September 15, 2016 Leave a comment
When it comes to ‘that time of the month’ most women have experienced menstrual cramps at one point in their lives or another. Painful periods are often accompanied by other symptoms such as headaches, breast tenderness, heavy/clotty flow, low back pain, mood swings and food cravings.
All of these PMS symptoms are due to a hormone imbalance called ‘Estrogen dominance.’ This basically means that your body has an excess of estrogen in relation to progesterone.
Excess estrogen could be caused by:
- The build up of xenoestrogens in your body
- Liver Qi Stagnation: a Chinese medicine syndrome where your liver cannot process and eliminate the xenoestrogens fast enough so they build up in your body causing symptoms.
- Low progesterone: Your estrogen could be normal but if your progesterone is low it is not able to balance the effects of estrogen and creates a relative estrogen dominance picture.
How do you know if you have estrogen dominance?
- Your symptoms fall under the estrogen dominance category (see above)
- You do a blood test for estradiol and progesterone. Blood tests should ideally be done on day 5 and day 21 of the menstrual cycle. Your hormones change throughout the cycle and this gives a more accurate picture of what is happening in the first half versus the second half of the cycle.
- Saliva hormone testing: This test is run through a private lab such as Rocky Mountain Analytical and is usually ordered by a naturopathic doctor. Here is more info on their Female Hormone Panel.
What are some treatment options for estrogen dominance?
- Minimize your exposure to xenoestrogens.
- Support your liver through diet, herbs and acupuncture so it can clear out excess estrogens.
- Boost your progesterone levels through diet, herbs and acupuncture. Or consider Bio-identical progesterone cream if indicated for your individual situation.
To learn more speak to your naturopathic doctor today!