Why Most of Us Are Too High in Estrogen

Male or female, there is a good chance that your estrogen hormones are much higher than they should be, and it could be affecting your health. For men, excess estrogen can lead to low libido, growing of breasts—or “man boobs,”—infertility issues, and more. For women, the symptoms can also include low libido and infertility, along with a host of other symptoms: weight gain, migraines, PMS, heavy bleeding with clots, fibroids, ovarian cysts, and miscarriages. It can even lead to breast cancer. You see, when our hormones are off, it affects a lot!

I was one of the “lucky” girls who started menstruating at age 9. This is more common in bigger or overweight girls; however, I was the tiniest in my class. When I developed other health problems a few years later, my periods became unbearable. At age 15, I was put on birth control pills just to lessen my severe symptoms each month. While this was less common 15 years ago, it is far too common now. Did you know that age 9 is now the average age for a young girl to start puberty? Something isn’t right.

Where is this spike in estrogen coming from? Sadly, our developed world is full of “mock” estrogens. Let’s take a quick look at a couple of these.

Xenoestrogens are found in certain chemicals and have been known to mimic estrogen in our bodies when we are exposed to them. They are found in pesticides, laundry detergents, plastic food storage, BPA plastic products, and more. I grew up in a house that was less than a mile from cotton fields. Knowing now how pesticides mimic estrogen, it makes perfect sense that I started puberty early.

Pesticides contain xenoestrogens, which are known to mimic estrogen in our bodies and can lead to early puberty.

Pesticides contain xenoestrogens, which are known to mimic estrogen in our bodies and can lead to early puberty.

The types of xenoestrogen I want to focus on, however, are phytoestrogens. These are natural “estrogens” found in specific foods. If you are one of those who still think that soy is a super food, please consider further. Soy is very high in phytoestrogens. As with most whole foods, soy is not unhealthy in moderation. But in our current day of processed foods, soy is in everything! Add to that the more recent craze of soy milk replacing real milk, and it is apparent that some people are eating and drinking themselves into an estrogen frenzy!

Flax seed meal contains more phytoestrogens than any other food.

Flax seed meal contains more phytoestrogens than any other food.

While I have been avoiding soy for many years now, I did just recently learn about other foods that are high in phytoestrogens, and one in particular caught me by surprise: Flax Seed. Also considered a “super food,” flax is high in Omega 3’s, and studies show that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of flax seed can benefit us in a lot of ways. About a year ago, I started adding flax meal to smoothies, baked goods, salads, eggs, just about anything I could sprinkle it on top of. Come to find out, flax contains more phytoestrogens (aka lignans) than soy! This was a huge realization for me. Looking back over the past year or so, I see that my PMS symptoms, menstrual cramps and clotting have worsened. This can be associated with many things, but it definitely has me questioning the connection to my flax seed intake.

Lignans (one type of phytoestrogen) are 75x higher in flax than any other food! It promotes this right on the label as a health benefit.  :(

Lignans (one type of phytoestrogen) are 75x higher in flax than any other food! It promotes this right on the label as a health benefit. 😦

I have put a quick halt on eating flax. Do I think it is unhealthy in moderation? No, I don’t. It does indeed have health benefits. But while I am working to overcome Adrenal Fatigue, I need to do everything I can to lower my estrogen, as the two are commonly linked. Also, as a woman hoping to get pregnant in the future, you can bet that I’m not taking my chances with flax or soy.

Next time I clean out our fridge, it will be a happy goodbye to that bag of flax and a welcomed hello to better health!


Update: I happened to be watching a rerun of The Big Bang Theory this evening, and here is the opening scene. It made me laugh at the coincidence!


Early Onset of Puberty: http://www.lucinebiotech.com/early-onset-of-puberty/
High Estrogen and Breast Cancer: http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/factsheet/General/fs10.estrogen.cfm
Flax Oil and Premature Births: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-10/uom-pwc102708.php
Estrogen Dominance and Adrenal Fatigue: http://www.drrind.com/therapies/estrogen-dominance#connection
High Estrogen in Men: http://www.newhealthguide.org/High-Estrogen-In-Men.html
Estrogen Dominance Overview: http://www.drhoffman.com/page.cfm/183


Why Just Another Blog on Natural Health?

When I started my blog, I had no real direction with it. Should I write opinion pieces? Should I write about raising my family? I ended up not writing much at all because I hadn’t set a clear purpose. But my blog post from last week titled, “Why My Body Has Quit,” has set the stage. I want to share my journey to health, what I have learned along the way, and what I hope others can learn from me. I will be focusing on natural healing and nutrition, primarily. I realize that this will limit my audience, but I also hope it will expand my audience to those I may not yet know who are looking for answers, or, at the very least, hope.

The thing about journeys is that there are always bumps in the road. Sometimes you need to make a U-turn, other times you’re making too many bathroom stops. But the journey itself continues on, regardless what direction you are heading. Here is my disclaimer: I am not all-knowing. I am always learning. I will try to give you further research and references on a topic, but there will be times I am simply speaking from experience. If there is any word of advice I could give you, it is this: Research. Be your own professor, your own detective. I am thankful for a mother who has always done just that, and found answers to my health issues long before my doctors, only to be confirmed by them later. The same can be said for her mother, my grandma. My mom shares a similar story to mine, and there were even fewer answers in the 60s and 70s. When my mom was told that her debilitating symptoms were all in her head, my grandmother kept searching. Years later, it was my grandma who learned about Myasthenia Gravis, and, sure enough, my mom was diagnosed, and she finally had a name for her “insanity.” She had a real muscular disease. It had not been “in her head” after all. I am simply receiving the baton that has been passed to me through the women in my family to always seek knowledge, apply it to my life, and help others do the same.

Maybe you don’t suffer from chronic illness. My blog will be equally for you. I won’t be focusing on specific illnesses, rather, I will simply be focusing on health. If you consider yourself to be healthy, wonderful! Recognize the blessing you have and seek to keep it. Learn for yourself, learn for your family, learn for others. Be empowered. Have hope!


Age 16: The sickest of my life. Pale, skin and bones. Age 26: The healthiest of my life. Color in my face, life in my eyes! Follow my blog to learn what made the difference for me and how I intend to get back to the “healthiest of my life.”

Why My Body Has Quit

I will preface this by saying that this isn’t going to be the most positive piece of writing you could read today, but I know that my family and friends are either concerned about me or entirely clueless of what I’m going through right now, and I would like to remedy both of those. To those who are concerned: I covet your prayers right now, and I thank you for all of the practical help and words of hope you have offered. To those who didn’t know I’m dealing with anything right now: I know you would be one of the “concerned” if only you knew, as I don’t doubt your love! I hope this sheds a little bit of light on the health issues I’m facing right now.

Answering the question, “Why my body has quit…” is not a simple answer, and as my husband is learning, there is no single reason for why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. It is a multitude of factors. The good news is that I’ve been through similar health issues before, and I believe in healing. It will take time, probably months, if not a year, but I will get better. I will get better! I feel terrible and yet have so much confidence and hope. I know my body well, and I know this is a temporary setback.

For those that never knew, I lived with Fibromyalgia and a host of allergies from about age 12 to age 22. While those were the hardest years of my life, I never gave up. I kept fighting. I kept looking for answers. Answers came, and with answers came much knowledge and wisdom on how the body works and how to take care of myself. At age 19, God led us to the answers we needed in the form of a homeopathic doctor. It would take 3+ years of disciplined diet changes and taking supplements, as well as detox and lifestyle changes to fully recover from the Fibromyalgia and ALL of my allergies. Finally, tenacity combined with continual learning, I had my life back by age 22 and looked to the future with a clean slate, ready to take on the world!

Two years later I graduated college. With the world at my fingertips, my motto for life became: “Make up for lost time!” Today brings us to 5 ½ years later, and while I truly did make up for lost time, I can see how my choices led me to where I am now. So here begins the many reasons why my body has quit:

Reason #1: I have traveled A LOT. Traveling is a passion of mine. I love seeing the world and how others live. Upon graduating college I took a summer internship with a ministry that had me traveling the East coast to put on events. Each week we would set up and tear down in a new city. We lived in dorms and ate in college cafeterias. Sleep was little, and my diet consisted of anything I felt like eating.  A year later I moved to Germany to study missions and photography. I shared a room with 7 girls, none of whom had the same affinity for sleeping that I had. The old building we lived in was mold infested, and meals were made to feed 100+ people. (Meaning, it was cheap and mostly gluten.) From Germany, I went to Nepal and India, where I experienced life in a whole new way. From sleeping in jungles, to trekking mountains, to living in dirty cities, I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything, but my energy level hasn’t been the same since.

Reason #2: In addition to traveling, I haven’t stayed in one place for long. In the last 3 years I have moved 13 times! Talk about never feeling settled. For someone who always embraced change, I began to long for stability in my life, a place to call home, a place to unwind. I finally have that now, but having that with a husband and daughter looks a lot different than having my own place did when I was single! And, what do you know… our house is on the market, and we are moving soon.

Reason #3: Since graduating college, I have had 13 different jobs. (There is also a good chance I have forgotten one or two.) While many of these overlapped, and I’ve often held multiple jobs at once, think about that for a second. That is 13 times that I have had to learn a new job, learn how a particular business functions, fit in with new coworkers, etc. One of these 13 jobs was substitute teaching, which is like a different job every day. There is no stability with it. Another job was shift work, which had me working sometimes til 1am, only to have another shift 6 hours later. This was when I really started feeling a difference in my health. SeaWorld was literally going to be the death of me!

Reason #4: I have had some deep hurts in recent years. While some came from dating relationships, the hardest ones came from those who I considered my church family. The more you give, the more you become a target for the enemy, and don’t think for a second that the enemy won’t use people in the church to bring you down! I won’t expand upon these hurts on a public blog because all anyone needs to know is that God is close to the broken hearted, and when you continue to walk humbly, he will bring vindication or restoration. Often he will bring both.

Reason #5: Love. That’s right. I fell in love. The excitement of falling in love with the man I would marry, moving to a new state to be with him, getting engaged, planning a wedding, and learning to live with an incredibly stubborn husband has been a rollercoaster! What many people don’t realize is that excitement has the same impact on the body as something stressful. The body still processes it as stress even if you’re on Cloud 9. Let’s just say I have endured a lot of “stress” since meeting Jared!  😉

Reason #6: I believe that one of the greatest blessings a woman can receive in life is that of a child. Being a mom has always been one of the deepest desires of my heart. I had no idea that I would receive this blessing without even having to give birth, and I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful daughter than Marley! But as any mother knows, being a parent is hard work! She keeps me busy, that’s for sure! Becoming an instant mom the day I got married has been a lot. But God never gives me easy assignments! The hardest assignments in life are always the most worth it.

Reason #7: Jared and I both came into marriage with a lot of debt. I can’t tell you how this stresses me out. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel overwhelmed by it. It was not the result of lavish spending. We were both simply needing to get by and didn’t have jobs that paid the bills. Since being back in Arizona, we have been able to live within our means and slowly reduce our debt. But we still live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to pay our minimum balances. Selling our house will eliminate a lot of this, praise the Lord!, but I still feel the burden of it every moment until then and a desperation to get our house sold. Debt is also the reason why I must continue working right now even with my health issues. And every day I wake up and don’t feel well enough to go work, I feel like our debt is slapping me in the face. I feel trapped in our debt.

Reason #8: We live in a toxic world. I am more sensitive than most, and for that, I can’t afford to live in ignorance. I can eliminate chemicals from my home and buy organic foods, but I continually fail even at these things in the name of convenience. On top of that, we are bombarded with toxins in our foods, water, and air. Pesticide/herbicides are big business in Arizona. And this past May the state added a toxic substance to the dust control trucks. We live in a desert. We can’t control the dust! Ugh. My workplace is next to crops, empty fields, and new housing developments under construction, so I am exposed to more pesticides and dust control chemicals that most. Daily I have to take homeopathic medication to try and counteract these pesticides and chemicals that my body is breathing in every day. Since May, my body has been on toxic overload.

Reason #9: Everything else. I’ve had chronic issues with parasites since living in Nepal. I had one bladder infection after another the first few months of marriage. I eat fast food more than I ever have in my life because I’m too tired to go grocery shopping or cook, and my husband is always quick to suggest Jack-n-the-Box.

A body can only take so much, especially one that is obviously prone to auto-immune issues to start with. This has been my journey since 2007, and it all explains why I have hit rock bottom. Let’s just say, in attempt to live life to the fullest, I sure jam packed way too much into so few years, and I’m reaping the consequences of that. The result has been the shutdown of my adrenal glands. I am beyond exhausted, and that is only the beginning of my list of symptoms. It is debilitating.

Fortunately, I have only gained more knowledge and wisdom since healing from Fibromyalgia, and by making some changes and taking care of myself, my body will restore and heal now that I’m finally giving it a chance to do so. Thank you for believing with me and praying for me!

I think I need a new life motto.  What do you think?

“In all things, be wise and have hope.”