Balancing your hormones in an ever changing environment may be challenging.
For many women, going through their monthly cycle is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, often contributed from imbalanced hormones and oestrogen dominance.
One problem frequently seen in our society is Estrogen Dominance. Estrogen dominance is the situation where relative estrogen is high in comparison to progesterone levels.
This also includes situations where progesterone levels are low, and estrogen levels normal, but because of that, estrogen is considered high, such as in women commonly approaching menopause.
Signs you have oestrogen dominance:
- Sore tender breasts
- Weight gain especially around the abdomen and hips
- Headaches especially premenstrually
- Sluggish metabolism
- Slow metabolism
- Heavy periods
If you are unsure if you have estrogen dominance, a blood test may be performed roughly just before your ovulation. This is when oestrogen peaks. Blood test results of estradiol at the highest point of estrogen in your cycle should not exceed 270pg/mL (Briden,2015).
Why the high estrogen?
Most commonly, high estrogen is not from an over-production from your ovaries, but from the Liver failing to metabolise excess estrogen. Not only do we need to stop the assault on our Livers through our toxic lifestyles, but we also need to give the Liver the nutrients that it needs to do its job properly.
Chinese medicine believes that the Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi and blood. When it is impaired, we see problems of stagnation, and accumulation. This is why we see symptoms such as tender breasts, bloating, weight gain, and lethargy.
What can I do?
- Clean up your diet, stop adding to the toxic load – Eat whole foods in its least processed format.
- Reduce fat consumption – oils and fats both in plants and animals are harder to digest for the liver. Stick to naturally occuring oils where possible such as whole chia seeds, or hemp seeds.
- Assist the Liver to conjugate excess estrogen out through good nutrition – The Liver requires B6, B12, folate, zinc, selenium and amino acids glycine and methionine to transport oestrogen out to the bowels.
- Eat enough fibre – Once in the bowels, the estrogen needs to be transported out of the body. Fibre is a natural mover, but it also support the intestinal bacteria.
- Reduce alcohol – alcohol is known to stop estrogen conjugation. More than 5 standard drinks a week has been shown to increase estrogen levels.
- Exercise – The act of moving assists with stagnation, and pumps fresh blood and qi through the system. Ideally you want to do regular exercise which massages the internal organs but does not tire you or deplete you.
Reference: Briden L: Period Repair Manual, 2015.