Could we have finally found the missing link when it comes to hormone imbalance? You know the symptoms – weight again, bloating, anxiety, insomnia, depression, missing periods, PMS, acne… oh the list! It keeps on going and then some. Almost every single woman that I cross paths with, be it in the clinic or on the street shows some form of hormone imbalance. It’s an epidemic to say the least – we are all feeling the brunt of it, certainly me included.
I love so very much that ‘we’ continue to learn little clues about the human body that blow our minds – but actually it’s a little bitter sweet. For everything we know, there are still huge gaps. And just when we think we really understand something, there is another scientific advance that breaks all the rules and has us going back to the drawing board. For me, over the past decade I’ve watched on, researching, constantly reading, constantly feeling a little inadequate (truth bomb!), but also finding comfort in my (short) life experience thus far. 12 years in the field doesn’t necessarily have me knowing it all, but it at least has me knowing some key things that are really driving women’s (and men’s) hormones completely wild.
For me, there are always gaps. Holes that I try and make sense of. And what science is finding in the field of women’s health and hormones, medicine is still quite a bit behind. After all we’re still using the pill to ‘balance’ hormones – a not-so-effective treatment option because it can never actually fix or balance hormones. We still dig in and remove the evidence of hormone imbalance in the case of endometriosis without giving any thought to what’s causing it. These treatments are ineffective at addressing the root cause – what they may do in many cases is offer some much needed relief, but sadly they can never balance our hormones. In fact it may do quite the opposite. We must look at the whole picture if we really want to make inroads with our health and our hormones.
That brings me to Estrobolome – perhaps the missing factor from your hormone balancing treatment. Whilst it sounds like something you’d drive your car around and top speed, Estrobolome is far from it. Although once you start treating it, you might feel like you could run faster than a car around an aerodrome! As we’ve learnt, there are so many contributing factors as to what may be driving your hormone imbalance – diet, lifestyle, environment, habits, genetics, emotions, stress, liver detoxification to name the most common, and these factors must continue to be considered. But what is driving your hormones in your external environment and the actual systematic environment isn’t necessarily one and the same. What’s driving your imbalance and what’s missing fundamentally are two separate issues – and equally important to address.
If you’ve been suffering from oestrogen dominance, or you have tried everything under the moon to attempt to re-balance your hormones but you still bloat like there’s no tomorrow (you can’t even sniff bread), and your skinny jeans have sat in your wardrobe for years now, it’s time to dive in.
Estrobolome may be the integral part of all of your hormone problems and provide the all-important link between your hormone issues and your gut health. Much of this came about due to Claudia Plottell (MD), an associate professor, and her team at the New York University, who have studied the relationship between the presence of oestrogen and the microbiome and specifically how those exposed to carcinogens or those who are genetically predisposed may or may not develop cancer. They suggested that oestrogen-metabolising microbes may contribute to the development of oestrogen-related cancers, helping to further unravel the mystery around the ‘why’ of such cancers. But most interestingly (for us exploring hormone imbalance at least), they focused greatly on the estrobolome – that is a complete set of genes found in these microbes which code enzymes that allow us to metabolise oestrogen within our gut.
Confused? Keep reading…
The missing piece of the puzzle – it’s all about how our gut is able (or unable) to utilise oestrogen within our body.
The estrobolome controls the circulation of oestrogen in the liver, which has a knock on effect – regulating how much oestrogen is circulating in the entire body. Makes sense right – if we can’t metabolise oestrogen, the pile only gets bigger, becoming more dangers and leading to a host of illnesses.
Much of the research around estrobolome is centred around breast cancer, which is wonderful since we know that breast cancers and many reproductive disorders develop in the presence of excess oestrogen.
Researchers also suggested that, “If the estrogen metabolism–gut microbiome axis is functional with underlying individual variations in estrogen levels, it is plausible that the estrobolome could contribute to the risk of hormone-driven malignancies including breast cancer…..”, adding that “interventions that may include use of prebiotics, probiotics, or antimicrobial agents could be designed specifically to target gut bacterial species.” They suggested that these therapies may very much become part of the treatment in these cases. (1)
So what does this mean for you? It means that your gut health is just as important now as ever.
Where do we start?
Here’s the tricky part. For many with hormone imbalance, it’s come about as a result of our diet, lifestyle and environment – past or present. Remember how I just mentioned the pill isn’t exactly a treatment that can ‘fix’ your issues? Well the problem widens when we recognise that the pill (actually all synthetic hormone contraception methods for that matter), medications especially antibiotics, stress and our environment all influence a healthy gut. Am I saying throw away your pill packet? No, that would be dangerous, but it may be time to consider your situation. Are your medications masking the bigger problem? Do they actually treat the problem or just attempt to improve on your symptoms? It’s time to reassess and get educated and make informed choices. If you’re on the pill to fix your hormones, I’m here to say – there is another way!
Food As Medicine
Start looking after your gut if you aren’t already. Probiotic-rich foods are just as effective, if not more so, than their sister supplements. Get busy – make up some fermented veggies and have them on hand. Slowly but surely is key, otherwise your gut will feel like it’s been hit by an army of invaders (which is literally what is happening!). Prebiotic foods are of equal importance – those foods are things like slippery elm, asparagus, onion, beans and more. They go on to help the bacteria go to work. Whilst this might be taking care of what we are putting in, we need to be mindful of what else is entering our digestive systems that works against all the goodness that probiotics create. Consider keeping inflammatory foods like gluten, sugar and dairy on the low down. They are super difficult to digest and can or may really slow down the gut recovery process.
I’m told that addressing the gut can take up to 16 months to fully recover – and that’s in a perfect world without anything else impacting the body like medications, stress or a poor environment. All of these things come along with being a human being. So rather than setting the clock and watching the moths tick by as you prepare for your ‘glory day’ of the perfect gut, see it as something you need to continue to ‘top up’ for the rest of your days, much like vitamin D or iron or any other vitamin and mineral for that matter. Our bodies don’t make these things, we need to constantly be adding to the mix for good health.
Now I’m sure you want MORE! Next month, our membership webinar will cover all things OESTROGEN and how you can tame that bad girl running rampant in your body – we’ll dig deep into esterobolome. But if you join TODAY, you will get access to not only next month’s webinar, but THIS MONTH TOO! This month we dug into stress – and as you’ve just read above, it’s a key player in hormone imbalance. Not only does my membership include access to these webinars, but each month we bring you more goodies like exclusive radio shows, beautiful (and also exclusive) artwork, a place for you to chat with myself and others about your health, ongoing discounts, first dibs on all things ‘Kringoudis’ and much more! Please join us! You can learn more here.