Teenage Estrogen Dominance with PMS and Stress Symptoms?
What is NORMAL?
Dr Jerilyn Prior of CEMCOR says that “Menarche is normally between ages 10 and 14 with 12 being a North American average. First periods may be irregular, are often light in flow, and usually do not have cramps. Although it is difficult to remember those early periods, most young women develop cycles that are regularly 20-42 days apart during their first two years after menarche. Although ovulation begins during adolescence, often progesterone levels are low and luteal phase lengths are short.” .
What is not?
However, young girls are developing much earlier than before and starting their menstrual cycles …for some by age 9!! We know that our teen girls(and boys) are exposed to the same environment as we are with all the excess estrogen that could produce Estrogen Dominance even in this young age group.
Girls in their teens may skip periods for many months caused by dieting, stress over relationship conflicts, exercise training or possibly illness. Many suffer depression. Adolescence girls, may have troubling mood swings, puzzling weight gain, and heavy flow. All these are a sign of a hormone imbalance developing.
The medical community often intervene with the Birth Control pill option. However we believe that Estrogen Dominance at all ages can be helped with Diet, Exercise, some supplementation and balancing hormones.
There is solid physiology and clinical support for the use of progesterone on a temporary basis for young women who are symptomatic.
There are no studies with this age of women to determine if progesterone is helpful. One study showed that in the first year after menarche (start of menstruation), 80% of girls did not ovulate, meaning they did not make progesterone. Three years after menarche 50% did not ovulate, and by the sixth year 10% did not ovulate. That represents a lot of girls with premenstrual bloating, weight gain, mood swings, irritability and anxiety.
In teens, as in adults the auxiliary system ..the adrenal glands can pick up some of the slack for progesterone production, but in a stressed young woman the adrenals may not be available as they will be focusing on production of cortisol to keep these gals going in their day to day lives.
Always the first step should be to test the young woman’s hormone levels to see if low progesterone and estrogen dominance is her problem.
And it is never enough to just address progesterone levels. A proper nutrition program, exercise and supplement program must also be implemented to maintain optimum hormone health and wellness for our teens.
Lee, John R “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer”
Vuorento T, Huhtaniemi I, “Daily levels of salivary progesterone during menstrual cycle in adolescent girls,” Fertil Steril. 1992 Oct;58(4):685-90.