Unbalanced Estrogen Levels Can Have a Big Impact on Your Health
Although both male and female bodies both contain estrogen, it plays a much larger role in women’s sexual and reproductive health. Their bodies produce estrogen in the ovaries as well as the fat cells and adrenal glands. When a girl starts puberty, estrogen helps her develop secondary sex characteristics such as breast growth and hair under the armpits and pubic region. Once she starts menstruating, estrogen helps to regulate the monthly cycles. It controls the growth of the uterine lining during the first half of the cycle and drops off if fertilization does not occur. If fertilization does happen, estrogen and progesterone signal the body to stop ovulating.
The production of estrogen drops off after a woman has completed childbearing and enters into her pre-menopausal years. Since progesterone also decreases at this time, the resulting hormonal imbalance confuses the body. This can result in over two dozen different symptoms for women. Almost all women experience some effects of hormone imbalance, although the severity and number of symptoms varies greatly from one woman to the next. Increasingly, women are turning to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to find symptom relief.
Indications Your Estrogen Levels May Be Too Low or Too High
While hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings are typical symptoms of pending menopause, there are numerous others associated with hormone imbalance. You may experience those problems and several of the ones listed below even if you are nowhere near menopause. The following are typical symptoms in women whose level of estrogen is too low:
- Chronic fatigue, regardless of the actual number of hours that you sleep
- Bladder infections or urinary tract infections
- Headaches that start out mild but eventually turn into migraines
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain when having intercourse
- Loss of desire for physical intimacy with your partner
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
- Insomnia, which presents as difficulty falling asleep or waking up several times and not being able to get back to sleep
- Forgetfulness and having a hard time concentrating
- Incontinence or leaking urine when you laugh, cough, or sneeze
- Loss of bone density that puts you at risk for developing osteoporosis
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Unstable emotions
Estrogen dominance can occur when progesterone levels deteriorate rapidly or stop altogether. The term doesn’t mean that you are gaining estrogen, but rather you have too much estrogen in your body in relation to progesterone. Since these two hormones work so closely together, women with estrogen dominance may experience the following additional symptoms:
- Fluid retention
- Breast tenderness
- Gallbladder problems
- Sugar cravings and issues regulating the body’s blood sugar
- Uterine cancer
- Weight gain
- Thyroid issues
Balancing Your Estrogen Levels with BHRT
It seems obvious that the solution to unbalanced levels of estrogen is to balance them using a natural replacement hormone. Unfortunately, few mainstream doctors understand the benefits of BHRT. They replace the body’s natural hormones with synthetic ones instead. While this works well in some cases, many women’s bodies can’t tolerate artificial hormones. This can cause a significant number of minor and serious side effects, including an increased risk of endometrial cancer.
The basic cell structure of bioidentical hormones, which come from tropical plants, does not go through any changes during the compounding process. This increases the likelihood that your body will respond appropriately and you will experience fast relief of your hormonal imbalance symptoms. Your doctor supervises your treatment from start to finish, which means he or she can spot side effects quickly and adjust your dosage or method of administration if necessary. Since traditional doctors don’t typically offer bioidentical hormones, your best bet in achieving estrogen balance is to work with a naturopath, chiropractor, or other type of alternative health provider who does offer this treatment.