Why having too much estrogen can wreak havoc on your thyroid – and how to get things back to normal
Have you and your thyroid gotten acquainted with each other lately?
Indeed, you may have, if you’re one of the 13-27 million Americans with thyroid disease Shockingly, that number is on the rise, and women are five to eight times more likely than men to get it. Why?
There’s an intimate relationship here with one of the main female hormones – estrogen – and thyroid. But first, let’s look at what some common thyroid issues are.
An underactive thyroid (“hypothyroidism”) often occurs around the same time as, or just after, menopause. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, common symptoms of this condition include:
- Feeling cold when other people do not
- Muscle weakness
- Weight gain, even though you are not eating more food
- Joint or muscle pain
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Feeling very tired
- Pale, dry skin
- Dry, thinning hair
- Slow heart rate
- Less sweating than usual
- A puffy face
- A hoarse voice
Any of it sound familiar?
To be clear, thyroid disease has many potential causes, including autoimmune disorders. But sometimes women find that their particular thyroid problems are linked to estrogen, so let’s talk about why.
When the body is low on progesterone production (as is common with stress or aging), the delicate balance with estrogen gets thrown off, causing the body to react with too much estrogen production. This results in a body state of “estrogen dominance,” which affects all kinds of functions in your body – including that of your thyroid.
Too much estrogen can suppress your body’s thyroid health, because when estrogen is out of control, it prompts the liver to produce high levels of “thyroid binding globulin” (or TBG). What is that, you may ask? A protein that binds (just like its name!) the thyroid hormone, thereby decreasing the amount of thyroid hormone that can be properly utilized by cells.
You may think the root of all this is in tackling estrogen…and it is, in a way. But to treat it naturally and effectively, it’s best to turn to progesterone.