Estrogen- the what, why and how for fertility
Updated: Apr 23
Hormones! They play such a vital role in how our bodies perform, look and feel but what are hormones exactly and why are they important?
Hormones are chemical messengers made by the body and are housed in the endocrine system and they tell specific tissues to behave in a certain way.
Did you know you have one hormone that affects so many things when it comes to your body? This hormone is one of the primary female sex hormones and It is responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. It is so important that without it you would die however too much of it can cause all sorts of nasty problems such as painful periods, horrible PMS symptoms and even cancer.
What is this hormone you ask, Estrogen of course
Estrogen helps bring about the physical changes that turn a girl into a woman. This time of life is called puberty. These changes include:
Growth of the breasts
Growth of pubic and underarm hair
Start of menstrual cycles
Also helps to control the menstrual cycle and is important for childbearing.
Estrogen also has other functions:
Keeps cholesterol in control
Protects bone health for both women and men
Affects your brain (including mood), bones, heart, skin, and other tissues
During the menstrual cycle, estrogen produces an environment suitable for the fertilization, implantation, and nutrition of an early embryo.
How does your body make estrogen?
Estrogen is mainly produced by the ovaries. Ovaries are grape-sized glands located by the uterus and are part of the endocrine system. However it is also produced by fat cells and the adrenal gland. ... During pregnancy, the placenta produces estrogen. Men also produce estrogen, just way less of it. In men, a special enzyme converts testosterone into estrogen
What areas of the body does Estrogen affect?
Ovaries: Estrogen helps stimulate the growth of an egg follicle.
Vagina: It also stimulates the growth of the vagina to its adult size, the thickening of the vaginal wall, and an increase in vaginal acidity that reduces bacterial infections. It also helps lubricate the vagina.
Fallopian tubes: Estrogen is responsible for the growth of a thick, muscular wall in the fallopian tubes, and for the contractions that transport the egg and sperm cells.
Uterus: Estrogen enhances and maintains the mucous membrane that lines the uterus. It increases the size of the endometrium as well as enhancing blood flow, protein content, and enzyme activity. Estrogen also stimulates the muscles in the uterus to develop and contract. Contractions help during the delivery of an infant and placenta, and they also assist the wall of the uterus in getting rid of dead tissue during menstruation.
Cervix: Estrogen is thought to regulate the flow and thickness of uterine mucous secretions. This enhances the movement of a sperm cell to an egg and enables fertilization.
Mammary glands: Estrogen forms unique relationships with other hormones in the breast. They are responsible for the growth of the breasts during adolescence, the pigmentation of the nipples, and eventually stopping the flow of milk when an infant is no longer breast-feeding.
How do you know if you have an Estrogen Imbalance?
heavy, irregular, or painful periods
osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)
hot flashes and night sweats
constipation and diarrhea
acne during or just before menstruation
Bloating and water retention
Weight gain in hips, butt and thighs (estrogen stimulates fat cells to store more fat)
All of these "symptoms" are signs that something is off. A hormonal imbalance and one of the most widely seen imbalances is estrogen imbalance. The reason for that is because added estrogen is all around us from the foods we eat, the water we drink, the pesticides, and the products we use. Having these symptoms is your body's report card. Your body is sounding an alarm that something isn't right.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms there are things you can do to help your body detox this excess estrogen and these pesky symptoms to go away.
This hormone imbalance is caused when your body is making more estrogen than progesterone or you aren't adequately detoxing after your ovulation phase. After your ovulation phase it is key to eat foods that help move out excess estrogen so your body doesn't recycle it and you get these pesky symptoms all over again. Eating foods such as kale, broccoli, onions, garlic and radishes will help you to accomplish this.
Here are my top 5 suggestions for balancing your estrogen;
1. Proper Nutrition
Always start here. Proper, balanced, whole food nutrition filled with fiber and protein at regular intervals and being mindful of the types of sugar and carbohydrates that you are eating is super important. I coach on the magic plate which helps you eat balanced nutrition at every meal. Break your plate up like this. 1/3 leafy green, 1/3 protein (animal or plant), 1/3 slow-burning carb and 1-2 tbsp of a healthy fat. As well as .67 x your body weight in water. All organic and all fresh.
Tapping into the intelligence of the female body and responding to its unique needs is a huge act of self-care.
Estrogen balancing smoothie
3 cups kale (or spinach) 2 stalks celery 1/2 peeled cucumber 2-inch peeled knob of fresh ginger 1/2 lemon (remove peel if not organic) 2 cups frozen mango (mango is especially tasty with the fresh lemon) 2 small handfuls fresh cilantro 4 tablespoons ground flaxseed 3 cups filtered water
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy! Serve immediately. Enjoy.
In a recent study, Estrogen was found to amplify the stress response in areas of the brain most closely identified with depression and other stress-related mental illnesses. Researchers say the findings may one day lead to the development of treatments for depression that specifically target women. Find ways to reduce stress such as -
Removing anything from your life that doesn't serve you.
Tapping into your female energy
Walks in nature
Making sure you are getting adequate sleep is just as important as what you eat. Sleeping 7-8 hours per night will help your body to repair, renew, relax and rejuvenate. Without enough sleep your body doesn't have the energy it needs to function properly.
During sleep your body is in an optimal state for healing and creating life . Sleep is a powerful ally in helping to promote optimal fertility as it helps lower adrenal overactivity, balance fertility hormones, boosts the immune system, increases the stress resilience and enhances overall health.
Tips for getting proper sleep
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every morning and night
No TV in the bedroom
Create an aesthetic environment in your bedroom. Make it look and feel like a spa.
Total darkness and quite by using a sleep mask and earplugs
Avoid alcohol which inhibits sleep
Eat no later than 2 hours before bed
Avoid environmental toxins
Environmental toxins are also important when helping your body to avoid making excess estrogen. Paying attention to not just what goes in your body but what goes on and around your body is key. Many products that we think are safe are mimicking estrogen in our body and can cause all sorts of issues from infertility to cancer. However it is really easy to avoid these harmful substances if you get super creative with the products you buy. In my book- The hormone puzzle method- solving infertility I go into more detail on how to make some of the most common offenders when it comes to over estrogen production. Buy your copy here - www.hormonepuzzle.com/hpbook.
One of the most common products that mimic estrogen in our bodies is body lotion. Many manufacturers use ingredients that cause our bodies to make excess estrogen and can even cause us to be dominate in this hormone. Here is my favorite all-natural recipe for a thick, creamy lotion that your entire family can enjoy.
Buttery body lotion
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup shea butter
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops chamomile essential oil
Place shea butter in the microwave to soften, mix in your room temperature coconut oil with hand or stand mixer for 15 minutes until light and fluffy, now mix in your essential oils and transfer to mason jar.
As you can see estrogen is so important in so many different aspects of our life from how we look, how we feel, and if we are able to get pregnant, stay pregnant and have a healthy baby.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are struggling with getting pregnant, let's talk. Email me today- firstname.lastname@example.org.
I work with women every day just like you when were struggling and now they are have never felt better or they are finally pregnant after years of trying.
Love and Health,