Hormones are powerful and complex. The word to describe these fascinating chemicals is originally derived from hormo, a Greek word meaning to ‘set in motion.’ Hormones set the body’s processes in motion, touching + stimulating nearly every biological system. And estrogen, by far, is one of the most impressive.
In a womxn’s body, estrogen is present everywhere. From metabolic + immune function to sexual reproduction to sleep, estrogen and its counterparts play a vital role.
First arriving at puberty and slowing in menopause, levels of estrogen shift as we enter new phases of life. Estrogen helps to keep our minds + bodies in balance. It’s closely tied to our emotional well-being, and it shows up differently for each of us.
Ovaries release estrogen in alignment with each monthly menstrual cycle. At mid-cycle, levels increase to release eggs, and then drop. Our levels of estrogen rise and fall gradually throughout the month, too.
As many as 90% of people with periods experience symptoms during their cycle. Common physical symptoms include bloating, cramping, and breast tenderness, among others. Other symptoms include mood swings, anger + irritability, and social withdrawal.
Symptoms are defined as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and can be severe enough to interfere with quality of life. Depression + anxiety affect womxn in their estrogen-producing years more often than men. Estrogen is also linked to mood disruptions that occur only in people with periods, including premenstrual dysphoric disorder and postpartum depression.
When experiencing menopause, the production of estrogen is unpredictable. Fluctuations in estrogen may be destabilizing + impact your moods. In fact, research has shown an association between decreased levels of estrogen and panic attacks.
Your relationship to estrogen is a lifelong, ever-changing journey.
We’ve selected natural solutions to support your mind + body as your hormones flow.
A herbal blend to balance mood.
An internal medicine to soothe pain.
A CBD treat to satisfy cravings.
Symptoms of low estrogen
- Mind fog
- Memory lapses
- Hot flashes
- Sleep issues
- Vaginal dryness
- Irregular periods
- Urine incontinence
- Bone loss
Symptoms of high estrogen
- Heavy bleeding
- Breast tenderness
- Increased premenstrual symptoms
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Ovarian cyst
- Abdominal weight
- Water retention
P.S. - inters*x, trans, + non-binary folks may have biological experiences with estrogen, too!
We commissioned this piece from Ashley Carucci Lombardo.
Ashley Carucci Lombardo is a freelance storyteller and creative strategist based in Los Angeles, CA. She has explored different styles of writing for more than a decade, but she always returns to investigative, narrative features.
She earned a degree in journalism with a minor focus in cultural anthropology at the University of Florida, where she studied gender, sexuality and identity. Ashley works as a documentary and portrait photographer in the cannabis space, highlighting women's narratives. In her spare time, she loves seeing live jazz and funk music.
header photo by: Charlotte Lapalus