Are your breasts so sensitive you flinch at the idea of your partner touching them? Are they heavy, cause discomfort or feel like they will burst out of your bra during your cycle?
Maybe your period is so heavy you can’t leave the house during the first few days, or you need to use pads and tampons together just to get by?
You feel irritable, moody or teary in the lead up to your cycle, to the point you don’t recognise yourself?
You may experience intense headaches, get really bloated, struggle with fatigue or foggy thinking or devastatingly your libido has simply up and left.
If any of this resonates then you may be experiencing oestrogen excess.
And no, none of it is NORMAL.
Way too often women are left believing this is what we have to settle for, a woman’s lot so to speak. This could not be further from the truth.
I can’t begin to tell you how many incredible women’s lives have been changed through supporting their hormones. Period pain, PMS, heavy bleeding and all the other symptoms described does not have to be your normal.
It is NOT something we just have to accept and get over.
It’s all about balance
Let’s make something clear before we go too much further, oestrogen is NOT the bad guy. Like most things, it’s only a problem when we have too much or an imbalanced amount.
Oestrogen is actually super important, consider it a good friend. A friend with the following benefits:
- Helps maintain healthy bone density and muscle mass
- Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and enhance insulin sensitivity
- Stimulates mood and libido through boosting the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (hence why it’s also referred to as your happy hormone)
- Vital for fertility – one of it’s main jobs is to stimulate the thickening and growth of the lining of the uterus (to prepare for a baby).
This last one is a double edged sword. This is exactly how too much oestrogen can lead to heavy periods. The more oestrogen you have, the more likely your uterine lining will be thicker and therefore a heavier period when it sheds.
While these symptoms aren’t exclusive to excess or unopposed oestrogen, they do suggest it may be worth investigating your hormone balance.
How did my oestrogen levels get so out of whack in the first place?
Whilst oestrogen excess can occur at any age, it is very common in the perimenopausal years. This can be anywhere from mid the 30’s for many women and last up to 10-15 years. As ovulation becomes more sporadic in this life phase, less progesterone is produced, meaning we have all the oestrogen and not enough progesterone to balance.
An imbalance in your oestrogen levels may occur due to:
- excess or higher levels of oestrogen due to increased production.
- normal levels of oestrogen but not enough progesterone to balance it. This is known as a relative oestrogen excess (often referred to as “oestrogen dominance” in blog land).
- excess oestrogen due to your body having difficulty clearing it. This means more oestrogen is recycled through the body. This can occur with poor liver and/or gut health.
- Some medications, environmental agents, and excess of body fat and certain diet and lifestyle choices can also all contribute to oestrogen excess.
Steps to getting your oestrogen levels sorted:
- Book in for a full comprehensive consultation and assessment. Together we will determine what we think is at play for you.
- If further testing is warranted we will discuss your options and the best way of completing them. This may be routine blood work (we can refer you directly or work with your GP), or it may involve saliva or urine testing through a functional pathology laboratory. We discuss all options with you and decide together what best suits your circumstances and support you in knowing the best time of the month to complete them.
- Create a doable plan for you on how to restore healthy hormone balance.
- Stick with you along the journey. We help break things down into actionable steps and support you at every point so you achieve the positive health changes you’re dreaming of.
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Sandi Cooper is an experienced Naturopath working in clinical practice for almost two decades. Her clients love her down-to-earth approach and her naturally caring qualities. Although Sandi is experienced in most areas of clinical practice, she has a special interest in children’s health and nutrition, working with parents to get the best outcomes for their children.
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