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Achieving Balance with Estrogen and Progesterone Levels

Hormonal health depends on having the correct proportions of hormones in our bodies, but as women age, it becomes harder to maintain this balance. An example of this issue is found in women whose estrogen and progesterone levels are not balanced. Many women find themselves battling a wide range of debilitating symptoms, including heavy periods, disruptive PMS, and fatigue.


How can we achieve balance in our lives for optimum well-being? Let's explore how hormones affect your health and what you can do to improve things.


Hormones' Role In Your Health


There are more than 50 types of hormones in your body, and they all communicate with other body parts. The following are endocrine glands that secrete hormones:

  • Pituitary gland

  • Pineal gland

  • Thymus

  • Thyroid

  • Adrenal glands

  • Pancreas

  • Testes

  • Ovaries


Hormones are released from endocrine glands and attach to specific receptor sites, which then tell the hormone what action to take.

What does this mean in practical terms? Hormones play a role in nearly every function of the human body, such as:

  • Maturity and growth

  • Metabolism of food items

  • Hunger

  • Sleep

  • Sexual function and reproductive health

  • Mood

  • Cognitive ability

  • Stress response

  • Appetite


Hormones also work together. Two hormones, progesterone, and estrogen work together to regulate the menstrual cycle. These two hormones are produced by the ovaries and play an essential role in a woman's health.

The Link Between Estrogen and Progesterone


Estrogen and progesterone are cooperative hormones. The hormone estrogen can help improve your energy levels, memory, libido, mood, and sleep. It helps protect against bone density loss, premature skin and hair aging, mental dullness, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. During the first half of your menstrual cycle, known as the follicular phase, estrogen levels gradually rise until they eventually peak at ovulation.


Progesterone is produced after ovulation and has a more calming effect. This period is called the luteal phase. Progesterone levels will usually be the highest about halfway through the luteal phase and then start to drop before menstruation begins. This sudden drop in hormones can lead to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Progesterone helps control how estrogen affects the body. It helps with the growth of the uterine lining during menstruation and regulates when a woman will have her period.

It's evident that both hormones are integral to a woman's body, but it's important to keep them in balance. Having inadequate levels of progesterone is not only problematic on its own, but estrogen doesn't function as well with low levels of progesterone. If your estrogen and progesterone levels become unbalanced, you may experience a condition known as estrogen dominance.


Estrogen Dominance: When Hormones Go Off Kilter


If estrogen levels in the body are not balanced by progesterone, a person may experience negative symptoms. Some women who never had issues with their periods may find themselves bleeding more heavily than average. Women may find themselves moodier than usual or suffering from PMS and not know why. The symptoms of estrogen dominance include:

  • Heavy periods

  • Menstrual cramps

  • Fertility issues

  • Blood sugar problems

  • Weight gain, particularly around the belly

  • Thyroid problems

  • Higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases

  • Bloating

  • Fatigue

  • PMS

  • Mood disorders, including anxiety and depression

  • Anger management issues

  • Increased risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers


What Causes Estrogen Dominance?

There are many reasons a woman might experience estrogen imbalance, and it is often the case that more than one factor contributes to the problem.


  • When other body parts aren't functioning properly, it can lead to estrogen dominance - for example, poor liver function. This is because the liver helps get rid of excess estrogen in the body.

  • Estrogen and progesterone levels are also impacted by other hormones, most notably insulin and cortisol. When these hormone levels are disrupted, it can lead to a domino effect of negative impacts.

  • Chronic stress can lead to harmful hormonal fluctuations.

  • Because magnesium, zinc, protein, and B vitamins help to metabolize estrogen, a poor diet can also lead to hormonal problems. Did you know that fat cells produce estrogen? This means that obesity can lead to an excess of this hormone.

  • Age-related hormone changes are natural, but they can often cause imbalances during the perimenopause years. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are also vulnerable.

  • Interestingly, estrogen dominance is not always caused by estrogen itself. Xenohormones are compounds that mimic the properties of estrogens. Their absorption by the body can increase estrogen production, which can cause further imbalances. Many everyday products contain xenohormones, which can be found in plastics (especially food containers), pesticides, factory-farmed meat, car exhaust, and emulsifiers in shampoo and other beauty products.

How To Balance Estrogen and Progesterone


1 - Reduce stress.

Stress, especially the chronic stress that has become so common in our modern lives, impacts the production of cortisol, impacting other hormones, including progesterone. There are many ways to reduce stress, such as meditation and yoga. These techniques can help regulate hormones and keep stress under control. Sometimes, a simple attitude shift can slow the "flight or fight" response that produces cortisol. To do this, try seeing a stressful event from a more positive perspective - it can even be an opportunity to prove your strength.


2 - Get enough sleep.

Hormonal imbalances can cause sleep disturbances. You need to get enough sleep in order to maintain a healthy hormonal balance. If this seems frustrating, it is! Work with a healthcare practitioner to address stubborn sleep problems and avoid sleep medications.

3 - Maintain a healthy liver and gut.

Did you know that your liver metabolizes estrogen? To keep your liver healthy and functioning correctly, it's important to reduce exposure to toxins and limit alcohol intake. Not to mention the gut microbiome also plays a role in estrogen regulation. Probiotic supplements and fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir assist in preserving the "good" bacteria located in the microbiome. Eating foods high in fiber helps increase the number of healthy bacteria in your gut. To get more fiber, focus on eating whole grains and produce. A high fiber intake can also result in more bowel movements, ultimately helping to remove any extra estrogen.


4 - Eat for hormone health.

A diet high in processed, sugary foods is linked to increased estrogen production. A Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce estrogen levels, in contrast to other diets. The main foods in the Mediterranean diet are whole grains, colorfully diverse vegetables, olive oil, and fish. Green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach are also particularly beneficial.

Protein is vital for the production of amino acids, which are the building blocks of hormones. There is some evidence to suggest that vegetarian sources of protein are more effective in regulating estrogen levels. However, the most important factor is avoiding meat from animals exposed to pesticides and artificial hormones.

The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil positively impact insulin and cortisol production, as well as reduce inflammation. This subsequently helps to regulate estrogen levels. To get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, eat foods like chia seeds, avocados, nuts, and fatty fish.


5 - Improve hormone receptivity with exercise.

Some studies demonstrate that exercising regularly can make your body more responsive to the hormonal signals it receives. Furthermore, exercising can help to diminish deep fat reserves, where estrogen is stored.


6 - Consider replacement.

A woman's age and overall health must be considered when she is trying to decide whether or not to start hormone therapy. A healthcare practitioner can help you customize a solution that fits your needs.

Bioidentical hormones are plant-derived and structurally indistinguishable from the hormones your body produces. Depending on the specific hormones present in your body, we can create a unique plan just for you. Traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) uses synthetic hormones. The hormones are similar to those in your body, but not the same. There are many risks associated with long-term hormone replacement therapy (HRT), including higher rates of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and strokes.

If you're experiencing any symptoms of hormonal imbalance, contact us, and we will help get you back on track! Get in touch for a complete analysis of your hormones and a tailored plan to restore balance. You don't have to live with an imbalance of hormones!

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