It’s that time of the month,
it’s a week or maybe 2 weeks before your period and you feel tearful, snappy, irritable and irrational. Your breasts feel swollen and tender, you are bloated and sluggish. Commonly known as PMT (Pre Menstrual Tension) the underlying cause of this common complaint is oestrogen dominance.
There is an epidemic of women suffering from oestrogen dominance, or hormone imbalance, which refers to having an excess of oestrogen in certain tissues in the body in relation to progesterone.
Feeling irrational and unstable is just one of the many symptoms you may experience when your hormones are out of whack.
What are the symptoms of oestrogen dominance?
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
- Low thyroid
- Weight gain
- Excessive periods
- Scanty or missed periods
- Night sweats
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Uterine fibroids
What causes oestrogen dominance and how to correct it
Poor Liver Health
Oestrogen dominance is often caused by poor metabolism and poor detoxification of this hormone by the liver. A sluggish, malnourished or stressed liver stops oestrogen being processed efficiently. If oestrogen can’t be detoxified it recirculates causing a build up.
Nourish your liver by consuming enough protein – eggs, dairy and gelatin. Consume simple sugars like ripe fruit, honey and root vegetables. Consider cleansing the liver with Milk Thistle, Dandelion and B vitamins to keep the liver healthy and optimal. We also have a high quality Milk Thistle tincture in the clinic available from my father’s herbal practice.
A sluggish Bowel
Constipation and poor elimination can cause an oestrogen build up in the colon allowing it to become reabsorbed in to the bloodstream. Bottom line – keep your bowels moving!
To promote regular bowel movements include a daily grated organic raw carrot, soaked flax seeds and stewed or tinned prunes. Triphala is ideal for constipation.
Intestinal Dysbiosis (Microbial gut imbalance)
A gut flora imbalance, due to overuse of antibiotics, stress, allergies, leaky gut etc can also cause oestrogen to be reabsorbed. This is due to an an increase in the activity of the enzyme beta-glucuronidase. This enzyme disconnects estrogen from glucuronic acid. The result being that oestrogen is reabsorbed back into circulation.
Poor Hormone Production
A poor diet can result in low progesterone leaving oestrogen unopposed. Vitamin A, cholesterol and T3 (thyroid hormone) help the body make progesterone. If you have low thyroid function, low progesterone can be a common cause of oestrogen dominance.
Consume organic liver once a week, butter from pasture raised cattle and protein including eggs and dairy (if dairy is tolerated). Ensure adequate sunlight to help hormone synthesis. Reduce consumption of polyunsaturated fats, especially vegetable cooking oils and spreads.
Progesterone decreases when the stress hormone cortisol rises to help you survive the stressful situation. This in turn causes oestrogen to be a dominant hormone.
Walk daily, keep a journal, ensure you have quality sleep, spend time in healing company, take time out to nurture yourself. Support your system with adaptogens including Ashwagandha, ReMag, Holy Basil.
Birth Control pills and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Synthetic oestrogens just add to the oestrogen burden ………
These are man-made chemicals that mimic oestrogen and cause hormone and endocrine distruption. They are commonly found in plastics (water bottles, food packaging etc), commercially raised meat and dairy products, fruit and vegetables that have been sprayed with insecticides and pesticides, toiletries and skin products that contain parabens and phenoxyethanol chemical compounds, bleached tampons, tumble dryer fragrance sheets, artificial sweeteners, additives and MSG.
Xenoestrogens entering the skin are 100% absorbed by the body, going directly to tissue without passing through the liver for detoxification. These can be 10 times more potent than those consumed orally.
Unwrap any plastic wrapped food and avoid cellophane wrap for storing consumables.
Consume foods that have been ethically sourced, pasture fed and without the use of chemical sprays and hormone intervention.
Use paraben free toiletries and cosmetics and non-bleached sanitary products.
Commonly the contraceptive pill, HRT and antidepressants are offered to control oestrogen symptoms, but not only do these come with a sting in the tail they don’t address the root issue.
The herb Agnus Castus (also known as Vitex or Chaste tree) is often prescribed to help balance hormones and can be purchased here. A dose of just 1ml taken in a mouthful of water on rising is recommended every morning. Results can often be seen within one or two cycles.