My Oestradiol is off the chart and I need a break. Plus FREE mental health checklist.
Continued from Checking in: 3+ months without Prozac
Who is Hayley Jade?
For those of you who are new around here I’m Hayley Jade, a Transformational Breath® Therapist and Group Leader with a huge passion for wellness. I’m also a blogger, documenting my own self-care journey, which lately has centred around my efforts to overcome anxiety and low mood using natural techniques.
I’ve found lots of tools that have helped me cope like coaching, exercise, cold showers and of course breathing techniques — all of which I’ve written about at length on Medium. My hope was that I could break the cycle of leaning on anti-depressant drugs like Prozac, but today I’m going to share some news which has changed how I‘m approaching feeling well…and ultimately led me back to Prozac.
I know, I’m surprised too.
My Oestradiol is off the chart
I’ve suspected for a while that my hormones are out of balance. My anxiety/depression symptoms are worse before my period, plus I get spots on my cheeks and nowhere else — a pattern associated with hormonal acne. I’ve also wondered if I have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), similar to PMS but with more severe symptoms. Whilst I haven’t had an official diagnosis for that, my symptoms are a match. I decided to get a blood test from Medichecks to see what was going on. I was expecting my result to be a little out of whack, but I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
My Oestradiol, which would typically be between 45–854 in a woman my age, came in at 11,000! Oestradiol (E2) is the strongest of the three naturally occurring oestrogens (oestrone E1, oestradiol E2, oestriol E3) and a high result is associated with — you guessed it — low mood. Oh, and acne. Just to rub salt in the wounds!
My Testosterone level was also raised and my Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) a bit low. Excessive testosterone in women can cause acne, issues with ovulation and is sometimes linked to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). I found this last point very interesting as an ultrasound I had years ago confirmed that I had cysts on my ovaries. Sounds like they’re still there.
Nb — Raised or lowered hormones can cause many different symptoms, not just the ones I’ve listed above. The range of what is considered healthy also changes depending on where you are in your cycle and your age for example, a healthy range for a woman post-menopause is different to what is healthy for me. Consult your GP to understand what is happening in your body.
Now I understand what I’m up against
It might sound strange, but when I got the hormone test results part of me felt relief. For the first time I have something I can point to that explains why, in spite of all my efforts to look after my mental health, there are still times when I feel defeated. The sky-high Oestradiol in particular helped me to have more compassion for myself and made me question whether staying off Prozac is the right course of action after all.
My preferred healing path would be to address root causes which - with my holistic therapist hat on - I can tell you are usually diet, lifestyle, stress, trauma or a combination of these things. With another hat on thought, my ‘just another woman in the world’ hat, I can honestly say that I have already done a lot of work to upgrade these areas of my life and I’m tired. Natural healing is still my long-term ideal but for now, I just want a break. In the last few months, I’ve experienced overwhelming nervous tension, feelings of despair and a panic attack to boot. It’s like there are two of me: my higher self who sees the blessings in my life and has gratitude for them all; and my hormonal self who feels out of sorts regardless — and wants to stay home and be a hermit. I still have all the same concerns about Prozac that I’ve blogged about for months, but life without it is no longer working for me.
Making a new plan for my health and wellness
On the hormone front I’ll be:
- Getting a second blood test to double-check the results.
- Asking my GP for another ultrasound of my ovaries.
To tackle how I feel day to day I’ll be:
- Taking Prozac — in fact, I’ve already started and I’m waiting for it to kick in.
- Keeping up my existing wellness practices — everything I’ve been doing the last few months that have helped me to cope including daily walks, cold showers, going to the gym, getting a good night’s sleep etc.
P.S. You can get my free mental health checklist when you subscribe to my newsletter, 22 things that you can do to help yourself when the chips are down.
Down the line, I will absolutely be researching natural ways to balance hormones. I’ve already been trying homoeopathy for a year now, which worked for me in the past for other ailments, but sadly it hasn’t worked this time — so it’s time to change tact. I’ve already discovered Flo Living’s website, which looks like it’s going to be a valuable resource. I’ll let you know what I discover next time.
Wish me luck and stay well friends.
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Disclaimer — This piece is not intended to offer medical advice. Its aim is to inspire and inform. Take what resonates with you.