Most Common Female Hormone Imbalances Part 1

Female health is something I am extremely passionate about. I feel that women are underserved in too many areas (work, healthcare, etc.) and things need to change. I am part of that change and I couldn’t be more proud.

One major area that women are underserved in is understanding their bodies–specifically their cycles and hormones. The female body is amazing. It is cyclical in nature and follows a beautiful pattern of hormones that fluctuate throughout the month.

What I love most about the female body is that it is delicate and intentional while also being resilient. It takes time for the imbalances below to occur because our bodies want to be in balance and will try to compensate in other areas, but eventually imbalances can occur.

I share symptoms and signs that you may have these and the recommended testing you can do. I will be sharing a part 2 on how to fix these imbalances so look out for that!

Female Hormone Imbalances

Below are the 4 most common imbalances.

 

Estrogen Dominance

What is estrogen dominance? It’s when our estrogen is higher than our progesterone. That’s right, we are talking ratios not just overall estrogen levels.

You can have low hormone levels and still experience estrogen dominance. We need estrogen, it’s not a bad thing. But like most things too much of it can be problematic. 

Estrogen should be dominant in the 1st two weeks of menstrual cycle, but then is balanced with progesterone during second half.

Common Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance:

  • Increased PMS symptoms
  • Mood swings
  • Breast tenderness and/or fibrocystic breasts
  • Fat gain around hips and thighs
  • Menstrual migraines or headaches, especially right around your period
  • Irritability or depressed mood
  • Hair loss
  • Brain fog
  • Acne (especially cystic)

It is also important to note that not everyone will experience these symptoms meaning estrogen dominance could be an issue for you, but you won’t truly know until you test. I recommend the DUTCH test. 

Root Causes of Estrogen Dominance:

  • Not ovulating (can happen with PCOS, hormonal birth control, amenorrhea–not getting your period)
  • Hormonal birth control usage (the pill, hormonal IUDs)
  • Poor liver detoxification
  • Gut dysfunction/constipation/low fiber diet AKA not pooping every day- estrogen is excreted in bowels
  • Hormone disrupting chemicals (toxic personal care products, plastic, water, conventional meat, etc)
  • Chronic stress (typically lowers progesterone and can create estrogen dominance)
  • Inflammation
  • PCOS
  • Endometriosis
  • High androgens (male hormones can be converted to estrogen by an enzyme in the body)
  • Excessive body fat—gives off more estrogen
  • Xenoestrogens in your environment: toxic compounds in personal care, cleaning, plastics, etc. that mimic estrogen in the body

High Androgens (Male Hormones)

Androgens are male hormones but I’m still including them here because they are an important part of female hormone balance and health. We need male hormones like testosterone but the key is to have it in the right amount.

I see high androgens most often in women with PCOS and women that recently got off hormonal birth control.

Common Symptoms of High Androgens:

  • Acne
  • Excessive hair growth (facial, nipples, chin, abdomen)
  • Oily skin
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Lack of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • Hair loss
  • Enlarged clitoris
  • Decreased breast size
  • Deepening of voice
  • Low libido

Root Causes of High Androgens:

  • Post Birth Control Syndrome: it’s common for androgens to increase after getting off the pill
  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
  • Hirsutism: a hormonal condition where there is an imbalance in androgens (male hormones) that can cause excessive hair growth. It has been shown to be genetic.
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: Dysfunction in the adrenal glands that impacts hormones, specifically causing the body to overproduce androgens.

Low Progesterone

Another common female hormone imbalance is low progesterone. This is often what causes estrogen dominance since low progesterone makes a normal (or even low) estrogen level appear high in the body. It’s all about that delicate hormone balance.

Progesterone increases the second half of our cycle and reaches its highest point during ovulation. It’s main job is to get your uterus ready for pregnancy by thickening the uterine lining to prepare for the fertilized egg. If the egg doesn’t get fertilized by sperm then your progesterone levels drop and boom–menstruation!

Common Symptoms of Low Progesterone

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Mood changes–especially anxiety or depression
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Spotting prior to your period
  • Miscarriages
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Hot flashes
  • Low libido
  • Insomnia
  • Bloating
  • Uterine fibroids

Root Causes of Low Progesterone

  • Hormonal birth control use
  • Not ovulating
  • Excessive stress
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Ovary dysfunction
  • Menopause
  • Xenoestrogens

Low Estrogen

We don’t want estrogen to be high but we definitely need enough in order to feel our best. Estrogen is an important hormone. It controls the growth of our uterine lining, is important for healthy bones,

It’s easy to have too much estrogen but low estrogen is also extremely common.

Common Symptoms of Low Estrogen

  • Irregular periods
  • Painful sex (due to vaginal dryness)
  • Hot flashes or Night sweats
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Low libido
  • Breast tenderness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue

Root Causes of Low Estrogen

  • Excessive exercise
  • Under eating
  • Poor pituitary function
  • Turner syndrome
  • Premature failure of the ovaries
  • Poor liver or kidney health

 

As you can see, many of the imbalances have common symptoms. That’s why I recommend testing your hormones instead of guessing. You can learn all about how to create a Body in Balance with this program and even get your hormones tested and work with two female health experts.

 

Do you want to learn about how to support healthy hormones? Join the Balanced Babe Community and gain access to tons of free videos all about female health.

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