Perimenopause and Estrogen Dominance

Do any of these health complaints sound familiar?

  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Anxiety and mood swings
  • Irritability
  • “Fuzzy thinking”
  • Loss of ambition
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Low libido
  • Insomnia
  • Water retention
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Clotted menses

If so, and you’re also in the Perimenopause stage of life, you could be a woman suffering from Estrogen Dominance — a hormonal imbalance where estrogen levels are relatively high in relation to progesterone levels.

estrogen_graphWhy is this a problem? Women with elevated levels of estrogen in the years immediately preceding menopause are at an elevated risk for breast and reproductive tract cancers, as well as experiencing more prominent symptoms of menopause. The good news is, Chinese medicine can help bring the body back to a place of hormonal balance and harmony.  

Supporting the kidney yang and spleen qi to ward off stagnation of qi, blood and damp in perimenopausal women is crucial. Weak kidney yang correlates with low progesterone, and the resulting estrogen dominance correlates with the stagnation of blood and body fluids, which we often see in patients with depressed spleen qi. Likewise, the liver plays an important role in hormone balance, as one its functions is to filter excess estrogen. Liver qi stagnation — caused by stress, repressed emotions or poor diet — results in estrogen not being broken down properly and contributes to the formation of heat and inflammation in the body. Receiving acupuncture is a wonderful way to move and smooth stagnated liver qi, while herbal medicine and supplements effectively address deficiencies of the kidneys and spleen.

Estrogen dominance in women over 40 is becoming epidemic in this nation. Irregular diet and lifestyle is incredibly hard on the spleen, which leads to damp stagnation in the body. Overscheduling and living a life in which one is always “on the go” depletes vital kidney yang. Emotional and physical stress impedes the smooth flow of liver qi. Additionally, the liver’s detoxification can be overwhelmed by the bombardment of xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen) in our daily lives, from cookware and cosmetics, to plastics and commercially-raised livestock.

At Yinfinite Wellness, we combine diet and lifestyle advice with acupuncture, herbal medicine, and supplements to help women of all ages achieve hormonal balance. This becomes even more crucial in the years leading up to menopause. What are some additional steps you can take to help your body normalize estrogen production?

  • Minimize alcohol intake — which stresses the liver — and increase your intake of foods and drinks that stimulate your liver, such as bitter greens and lemon water.
  • Adopt a diet that promotes hormone-balancing through the consumption of a large variety of vegetables, adequate protein and healthy fats.
  • Keep your bowel movements regular by incorporating enough fiber in your diet. When a patient is constipated, stool remains in the intestines for a longer period time, and leads to the reabsorption of estrogen.
  • Increase your consumption of cruciferous vegetables, which support enzymes that improve estrogen metabolism.
  • Limit your exposure to xenoestrogens found in many lotions, cosmetics, cookware, cleaning materials and processed foods.
  • Make the attempt to lose excess weight and incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Physical activity helps prevent the overproduction of estrogen.

 

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