The most important groups of hormones for women are estrogens (especially ß‐estradiol) and progesterone. In a healthy female body they balance each other so phases of the menstrual cycle occur regularly. When one is going down, the other is going up. Their synchronized cycle repeats about every month (25 to 35 days). When the balance between estrogen and progesterone is lost, your body may act in unpredictable ways.
When everything works normally, the menstrual cycle goes through appropriate phases. For the first 10‐16 days, a woman’s body is getting eggs ready for fertilization (pregnancy). Follicles grow in the ovaries. The tissue in the womb prepares for a fertilized egg.
If eggs are fertilized, then the menstrual cycle is suspended for the nine months of pregnancy. The body automatically produces appropriate amounts of both estrogen and progesterone. These in turn stimulate secretions for nourishing the fertilized egg.
If fertilization doesn’t occur, the nurturing environment created in the womb rapidly changes. Hormone levels drop off quickly after about two weeks, and the womb cleanses itself through menstruation‐ and the process is ready to repeat again.
When Hormone Imbalance Occurs
If sufficient estrogen is not available in the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, eggs are not stimulated to develop. This condition is known as anovulation ‐ which simply means that the body is not producing eggs.
When anovulation occurs repeatedly, it can cause infertility. A year of unprotected sex without pregnancy occurring usually indicates the condition of infertility. Prior to menstruation, an imbalance of progesterone and estrogen can produce physical and emotional discomfort for women. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can result in bloating, headaches, mood swings, and irritability. Too much estrogen, in relation to progesterone, or vice‐versa, throws the body into an imbalanced state.
The experience of missing menstrual periods for months in a row can also result from hormonal imbalance. Amenorrhea is a failure of menstruation for six months in a woman with previously normal menstrual cycles. It is a condition most common in women undergoing high intensity athletic training or stress, who aren’t making enough progesterone to trigger their menstrual cycles.
When it’s time to move beyond the child‐bearing years, women’s estrogen levels should gently fall, telling their bodies to cease preparing an environment for fertilized eggs. When menstruation stops abruptly, menopause brings with it some uncomfortable symptoms typically associated with Peri‐Menopause and Menopause , such as hot flashes and mood swings. Estrogen depletion can also accelerate bone loss and increase risk of osteoporosis & heart disease. Natural or pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy can alleviate many of the symptoms. But if a woman takes too much estrogen to replace this loss, the estrogen overload can lead to other health problems, even cancer of the uterus or breasts.
Supplementation for Hormone Imbalances
The first place to start from a supplemental standpoint is to cover the basics. Supplement quality is a BIG problem (one that we highlight at length on our blog)’; at this point, know that all supplements, in fact most supplements are not created equally. Most of the products on the market are made with poor quality ingredients and/or processed in such a way as to diminish the supplement quality. Poor quality supplements means you are not getting what you paid for, no matter how little or home much you actually paid.
Finding high quality supplements takes some doing; here are some great products that you can use with confidence: