It is no doubt women have to go through their fair share of hormonal changes - puberty, pregnancy, menopause. And with these changes comes fluctuations in hormones and their stubborn symptoms.
More common than not many women will experience oestrogen dominance – an imbalance in the amount of oestrogen to progesterone – although, common does not necessarily mean normal. Oestrogen is the stereotypically female steroid hormone that goes through monthly fluctuations, peaking just before ovulation and peaking again during the mid-luteal phase. Oestrogen is often demonised for making women ‘hormonal’ however, we shouldn’t talk her down too much. She is responsible for preventing osteoporosis, thickening the endometrial lining in preparation for pregnancy and for female development.
Oestrogen is sensitive and is aggravated by the unconscious use of certain chemicals – xenoestrogens - and inflammatory foods. These factors can influence oestrogen levels to rise due to an overexpression of the hormone which can be the driving factor of infertility, irregular periods, breast cancer and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
So how can you identify oestrogen dominance?
If you are aware of recurring symptoms that pop up at different times during your cycle this can be helpful in recognising high oestrogen levels. Cyclical acne, breast tenderness, long menstrual phase, heavy periods, migraines and heavy clotting during menstruation are all far too common signs and symptoms – the all too familiar PMS! These symptoms can all be linked to the inflammatory nature of high oestrogen levels.
Although, oestrogen dominance can be turned around by giving your body what it needs to support this temperamental hormone.
Support Your Liver Health
The metabolism of oestrogen greatly occurs in the liver where it is eliminated from the body. Alcohol, refined sugars and processed foods are all going to impact the function of your liver and steering clear of these are a super easy way to increase detoxification. Also, the intake of cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, kale – beetroot and berries has shown to oestrogen regulating effects due to the phytochemical and antioxidant properties found in these foods. And of course, we cannot forget the power of dandelion root when it comes to liver support. Adding a cup of dandelion root tea or coffee to your daily routine can help stimulate bile flow in the liver aka get rid of that excess oestrogen!
Move Those Bowels
Let’s be frank, regular bowel movements are what is going to eliminate excess oestrogen. Increased oestrogen excretion in the stool lowers the body’s oestrogen levels as bile contains a high amount of oestrogen substances. In regard to how this can relate to issues greater than just high oestrogen levels, having consistent poops may decrease breast cancer risk. A study has shown that women with frequent bowel motility are 46% less at risk of experiencing breast cancer. Prioritizing daily movement, proper hydration and dietary fibre should be at the top of your list.
Boost Your Progesterone
Sometimes known as the pregnancy hormone, progesterone is another female steroid hormone that is super important for women’s fertility health. It is specifically responsible for preparing the uterine lining for pregnancy which is vital for miscarriage prevention. A major sign of progesterone deficiency is anovulation, as progesterone is a marker that ovulation has occurred. Having dominant oestrogen levels can also push progesterone levels down. If you are struggling with period irregularities – long or missing periods – your progesterone levels could be below optimal. Increasing your intake of vitamin C through foods like kiwi fruit, tomato, citrus, berries and broccoli is beneficial for boosting progesterone levels. Talking to a professional is always recommended.
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