If you suffer from period pain, sore breasts, mood swings and bloating around your cycle, then most probably your hormones are out of balance, and your liver's not feeling too hot. Here’s why:
Your liver does for your body what a pool filter does in a pool. Instead of catching leaves, dirt and insects in a pool, your liver detoxifies and rids our bodies from harmful chemicals and toxins found in food and our environment. This process happens in two phases and requires certain vitamins and minerals to do it effectively. Too much booze, drugs (illegal and legal – pain killers have to be processed by your liver too), pesticides in foods, chemicals and environmental pollution, and too few nutrients can cause your busy liver to get really bogged under. It ends up working day and night to remove these excess toxins instead of doing it’s intended jobs in the body such as:
- Breaking down and removing excess hormones like oestrogen from your body. We need oestrogen to build the uterine lining, keep our vagina’s lubricated and even help keep our mood and energy elevated. If your liver isn’t able to properly break down & eliminate oestrogen at the normal rate, then it eventually gets reabsorbed back into the body which can cause PMS symptoms along with lots of other issues.
- Even if the liver is kinda doing it’s job, constipation from low fibre intake brings it to a whole other level. Fiber increases the expulsion of excess oestrogen so if you’re not getting enough and your bowels aren’t moving at least once daily, then that oestrogen is building up & getting back into the bloodstream. Messing up your hormone balance all over again.
- On top of all this, if you are consuming a pretty average diet with too much fat, your oestrogen levels may go up. The reason for this is that excess dietary fat encourages reabsorption of oestrogen from your gut into your blood stream rather than excreting this excess oestrogen.
These factors contribute to what’s known as ‘oestrogen dominance’ where its balance with progesterone is all out of whack, and this can cause lots of unpleasant symptoms like:
PMS & PMDD – period pain and especially emotional symptoms like anxiety, depression and snappiness
Headaches and migraines, especially right before your period
Irregular periods and heavy bleeding
Endometriosis – from an overstimulation of the uterine lining by too much oestrogen
Fibroids – similar to how endometriosis begins
Infertility – caused by many of the symptoms above
Other things that contribute to the condition of 'oestrogen dominance’:
Stress: Chronic stress can create chronically high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) which throw the oestrogen/progesterone balance out of kilter.
Xenoestrogens: These are synthetic chemicals that mimic oestrogen. They are found in plastics, and many many other products that we use in everyday life. We live in a pretty toxic world. Did you know there are over 80,000 chemicals currently on the market and the majority of them have not been tested for safety, much less proven safe. Xenoestrogens act like oestrogen in the body making it think you’ve got more 0estrogen than you do. They wreak havoc on your delicate hormonal balance. BPA and phthalates are two of the worst offenders. Read more about how to live without them here: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/index.cfm Alcohol: Do you know that alcohol consumption raises oestrogen levels and slows down fat burning? Not cool! Just two servings a day for four weeks has been shown to raise oestrogen levels by 22 percent!
Here are 4 of my top tips if you think you have hormone imbalance:
Get that fiber in - it works. It has been proven that women who eat more fiber have lower levels of circulating estrogen to wreak havoc inside your body. Aim for 25 grams of fiber a day into your diet. What does 25 grams of fiber look like? 1 apple-5 grams, 1 pear-4 grams, 1/2 cup of kidney beans-6 grams, 1 cup of brown rice-4 grams, 1 cup of mustard or collard greens-5 grams. That’s 24 grams of fiber! So easy right?
Cut back on booze. Alcohol impairs your liver’s functioning so much that circulating oestrogen levels increase significantly with just two drinks a day. If you are struggling with any of the oestrogen dominance issues above then reducing the amount of alcohol you drink could really help. The same goes for the men in your life. Liver impairment caused by too much alcohol can cause a condition called gynocomastia (man boobs), which is characterized by enlarged breasts in men.
Decrease exposure to Xenoestrogens. PCB’s, pesticides, chlorine, you name it; they all affect us. And let’s not talk about the ingredients in shampoo, body lotion and makeup. There are some serious offenders out there. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to find out how your products rate. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ Start swapping your toxic products for more natural options - your body will love you for it.
Eat foods that boost and cleanse the liver. Dandelion greens & rocket contain many compounds that aid in the cleansing of the liver. Upping my greens game was the best thing I ever did & personally I don’t even notice my cycle come & go now & i put that down to eating a few portions of leafy greens a day. Avocados also protect the liver against toxic overload and turmeric has been found to protect the liver against toxins. In fact, turmeric is one of the most powerful liver cleansers around.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful, but if you need further in depth professional advice about this or any other topic, then please get in touch to book an appointment today. I look forward to meeting with you soon!