My experience is that DIM (Diindolylmethane) is the most effective at pushing the excess estrogen out of my system. It’s made of concentrated cruciferous vegetables and helps to remove bad estrogens from your body and maintain a proper balance with progesterone.

I’m also taking Indole-3 Carbinol with Flax Lignan. It also contains concentrates of cruciferous vegetables but is also used to help with the release of toxins from the liver. I prefer one that includes flax lignans, a phytoestrogen which help reduce the accumulation of excess estrogen by binding to the body’s estrogen receptors, blocking the stronger, cancer-stimulating estrogen from taking hold.

Calcium D-Glucarate is another powerful tool for supporting healthy hormone balance and removing excess estrogen from your body. It helps the body and liver to effectively excrete toxins and build up in the body through the process of Glucuronidation. It’s also used to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

If you are on thyroid medicine, I would make sure to take this supplement at least 4 hours after taking your thyroid medication as it contains calcium, which interferes with the uptake of thyroid medication.

2. Balance progesterone levels –
I’m also increasing the use of natural Progesterone as my progesterone levels were on the low end. Supplementing progesterone helps to balance the ratio between estrogen and progesterone, counteracting the excess.

Natural Progesterone creams are usually the supplement of choice in this case. Just be aware that some doctors and naturopaths are seeing instances where natural progesterone from creams accumulates in your fat cells and take up to a year to leave your body*. So, once you add progesterone topically into your system, it’s there to stay and doesn’t decrease for a year after you stop using it. This can lead to excess progesterone in your system if you are not careful.

It’s recommended to limit the use of the creams to only 2-3 months at a progesterone sublingual dropstime and then taking a break for an equivalent amount of time.

I’m currently using sublingual progesterone drops. Many naturopaths recommend drops as a safer alternative to creams or to pill form (which can burden your liver).

What to Eat
Increasing consumption of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables is a must for high estrogen in order increase fiber and to avoid unnecessary xeno-estrogens from foods laden with chemicals and hormones. It’s also important to avoid use and exposure to the xeno-estrogens in plastic, like water bottles.

I would even recommend that you reduce your intake of dairy products if you are experiencing symptoms of estrogen dominance. I personally find dairy puts extra stress on my lymph system and you want to maximize the body’s ability to release toxins.

If you eat animal products try to make sure you are only eating meats, poultry or dairy products free of hormones!

Moving the Body
The other important factor that one can not go without during an estrogen excess phase is exercise.

Sweat
I continually have to come to terms with the fact that I MUST include a daily form of movement and get myself sweating (I’m currently moving house which helps this along!). If I don’t exercise or move every day, I won’t be able to push the estrogen from my system and rise above the symptoms that accompany estrogen dominance. And a healthy release of endorphins is excellent for improving mood and hormonal balance.

T-Tapp Workout for Estrogen Dominance
The workout that is especially good for combating the rise in estrogen levels during perimenopause is T-Tapp.
Teresa Tapp wrote a fantastic article about this back in 2003 called The Estrogen Trap. She explains briefly what is going on and how her signature, compound isometric moves can directly impact this imbalance and help us to maintain our weight.
Here are some of the main points:– Estrogen/Insulin Swing
The body is in a constant process of creating homeostasis. Teresa points out that increased estrogen provokes the pancreas to increase insulin production. Insulin is a fat storing hormone and so this is why you start to see big jumps in weight gain during estrogen dominance. Insulin is also increased in response to carbohydrate consumption which then increases estrogen levels. So this balancing act works both ways.

– Resting Glucose Utilization Rate
Our bodies ability to process and utilize rather than store glucose or sugars when at rest is a marker of whether we will gain weight or maintain our weight. Keep in mind that increased carbs (or sugars) up insulin levels and therefore estrogen. Teresa has determined that the way you help maintain a healthy resting glucose utilization rate is by strengthening the muscles along the spine and within the core.

– Spinal Density & Exercise
One of the ways you strengthen the core is by doing balance exercises, as well as movements that target the core and spine. T-Tapp is a fantastic workout for doing just this!In fact, the simple exercise of Hoe Downs is a powerful core building and balance exercise and can go a long way to helping raise your resting GUR.There are also various spine building exercises that Teresa has created for specifically building spinal muscles (and trimming the torso!).

Summary
If your blood tests show you are estrogen dominant, use supplements, diet and exercise to remedy this imbalance:

* DIM, and Indole-3 Carbinol, or Calcium-D Glucarate
* Add natural progesterone if your levels are low or you are experiencing the symptoms of low estrogen to progesterone. (creams or sublingual)
* Get moving – sweat to help move the excess estrogen out of your system
* Avoid foods not grown organically or full of hormones. Avoid plastics and other environmental xeno-estrogens.

I hope the information here helps you to balance your hormones naturally. I’m constantly experimenting and learning by doing. Let me know what you find works for you during perimenopause and menopause!

________
Reference:
Complications Regarding Progesterone Cream


The information provided here is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease OR act as a substitute for a face to face consultation with a qualified medical doctor and, as such, should not be construed as medical advice.

Before undertaking any new fitness or exercise routine or regime, please consult a qualified medical doctor or professional.

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Dorothy

BrightyBodyFitness.com provides tips and information for staying fit and happy naturally during perimenopause and beyond, using the T-Tapp workout and more.

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7 Responses

  1. Kathy says:

    “Just be aware that some doctors and naturopaths are seeing instances where natural progesterone from creams accumulates in your fat cells and take up to a year to leave your body*. So, once you add progesterone topically into your system, it’s there to stay and doesn’t decrease for a year after you stop using it. This can lead to excess progesterone in your system if you are not careful.”

    This happened to me, because of an MD who didn’t know better. I’ve been using topical bio-identical compounded progesterone EVERY DAY FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS! I was told to do this, and to apply it either to my belly or inner thighs. I read on another site this is the worst thing you can do, since it will go right to the fat cells. Sure enough, I keep gaining and it won’t stop.

    You mention how to remove excess estrogen from the body, but how do you remove excess progesterone? Do I simply have to wait a year or more for it to clear out? Will I be unable to lose fat until it’s gone?

    • Dorothy says:

      Hi Kathy,

      There are different opinions on this, and I don’t pretend to be an expert…just reporting my own direct experience and experiments.

      I’ve been told and read that if you stop and let it leave your system over a year, this is best. Of course, exercising will help move it out of your system, as would anything that helps your lymphoid system to move, or any reduction in body fat.

      The best advice I received regarding the use of topical hormones and reducing the excess accumulation of natural hormone creams in your fat cells, is to use them in intervals — on 2 months, off 1-2 months. I have friends who find this works well to keep it from accumulating and causing issues. I have always done something similar. Always use your own signals and bodily sensations to know when to stop something. If it isn’t working, then stop.

      But be aware that many MD’s and Naturopaths do find that topically applying natural hormones is much more effective and similar to the natural uptake of hormones in the body than taking them orally.

      Hope this helps. Keep us posted. Again, I’m not an expert or a doctor, just relating my own experiences.

  2. Boo says:

    Hi. I am just wondering about the proper water intake to have, being that estrogen dominance makes be retain a ridiculous about of water especially if i drink 8 glasses a day. Thank you!

    • Dorothy says:

      Hi Boo,

      Well, it’s never a good idea to not drink water. It’s key to making sure certain metabolic systems remain active and helps to keep your elimination moving…very important when you are working to get your estrogen/progesterone in balance.

      The emphasis should be more on moving your lymphoid system (via exercise and body brushing) and getting your estrogen/progesterone in balance. Also, making sure you are not eating excess salt or drinking any soft drinks.

      Teresa Tapp swears by using a premium blend of alfalfa tablets to help move excess water from the system. Once thought to be a phyto-estrogen and therefore not necessarily the safest thing to introduce into an estrogen dominant situation, it’s actually been shown to “help the body help itself via pituitary support to regulate estrogen levels. This means if estrogen is too high, it will lower and if estrogen is too low, it will increase.” It’s what’s called an adaptogen.

      You can find her organic, premium blend here at the T-Tapp store or you can purchase it at any health food store. Be sure it is organic and GMO free. And be sure your body accepts the alfalfa. Some folks have an allergic reaction to it just as they would in an open field of alfalfa.

      I hope this helps. I’m not a medical doctor so I can only pass on what I have learned in my own case.

      Good luck and be well!

      Dorothy

  3. Miranda C says:

    Dear Dorothy

    This is extremely helpful. I just got my saliva and blood work back and my estrogen was off the charts as well! I can literally feel it building up through my body at night. I am about to increase my use of progesterone cream as well. I am really curious to know how your success has been like in lowering estrogen? I have been advised to take Estrium for estrogen metabolism, which sounds a little like the products you are taking, I really hope it moves things. Also, do you know why estrogen builds up like this? I really want to both decrease it, and then have skills in being able to prevent it from increasing anymore.

    Hoping you can let me know, and thanks once again

    Miranda

    • Dorothy says:

      Hi Miranda,

      Great you are getting this sorted out! Estrium looks like it should really help, and the most important remedy is using progesterone cream in a monitored manner. Also, be sure to get plenty of exercise to support and help move toxins and excess estrogen out of your system.

      Something I’ve added lately when I had a recent flair-up of estrogen dominance is liver detox tea. My naturopath suggested it, particularly when I feel bloated, thick, irritable and needing to move things out of my system. The liver is the filter for your blood so I’m finding the tea helps to clear my system and allow for things to move again. My digestion and elimination seem to improve as well. You can buy some version of it at your local natural foods store. Look for ‘detox tea’.

      One of the causes of estrogen dominance, particularly during perimenopause, is that as you start to miss periods and therefore miss ovulating, the ovaries don’t get to create corpus luteum, which creates progesterone. There are also environmental causes for estrogen dominance where toxins in the environment mimic estrogen and create the symptoms of an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.

      NOTE: In my original post I mention to alternate progesterone cream use so it doesn’t build up in your fat cells. But recently I have read and heard from my naturopath that hormones are not something you want to ‘go on and off of randomly’ without checking your blood or saliva levels. Hormones actually work best when maintained at even, steady levels, creating a sustained quantity in your body.

      I hope this helps. The few times I had to deal with estrogen dominance I immediately went on progesterone cream, used the estrogen detoxing supplements and got plenty of exercise. Give it a month to move out of your system but you’ll find it works. Good luck!!

  4. Miranda C says:

    Thank you so much for this, apologies for not responding sooner, yet I only clicked back now. I have been on Estrium for two months, and there has been far more better days, with the worst time still happening on days 7-14 when oestrogen is on the rise. I have upped the Estrium a little as I was only taking the minimum, also introduced I3C as there seems to be a plethora of RCT trials which support its effectiveness. I still get the oestrogen “shakes” at night, but its working. And yes you are right with the liver, its the organ that metabolises hormones. My bio-identical lady says to continue the progesterone until the estrogen-prog balance is good, otherwise if we stop the progesterone when still symptomatic, it kind of defeats the purpose. I have been heavily symptomatic, so stopping is definitely not something I can do right now, but hopefully in the future, when I am cleansed and oestrogen dominant free.

    M

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