Over the last two week we have been looking at PMS and have discussed progesterone and androgens. This week I am going to take a look at the third hormone involved with the cycle – oestrogen.
Oestrogen is very important to the proper functioning of the cycle and is very much involved with ovulation. Falling oestrogen levels could therefore mean that periods become lighter, more erratic and could even go missing for a month or so.
Oestrogen also has a huge impact on the mood as it actually has natural anti depressant activity. Low oestrogen could therefore be indicated by your mood dropping suddenly during your cycle or before your period. If you suddenly feel inexplicably low, tearful or depressive – ask yourself could you have just ovulated or are you due on – if the answer to either (or even both) of these questions is yes, your falling oestrogen levels could be at the root of it.
It is often thought that dropping oestrogen levels signal that a woman could be pre menopausal, but whilst this may often be the case, these problems may also occur earlier in life as well.
As well as lighter, more erratic periods and low moods, the following issues could also indicate lower oestrogen levels being involved with your hormonal problems – vaginal discomfort, dryness, soreness and itching – without thrush, thinning skin, painful or tender joints, increased body temperature, sweats and also problems with urinary continence.
It is often suggested that when oestrogen levels are low natural remedies which contain plant oestrogens could offer relief from uncomfortable symptoms. We should be clear here though – plants do not actually contain any oestrogen, they contain substances known as isoflavones, which have a similar chemical make-up to the oestrogen in your body.
What this means is that taking a plant which contains isoflavones could actually ‘con’ your body into thinking that your oestrogen levels are higher than they are and therefore reduce some of the symptoms associated with low oestrogen levels.
Possibly the most well known plant oestrogens are Soya Isoflavones. However, it is worth noting here not all soya products are equal.
As soya needs to be fermented in order to ‘activate’ its oestrogenic action, just taking a plain soya product or eating soya rich foods may not provide the benefits you seek.
If you want to try plant oestrogens to see if they could be helpful look for a soya product which has already been fermented, such as Vogel’s Menosan Menopause Support.
This is relevant, even if you are not menopausal, if you think you may have low oestrogen.