Ms. Estrogen is childlike in her exuberance for making things happen. She has little awareness of the effect of her actions. She is happy just to be doing something – anything. This is where big sister Progesterone comes in. Progesterone follows Estrogen around and tidies up after her, creating order out of chaos. When Estrogen goes to the beach she makes a big sand castle which is a blob. It’s up to Progesterone to define the doors, windows, turrets and moat.
These sisters depend on each other. Estrogen feels insecure without boundaries and gets herself into trouble with her friends and family because of her impulsiveness and lack of consideration. She tends to blame everybody else for life’s problems without being able to put a brake on herself. She needs Progesterone to put things in perspective.
Progesterone is able to be rational and creative in a constructive way, but she can’t do this on her own. She needs Estrogen to put the big blob of sand there before she can start shaping it. Estrogen grows in any direction, Progesterone defines the type of growth. Estrogen makes body cells grow and keep growing. Progesterone tells them to die off at the right time and let new ones take their place.
The first half of the female menstrual cycle is dominated by Estrogen who grows the lining of the uterus for implantation by an embryo and builds receptors for Progesterone. The second half of the menstrual cycle is dominated by Progesterone who either supports a pregnancy or allows the menstrual period to flow. If the hormonal balance is wrong then various problems occur. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is quite common and refers to anything unpleasant that occurs regularly before and during the period each month.
PMS can occur when there is not enough Progesterone in the second half of the cycle – from ovulation (around day 14) to the menstrual blood flow (day 1) or not enough Estrogen in the first half -from bleeding (day 1) to ovulation (day 14).
Whilst women have these 2 hormones in or out of balance, men have just one, Mr. Testosterone. Life is a bit easier for Mr. Testosterone in this way. With only one sex hormone to contend with, he tends to be steadier. Testosterone has a calming, loving protective nature. He does well when he feels his love returned. He can find it very confusing when Ms. E and Ms. P are not in balance and his confusion and feelings of rejection can turn to anger. A mature Mr. T can recognise the symptoms of PMS and use his calming, loving influence to advantage until things right themselves with the flow of blood.
In a lesbian relationship, things can be more difficult if both women have PMS at the same time. On the other hand there can be more understanding of a direct nature.
More about Estrogen
Once upon a time on a church steeple, I saw a large and lofty piece of graffiti. It said “Eve was framed”. I sometimes think I would like to write a similar graffiti somewhere which says “Estrogen has been framed”.
Estrogen is probably the most complicated of hormones and very important being in charge of reproduction and the survival of the species. She herself is not just one hormone. There are 3 different types. We call them E1, E2 and E3.
E1 on its way out of the body goes down 3 different pathways:
These last 2 when they dominate can change things in such a way that hormonal cancers grow.
They dominate under the influence of plastics, pesticides, BPAs. These environmental Estrogen disruptors and a diet low in important nutrients found in whole foods are the problem – not our precious Estrogen. GM foods that allow “Round Up” to be used in agriculture without destroying the crops are dangerous. “Round Up” or glyphosate, we were told broke down quickly in the environment. No, it is in the rain, the rivers, the soils and our bodies. It is an Estrogen disruptor. The World Health Organisation produced a report in 2012 that pointed to an excess of 800 Estrogen mimickers in the environment.
Health professionals are in a difficult position being asked to return people to health when it is our environment and our lifestyle that is contributing to so many of our problems. If it is too expensive to buy organic food, then somehow we must find a way to grow our own. We must eat whole clean foods that are rich in nutrients and not wrapped in plastic.
Testosterone and Estrogen
Men make Estrogen out of their testosterone and are also vulnerable to the Estrogen disruptors. As men age and when they have not enough zinc they tend to make more Estrogen. When women have stopped having periods they tend to have less Estrogen than men.
Treatments for Hormonal Imbalance and Deficiency
When people have health issues that seem likely to be, at least in part, due to hormonal issues we can do tests to determine the levels of hormones. If we find that Progesterone is deficient in the second half of the menstrual cycle we can treat the deficiency using Progesterone in the same form that the body makes it. This is natural Progesterone and works as described above to keep Estrogen in control.
We can also measure the different types of Estrogen (this test is not government funded) and adjust the diet to aid the production of the healthier types of Estrogen.
When our ovaries stop making eggs and our periods stop, usually around the age of 50, our Estrogen levels are then much lower than we have been used to. This is a shock which is experienced as hot flushes and other unpleasant symptoms. which can be debilitating at a time of life when women often have important responsibilities.
· Estrogen can be used in a form that is the same as the healthy Estrogens and balanced with Progesterone. This has been shown to be safe and effective.
· Estrogen and Progesterone can be taken in the “bio-identical” form safely into “old age” with a view to having a healthier old age.
· Estrogen helps to protect against dementia, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease etc. Estrogen is also associated with happiness.
I have told this story in a way that is hopefully easy to understand without losing accuracy.
Dr. Tessa Jones