Meet Your Estrogen! Interesting Facts when in Hormone Harmony
It comes in 3 forms:
- Estrone (the only type of estrogen after menopause, produced by the adrenals)
- Estradiol – can facilitate a balance in the bodies making and use of serotonin, thereby alleviating depressive symptoms.
- Estriol – is what rises during pregnancy, from almost zero pre-pregnancy to peaking right before delivery. It affects fetal growth and the bodies prepration for breastfeeding.
It helps our serotonin balance so it’s a feel good hormone – when it’s with us in just the right amount! That’s part of why pregnancy can feel so good – estrogen is doubled as is it’s partner progesterone.
It regulates our menstrual cycle because it stimulates our eggs to ‘drop’. There are other hormones involved in our cycle though, so when it’s ‘off’, so many factors can be effecting it. Could we ask for some simplicity please?
Our ovaries are the top producers of it, followed by adipose and adrenals.
The placenta is an additional producer of it during pregnancy.
Affects suppleness and moisture in the reproductive tract and urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and the brain.
When pregnant, it’s helps fetal organ development.
It’s a sensitive hormone. Medications, exercise, histamine (allergies), high blood pressure or diabetes and weight are some everyday things that affect its levels.
Levels of estrogen do not remain stable from day to day.
Your liver is the primary organ that breaks down and rids the body of excess estrogen (more on that below).
Estrogen is naturally out of balance after birth – virtually drops to zero along with it’s co-regulating hormone, progesterone. Hence the baby blues. And can be a factor in PPD if it doesn’t return to balance. If you are breastfeeding it stays lower (but you have more oxytocin so that improves mood).
It’s one of 18 pregnancy and post natal hormones – definitely a leading lady part. Click here for the most comprehensive info on all 18.
High estrogen builds up a ‘superoxide’ that causes increase in blood pressure. How interesting when you think about how blood pressure is watched closely during pregnancy and interestingly, after birth, because for some, estrogen remains high after birth whether breastfeeding or not.
Sometimes the progesterone levels drop after birth but estrogen stays high. It’s called estrogen dominance.
After birth, on average, by 6 months hormones have balanced themselves, even if breastfeeding.
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
When you meet your estrogen, it may be different for you than those you know. If after two to three weeks post birth you are still feeling ‘baby blues’ or an exceptional level of the list below, check in with your OB. It’s hard to know sometimes because some of these feelings are to be expected after birth. If it seems beyond bearable to you, or others are saying to you that you aren’t yourself, call that OB of yours!
Here’s the feelings:
- Disinterested in your life, or the baby.
- Low libido that isn’t “I don’t want anybody on me. Because baby is ALL the time!”
- Moody swings from happy to irritable frequently during the day.
- A gray or black low state of being.
- Gaining weight.
It is generally stated that one in seven women experience depression after birth. That’s 14.29%! Some say it’s higher than that, 25%. Point is, you are not alone. And it can be treated, sometimes with medication, sometimes in combination with therapy.
Over 30% of new mothers with postpartum depression or anxiety also had a depressive disorder or mood disorder before pregnancy and delivery, according to the Postpartum Depression Organization. That means, 70% of women who have PPD did NOT have a mental health diagnosis before pregnancy. And, just because you had a mental health diagnosis pre-pregnancy does not mean you will have PPD!
Whether or not one cruises through post partum or not, we owe it to ourselves to support hormone balancing after birth with good food and/or supplements.
SUPPORT YOUR HORMONE HARMONY AFTER BIRTH
According to the OB GYN Associates of Alabama, the necessary nutritional support is to have foods or supplements rich in magnesium, omega 3s, B Vitamins, probiotics, and liver enhancing nutrients (turmeric, vitamin C, and alpha-lipoic acid), and D3.
Check out your pre-natals – it may cover these except the probiotics. Keep taking them if necessary. Foodwise, it comes down to eating fruits and vegetables, nuts and eggs. But if you want to read more, check out these OB GYN Associates of Alabama.
Over in Arizona, the Copper State OB GYN adds to stay hydrated (breastfeeding or not) and get exercise. If that draws a “really??!!” out of you, think movement. Think gradual. Get out for walks or 5 minutes here and there throughout the day of dancing or yoga stretches.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Let people know specifically what would be of value to you. Let them know to bring some of these hormone harmonizing foods. This time in your life is full of change – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual change. If you haven’t already, start to develop your parenting team.
Keep it ALL supportive and fun as you meet your estrogen. AND, if nothing is working to help you feel better, contact your OB!
Take care now,, Natasha