So you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis or fibroids, and you’re about to get your dreaded period, again. Another week of nausea. Another week of headaches, moodiness, and that heavy, bearing down sensation you can’t really describe. And the cramps. Oh, the cramps. And the clots! Ugh. Just a terrible week that nobody fully understands.
“Sorry babe,” says your partner and “Oh I know, my period is awful too,” say your friends, but do they really have any idea what it’s like living with this condition?
I’ve worked with quite a few women with endometriosis and fibroids, among many other women’s imbalances, and I know how much it can affect your daily life, physical and even mental health, especially around period time.
Both of these conditions have something in common: the overgrowth of uterine tissue: the endometrial lining in the case endometriosis, and the muscle layer in the case of fibroids. They’re also hormonally responsive, meaning the tissue grows in the presence of certain hormones, namely estrogen.
An imbalance in which estrogen is the dominant hormone and is not checked by its partner hormone progesterone is known as “estrogen dominance”.
Estrogen is a growth hormone. It’s not problematic by itself, it’s *not* an enemy. We need estrogen to grow the endometrial lining and ripen follicles for ovulation, among other things. Yet when estrogen is unchecked by progesterone, it becomes “dominant” and can wreak havoc on your whole system.
Some typical symptoms of estrogen dominance are acne and oily skin, difficulty losing weight, especially around the hips and belly, irregular or absent periods, clots in the period, anger and premenstrual mood imbalances, premenstrual breast tenderness and swelling, fatigue and sleep issues. And, you guessed it: endometriosis and fibroids.
When balancing this condition, it’s super important to focus on 2 main things: liver and bowel detox of excess hormones, and stress. This is because the liver easily gets clogged up by excess hormones and slows down the detox function of the bowels, allowing buildup of estrogen. Stress then robs the adrenals of progesterone, leading to a relative deficiency and worsening the balance of estrogen to progesterone.
There are a lot of factors that go into balancing a situation like this, and each case is unique. There’s tons you can do on your own, and if you need professional guidance, I always prefer someone who looks at you from a holistic perspective, taking into account nutrition, lifestyle and your overall constitution.