Managing Estrogen Dominance and PCOS

First things first, there is no cure for PCOS. This disease is something that you will have to manage for the rest of your life. Once you come to terms with this the process of managing it becomes easier. As with anything in life, acceptance is better than living in denial.

When faced with any issue or obstacle, my natural instinct is to tackle it head on and get rid of it as soon as possible, so when I received my PCOS diagnosis, I obviously employed this strategy. I quickly realized however that this type of approach was draining me emotionally and mentally. This is when I decided to drop my usual ‘quick fix’ mentality and take the natural route in dealing with my PCOS. This, as I’ve said several times before, was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Other than improving my mental health and acne, choosing to manage my PCOS naturally has made me incredibly attuned to my body over the years. I’ve become so sensitive to the slightest changes in my body that I can actually tell when my estrogen is too high.

If you weren’t aware, the ovaries maintain the health of the female reproductive system and they secrete two main hormones – estrogen and progesterone.  The estrogenic hormones are uniquely responsible for the growth and development of female sexual characteristics and reproduction in both humans and animals. One of progesterone’s most important functions is its role in thickening the lining of the uterus each month. The enriched endometrial lining is prepared to receive and nourish a fertilized egg.

When you have a hormone imbalance it usually means that one of these is either too low or high in the body. While I have yet to take the blood tests to confirm this, I believe that based on the symptoms I have had over the years that I have excessive estrogen or as it’s medically termed, estrogen dominance.

Estrogen dominance in layman’s terms means that the body has excessive estrogen but too little progesterone to balance estrogen’s effect on the body.

Some symptoms of excessive estrogen in women are:

  • bloating
  • swelling and tenderness in the breasts
  • decreased sex drive
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • headaches
  • mood swings
  • fibrocystic developments in the breast
  • weight gain
  • hair loss
  • cold hands or feet
  • feeling tired or lacking energy
  • difficulty with memory
  • trouble sleeping
  • increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or PMS

My main estrogen dominance symptoms over the years have been bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, hair loss, lack of energy, difficulty with memory and sleeping and PMS.

As you know by now, I’ve been able to manage my hormone imbalance over the years by eating healthier and living a more active lifestyle. Here are some ways on how you can lower your estrogen naturally:

  • Boost your fiber intake: Good sources include wheat bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, berries, tomatoes and carrots), nuts (especially almonds), seeds (particularly sunflower seeds), dried beans, and whole-grain foods
  • Take your vitamins: The body requires sufficient intake of zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6 and other essential nutrients, not only to support the breakdown and elimination of estrogen, but also to aid the function of enzymes responsible for the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. (Refer to my past blog on Supplementation).
  • Watch your Soy intake: Soy has a relatively high concentration of some types of estrogens, so try to avoid unfermented soy products like tofu and soy milk.
  • Manage your stress: This is one of the main reasons I try to stay as active as possible. As the body responds to high levels of stress, it “steals” progesterone to manufacture the stress hormone cortisol, often leaving a relative excess of estrogen.

 

“Stress is not what happens to us. It is our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.” – Author, unknown.

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