Healthy Hormone Balance

From puberty to menopause, the dynamic relationship between estrogen and progesterone is extremely important to a woman’s overall health. Beyond affecting reproduction, these hormones also influence bone, heart, brain and skin health. As a result, any disruption to this intricate balance can produce a wide range of symptoms in the body.

Each year, millions of women seek relief from complaints such as PMS and menopausal symptoms, fibroids, ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breasts, and endometriosis. These health problems often result from a condition known as estrogen dominance. With estrogen dominance, a woman can have deficient, normal, or excessive estrogen levels, but little to no progesterone to balance its effects in the body. It is a dangerous health concern because the body has a hard time distinguishing between its own, naturally produced estrogen, and foreign estrogens, which are difficult to detoxify and get stored in fat cells. This can result in bodily processes that are regulated by estrogen, such as breast cell division, to become unnaturally triggered or stimulated. Studies also link estrogen dominance to the development of certain cancers, including breast, uterine and ovarian.

Causes of estrogen dominance include exposure to environmental xenoestrogens and endocrine disruptors (found in plastics, detergents, pesticides, inorganic food sources, etc.), use of synthetic estrogens (birth control pill and hormone replacement therapy), anovulatory menstrual cycles, stress, obesity, poor liver clearance of estrogens, and a diet high in fat and refined carbohydrates, and low in fiber.

To promote healthy hormone balance, minimize your contact with xenoestrogens by avoiding plastics for water and food storage. Instead, use glass or stainless steel. Choose natural body and home cleaning products. Eat hormone free meats and organic dairy and produce whenever possible. Increase your fiber intake and eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, etc.). Engage in regular exercise. Take steps to manage stress levels. And, take supplements that support liver health and promote the removal of excess estrogens, such as calcium D-glucarate, DIM, and turmeric.

Article written by Margo Gladding, MS, CNS, LDN for the Women’s Journal.

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