What can go wrong?
Today women are the product of several generations of artificial hormone use from the first days of the contraceptive Pill to the newer implants and coils and finally HRT. These all contain synthetic hormones and to be in good hormone health women need progesterone, the natural hormone, as that is the only thing that will balance excess oestrogen.
Oestrogen is essential, but when found in excess in the body from artificial hormones, its presence in our food and water as residues from pesticides and plastics, we get out of balance. This has come to be known as oestrogen dominance and was a term first used by the late Dr John Lee to refer to a state where oestrogen is not being balanced by progesterone in a woman’s body.
In fact there is not one oestrogen, but three: oestradiol, oestrone and oestriol. The relative amounts of these three oestrogens to each other vary at different times in a woman’s life and all three are secreted in the ovaries, adrenal glands, placenta and fatty tissue. Whatever your age may be, these oestrogens need to be balanced by progesterone to prevent the benefits of oestrogen being outweighed by its potential problems. Excess oestrogen is linked to breast and uterine cancer, breast tenderness, heavy menstrual bleeding, PMS and PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) as well as the many symptoms of menopuase including hot flashes, mood swings and fatigue.
What are the symptoms?
It is fairly simple to see if you have oestrogen dominance by looking at the list of the effects of progesterone and oestrogen listed here. If you have a lot on the oestrogen side then you may want to look at redressing the balance.
Effects of Oestrogen
Increases breast and endometrial cancer risk
Stimulates breast tissue – tenderness
Creates proliferation of the womb lining
Increases body fat
Suppresses action of thyroid
Increases blood clotting
Interferes with blood sugar levels
Reduces zinc and retention of copper
Reduces cell oxygen
Slows bone breakdown
Effects of Progesterone
Protects the breast
Stabilises the womb lining
Protects the breast
Helps break down fat
Facilitates thyroid function
Normalises clotting mechanism
Stabilises blood sugar
Normalises zinc and copper
Restores cell oxygen
Builds up bone
What you can do
Oestrogen dominance can occur at any age and a first step is to look at your lifestyle. The basic building blocks of optimal hormone balance start with a good wholefood diet, regular exercise and stress reduction as that can play a major part in most hormonal symptoms.
Supplementing with bioidentical natural progesterone will also be necessary to get your hormones back into balance if you have a number of oestrogen dominance symptoms. Because of the confusion between natural progesterone and synthetic progestins do make sure you get the real deal and not a chemical substitute. You need a safe, guaranteed source and that is normally listed as USP progesterone so always check the ingredients list to make sure.