Estrogen and Progesterone = Balance and Harmony
Millions of women of all ages and backgrounds share a common struggle: they suffer from a condition known as estrogen dominance. Not to be confused with Estrogen excess which I will talk about in a moment.
Two of the most important and influential hormones in a woman’s body are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is primarily produced by the ovaries and is responsible for the growth of the uterine lining during the first half of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Progesterone is also produced by the ovaries and its primary role is to prepare the uterus to receive life. Both are present throughout the menstrual cycle in different degrees. In a normal cycle, estrogen dominates the first half, and progesterone the second. Think of Estrogen as a cell builder and Progesterone is the cell killer. You want to have a balance of building cells and the appropriate ones dying off each month. When in proper balance, these hormones aid fertility as well as mood. It’s a delicate balance and one that can naturally be put out of balance by the experiences in a woman’s life.
As we age, hormones decline. Rather than decline at the same rate, estrogen and progesterone decline at different rates. Progesterone levels fall more quickly than estrogen, leading to an imbalance called estrogen dominance. One reason estrogen dominates progesterone is that the ovaries aren’t the sole source of it in the body. Fat cells also produce estrogen, they also store excess estrogen. This means that women who are overweight or obese have more estrogen in their bodies, will produce more estrogen, and may experience the effects of estrogen dominance and excess more so than compared to women who aren’t overweight or obese.
Women’s progesterone levels begin to fall usually sometime during their mid to late thirties. Progesterone falls more quickly and earlier than their estrogen levels, creating an imbalance in the estrogen-progesterone ratio, again this is referred to as “estrogen dominance”. If left uncorrected, this imbalance of progesterone and estrogen progressively worsens over time and many undesirable side effects can appear including premenstrual headaches, often migraine in nature, fluid retention, fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids, heavy, painful menstrual periods, endometriosis and functional hypothyroidism. Additionally, the incidence of breast cancer increases when women become estrogen dominant over an extended period.
Another factor contributing to estrogen dominance is the presence of xenoestrogens in our bodies. Xenoestrogens are found in petrochemical products such as plastics, herbicides, pesticides, soaps, clothing, industrial by-products, and countless other manufactured goods. Xenoestrogens, “xenophobic” means alien, can cause estrogenic effects even in doses on the level of a billionth of a gram, and because they are stored in the fat cells of our bodies, most of us carry a significant burden of these toxic chemicals. Having liver function operating at optimal levels for detoxing, is critical in this aspect to help detox excess estrogens and xenoestrogens. This leads into estrogen excess. Estrogen excess is the inability to properly methylate estrogens and or detox estrogens that have been methylated and are expected to be excreted from the body. Estrogen becomes a hydroxy estrogen and then a methoxy estrogen by way of methylation genes. It is then excreted from the body by way of the gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract. You can not sweat out excess estrogen however, an infrared sauna can stimulate the liver to get these pathways better functioning for proper detoxification. Estrogen is not the bad guy when it comes to women’s hormonal health. Estrogen is very protective and beneficial for bone health, brain health, and heart health. Estrogen helps maintain a healthy weight, and is more important for libido than testosterone also, prevents premature aging of the skin, improves mood, and decreases inflammation. Problems with estrogen can surface when you aren’t aware of what your body is doing with it, how your body is using it, and how your body is methylating and detoxing it. In other words, poor methylation of estrogen is what can become problematic. The good news is that you can correct poor methylation with sleep quality, food choices, supplementation, eliminating mimicking estrogens, and looking at blood serum levels and testing with the DUTCH test. The DUTCH test is the tool to use in determining how well your body methylates hormones.
There are various ways to help balance hormonal imbalance and estrogen dominance both pre-menopausal, during, and post-menopausal. I prefer bioidentical progesterone and/or estrogen to correct these imbalances and to help alleviate symptoms.
If you're struggling to get a clear understanding of your hormonal balance and are ready to find real solutions, please reach out. Let's work together to restore balance and quality of life.
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Call Cami Grasher
Your Healthy Concepts Board Certified Certified Functional Hormone Specialist, Nutritional Consultant, Board Certified Natural Health Professional, Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, DUTCH Testing Interpreter, Certified Genetics Interpreter, and Certified Pilates Instructor