The Many Personalities of Oestrogen
Poor old oestrogen gets a pretty bad rapt & when out of balance rightly so, for when it is out of balance it can lead to – PMS, pelvic pain, weight gain, heavy periods and and and…but when in balance oestrogen is a beautiful thing that can support a healthy mood & healthy cycle.
This blog explores the important topic of oestrogen and some signs that there may be an imbalance.
The following shows some of the positive effects of oestrogen in the body – that might surprise you.
Oestrogen is considered the beauty hormone; she plays a role in collagen production and moisture retention for supple skin, helping you looking more youthful! Oestrogen is part of the reason why women retain hair on their heads, but have thinner hair elsewhere on the body. Oestrogen will also help bones remain strong by preventing calcium loss, and even supports healthy cholesterol metabolism. It also supports brain health – showing a protection against neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and depression.
However where oestrogen role in health really comes to shin is its role as a reproductive hormone. It is produced mainly by the ovaries (whilst oestrogen is primary produced by the ovaries it can also be synthesised in other tissues in the body including the breast, the brain and even in body fat), and will go on to shape and grow the breasts, the uterus and it’s lining (known as the endometrium) with the one goal to prepare the female body for reproduction.
So, we can see how beautiful & essential this hormone is for the body, the issues lie when it becomes out of balance.
The following are some common signs of low oestrogen – often linked to anovulatory cycles
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Vaginal dryness
- Recurrent bladder infections
However more often than not it is an issue with too much oestrogen in the body, known as oestrogen dominance
Here are some common signs of high oestrogen levels;
- Period pain
- Heavy flow
- Breast cancer
There are many factors that can contribute to this dominance of oestrogen in the body – here are the most common ones;
- Stress – increases inflammation in the brain caused by excessive stress alongside a reduction in neuroplasticity (the ability of brain structures to adapt well).
- Issues with hormonal detoxification
- Inflammation – causes an increase in oestrogen in local tissues which can elevate androgen & insulin levels & decrease progesterone.
- Thyroid conditions
- Environmental toxins- plastics & pesticides
- Poor diet - high in inflammatory foods
- Gut dysbiosis - an imbalance of the normal, healthy microbial life residing within the gastrointestinal tract can reduce the efficiency of oestrogen detoxification and elimination, increasing the overall oestrogenic load
- Hormonal changes – such as perimenopause
- Oestrogen receptor hypersensitivity – linked to chronic inflammation or high histamines or iodine deficiency.
Now we know the many personalities behind oestrogen, here are a few tips you can incorporate daily to help balance out this vital yet highly sensitive hormone –
- Healthy diet – rich in vegetables that contain phytoestrogens such as legumes, nuts & seeds & fermented soy products.
- Exercise – to lower inflammation & support a healthy weight
- Reduce stimulants like alcohol & coffee
- Maintain healthy weight – which will in turn help with insulin levels & reduce the production of oestrogen.
- Reduce exposure to xenoestrogens from plastics & pesticides
- Avoid inflammatory foods like dairy & sugar
- Stress reduction – through exercise, deep breathing & meditation.
- Herbs & spices – ginger, rosemary, turmeric, coriander, dill, fennel & parsley are all amazing herbs to balance out hormone levels.
If you believe you might be struggling with a hormonal imbalance – please contact me for an initial consultation to get to the root cause so we can rebalance the body through a personalised approach to health.
In health & happiness
Sarah Emily Herbalist
Note - references available on request.