Why You May Be Experiencing Hormonal Symptoms and How To Get Back to Balance
If you are like many women, hormone fluctuations can take you for a wild ride. You might suffer common problems during your reproductive years, such as PMS, heavy periods and uncomfortable menstrual cramps. You might also struggle with hormone-related medical problems, such as fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and estrogen-sensitive cancers, or have concerns that you are at high risk for developing these diseases. Estrogen is the most important female reproductive hormone. It works with other hormones to prepare your body for pregnancy and to regulate your menstrual cycle. In the conventional world, the most common treatment for pre-menopausal hormone concerns is birth control. Below I will discuss how you can naturally balance your body to restore normal hormone levels, often without the use of prescription medication.
Causes of Estrogen Hormonal Imbalances You may be surprised to learn that many of the signs and symptoms affecting your reproductive system actually stem from dysfunction in other body systems. Many hormonal symptoms that women experience are regulated by estrogen and often created by an excess of estrogen and too little progesterone. So, how do we end up with so much estrogen?
Let’s start in the digestive tract. The GI tract is the organ that helps the body to clear estrogen that the body has already used. This action begins in your liver, which metabolizes hormones and then brings them to the GI tract to be excreted. In the GI tract, estrogen binds to calcium d-glucorate, which is naturally made by us and also comes from the healthy food we eat. Bound estrgoen is then carried out of your body. High levels of unhealthy bacteria in the GI tract secrete beta-glucoronidase, which breaks the bond between estrogen and calcium d-glucorate and can cause estrogen to be re-absorbed and accumulate in your system. It should also be noted that a slow moving digestive tract, or one that is constipated, could also create difficulty with excretion of estrogen, and therefore trigger re-absorption and increased estrogen in the body.
As mentioned above, your liver is also responsible for removing excess estrogen from your body. When your liver and gastrointestinal tract functions poorly, estrogen can accumulate to unhealthy levels. This is especially true when continuous toxic exposure or excess prescription use taxes your liver to the point where it cannot adequately clear estrogen and other toxins from your body.
Environmental exposure to chemicals that mimic estrogen can also cause hormone imbalances, disease and symptoms. Our world is full of toxic substances that mimic estrogen in the body and create an estrogenic effect. These substances, such as pesticides and plastics, are called xenoestrogens and can further estrogenic symptoms.
If your doctor detects toxicity, consider undergoing a cleanse. Cleanses can have a profoundly beneficial effect on symptoms relating to estrogen buildup and other hormonal imbalances. Click here to learn about the cleanses offered at Grand Rapids Natural Health.
Also important to note, there are two main types of estrogen:
- 2OH Estrogen = protective
- 16OH Estrogen = proliferative, pro-inflammatory estrogen
2OH Estrogen is a protective substance that is beneficial to your body. 16OH Estrogen is proliferative and it causes a negative pro-inflammatory effect. 16 OH estrogens can often be fed by re-absorption of estrogen or unhealthy lifestyles. Imbalances between these two forms of estrogen can cause symptoms and disease processes.
Natural Options for PMS and Hormonal Imbalance Fortunately, you can find relief from symptoms of hormonal imbalance. The first step is usually dietary. Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and collard greens. These foods contain a substance called DIM, which can increase 2OH estrogen and lower 16 OH. You can also add fiber and flax seed to increase regularity of the GI tract as well as adding probiotics to promote excretion. The natural herb chaste berry can also help to restore hormonal balance.
Avoid soy substitutes, such as isolated soy protein, as these are shown to cause hormone imbalances. Eat real soy products like Tempeh, Miso and Edamame in moderation. These foods are called phytoestrogens and can act as a hormone balancer when eaten 1-2 times per week. Alternatively, you may find that eating too much soy can also throw your hormones out of balance.