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Hormone Balance for Cycling Females

If you're having problems with PMS, including heavy bleeding, bloating, short or long cycles, clotting, menstrual pain, and headaches, read through this article. It can help you feel better.

Balance Female Hormones with Standard Process and Mediherb
Female hormone balance with Standard Process and Mediherb

IIn our lifetime, our hormone levels oscillate up and down in sync with our menstrual cycles. This is a natural process to regulate fertility, so we can conceive children if we want to.

The menstrual cycle begins with menstruation, the shedding of the uterine lining. During this time of the month, the levels of estrogen and progesterone are low, which causes the thickened top layer of the uterus to break down and be shed as menstrual bleeding occurs.

Luteinizing hormone (LH) and Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are released by your pituitary gland in your brain, stimulating the release and development of several follicles in the ovaries. Each follicle contains an egg. This follicle produces estrogen. Estrogen levels increase steadily should be dominant in the first part of the cycle. Estrogen levels remain high during the first half of the menstrual cycle, causing the lining of the uterus to thicken more in preparation for possible fertilization.

After the egg is released, the ruptured follicle closes and forms a corpus luteum, which produces progesterone. Progesterone should be dominant in the second half of the cycle to prepare the egg for fertilization. 

If the egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum degenerates and no longer produces progesterone. Your estrogen level decreases, the top layers of the lining break down and are shed, and menstrual bleeding occurs (the start of a new menstrual cycle).

Stress, blood sugar imbalances, xenochemicals and other factors can really mess things up! Too much or too little of LH, FSH, Estrogen and Progesterone confuse the body's organs and result in PMS and related female problems.

While our hormones wildly fluctuate, we are also required to go about our daily lives feeling fine and even being productive in our daily lives.Stress, bad dietary habits, tons of chemicals in our environment that disrupt these hormones, nutrient deficiencies, and resulting tired organs compound and cause a vicious cycle of highs and lows as they compensate for one another.

Chaste Tree for PMS

PMS is not funny... PERIOD

Ovarian hormones (estrogen & progesterone) rise and fall in a complex pattern throughout the monthly cycle. The hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries all affect each other by releasing various kinds of hormones that change over time.

To truly understand what is happening throughout your cycle, you gotta test the free hormones (that are not bound and cannot be utilized by the body).

Unfortunately, the unique physiology of cycling women is not addressed in conventional hormone evaluation, which only almost comically measures estrogen, progesterone and their metabolites only once per month! This can lead to misleading results.

When in doubt, test your free hormones!

The only way to comprehensively evaluate the interplay of complex hormone interactions in cycling women is through multiple-sample testing (we like DiagnosTech Labs eleven sample saliva test) of pituitary, adrenal and ovarian hormones that measures key hormone moments of free hormones throughout the cycle.

PMS, heavy bleeding, clotting, menstrual pain, migraines, ovarian cysts, PCOS, fibroids, etc. can be tracked back to hormone deficiency (i.e. a lack of progesterone) or excess (i.e. estrogen).

Obviously, if women are never tested properly, the hormonal imbalances that underlie these problems would never be revealed.

When women are tested comprehensively (with multiple samples including pituitary hormones), imbalances in several common female hormones can be routinely detected and treated using supplements and herbs by improving EFA intake, hormone clearance through the liver, stress response improvement—and hypothalamus and pituitary signaling. 2,3

Hormone Balance for mental health

Estrogen dominance - a good place to start looking

Estrogen is responsible for many of the changes that occur during puberty. It also plays a key role in sexual development and the menstrual cycle.

Estrogen levels decline at menopause and imbalances of progesterone, cortisol and estrogen may lead to symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness.

Estrogen Dominance can cause health issues if not addressed for both cycling and menopausal women. 

Estrogen dominance is a common condition in which a woman can have deficient, normal or excessive levels of estrogen but has too little progesterone to balance the estrogen level. This can result in an imbalance that causes many undesirable symptoms including headaches, mood swings, weight gain and bloating. 1

Estrogen Dominance Causes 2

  • Adrenal Fatigue (prolonged stress creates a pregnenolone steal which robs progesterone which converts to cortisol and is unable to balance with estrogen)
  • Anovulatory cycles (cycles where menstruation occurs, but no ovulation, and therefore no ovarian progesterone is produced)
  • Consumption of trans-fats (instead of quality fats that can be made into hormones)
  • Conventional HRT (estrogen overdose)
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Luteal Insufficiency (insufficient ovarian progesterone production)
  • Nutritional deficiencies (especially magnesium, zinc, copper and B complex vitamins)
  • Obesity (Estrogen is produced in fat cells. As a result, obese women tend to have higher levels of estrogen than thinner women do.)
  • Oral or injected contraceptives
  • Poor diet (usually high in carb, low fat)
  • Xenohormone exposure

Estrogen Dominance Symptoms 2

  • Acne
  • Allergic tendencies
  • Anxiety, irritability, anger, agitation
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Blood sugar instability, Insulin Resistance
  • Breast tenderness, lumpiness, enlargement, fibrocystic breasts
  • Carbohydrate cravings, sweet cravings, chocolate cravings
  • Cold hands and feet {low thyroid function because estrogen blocks thyroid hormones)
  • Cramps, heavy bleeding, prolonged bleeding, clots
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Fat gain, especially in abdomen, hips and thighs
  • Foggy thinking, memory difficulties
  • Ovarian cysts; Polycystic ovaries
  • Gall bladder problems (bile becomes thick and sluggish)
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular periods
  • Mood swings, depression
  • Muscle pains, joint pains, back pain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Water retention/weight gain, bloating
Cycling Female Hormone Balance
Stress and Estrogen Dominance

Don't delay dealing with estrogen dominance

If you think that you have estrogen dominance and want to jump into lifestyle changes without testing for it first, no sweat. 

Many people do not want to pay for or go through the saliva testing and would rather trial and error supplements. 

Estrogen Dominance strategies commonly include digestive support, liver detox, HPA (hypothalamic, pituitary and adrenal) Axis support, foundational nutrition (including good fats and nutrients from food sources), Mediterranean Style Diets, and blood sugar management.

These strategies as you probably figure are safe for most everyone! 

Stress is at the root of estrogen dominance

Your hormonal system is tightly controlled by your hypothalamus and pituitary systems. These organs work together with the adrenal glands to help you adapt to stress. 

If you let stress get out of hand (without proper nutrient and herbal support) then it will rob Peter to pay Paul. It will literally make cortisol at the expense of other hormones. This causes a cascade of hormone dysfunction leading to PMS symptoms. 

You have HPA Axis product support options! We really like FemCo which calms the effects of mild cramping associated with menstruation and encourage healthy menstrual cycling.

If we could only choose one product it most definitely would be the herb Chaste Tree that nourishes the pituitary for healthy prolactin and progesterone levels in the body. Chaste tree encourages healthy menstrual cycling and eases the discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is worth looking into.

Chaste Tree pairs well with Ovex P. The "P" should stand for progesterone because of the way this cytosol extract supports the ovaries.

These three products are great for balancing the HPA Axis and are part of our Healthy PMS Supplement Plan where you can find dosages and more. 

Clear excess estrogen through the liver

The liver is the main organ of detoxification. It removes toxins, chemicals and excess hormones. 

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, contain a compound called 3,3-Diindolylmethane (DIM). This compound has been shown to reduce high estrogen levels and support liver detoxification, which helps balance estrogen levels overall.

If you cannot eat these vegetables on a regular basis, then checkout Cruciferous Complete. It contains concentrated organic kale and Brussels sprouts. 

Estrogen dominance cause bile (made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder) thick and sluggish. Making it hard to digest fats. Please note, hormones are made with cholesterol from the fat that we eat. If you cannot properly digest good fats, then it is extremely hard to make enough hormones.

If you have cyclical PMS with Cyclical issues with fat digestion (think gas, bloating, belching), then you may benefit from increased gallbladder support. Take a look at A-F Betafood. It contains good fats along with beet juice that stimulates the production of bile. 

Gymnemia for sugar cravings

Balance yo blood sugar!

HPA Axis support...check! Liver detox...check! Blood sugar...

Unregulated blood sugar can cause loads of issues on for a cycling female. 

Increase insulin by eating too much sugar, you will ultimately increase the hormone cortisol. 

Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that helps regulate your blood sugar. Cortisol, in turn, counterbalances the effect of insulin by releasing stored glucose and raising blood sugar.

The problem with these blood sugar spikes is that the body will once again sacrifice progesterone (causing a deficiency) when it has to make cortisol! This alone can cause PMS!

“High insulin levels,” said Dr. Abed-Alwahab an endocrinologist from the Cleveland Clinic, “can tell the ovaries to make more testosterone. That’s why some women with PCOS have symptoms of excess androgens, like dark hairs on the face and belly.” 4

Many of our cycling female hormone patients use a product called Gymnemia.

Gymnemia is an amazing herb that not only significantly reduces sugar cravings, helps the body improve beta cell function and also has an incredible side-effect.

After you suck on the tablet for 15 to 30 seconds, you cannot taste the sugar. So all the breads, sweets and carb-tastic snacks will taste bland and unappealing. Perfect to break the vicious sweet-cycle. 


You are not going crazy! What you are experiencing is a normal response to unbalanced organ communication. 

Fortunately, you can take active measures towards hormone balance and better overall health. This can be accomplished through eating healthy, supplementation of specific herbs and nutrients, exercising regularly, consuming enough water, and managing stress levels.

If any of these are off-kilter in your life, it can have a negative affect on your reproductive cycle. Addressing these issues is the first step to hormone balance, and may help you find relief from symptoms like uncomfortable cramps or irregular cycles.

Helpful links and references

1. Patel S, Homaei A, Raju AB, Meher BR. Estrogen: The necessary evil for human health, and ways to tame it. Biomed Pharmacother. 2018 Jun;102:403-411. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2018.03.078. Epub 2018 Mar 22. PMID: 29573619.
2. Lang, J. Functional Endocrinology: Balancing Female Hormones Naturally: The Essential Physiology & Principles. 2006 Mar 22.