Women's Physiology is often light-heartedly compared to a machine. Target one or two switches manipulating serum or saliva hormones oestrogen and progesterone with plant compounds either gives no or only partial effect.
One reason why honing in on serum hormone levels and attempting to lower or raise them based on tests, may not be entirely effective.
Adjusting hormones can still have a use in practice but it's only part of the puzzle. Studies show that tissue concentration of oestrogen do not correlate with serum levels. For example menopausal women have lower serum oestrogen levels the premenopausal women. However, when measuring breast tissue levels there is no difference in oestrogen concentration.
To ensure good health beyond the reproductive years, it has been proposed that the adrenals maintain adequate DHEA secretion in an effort to counter the oestrogen production decline. Peripheral tissue have enzymes that can synthesise oestrogen from DHEA.
Although every menopausal women has a decline in oestrogen, not all present with symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats.
We need to aim in maintaining healthy DHEA levels throughout life to allow oestrogen to be converted in the tissue.
But, during the peri-menopausal period there are several instances where these processes are problematic and increased levels of oestrogen is synthesised in the tissue. Inflammation appears to be promoting enzymes that increase oestrogen.
These hormonal imbalances need addressing from multiple angles. If inflammation is the key driver than natural anti-inflammatories is an effective treatment strategy. Sometimes oestrogen clearance is needed conjugating oestrogen into water-soluble compound to be excreted.
Even dysbiotic bacteria can increase an enzyme (beta-glucuronidase) and thus raise systemic oestrogen levels. Normally seen in patients consuming a high fat diet.
Toxicity and heavy metals can also cause hormonal imbalances. Female hormonal conditions need to be addressed looking at a wide variety of mediators. What are your triggers?