Oestrogen dominance and PCOS: These two often go together like salt and pepper.
But what does the term oestrogen dominance (or estrogen dominance) mean, and why is it relevant for women with PCOS?
Many practitioners think of oestrogen in terms of its status as a single hormone, a unique entity. It’s not quite as simple as this, though…
Oestrogen is essential for healthy female reproductive function. This hormone plays a part in every stage of a female’s life – from early childhood development to puberty, throughout the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, childbirth and, finally, through the menopausal years.
Too many women suffer from symptoms related to having either too much or not enough oestrogen and accept it as a ‘normal’ part of being a woman. However, it is not only females that are affected by oestrogen; Men also experience conditions which are influenced by imbalances in oestrogen metabolism, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
The good news is that you can manage this master hormone, improve its function and no longer find yourself at the mercy of hormonal imbalance related to it.
Signs and symptoms of oestrogen dominance
Oestrogen exists in different forms within the body. One of these oestrogen forms is good for the body and is essential to reproductive health; the other is less favourable and is associated with PMS and other hormonal issues.
Conditions of oestrogen dominance include PCOS, endometriosis and uterine fibroids. The following symptoms may also indicate higher than ideal oestrogen levels, or a higher sensitivity to the oestrogen present in the body:
• Fatigue or lack of energy
• Weight gain
• Sleep disturbances
• Heavy, or irregular periods
• Sugar cravings
• Mood swings and irritability
• Night sweats
• Loss of libido
Herbs and nutrients – Our hormonal heroines
Supporting healthy oestrogen metabolism can ensure we have the correct ratio of oestrogens. They are also important to assist in the appropriate detoxification and release of excessive oestrogen.
Particular herbs and nutrients have been shown to help here, including:
• Indole-3-Carbinol: Found in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts, Indole-3-carbinol is a powerful ingredient that supports oestrogen detoxification.
• Soy isoflavones: Have been found to have a modulating effect on this hormone. This topic can be controversial, so I’ve written this article, A Soy Story: The Controversial Arguments About PCOS and Soy, to help you make sense of the opinions.
• Curcumin: Is the active component in the herb, turmeric, which has been used traditionally for the management of period pain. It offers potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and also supports liver detoxification.
• Broccoli sprouts: Contain two active ingredients, glucosinolates and sulphoraphane, which have antioxidant properties and aid in the activation of the body’s natural detoxification system.
Is the Change of Life Ruining Your Life?
As women near the end of their reproductive years and head towards menopause, oestrogen levels start to drop as hormone production from the ovaries declines. Symptoms such as hot flushes (flashes), sweating, palpitations, low back pain, anxiety, and insomnia occur in varying degrees during perimenopause and can greatly impact on many women’s quality of life.
To help get the most out of life in these later years, the herbs Rehmannia, Chinese yam, peony, and Ziziphus have been found to enhance hormone production in peri-menopausal women and may help in the management of menopausal symptoms.
Diet and Lifestyle Tips
The following diet and lifestyle tips can help you and your hormones have a civil (even loving) relationship:
- Include healthy, low-fat protein (e.g. fresh lean fish, lean beef, chicken, eggs, legumes, and tofu) in your daily diet.
- Eat a rainbow of fresh fruit and vegetables daily.
- Enjoy nuts, seeds, and oils daily. Eat fish on a regular basis to ensure you get plenty of good fats in your diet.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Get moving. Enjoy a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day.
- Aim for eight hours of sleep each night.
- Take time out to rest and relax.
- Drink at least two litres of purified water daily. Clean, fresh water is vital for all aspects of good health.
Healthy hormone balance
With the help of these herbal and nutritional hormone heroines and by making simple dietary and lifestyle changes, you really can help to manage your oestrogen levels to bring you back to a state of balance.
To find out more about oestrogen dominance and PCOS, I’ve written this comprehensive article, Oestrogen Dominance and PCOS: What It Is & What To Do About It here. This is such an important topic that you’ll also find a free downloadable PDF of the article.
The right strategies and approaches really can make a profound difference in your life.
From PCOS to perfect health, with love,
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