Creating a hormonal balance between progesterone and oestrogen through out life enables a woman to function to her optimal level. Earlier in the life span it is less likely that a woman will need supplementation with oestrogen rather her Progesterone level may be low due to the effects of oestrogen dominance. Infertility can be an exception to this rule where the woman may require supplementation with the right oestrogens in balance with her Progesterone to achieve conception.
As we progress into menopause the production of healthy oestrogen diminish and it becomes more likely some ladies may also require Oestrogen supplementation in combination with their Progesterone therapy at this time of life.
The following is a brief outline of the Oestrogens we are exposed to through out life. Oestrogen arises in many forms in nature and through the pollutants in our world
- xeno oestrogens,
- intrinsic (internal) oestrogens made in the human body
- Oestrone E1
- Oestradiol E2
- Oestriol E3
Phyto-Oestrogens a plant based foods that have an oestrogen mimicking property. Phyto-oestrogens are weak in their oestrogenic action but very quick to the receptor sites around the body. Through this mechanism they are able to block xeno-oestrogens from entering the cells. ( See also handout on Oestrogen Dominance)
Unlike any time before in history, we are exposed today to huge amounts of "Xenoestrogens"----foreign oestrogens originating outside the body. Pesticides and chemical compounds found in, petrochemicals (car fumes), plastic, detergents, personal care products (parabens), canned foods, and even contraceptive creams contain these xenoestrogsens. Dioxin is an example of one such chemical found throughout our environment and in alarming levels in our food supply. These chemicals behave like aggressive oestrogen and further throw hormonal levels off balance. They often begin creating problems in young girls hence early puberty. Xeno-oestrogens have been linked to the huge increase in the occurrence of breast cancer over the last 30 years, to the increasing rate of infertility in females and the decreasing sperm count in males. ( See also handout on Oestrogen Dominance)
Intrinsic Oestrogens Profile ( Oestrogens made in our bodies)
- Oestradiol (E2)
- Most potent human oestrogen.
- High levels are associated with increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer (which is negated by balancing with progesterone).
- Predominant oestrogen pre-menopausally.
- Primarily responsible for replenishment of uterine lining
- Surge of Oestradiol needed for ovulation
- Primary production in ovary.
- Oestrone (E1)
- Predominant oestrogen post-menopausally
- Primarily produced mostly in fat
- High levels associated with cancer especially in obese women and post menopausal)
- Oestriol (E3)
- Least potent human oestrogen
- Oestriol has both oestrogen agonist and antagonist properties (inhibitory and / or stimulatory properties)
- Brief acting
- Primarily from metabolism of Oestrone and Oestradiol
- Most abundant estrogen in the urine
- Oestriol may be protective against breast and endometrial cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Oestrogen Deficiencies
- droopy reduced breasts (or too small)
- dry mucous membranes
- short/long menstrual cycles
- no or poor menstrual blood loss
- hot flushes, joint pains
- headaches/migraines during menstruation
- hair loss on upper skull
- fatigue, low energy,
- lack of sex drive
Oestrogen and Progesterone act together to create hormonal balance and symptoms of deficiencies of both hormones overlap. If the above symptoms persist after Progesterone levels are therapeutic and if salivary Oestrogens are low then the need to supplement with Bi-Est (Oestriol / Oestradiol 4:1 ratio) is indicated. If a woman has previously had breast cancer the only Oestriol would be considered and only if the hormonal imbalance symptoms were severe.
Ahlgrimm, Marian & Kells, John L: (2003) The HRT solution (3rd Ed). New York, NY. Avery.
Cabot Sandra (2004) Don’t let your hormones ruin your life. Australia, WHAS Pty Ltd.
Reiss Uzzi. (2002) Natural hormone balance (6th Ed) New York, NY. Altria Books
Smith Pamela (2007) Demystifying weight loss. Traverse City, MI. Healthy Living Books Inc.