How What’s In Your Gut Affects Your Hormones
Usually, when people think of balancing their hormones, they don’t necessarily think of the gut—by this I mean our intestines. But, in my years of holistic health training, the commonality was “always start with the gut!”
Newer research on our gut bacteria, collectively called the microbiome, is changing what we know about restoring health. And, in the practice I do, restoring hormone balance is key to all aspects of women’s health, from conception, periods, endometriosis, fibroids, peri-menopause, and menopause.
The base of your microbiome is cultivated from birth (how you were born makes a difference), whether you were breastfed or formula-fed, and whether you have taken antibiotics. Newer research shows that the crux of this bacterial balance is formed by the age of 3. But, along the way, our food choices, toxins we ingest, and medications (especially antibiotics and the birth control pill) affect this delicate balance.
Restoring this balance is a BIG part of restoring health.
There’s a more specific set of collective gut bacterial genes coined as the estrobolome. These produced enzymes are involved with how your body processes and detoxifies estrogens.
When there is an imbalance in the amount and type of bacterial colonies in the gut, it raises beta-glucuronidase activity in the body. This has been shown to interfere with the necessary the estrogen detoxification system in the liver.
Why does that matter?
Because how we process and detoxify our estrogen is related to multiple women’s health issues including: fibroids, endometriosis, PMS, endometrial cancers, breast cancers, heavy bleeding, and painful breasts.
What this means is that instead of your body getting rid of the estrogen that has been processed in the liver, these estrogens get recirculated in your body. This raises estrogen levels overall, and unfortunately, these are not positive estrogens. If they have gone through the first detox cycle in the liver, but not the second, they can be cancer promoting or at least raise hormonal havock. What we call estrogen dominance in the body may increase estrogen-related conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and breast cancer.
Here’s a link to a blog I wrote on Estrogen Dominance if you’d like to learn more about it:
This is serious stuff, and it’s not yet made its way into mainstream medical approaches. How do I know? I helped a dear loved one through a diagnosis of breast cancer that was found to be estrogen related. I had her do estrogen-metabolite testing (done via urine to check how the body is processing/detoxifying estrogen), and found one of her root causes in that test. She is not detoxifying her estrogens correctly. I had her bring this to her oncologist, who just dismissed it and said, the cancer is just related to your age!! WHAT??!!
I did the hormone testing as well and found I have a missing component to take care of my “ugly” estrogens—the ones that can potentially cause cancer. This is important stuff and not one I am going to dismiss!!!
SO, how do you know if you have issues with your gut bacteria?
Your body usually gives you some signals. These come in the form of symptoms:
Here are some possible symptoms of gut dysbiosis (the technical name for an imbalance of gut bacteria):
- Frequent gas or bloating
- Brain Fog
- Loose stool, diarrhea, constipation, or a combination
- Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Fatigue/Lack of Energy
- Sinus congestion
- Getting sick frequently
- Difficulty losing weight
What can I do about it?
The basics are to start with FOOD intake. This means looking at food sensitivities, eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and reducing irritants in your system. Dairy foods, sugar and gluten are some of the most common offenders. It is also necessary to aid the detoxification systems of the body, focusing on the liver and bowel.
It can be confusing to figure this out on your own. I have more information coming your way so stay tuned!