I’ve been struggling with why the heck my seizures came back after 40. It was so frustrating. I started noticing that they coincided with my periods. No, being in ketosis didn’t stop them. The Buteyko breathing exercises stopped working. Eating an elimination diet (paleo keto and carnivore) didn’t stop them either. I had to experience a few months of monthly seizures to put it together. My seizures were occuring when my hormones were fluctuating. I was also going through perimenopause. So, my hormones were fluctuating naturally.
What is estrogen dominance?
Estrogen is the one of the female hormones that controls the menstrual cycle and fertility. It also plays a role in our memory and skin. The levels of estrogen fluctuate. It begins to decrease during peri-menopause. Estrogen dominance is when the estrogen isn’t balanced out by the progesterone levels.
Other symptoms of estrogen dominance include weight gain, headaches, brain fog, fatigue, insomnia, severe PMS, slow metabolism, and irregular periods. I’ve had a few of those symptoms. In fact, I have noticed my PMS getting worse and my metabolism slowing down.
Progesterone is a hormone that is an anti-convulsant. Taking progesterone will help to control catamenial seizures. So, if I am estrogen dominant and likely to have a seizure during the PMS period right before my menstruation, maybe it is my estrogen.
Estrogen dominance and hypothyroidism
In addition to the seizures happening surrounding my menstrual cycle, another reason I am led to believe I may have estrogen dominance is due to my hypothyroidism. After being diagnosed with seizures as a teen, my doctor encouraged me to go get my thyroid checked.
There is a relationship between estrogen hormones and the thyroid hormones. Estrogen dominance stops the conversion of T4 into T3 thyroid hormones. This leads to low T3 levels. There won’t be a direct issue with the thyroid gland, but symptoms of hypothyroidism will occur. Elevated estrogen can also block the uptake of the thyroid hormones.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism often will manifest strongly during perimenopause. This occurs because the progesterone levels are signficantly decreased, but estrogen is still present.
This is super frustrating. I am eating all the great foods. I am even making liver pate weekly and downing it. (Some days I like it, but most days I hate it. Either way, I get it down because I know there is a lot of nutrition in liver.)
So, I need to focus on balancing out the hormones and eliminating excess estrogen.
Gelatin to balance out hormones
As I was thinking about my different dietary changes and lack of results, I realized that I didn’t do as much bone broth for the GAPS diet as was recommended. I started looking into the benefits of broth and gelatin to see if there was a connection or way that it could help me.
I stumbled across Empowered Sustenance’s blog on balancing hormones with collagen. The theory is that the glycine in gelatin stimulates stomach acid production. That will improve the digestion and nutrient assimilation. Because poor digestion is often the underlying cause of hormonal imbalances, improving the stomach acid will support the hormone balance.
Gelatin to the rescue!
So, after reading that it can help to balance out my hormones, I drank a big cup of homemade beef soup which had plenty of gelatin in the broth. It was delicious. I’m hoping to make that a daily habit.