Meet Estrogen! She’s a friend of mine who is given a bad rep. Misinformation about female hormones has us believe that these amazing molecules make us irrational, unpredictable, and moody… but I’ll let you in on a little secret: anyone who really knows estrogen is probably jealous of her because she is actually so beautiful and charming!
There are three types of estrogen, but the kind we’re talking about is Estradiol, because that’s what is the hormone that is dominant during our reproductive years and one of the hormones that controls our cycle.
How Estrogen Works During Your Cycle
After your period, you enter the “follicular phase.” Your hypothalamus (which is in your brain) tells your pituitary gland to release follicle stimulating hormone or FSH. FSH signals your ovaries to begin producing estrogen. When this occurs, estrogen begins to rise day by day. Along with it, your mood and energy rises. This happens because estrogen is activating the serotonin and dopamine receptors in your brain! Serotonin makes you feel happy and reduces anxiety, while dopamine acts as the “reward hormone” to help get you motivated.
When your hypothalamus tells your pituitary gland to release Luteinizing Hormone (LH), an egg then matures and is released, so LH and estrogen make ovulation possible.
After ovulation, your estrogen begins to decline day by day and doesn’t rise again until your next follicular phase!
That Estrogen Glow Though!
We know that estrogen plays a critical role for the reproductive system, but remember: hormones are messengers, so they ALWAYS ping in other important functions and affect other parts of the body!
Like I mentioned above, estrogen activates your “happy hormones” to give you a mood boost and that “it’s all good, girl” vibe that we all love to feel.
Estrogen lights up the communication and social centers of your brain! During ovulation, your communication and fine motor skills are the most fine tuned and eloquent they’ll be all month long, which makes you an amazing, irresistible communicator. Estrogen encourages your insulin sensitivity, which is great for your metabolism and reducing cravings. You burn fat and carbs well when estrogen is present! Estrogen increases collagen in your skin and gives you a gorgeous, rosy glow! Estrogen fights off wrinkles and can be great for naturally fighting hormonal acne-- notice that most hormonal acne flares up after ovulation, not during. During ovulation, testosterone also spikes. Together, estrogen and testosterone team up to make you stronger, faster, and more motivated than ever! This is amazing for building lean muscle in the gym or hitting a new PR if you’re an athlete!
What Happens If Estrogen Gets Too High or My Body Doesn't Metabolize It Correctly?
After ovulation, your body has to properly metabolize estrogen. If it doesn’t, this can lead to estrogen dominance symptoms-- which include mood swings, depression, hormonal headaches, cramps, breast tenderness, and heavy bleeding.
In order for your body to metabolize estrogen, three things have to happen:
Your liver has to begin cleansing your estrogen.
Your enzymes have to neutralize your estrogen so it doesn’t go down a dangerous pathway.
You have to excrete your excess estrogen when you go to the bathroom.
That means that things like alcohol, caffeine, excess sugar, medications (including acetaminophen, found in Tylenol & Midol), certain environmental chemicals, lack of zinc, lack of magnesium, gut infections, and dehydration can interfere with your estrogen metabolization.
As you master your hormones, you'll be able to feel the effects of estrogen-- both when she's working her magic and if you're experiencing estrogen dominance issues later (including PMS). These are all clues your body is giving you so that you can learn to take care of your health!
If you LOVE health and fitness, but you’re still experiencing signs of PMS and want to make lifestyle-based changes that increase your happiness and before your period, curb those hormonal headaches, clear your skin, avoid period pain, and have a better cycle, then my High-Performance Women’s Wellness Program might be the perfect next step for you! Book a free 45-minute Discovery Call to learn more!