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Author Topic: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?  (Read 3350 times)

brimotem

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Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« on: August 15, 2016, 10:47:48 am »
I went through a serious bout of stress from my job a couple of years ago and ended up leaving.

My hair thinned, I started getting fat round my waste and on my chest giving me the dreaded man boobs look.  The stress and lack of sleep got so bad at times that I often forgot what day it was and could not sleep or stop my hands from shaking. 

Now the problem remains and I can't get rid of it.  My DHEA is fine and so is my testosterone.   One year off work and I keep accumulating fat on my chest. I'm a man in my early 40's.

I believe this is caused because the stress resulted in raised cortisol which robs my body of progesterone.  Progesterone acts as an opponent to Estrogen.. And that's the key point here.

Can anyone explain this to me..... How do you become estrogen dominant if your progesterone levels are normal?  Does estrogen just keep overproducing after a past spike in estrogen due to depleted progesterone?  I'm wondering why this imbalance between progesterone and estrogen remains and why my body hasn't corrected it after so long.  Can a serious bout of stress really do this?   Yes I've upped my B6, C, and B12 and all my other B vitamins.  I take multivitamins and have always eaten healthy.  Don't drink or smoke and exercise regularly.  I have a single mutation of the MTHFR gene C677T so I take a Methyfolate supplement to make sure I absorb enough folate.  This I believe helps other B vitamis to absorb.

PeakT

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Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2016, 03:11:56 pm »
One theory I have read is that adequate progesterone is required to offset the estradiol.  For example, check this out:

http://www.drrind.com/therapies/estrogen-dominance
THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BOOK ON TRT/TESTOSTERONE:
https://www.amazon.com/Natural-Versus-Testosterone-Therapy-Myer/dp/1523210532/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499116128&sr=8-1&keywords=natural+versus+testosterone+therapy
And check out my New Peak Testosterone Program: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/peak_testosterone_program
If you are on medications or have a medical condition, always check with your doctor first before making any lifestyle changes or taking new supplements.  And low testosterone is a medical condition.

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Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2016, 03:11:56 pm »


brimotem

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Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2016, 06:55:12 am »
Yes, I'm aware of this relationship.. I was hoping someone with allot of knowledge in this area could comment.

Kierkegaard

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Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2016, 08:24:47 am »
Hey Peak and others! :)

I went through a serious bout of stress from my job a couple of years ago and ended up leaving.

My hair thinned, I started getting fat round my waste and on my chest giving me the dreaded man boobs look.  The stress and lack of sleep got so bad at times that I often forgot what day it was and could not sleep or stop my hands from shaking. 

Now the problem remains and I can't get rid of it.  My DHEA is fine and so is my testosterone.   One year off work and I keep accumulating fat on my chest. I'm a man in my early 40's.

I believe this is caused because the stress resulted in raised cortisol which robs my body of progesterone.  Progesterone acts as an opponent to Estrogen.. And that's the key point here.

Can anyone explain this to me..... How do you become estrogen dominant if your progesterone levels are normal?  Does estrogen just keep overproducing after a past spike in estrogen due to depleted progesterone?  I'm wondering why this imbalance between progesterone and estrogen remains and why my body hasn't corrected it after so long.  Can a serious bout of stress really do this?   Yes I've upped my B6, C, and B12 and all my other B vitamins.  I take multivitamins and have always eaten healthy.  Don't drink or smoke and exercise regularly.  I have a single mutation of the MTHFR gene C677T so I take a Methyfolate supplement to make sure I absorb enough folate.  This I believe helps other B vitamis to absorb.

Estrogen dominance simply means that estrogen is high in relation to progesterone.  The quest is to find out what is causing your estrogen to be disproportionately high, and this gets to aromatase activity.  You spoke of methylation; there's a methylation-type SNP called COMT which regulates catecholamines and estrogen, meaning if you're hetero- or homozygous that you break down estrogen, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine more slowly than others.  I have this SNP -- actually two COMT SNPs, both homozygous, which probably explains why I felt better on DIM. 

Insulin creates increases in aromatase activity, which might be why obese people have higher aromatase activity, and why it's important to keep insulin in check and eat low glycemic meals.  If you're on TRT, maybe your injection schedule is too long, causing higher spikes in estradiol, which stays up there longer than testosterone.  You mentioned cortisol: if you have high cortisol, then unless you have adrenal fatigue (where low ACTH results), the same pulse of ACTH that ultimately creates cortisol (via progesterone) also creates estradiol via the DHEA pathway.  This is why people can see a drop in estradiol if their cortisiol levels are increased through hydrocortisone therapy, which causes a lowering of ACTH via negative feedback, leading to lower estrogen. 
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

Depression and anxiety guide: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/Help_Anxiety_Depression

Peak Testosterone Forum

Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2016, 08:24:47 am »


brimotem

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Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2016, 12:27:38 pm »
Thanks for your reply.  Just going back to my original points, this started to happen after a bout of stress.  This was some serious stress over a couple of years.  I sometimes could not sleep for a couple of days and my hands would shake.   The obvious conclusion I cam to was that my cortisol levels became so high that it robbed my body of progesterone to the point that there was very little to dampen the affect of estrogen in my body.  This may be why I suddenly (and it was never like this before) started to grow allot of fat on my chest looking like man boobs.

I notice a number of things.

1 - only tiny meals will help me lose weight.  Must be with exercise but the meal size has to be tiny.  My insulin sensitivity clearly isn't good and that's a sign of high estrogen (and yes, high cortisol) due to the process above.

2 - The fat on my chest definitely developed after a serious bout of stress.

3 - Pretty much everything makes me fat.. Despite low GI meals.  (meals have to be tiny).

If this was genetic then why didn't I see the signs earlier?  (just speculating)..

If excess cortisol robbed my body of progesterone then why didn't it rebalance?  I'm baffled.  Maybe I should be on natural Progesterone and DIM??   


Kierkegaard

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Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2016, 10:25:17 pm »
Thanks for your reply.  Just going back to my original points, this started to happen after a bout of stress.  This was some serious stress over a couple of years.  I sometimes could not sleep for a couple of days and my hands would shake.   The obvious conclusion I cam to was that my cortisol levels became so high that it robbed my body of progesterone to the point that there was very little to dampen the affect of estrogen in my body.  This may be why I suddenly (and it was never like this before) started to grow allot of fat on my chest looking like man boobs.

I notice a number of things.

1 - only tiny meals will help me lose weight.  Must be with exercise but the meal size has to be tiny.  My insulin sensitivity clearly isn't good and that's a sign of high estrogen (and yes, high cortisol) due to the process above.

2 - The fat on my chest definitely developed after a serious bout of stress.

3 - Pretty much everything makes me fat.. Despite low GI meals.  (meals have to be tiny).

If this was genetic then why didn't I see the signs earlier?  (just speculating)..

If excess cortisol robbed my body of progesterone then why didn't it rebalance?  I'm baffled.  Maybe I should be on natural Progesterone and DIM??

Do you have labs supporting disproportionately high estrogen in relation to progesterone?

Cortisol causes weight gain if chronically elevated.  Well, so long as it's chronically *intermittently* elevated.  Gynecomastia isn't just fat around the chest; the tissue is different than fat, so you might want to look that up. 

Genetic stuff can become expressed  at any time.  My health is abysmal now, and I'm looking into methylation (and leaky gut) as a reason, except my genes are awfully contradictory, having heterozygous MTHFR along with 2 homo- COMT and a homo- CBS mutation, the latter two which can make methyl donors problematic, and they definitely are for me. 

I'm thinking you might have something else going on than just cortisol, estrogen, or progesterone.  The best thing you can do is get estradiol tested.  Because of the difficulty losing weight I'd get thyroid checked as well, but insulin problems by themselves can go with weight gain issues.  If you're still under the same level of stress, I'd just consider finding a way to manage stress.  You'd want to get cortisol checked before supplementing, but phosophatidylserine is a great supplement to lower cortisol (and preceding stress hormones). 

One thing to note, though, is that high cortisol is a blessing, because it means your adrenals are responding appropriately to stress.  It's when cortisol doesn't sufficiently respond that things become bad, because cortisol is the caboose that slows down the stress train, which starts with norepinephrine in the brain, which triggers CRH in the hypothalamus, which triggers ACTH in the pituitary, which triggers adrenal hormones like DHEA and progesterone.  If DHEA is fine there's a good chance progesterone is as well, unless you're still going through a major stressor, sucking up progesterone at the expense of cortisol. 
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

Depression and anxiety guide: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/Help_Anxiety_Depression

PeakT

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Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2016, 11:12:30 pm »
Hey Peak and others! :)

I went through a serious bout of stress from my job a couple of years ago and ended up leaving.

My hair thinned, I started getting fat round my waste and on my chest giving me the dreaded man boobs look.  The stress and lack of sleep got so bad at times that I often forgot what day it was and could not sleep or stop my hands from shaking. 

Now the problem remains and I can't get rid of it.  My DHEA is fine and so is my testosterone.   One year off work and I keep accumulating fat on my chest. I'm a man in my early 40's.

I believe this is caused because the stress resulted in raised cortisol which robs my body of progesterone.  Progesterone acts as an opponent to Estrogen.. And that's the key point here.

Can anyone explain this to me..... How do you become estrogen dominant if your progesterone levels are normal?  Does estrogen just keep overproducing after a past spike in estrogen due to depleted progesterone?  I'm wondering why this imbalance between progesterone and estrogen remains and why my body hasn't corrected it after so long.  Can a serious bout of stress really do this?   Yes I've upped my B6, C, and B12 and all my other B vitamins.  I take multivitamins and have always eaten healthy.  Don't drink or smoke and exercise regularly.  I have a single mutation of the MTHFR gene C677T so I take a Methyfolate supplement to make sure I absorb enough folate.  This I believe helps other B vitamis to absorb.

Estrogen dominance simply means that estrogen is high in relation to progesterone.  The quest is to find out what is causing your estrogen to be disproportionately high, and this gets to aromatase activity.  You spoke of methylation; there's a methylation-type SNP called COMT which regulates catecholamines and estrogen, meaning if you're hetero- or homozygous that you break down estrogen, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine more slowly than others.  I have this SNP -- actually two COMT SNPs, both homozygous, which probably explains why I felt better on DIM. 

Insulin creates increases in aromatase activity, which might be why obese people have higher aromatase activity, and why it's important to keep insulin in check and eat low glycemic meals.  If you're on TRT, maybe your injection schedule is too long, causing higher spikes in estradiol, which stays up there longer than testosterone.  You mentioned cortisol: if you have high cortisol, then unless you have adrenal fatigue (where low ACTH results), the same pulse of ACTH that ultimately creates cortisol (via progesterone) also creates estradiol via the DHEA pathway.  This is why people can see a drop in estradiol if their cortisiol levels are increased through hydrocortisone therapy, which causes a lowering of ACTH via negative feedback, leading to lower estrogen.

Hey, buddy!  Hope you're doing well and going strong.  I was rubbing my eyes to make sure that post was from today.  You hanging in there?  You post is packed with info, so it sure seems like it!
THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BOOK ON TRT/TESTOSTERONE:
https://www.amazon.com/Natural-Versus-Testosterone-Therapy-Myer/dp/1523210532/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499116128&sr=8-1&keywords=natural+versus+testosterone+therapy
And check out my New Peak Testosterone Program: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/peak_testosterone_program
If you are on medications or have a medical condition, always check with your doctor first before making any lifestyle changes or taking new supplements.  And low testosterone is a medical condition.

Kierkegaard

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Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2016, 11:15:13 pm »
Hey Peak and others! :)

I went through a serious bout of stress from my job a couple of years ago and ended up leaving.

My hair thinned, I started getting fat round my waste and on my chest giving me the dreaded man boobs look.  The stress and lack of sleep got so bad at times that I often forgot what day it was and could not sleep or stop my hands from shaking. 

Now the problem remains and I can't get rid of it.  My DHEA is fine and so is my testosterone.   One year off work and I keep accumulating fat on my chest. I'm a man in my early 40's.

I believe this is caused because the stress resulted in raised cortisol which robs my body of progesterone.  Progesterone acts as an opponent to Estrogen.. And that's the key point here.

Can anyone explain this to me..... How do you become estrogen dominant if your progesterone levels are normal?  Does estrogen just keep overproducing after a past spike in estrogen due to depleted progesterone?  I'm wondering why this imbalance between progesterone and estrogen remains and why my body hasn't corrected it after so long.  Can a serious bout of stress really do this?   Yes I've upped my B6, C, and B12 and all my other B vitamins.  I take multivitamins and have always eaten healthy.  Don't drink or smoke and exercise regularly.  I have a single mutation of the MTHFR gene C677T so I take a Methyfolate supplement to make sure I absorb enough folate.  This I believe helps other B vitamis to absorb.

Estrogen dominance simply means that estrogen is high in relation to progesterone.  The quest is to find out what is causing your estrogen to be disproportionately high, and this gets to aromatase activity.  You spoke of methylation; there's a methylation-type SNP called COMT which regulates catecholamines and estrogen, meaning if you're hetero- or homozygous that you break down estrogen, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine more slowly than others.  I have this SNP -- actually two COMT SNPs, both homozygous, which probably explains why I felt better on DIM. 

Insulin creates increases in aromatase activity, which might be why obese people have higher aromatase activity, and why it's important to keep insulin in check and eat low glycemic meals.  If you're on TRT, maybe your injection schedule is too long, causing higher spikes in estradiol, which stays up there longer than testosterone.  You mentioned cortisol: if you have high cortisol, then unless you have adrenal fatigue (where low ACTH results), the same pulse of ACTH that ultimately creates cortisol (via progesterone) also creates estradiol via the DHEA pathway.  This is why people can see a drop in estradiol if their cortisiol levels are increased through hydrocortisone therapy, which causes a lowering of ACTH via negative feedback, leading to lower estrogen.

Hey, buddy!  Hope you're doing well and going strong.  I was rubbing my eyes to make sure that post was from today.  You hanging in there?  You post is packed with info, so it sure seems like it!

Yeah, hanging in there.  Doing less bad but still waiting for insurance to come around so I can see a specialist in methylation issues and keep trekking with my issues. 
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

Depression and anxiety guide: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/Help_Anxiety_Depression

Peak Testosterone Forum

Re: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Cortisol?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2016, 11:15:13 pm »