Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Candida Diary Day Forty: How Yeast causes Estrogen Dominance and Wrinkles

Since beginning my trial to see if the candida diet works, I have gone through two menstrual periods. Both were straightforward: abdominal cramping followed by blood loss. There has been no migraines no fatigue and my PMS feels reduced.

However, the period before I began my diet was excruciatingly painful. I had terrible depression, vice-like migraine and nausea. I looked yellow and generally ill. But this was nothing new to me. In fact, for most of my adult life, I have been plagued with horrible periods that stopped me from living life to the full.

Yeast Overgrowth and the Menstrual Cycle

Since beginning my low carbohydrate anti-candida diet, I have noticed my candida symptoms flare up before and around a period. Prior to my previous period, the white coating on my tongue increased a little. Once the period was over, my eyes became dry and my skin became itchy. However, the oral thrush cleared. It seems that a woman goes through a ‘cleansing’ cycle every month, where spots, bloating, fatigue, migraine and feeling generally lousy would indicate the body is going through a cleansing crisis. Such a cleansing crisis is known as Herxheimer reaction. This describes the body overwhelmed by pathogens during the healing process.

Candida and Menstruation

Could it be that the Herxheimer reaction has been happening every month? It would seem to explain why sometimes I could get away with gorging on chocolates and overdoing the wine without any symptoms. Yet on another occasion, my body would rebel against this indulgence with a vengeance.

Herxheimer Reaction and Menstruation

Estrogen Dominance in the Menstrual Cycle
I wondered if the symptoms of troublesome menstruation could be an indicator of the yeast overgrowth in the gut due to bad diet and stress over the previous month. Could it be that during the month, the candida gradually builds up without causing any symptoms until the cleansing stage arrives. The liver is key to getting rid of excess estrogen (not to mention candida-related toxins). Going through the Herxheimer crisis is hardly ideal for a fulfilling life!

Could it be that the liver become gradually overwhelmed over the month, rather like a bank balance due for payout? A month of unhealthy eating, stress (and taking the birth control pill) could lead to a liver overwhelmed with candida die off. Hence the cleansing crisis: migraines, bloating, fatigue, PMS and feeling like death.

What is Estrogen Dominance?

The terrible thing is that a bad diet, lifestyle and drugs (antidepressants, antibiotics and birth control pills) causes the candida to dominate the gut. In turn, it promotes estrogen dominance. One supports the other. It is a vicious cycle.

But what is estrogen dominance?

Throughout the menstrual cycle, the woman’s body temperature fluctuates slightly. During ovulation, it dips. During the second stage of the cycle, the body becomes progesterone dominant as the lining of the womb thickens, ready for a possible pregnancy. This is accompanied by a slight rise in body temperature until menstruation. Once menstruation begins, both the progesterone and the body temperature drops abruptly. I can sense this drop in body temperature when having cold hands and feet, dry eyes, skin, constipation and depression. This shift in body temperature must also cause an interruption in the gut.

The first half of the menstrual cycle commences with a gradual rise in estrogen until ovulation occurs again. Progesterone then dominates.

But when candida overgrowth is added to the equation, the body becomes estrogen dominant. There is a higher level of estrogen in the body than there should be.

Research has shown that too much estrogen can cause ovarian cysts, bloating, hair loss, premature wrinkles, weight gain, migraines, infertility and cancer. Worse, estrogen supports the growth of candida. And candida likes estrogen.

It becomes a vicious cycle.

On day forty of my experiment, I have noticed that my periods have become more ‘straightforward.’ I haven’t had any migraines, but bloating, dry eyes and itching is still a problem. Before a period, the coating on my tongue would increase slightly, and then disappear once menstruation is done.

I am hoping as I continue with the diet, that each period will become less troublesome, the oral thrush will continue to decrease as each month passes. Perhaps these will be indicators of a body becoming less estrogen dominant.

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