Our columnist talks us through how to keep our hormones in equilibrium
Our hormones naturally ebb and flow in cycles throughout the day, month and probably with the seasons. Our bodies are designed to adjust to this ebb and flow. However when it fails to adapt due to too many environmental, emotional or nutritional stressors, we develop unwanted symptoms. When oestrogen (known as the ‘female’ hormone) dominates, you might suffer from any of the following: irregular periods and heavy bleeding; weight gain focused around hips, thighs and abdomen; fibroids or endometriosis; fibrocystic breasts; insomnia; fatigue; mood instability and low libido. Being overweight, excessive stress, chemical contaminants in the environment or certain medications are all factors that can contribute to oestrogen dominance. Here are some ways to ease your symptoms and get your hormones back in a state of equilibrium.
Excess oestrogen is eliminated through the bowel. If the faeces remains in the large intestine too long the waste oestrogen is reabsorbed back into the body. Constipation is the main cause of this, it can also occur when there are insufficient digestive enzymes and/or having low levels of stomach acid. Furthermore, insufficient magnesium levels, dehydration, low fibre intake, as well as dysbiois (an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive system) may also impact on elimination and lead to oestrogen dominance. Drink plenty of water in between meals. Include roughage with every meal. Take a magnesium supplement at night and take probiotics.
Although the body is designed to cope with a certain level of toxicity, our environment and food is now so full of harmful toxins that in some individuals they disrupt the delicate ecosystem. These potential endocrine disruptors may affect your hormones.
Reduce chemicals in the home; cleaning products but also beauty products. Limit items you have dry cleaned. Where possible reduce your exposure to harmful toxins.
Increased adipose tissue or fat increases the amount of aromatase, which converts androgen hormones into more oestrogen. Exercise may assist in losing fat and increasing muscle. This may reduce oestrogen and improve hormonal balance. Research suggests that even a small reduction in body fat can yield positive results.
When there is an increased need to produce cortisol, which is a hormone produced in response to stress, progesterone production decreases. This results in oestrogen dominance. Keep your hormones in equilibrium by doing things that make you happy. Calming the ‘monkey mind’ (unsettled or restless thinking) with techniques such as meditation can be beneficial as well as yoga and being in nature.
Emma Cannon is an integrated women’s health expert, registered acupuncturist and author. Check out more of Emma’s fantastic work at emmacannon.co.uk
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