What Women MUST Know About Their Hormones

by Sherrill Sellman, author of Hormone Heresy: What Women MUST Know About Their Hormones
GetWell International, 1998

Hormones are very powerful substances. Begin tampering with nature's finely tuned messengers of life's processes and you are asking for trouble. A woman's physiology and psyche are intimately connected to her monthly flow of hormones. Hormones stimulate, regulate and control all vital bodily functions.

The two main sex hormones in a woman's body are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen actually refers to a class of hormones. The key estrogens are estradiol, estrone and estriol. These estrogens are produced mainly in the ovaries although small quantities are secreted from the adrenal glands, the placenta during pregnancy and in fat cells.

However, progesterone is both the name of the class and the single member of the class. What is little known is that progesterone is the precursor hormone from which estrogen, testosterone and the adrenal cortical hormones are made. Unlike natural progesterone, synthetic progestins, such as Provera, have serious side-effects including strokes, blood clots, fluid-retention, and depression.

At menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels decline but they do not cease to be produced. Estrogen levels drop only 40-60 percent. Contrary to popular belief, the ovaries do not shrivel up nor do they cease functioning. The part of the ovary that shrinks is known as the theca, the outermost covering where the eggs grow and develop. The inner stroma, the innermost part of the ovary, actually becomes active at menopause for the first time. With exquisite timing one function starts up as the other winds down.

Nature's wisdom has designed the female body to make healthy and symptoms-free adjustments in hormonal balance. The appearance of menopausal symptoms is more indications of imbalance than an inevitable decline in health. By incorporating a healthy diet, proper nutrition and positive lifestyle changes, symptoms of hormonal imbalance can quickly disappear.

What is coming to light, however, is the fact many women actually have an "estrogen dominance syndrome" It is being discovered that Western women are, in fact, suffering from the effects of too much estrogen.

Stress, nutritional deficiencies, hormones in meat and dairy products, environmental estrogenic-mimics in pesticides, herbicides and plastics and the widespread use of the Pill and HRT have contributed to some of the highest levels of estrogen ever recorded in women's bodies.

The following are a list of symptoms that can be caused or made worse by estrogen dominance: acceleration of the aging process, allergies, breast tenderness, decreased sex drive, depression, fatigue, hair thinning, excessive facial hair, fibro cystic breasts, foggy thinking, headaches, hypoglycaemia, increased blood clotting increasing risk of strokes) infertility, irritability, memory loss, miscarriage, osteoporosis, pre menopausal bone loss, PMS, thyroid dysfunction mimicking hypothyroidism, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, water retention, bloating, fat gain (especially around the abdomen, hips and thighs), gall bladder disease and auto immune disorders such as lupus .

Research is now revealing that the ovary at peri-menopause is more active than it has been since adolescence. The peri-menopausal ovary produces erratic and excess levels of estrogen, with unpredictable moods, heavy flow, hot flashes and mucous symptoms that appear suddenly and unexpectedly. The many symptoms that women experience during the peri-menopause years such as weight gain, irrational hunger, increased migraines, heavy periods, worsening endometriosis, breast swelling ( with pain or lumps), new or growing fibroids, new or increasing PMS, pelvic pain and uterine cramps are caused, not from estrogen deficiency, but by high, fluctuating levels of estrogen. The older women not only had higher levels of estrogen but also had lower levels of progesterone. Using a natural source of progesterone, found in natural progesterone creams, can alleviate if not eliminate most estrogen dominant symptoms.

It is indeed time for women to take even greater responsibility for their health, to ask poignant questions of health providers, to demand answers and to be willing to investigate safe and effective alternatives. It is up to every woman to regain the trust of her natural instincts and learn about the wonders of her own body. After all, nature has fully prepared every woman to journey though all the stages of her life safely, effortlessly and naturally.

About the author:
SHERRILL SELLMAN is a psychotherapist, lecturer, and Women's Health Educator. Sherrill writes for health magazines in over 12 different countries and presents public and corporate lectures and trainings in Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, and England. Sherrill offers a Hormonal Balancing Coaching Program by phone consultation at (918) 437-1058. For further info visit www.ssellman.com or email golight@earthlink.net.