You have probably heard that supplementing with bioidentical hormones can alleviate many of the symptoms of menopause, and that you can actually feel like yourself again. To understand why that is, you need to know about how the hormones work together.
During menopause, estrogen levels can drop 40-60%, progesterone levels can drop to 0%, causing two problems. First, it creates a deficiency of both hormones, leading to frustrating symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats from lack of estrogen and fluid retention and mood swings that are classic with low progesterone.
Perhaps the greater problem, though, is an imbalance we call estrogen dominance. While the term can be confusing, it simply means that there is not enough progesterone to balance the estrogen, bringing about its own set of problems.
You see, estrogen and progesterone work together in the body, as each makes the body more responsive to the other. Estrogen makes the target body tissues more sensitive to progesterone and vice versa. They “prime” each other’s receptors.
Estrogen dominance isn’t just limited to menopause. It can actually happen at any point in a woman’s life, as early as puberty, during high-stress times and after childbirth.
Many of estrogen’s undesirable side effects are prevented by the presence of progesterone. Progesterone protects cell membranes from estrogen-induced problems, and major health risks of estrogen dominance include increased risk of endometrial cancer, as well as the fact that it may promote breast cancer. This is why using unopposed estrogen without progesterone is not recommended.
If you think you may be suffering with estrogen dominance, take a look at some common symptoms:
• Acceleration of aging process
• Breast tenderness
• Decreased libido
• Increased fat (especially in abdomen, hips, thighs)
• Foggy thinking
• Hair loss
• Memory loss
• Thyroid dysfunction (mimicking hypothyroidism)
• Fluid retention/bloating
• Vaginal dryness
• Night sweats
• Hot flashes
The good news is that reversing estrogen dominance is quite simple. By replacing the estrogen that’s missing and balancing it with progesterone, you can thrive throughout menopause.
If you have questions about estrogen dominance and your hormones, please contact a Hotze pharmacist any time, (281) 828-9088.