When your hormones are in balance, everything from digestion to immunity works properly. You feel great, look great, have the energy of a teenager, and your sex drive is normal. This is your body performing at its best.
Hormonal imbalance is created when the ratio of estrogen to progesterone sways too much one way or another. The most common extreme imbalance is excess estrogen in relation to progesterone. This is called “Estrogen Dominance.”
For an overview about hormones and their changes over a woman’s lifetime, please read the Hormonal Balance page. The information below about estrogen dominance provides more in-depth information about hormones and estrogen dominance, for both women and men.
Estrogens and Progesterone Overview
Two types of sex (steroid) hormones are estrogens and progesterone. There are three estrogens: B-estradiol, estrone and estriol. B-estradiol is by far the most potent. It is 12 times more potent than estrone and 80 times more potent than estriol. Any over exposure to B-estradiol can increase a person’s risk of disease. Estriol is considered the “good estrogen.” There is only one type of progesterone, and it considered a very safe hormone. Progesterone is called progestin when it is in a synthetic form.
Estrogen and progesterone work in synchronization with each other as checks and balances to achieve hormonal harmony in both sexes. Estrogen and progesterone need the presence of each other in order to perform their individual functions.
Maintaining estrogen balance can be difficult for many. For many decades of a woman’s life circulating estrogens are fluctuating and cause both good and bad influences. The primary role of estrogen is to maintain the growth and function of the uterus so that the sex organs can become adult sized, and prepares the uterine lining to accept an egg. Additionally, estrogen affects skeletal growth, skin, fat and protein deposition, and electrolyte balance. Men also produce a certain amount of estrogen.
Progesterone is the building block for many other major hormones. Other sex hormones are formed from progesterone, including the corticosteroids, which are essential for stress response, electrolyte balance, blood pressure, and lastly, survival. Cortisol, DHEA, testosterone and estrogen are all made from progesterone in a process that begins with cholesterol. Progesterone is the primary hormone of fertility and pregnancy. It is essential to the survival of the fertilized egg, then the embryo, then the fetus. In pregnancy, it prevents the shedding of the uterine lining. A drop in progesterone can result in a miscarriage. Some health care professionals are beginning to make a connection between low progesterone levels and symptoms of fibromyalgia.