Estrogen, a group of female sex hormones, has a very important effect on your mental clarity, emotional stability and physical vitality. Estrogen dominance, or deficiency, can be the cause of your monthly mood swings, depression and PMS or premenopausal symptoms.
So to find relief for your menstrual cycle symptoms, it’s important to have some basic understanding of what estrogen is and what is does.
The Role of Estrogen
Simply put, estrogen is what makes you a woman, and it’s the essence of your femininity. It makes your skin supple and glowing, your eyes sparkling, your breasts full, your mind sharp and clear, and your mood uplifted and stable. It regulates your menstrual cycle and keeps you youthful.
Good stuff, right? But the fluctuation of estrogen and its excesses or deficiencies can also create a whole slew of problems for you during your menstrual cycles and at various stages of your life.
Estrogen Fluctuations During Your Monthly Cycle
When you start your period, your estrogen level is very low. It starts to increase after your menstruation and reaches its monthly peak at ovulation (12-16 days before your next period). It’s on a path of slow decline after that, followed by a slight peaking again about one week after your ovulation. Then, unless you’re pregnant, the production of estrogen bottoms out again until your next cycle starts.
A Quick Way to Gauge Your Estrogen Level
No two women are alike. And even if your estrogen level falls within the normal range via a blood test, that doesn’t really tell you much. Luckily, your body provides some very useful clues on how well you respond to its fluctuations, and if you have a balanced level of its production.
In his book "Natural Hormone Balance for Women," Dr. Uzzi Reiss, an M.D., gynecologist, and expert in women’s hormone issues, offers a simple way to gauge your own estrogen level.
Assuming you have a 28-day cycle, if you feel best from day seven to day fourteen, that means your body likes a higher level of estrogen. If you feel good only during this period, you are probably estrogen deficient. If you are estrogen deficient, you are also likely to suffer from specific menstrual cycle symptoms a few days before and during your period.
If your symptoms are mostly premenstrual (from ovulation to the onset of your menstruation), it may indicate that you suffer from hormonal imbalance – interplay between estrogen and progesterone.
Signs of Estrogen Deficiency
Feeling of despair, crying easily
Poor concentration, mental fogginess
Difficulty falling asleep
Increased back and joint pain
Episodes of rapid heartbeat
Dry eye, skin and vagina
Low libido (sex drive)
Vaginal and/or bladder infections
Signs of Estrogen Dominance
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Menstrual blood that is dark red or with black clots
Nervousness, irritability, impatience
Breast tenderness or pain
Increase of breast size
Water retention, swollen figures and legs
1. The first step to balancing and optimizing your hormones is to understand how estrogen affects you. I encourage you to track your menstrual cycles for at least two consecutive months, find out if and when you ovulate, and chart out how your symptoms change during a given cycle. If you haven’t done so yet, begin today by signing up for our Free Period and Ovulation Tracker.
2. For further reading, I recommend Natural Hormone Balance for Women by Dr. Uzzi Reiss, MD. It contains good information, and it's easy to read for a non-medical person. Many of our community members also like Dr. John Lee's Hormone Balance Made Simple: The Essential How-to Guide to Symptoms, Dosage, Timing, and More.
3. If you're looking for a supplement that helps balance your hormones and reduce estrogen dominance, I recommend Nature's Way Dim-Plus Capsules.
DIM-plus contains diindolylmethane, a phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. It supports the activity of enzymes that improve estrogen metabolism.
The product has received good reviews from women. Check out what they say about Dim-Plus.
You can also try a natural, bio-identical progesterone cream to counter balanace the estrogen dominance. It can be quite effective in releasing those unpleasant symptoms. Emerita Pro-gest Cream is the best selling progesterone cream on Amazon and it's received many good reviews.
4. If you suspect you may have estrogen deficiency, especially during perimenopause or menopause, you may consider trying Smoky Mountain's Natural Bioidentical Estrogen/Estriol Cream, the best selling estrogen cream on Amazon.
5. Don't let the pain of hormone imbalance weigh you down, let it become the catalyst for you to create some positive changes in your health - and in your life! Get started by signing up to receive your FREE Step-by-Step Guide to Balance Your Hormones and Harmonize Your Menstrual Cycles!