Hormone Imbalance

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 12:45

A week ago I went for a scan to make sure I was ok to start my IVF. I went to see a nurse after my scan and I was told that my lining was thicker than normal. It was day 2 of my period and my lining was 9mm. She said they would normally want it to be about 3-6mm to start IVF, as the medication that you take for IVF thickens the womb lining even more. I was told to come back the next day to see if it got much thinner over night. I had a heavy period that day, so I expected that it would get much thinner. I went in the next day and it was measuring at about 9-12mm. So in fact it had got thicker. Not only did the nurse tell me that it was too thick to start IVF that night, but that before IVF could start they would need to investigate further by doing a hysteroscopy, to look inside my womb and see what may be causing the lining to be so thick. This was upsetting news for me for many reasons. Me and my husband Paul had really prepared ourselves to start IVF, we had put things on hold, knowing we were starting IVF, and also after years of trying for a baby, we felt so excited that we were finally about to start our journey and we were hopeful that IVF could work for us.

I went home that night upset, frustrated, lost and feeling a little unsure of what was going on. I got a call the next day from the consultant to confirm that they needed to do a hysteroscopy and do a biopsy to see why my lining may be so thick. He told me that I would probably have to wait between 3-6 weeks for that operation to happen. So I couldn't just sit back and do nothing and wait for that to happen. I decided to do loads of research and find out what causes a thick lining of the womb. I had never really thought about the importance of the thickness of the lining of the womb, in getting pregnant. It can't be too thin and it can't be too thick. I could of got pregnant a couple of times and it fell away because the lining was too thick. I have had about 3 periods over the last 3 years that were a week late (I am very regular) so it is likely this has happened. 

Reasons that the lining of the womb may be thicker than normal

  • Fibroids - non-cancerous tumours that grow in or around the womb (uterus). The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue and vary in size. 
  • Excess Estrogen with progesterone. This can cause Endometrial Hyperplasia. 
  • The lining can thicken with age. 
  • Thickened uterine lining may occur if they suffer from endometrium problems, such as endometriosis. These diseases cause the uterine walls to become thick, which can cause severe pain.
  • Cancer, fibroids or polyps, however, can also cause the uterine walls to thicken.

After looking at the causes of a thickened lining, I looked into each possible one and my research lead me to hormone imbalance. I was lead to an article which explained all the different types of hormone imbalance

I have always had really bad periods, painful and very heavy. The week before my period I feel very tired, moody, my breasts become sore and my energy levels go right down. During my period I have a heavy period with lot's of blood clots. I am often sick, light headed and extremely hormonal. I go from being a very sociable person, to someone who doesn't want to see anyone. I shut myself off from everyone during that week. I also have bleeds mid cycle and heavy mucus when I come close to my period. 

I think sometimes as women we just think, everyone else is going through the same thing, so what we are experiencing is just normal. I have become aware that this is not always the case. It is good to talk to other women, to see what they experience during their period. You may find that you have a hormone imbalance, which is why you are experiencing these things. 

So on Monday 18th May I decided that I would need to take control, if I wanted to see improvement with my fertility. I have tried so many things to get pregnant. I could make a long long list. I have never addressed the possibility of a hormone imbalance however. I feel that I may have estrogen dominance, or at least my estrogen levels are higher than my progesterone levels. If I go to a doctor, they will offer hormone treatment, operations, medication. I am not against that approach, but first I would like to see if I can correct it by diet. 

Signs that you may have estrogen dominance

  • Cold hands and feet
  • Depression with anxiety or agitation
  • Endometriosis
  • Fat gain around abdomen hips and thighs
  • Fatigue
  • Fibrocystic (lumpy breasts)
  • Fibroids
  • Headaches
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar esp. 3-4 pm)
  • Increased blood clotting
  • Infertility
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Irritability
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian cysts
  • PMS/PMT
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Pre-menopausal bone loss
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Uterine cancer
  • Water retention, bloating
  • Zinc deficiency 

So this is what I will be doing diet wise for the next couple of months. 

  • 3 portions of vegetable a day (Kale, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli (These vegetable bind to estrogen and escort it out of the body) 
  • One Orange/Lemon a day (Citrus fruits detoxify estrogen) 
  • Apple a day – Insoluble fibre found in apples, berries, oats and beans, binds to estrogen in your small intestines and stops it from being absorbed. 
  • Lot's of Fibre – Celery, Apples, Nuts. Seeds, Beans and Berries 
  • Sulfur Foods (The liver works as a filter that cleans harmful substances from the blood stream and sends them for elimination, including excess estrogen)
  • Grains – Quinoa and brown rice
  • Good Fats – Without fat, the body stores fat. No fat results in a hormone imbalance. Good fats – Avocado, coconut oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds. 
  • Magnesium and B Vitamins. 
  • Maca Powder

Foods I will Be Avoiding

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Processed Foods
  • Dairy Products – they stop digestion 

I will keep you up to date with how I get on. After just a week of following this diet I have already had more energy, I feel less agitated and irritable. My skin has improved so much. I have always had bad skin, especially around my period. I am excited to see more good results. 

Thanks for reading 

Ruth