One of the most annoying things of being a girl can be the monthly surf of the red wave. Despite the normal surfing being fun, this one really isn’t- at least for a lot of girls and women.
Moodiness and emotional outbursts the week leading up to take-off, heavy, painful breasts, and when it finally comes, heavy bleeding and cramps that keep you in bed and no where near anything fun – is that what life as a female is meant to be all about? Pretty unfair, right?
Luckily this is not how it has to be! Despite most women now complaining of at least some of these symptoms, that’s not how nature intended us to be, and we really do not have to stay a victim of this for our lives!
Who wouldn’t much rather be strong, painfree, happy and fun most of the time?
Ok, so here is the thing. All of the above nasties are, in most cases, related to something called ‘Estrogen Dominance’, in relation to Progesterone.
Estrogen and Progesterone are the most important female sex hormones, and both are equally important for healthy and happy living, including radiant skin, healthy bones, a slim waist line, and good mood. Only when estrogen gets relatively high in comparison to Progesterone, that’s when things go awry.
Some of the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance include:
- Irregular or heavy periods
- Food cravings
- Accelerated aging
- Increased risk of blood clots, cardiovascular disease, gall-stones and post-partum depression
- Mood swings
- Ovarian cysts
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Decreased libido
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Uterine fibroids
Overall, not very fun!
If you are young and not in your peri-menopause yet, then reasons for that estrogen dominance can be
- Poor diet
- Estrogenic compounds in your lifestyle
- A toxic and overburdened liver
Here are 5 steps to balance your female sex hormones, get rid of heavy periods, PMS and cramping.
- Detox your life from estrogen mimicking compounds
- Detox your liver and help eliminate excess estrogen
- Fuel yourself with a low sugar, anti-inflammatory diet
- Add in herbs for hormonal balancing
1. Detox your life from estrogen mimicking compounds
Unfortunately we live in a world full of something called ‘xenobiotics’- compounds that mimick the action of estrogen in our body. These include
- Plastics (also the BPA free version!) in water bottles, your microwave container, your plastic smoothie maker, your synthetic fiber activewear. Go for glass, stainless steal and silicone where possible.
- Cosmetics – Yes your favourite shampoo, lip gloss, deodorant and skin cream all most likely have compounds that tip your body over the edge. Go for natural, organic, paraben free options where possible.
- Househould products – Dishwashing detergent, Washing powder, Cleaning products – they all have estrogen mimicking compounds, unless you go for the natural, organic or DYO version of it.
Luckily there are a ton of great natural options out there by now, like crystal deodorants, sophisticated organic skin- & haircare, and sweet looking glass bottles. Or you can go ‘all natural’ with simple items like coconut oil, macadamia oil or shea butter as skin and hair care.
2. Detox your liver and help eliminate excess estrogen
Now that you have minimized your intake of ‘estrogen mimickers’ (see substances above), the next step is to help your body clear out the already accumulated ones. That is, help our detox organs. Our liver is the most important here, as it turns all the substances into molecules that can be transported out. Next step is the actual transport out- via stool, sweat and lungs.
A liver detox programme is a great start, followed by enough fiber in your diet to soak up the toxins and remove them via your stool, get exercising and sweating (saunas are great too) for removal via skin and lungs.
3. Fuel yourself with a high fat, low sugar, anti-inflammatory and gut healing diet
Our typical Western diet fuels inflammation, blood sugar and gut flora imbalances, which create hormonal imbalances in your body. Try shifting towards a more whole foods, gut healing and low sugar diet to fuel all the cells in your body so they can thrive.
A rough rule here is to have 50% of your calories come from good quality, hormone boosting fats, 30% from vegetables (lots of greens, but make sure you get all colours!), and 20% from high quality protein. Our hormones are made from fat (yes, cholesterol!), and we need plenty of different good fats in our diet to allow our female body to feel nourished enough to shift its production away from the stress hormones (that we make if the body thinks we are in a state of famine = not enough nutrients and fats!), towards our happy cycle hormones (especially progesterone).
This will not only reduce your blood sugar spikes and consequent cravings, but also give your body all the building blocks it needs to make hormones in the right quantities.
Our stress hormones and our female sex hormones are made from the same precursor, called Pregnenolone. If we are stressed out, from work, school, boyfriend or a toxic environment, our body prioritizes the production of the stress hormone over our other hormones, especially Progesterone (the one we want more of!). Find something that you love doing and that helps you relax, and do it often! That can be yoga, meditation, deep breathing, watching a movie or hanging with your bestie.
4. Add in herbs for hormonal balancing
To give your body and mind a boost to kick-start its programs and get back on track, add in these herbs for a month:
- Chaste Tree – a strong hormonal balancer and support for a healthy, painfree cycle
- Wild Yam Tablets during the second half of your cycle for a progesterone boost
- Ashwaganda, Ginseng and B vitamins for your stress levels
Give these 5 steps a try. Please note that these are general recommendations that support a healthy lifestyle. However, each individual is different, and in more severe cases there might be underlying imbalances that need a more targeted approach. If you don’t get results after trying this for 3 months, find a functional medicine or orthomolecular specialist in your area to do some testing and prescribe a programme that is tailored just for you and your life circumstances.
If you cannot find anyone near you that you trust, I offer Functional Medicine consultations online – Via Skype/ Facetime/ Whatsapp and Email, and urine/stool/saliva and blood test kits that will be sent right to your doorstep. All you have to do is follow the instructions and send them to the lab specified, and I will be in touch with the results and an individualised treatment programme.