Oestrogen Metabolism

Oestrogen & Progesterone

Now I know I’ve most likely just gone and overwhelmed you with that great big list of hormones, and you were thinking this program was just about your estrogen and progesterone weren’t’ you!  When you look at it like that, it certainly seems that our body is a very comprehensive, busy being with many jobs, so it’s easy to feel like it could well be a huge task balancing out those pesky hormones which don’t seem to want to stay inline.  But the truth is, when we focus on whole body wellness and merely stimulate the body to heal itself through good nutrition, healthy everyday lifestyle practices, mindfulness, stress management and just a teeny weeny bit of detoxification, your hormones will practically sort themselves out. Truth!

So, take a deep breath and give me a little smile, you and your body have got this, you can do it! There is a solution and so long as you trust the amazing ‘self-healing’ powers of your body and give it a good crack your hormones will be your friends once again!

In week one, our focus  is on the reproductive hormones and specifically ‘Estrogen dominance’, because it is this phenomenon which is the predominant cause of all common menstrual cycle problems and reproductive disorders. Quite often even conditions which you would normally associate with estrogen absence, such as amenorrhea, which is when a female of reproductive age does not get their period or menopause, which is marked by the decline of estrogen, which is true, but estrogen dominance is still often a contributing underlying factor! Let me explain.

Another way of looking at estrogen dominance is ‘unopposed estrogen’, that is, there is not enough progesterone available to balance the activity of the estrogen. This may mean the levels of progesterone are too low or the levels of estrogen are just simply too high.

Estrogen in all its many forms…..

The reason it is possible to have really low levels of estrogen but still have estrogen dominance is because there are actually hundreds of different types of estrogen’s. The word Estrogen in itself is actually technically the plural or collective term for multiple estrogen. The most common, is scientifically referred to as Oestradiol, or E2 and this is the predominant and most significant of the estrogen group when it comes to the monthly menstrual cycle. E2 controls the menstrual cycle (MC), which is why the menstrual bleed stops once we enter menopause, due to the cessation of Oestradiol production from the ovaries.  So when I am talking about Estrogen dominance I am referring to the entire estrogen collection including exogenous estrogen’s (those created by the environment) as well as endogenous estrogen’s (produced by the body). Exogenous estrogen’s include synthetic hormones such as the oral contraceptive pill or any other form of synthetic hormone replacement including injections, rods, HRT patches, gels or creams. Additionally synthetic estrogen’s can be found in non-organic meats, cosmetics, plastics and in our water ways due to the fact they can never be fully broken down so are excreted from the body via urine ending up in our water supply.  Another example of an endogenous estrogen is Estrone , or E1, this is a very potent form of estrogen which the body only requires in very small amounts and is produced each month with its primary job being to stimulate the growth of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, so to provide a nourishing environment for a fetus to grow should a pregnancy take place.  As it is more common for each month to roll by without conception, this built up lining is shed in our monthly period, which is the normal process. The problem however, is that if the liver and bowel functions are not optimal, E1 is not effectively metabolized and cleared by the body each month and it builds up in the system which leads to the imbalance of the hormones, namely estrogen dominance. E1 is highly proliferative, that is it stimulates growth, which is why estrogen dominance leads to Endometriosis, Cysts, Fibroids, Heavy bleeds and much much more.

Symptoms of Oestrogen Dominance

  • Hormonal headaches
  • Painful periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Absent periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Menstural Clots
  • Acne, face, back or chest
  • Cystic Acne
  • Weight gain & the inability to lose weight
  • Annovulation (absent ovulation)
  • Infertility
  • Growth of endometrial tissue outside of the womb (Endometriosis)
  • Growth of Fibroids
  • Heavy bloating
  • Fluid retention
  • Anger, irritability, paranoia, sensitivity and not just at the typical ‘PMS” stage of the cycle

The Process of Oestrogen Dominance aka Poor Oestrogen Metabolism
Although it’s easy to lug Estrone (E1) into the ‘bad estrogen’ group, that’s not entirely true, because it plays an important role in the monthly menstrual cycle, it is more the body not being able to keep levels of E1 in check.  Now throw into the mix the constant exposure to environmental and lifestyle synthetic estrogen’s and you can see we are being flooded with Estrogen from many angles. It is this over exposure of synthetic environmental and pharmaceutical estrogen’s which is why young girls are beginning to menstruate at much earlier ages, as young as 8 years old, which once upon a time was unheard of. Our poor bodies are just not coping with all the extra synthetic and quite dangerous Estrogen and unfortunately this dramatically increases the risk of estrogen related cancers such as breast cancer and cervical cancer.

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