When you think of hormones and your period, what's the first hormone that comes to mind? Most people think of estrogen. When we have too much of this floating around, there's a group of fairly common (not to be confused with normal!) symptoms that, collectively, are known as "estrogen dominant symptoms." You see things like: PMS, heavy and/or irregular periods, cramps, endometriosis, breast lumps or tenderness, weight gain, migraines, acne correlated with your cycle.
Too often, I hear from women that have had these symptoms dismissed because blood labs came back "normal." But here's the thing about estrogen: your hormone levels in the blood may be normal BUT hormones need to be metabolized (or broken down) and taken out of the body (this is what detoxification does or is supposed to do).. If your hormones are being broken down and recirculating in the body rather than clearing out, you will experience the symptoms associated with estrogen dominance.
So who or what is responsible for clearing out hormone byproducts? Your digestive process, namely your liver. If you didn't know, you don't need green juices or specials teas to "detox" --your body is so amazingly designed that it has built-in detoxing abilities. The liver, being the main detoxification organ, is basically a filter but when we overload it faster than we can clear things out, it starts to "back up" and not work as efficiently. And you end up seeing issues such as hormones recirculating in the body. It is important to nourish the liver and give it what it needs/remove what it doesn't to get it working efficiently again (not sipping juice and tea all day long --the detoxification process actually needs adequate protein intake as fuel).
The other part of all this is that these re-circulating hormone breakdowns end up messing with the intricate feedback, or communication, between your other hormones like your thyroid. Or vice versa-- your thyroid could be off and messing with your other hormones (not just estrogen). Without a thorough intake and the right testing, this can be missed and you're left confused and chalking up these symptoms as "normal" for you.
A little story for you:
Before starting my medical career, I was starting to experience things like PMS & cyclical migraines which I had NEVER experienced before! And I distinctly remember my mom forcing me to go see a doctor and me finally going and being brushed off-- "it's normal, it's just due to your period." That stuck with me because I knew what normal was for me and my normal, thank God, had never included pre-menstrual symptoms. Once in school, I started to see the connection between food, my hormones, my emotions, the importance of testing and individualized treatment. What worked for me may not work for you.
It pains me to see women given the wrong advice or not thoroughly listened to to find the source of their concerns. Some tips:
- Do your research but also be careful with webMD and the internet; it's a slippery slope
- Work with a doctor who gets it
- Follow your gut instinct- if something doesn't feel right, you don't need to just accept it
If you're interested in discussing a bit further with me, feel free to schedule a 15 min consult with me; they're always complimentary!