So you have heard about your two hormones oestrogen and progesterone and you're wondering what they do and why you need to balance them.
A quick recap, oestrogen is one of the female sex hormones that is more prominent in the first half of the menstrual cycle before ovulation (the follicular phase). Oestrogen is responsible for the growth of the egg which is to be released at ovulation and also the building of the uterine lining. Progesterone is more predominant in the second half of the menstrual cycle after ovulation (the luteal phase). It is responsible for keeping the uterine lining intact for successful implantation once conception takes place. If conception does not occur both of these hormone levels drop and the period begins. An imbalance in these hormones can potentially be one of the contributing factors to the following conditions:
- Heavy periods (increased oestrogen)
- Endometriosis (increased oestrogen)
- PMS (increased oestrogen)
- Spotting before your period (reduced progesterone)
- Miscarriage (reduced progesterone)
- Anxiety worse prior to your period (reduced progesterone)
It is more common in women for oestrogen to be in excess and progesterone to be deficient, however hormonal pathology testing can be undertaken to confirm specific hormone levels.
How to Ensure optimal Oestrogen
- Ensuing optimal detoxification of oestrogen through the liver by increasing brassica vegetables into your diet eg broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, raddish, bok choy
- Ensuing optimal excretion of oestrogen through the large intestine with regular bowel movement and a healthy gut microbiome. To support this make sure you are getting 25g of fibre per day.
- Avoiding environmental toxins that are considered ‘xeno-estrogens’ these mimic natural oestrogens however exert a much stronger effect in the body. This includes BPA, plastics, phthalates, chemical toxins in personal care products and house-hold cleaning products.
How to Ensure optimal Progesterone
- Stress management is key. High stress hormones can prevent ovulation which results in a reduction in progesterone. Also, the body can actually convert progesterone into cortisol when it’s required. Therefore high stress = decreased progesterone.
- Ensuring adequate levels of Magnesium, zinc, B6 and Vitamin C in your diet as these are important for progesterone production.