Are you struggling with heavy flooding periods, breast tenderness and rage? Maybe there’s a week in the month when you hate your partner and are screaming at the children for no reason. These are all symptoms of oestrogen dominance in perimenopause.
Read on (or watch the video) because I am going to share with you why we end up in an oestrogen-dominant state in perimenopause, things that could make it worse and how to manage it with some quick and easy-to-implement tips.
Oestrogen Dominance in Perimenopause
Are you questioning, don’t we have low oestrogen in perimenopause? And the answer is yes and no.
In our premenopausal years, we have a nice, healthy ratio of oestrogen to progesterone. But as we enter into perimenopause it is that progesterone falls first, and we naturally end up in an oestrogen-dominant state.
As we move through perimenopause, oestrogen begins to fluctuate, and it can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Eventually, it falls away altogether and our periods stop and we enter menopause.
In an oestrogen-dominant state, oestrogen can still be low, but it’s just not in balance with progesterone. That is, it’s not in the correct ratio with progesterone.
So even though oestrogen may be low, we have a lot more of it than progesterone, and that’s what we mean by an oestrogen-dominant state in perimenopause.
Symptoms of oestrogen dominance:
- Heavy flooding periods,
- Clotted periods
- Breast tenderness
- Lumpy breasts
- Hormonal acne
Has this been your perimenopausal experience?
What I often see in clinic, is that women get to their late thirties or early forties, and they know that something’s just not quite right. Their cycle has become a little bit problematic.
They don’t feel right within themselves. They’re experiencing these incredible mood swings and anxiety and so they visit the doctor
Often, the doctor’s answer is that you are too young to be in menopause. And here you go, try the pill for your heavy flooding periods.
Or if they keep pushing, they get offered antidepressants.
Perimenopause Oestrogen Dominance / Low Progesterone
When perimenopause starts, what we are actually dealing with is both an oestrogen-dominant state and low progesterone. And in addition to the above symptoms, women are experiencing symptoms of low progesterone as well:
Signs of low progesterone:
- Irregular cycles
- Hot flushes/night sweats
Perimenopause tends to be a time of huge flux and symptoms can be worse than in menopause.
Things that can make oestrogen dominance worse in perimenopause
These are environmental chemicals and toxins that we’re exposed to every single day that mimic oestrogen once in the bloodstream. They are found in things like plastic water bottles, beauty products, and cleaning products.
The contraceptive pill
The pill works by switching off ovulation and we stop making our own hormones and these are replaced with synthetic hormones. Often, I see toxicity after the pill and that toxicity can live in our body for many years after taking it. Even into menopause!
The gut, the liver and the bowels dictate your ability to metabolize, detoxify, and eliminate excess oestrogen.
If any of these organs are not working properly, or are a little bit sluggish, then excess oestrogen can be reabsorbed back into the system.
When we have excess oestrogen, we produce more fat cells. Hence we see women gaining weight at this time.
And the problem with excess fat cells is that fat cells also produce small amounts of oestrogen. So, we end up in a vicious cycle of producing too much oestrogen, creating fat cells, and then the fat cells creating more oestrogen.
Tips for Oestrogen Dominance in Perimenopause
Eat Fibrous Vegetables
We want to be feeding the gut by eating lots of fibrous vegetables and ideally cruciferous vegetables which are not only fibrous but also help to break down oestrogen.
So that is dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale spinach, brussel sprouts.
Top tip… add in raw carrots. Raw carrots have a unique type of fibre that helps to sweep up and eliminate excess oestrogen.
Within the gut microbiome, we have the estrobolome which modulates oestrogen levels. That is a healthier gut microbiome, a better menopause experience. So we want to make sure we are getting lots of probiotic foods too including natural yoghurt, sauerkraut or kimichi.
If you don’t like those types of foods, I would recommend taking a probiotic supplement. You do get what you pay for, so go for the best quality that you can afford.
Whilst probiotics populate the gut with good bacteria, we also need to feed those bacteria and that is the role of prebiotics.
- Prebiotic foods:
Phytoestrogens are plant-based oestrogens, and no, they won’t add to the problem. In fact, they will help to eliminate dirty oestrogens.
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Organic fermented soy (in small amounts)
The liver is such an important organ when it comes to all hormonal issues and it often becomes sluggish during perimenopause.
We can help the liver by eating bitter foods like dandelion, rocket and watercress.
Also, try to avoid things that are going to clog up the liver including alcohol caffeine, excess medication and sugar.
Fibre for the bowel
Having daily bowel movements is essential to healthy oestrogen levels.
Like the gut, the bowel loves fibre, particularly flax seeds, chia seeds, psyllium husks, and lots of water.
Where possible we want to be eating organic, but that is not always financially viable for everyone.
I recommend following the Environmental Working Group. They produce two lists, the first is the Clean 15 – the 15 cleanest non-sprayed crops that you could buy in non-organic form. And the other list is the Dirty Dozen, and that’s the 12 most sprayed crops or the crops you really want to be buying organically.
Avoid Conventionally farmed meat and dairy
We also want to try to avoid conventionally farmed meat and dairy products. These industries are known for using high levels of pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones, and we then ingest that via the food chain.
Wherever possible we want to be looking at grass-fed and organic meat and dairy.
Reduce toxin exposure
We live in a very toxic society and we can’t avoid toxins altogether. But just think about where you can reduce your exposure, particularly for xenoestrogens.
That might be avoiding bottled water, looking at your cleaning products or your beauty products and making changes where you can.
Filter your water
The water here in the UK is recycled 11 times!!
It is a huge source of toxins and oestrogen. I recommend filtering your water. I prefer the Berkey water filter. But even a Britta jug would be better than tap water.
Daily movement is all the walking around, which we do during the day as opposed to formal exercise.
This kind of daily movement will help to keep your weight under control if oestrogen dominance is causing weight gain, and it helps the liver and the bowels to do their job properly.
And finally, it goes without saying we need to reduce our stress levels.
And this is all about bringing up progesterone levels so that it and oestrogen are closer to being in balance.
My last blog was on increasing progesterone levels naturally. If you didn’t see it, you can grab it here.
If you need help with getting stress under control, start with my free download ‘Ultimate Guide to Thriving in the Menopause’ today.