Estrogen is good, we need it!!  It has a bad rap because we associate it with negative symptoms and also HRT. It’s the hormone that ‘revs’ things up, making us wanting to be intimate.   It helps cells grow bigger, preserves our bone mass, supports our brain and heart health. It gives us our feminine appearance; boobs, hips, lips, lashes….

There is a delicate balance between progesterone and estrogen and when this is out, we know it!  Think moody, tired, sore breasts, wonky cycles, pain, weight gain, fogginess aghhhhh!!  As we move through perimenopause there is likely to be imbalances along the way.

Estrogen may drop precipitously or spike higher than normal throughout this phase of perimenopause. Over time, FSH levels rise in a vain attempt to prod the ovaries into producing more estrogen, the ovaries don’t respond, FSH keeps trying.  This is where we see elevated levels of serum FSH in peri and menopause.

Common complaints due to low estrogen are;

  • Dry vagina
  • Moody!!
  • Hot flashes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Low mood
  • Irregular and MIA periods
  • An increase in urinary tract infections – PH change

What can you do nutritionally for declining estrogen….

ADD FLAXSEEDS: Also a phytoestrogen and serves as antioxidants plus are high in fibre.

POMEGRANATE SEED OIL:  Has been shown to reduce hot flushes.

VITAMIN E:  Increases blood supply to the vaginal wall and improve menopausal symptoms.

MAGNESIUM:  Not all magnesium is created equally, and the type will depend on your symptom picture.  For example for brain fog magnesium threonate would work well.  Or for anxiety – magnesium gycinate would be appropriate.

Foods high in magnesium are avocados, dark green leafy veggies, mung beans, cocoa, nuts and seeds.

MACA:  Including maca regularly into the diet at this transition time may help with insomnia, depression, memory, energy, hot flashes and has consistently been shown to increase estradiol.  (1)

RHUBARB:  ‘An extract derived from the roots of the rhubarb plant has been shown in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to provide relief of vasomotor symptoms in peri- and postmenopausal women’ (2)

HOPS:  Yes the compound used in beer, but we don’t want the negative side effects of beer so you can get it in supplement form.  It has been approved for sleep difficulties, anxiety and restlessness and helps w3ith both high and low estrogen. (3)

RED GINSENG (PANAX):  Has been shown to improve the DHEA to cortisol ratio and overall quality of life in postmenopausal ladies with symptoms of fatigue, insomnia and depression.

During the transitioning time of perimenopause, estrogen can be fluctuating.  If when you take any of these compounds you have estrogen dominant symptoms like breast tenderness, pelvic pain or other symptoms it may mean you’re estrogen dominant and/or its heading down the toxic pathways and not detoxing out of your body.

As always consult with a practitioner for doses right for you and test so you know what’s actually happening.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614576/
  2. https://www.mdedge.com/endocrinology/article/53920/reproductive-endocrinology/rhubarb-extract-eases-menopausal-hot-flashes
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5016504/

Next blog the focus is on androgens and peri-menopause…

Mel Aytan
Functional Nutritionist
Bach.App.Sci (Human Movement), Adv.Dip Nutritional Medicine, Adv Dip Sec.Edu, Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN)

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