Interviewer: If we have estrogen that is unbalanced, how do we know? what are some of the symptoms? Do we feel differently? How would someone know that?
Dr. David Zava: If estrogen is out of balance, women know that. There are really two periods of a woman's life when they are more likely going to have estrogen out of balance. And the first is at puberty. They can kind of tell from young girls. My daughter when she went into puberty she was more estrogen dominant. Everybody who has a teenage girl knows exactly what I am talking about. So they get pretty yackaty and they are kind of out of control and that's... the estrogen is stimulating the brain, it just gets over stimulated and there's not a good balance there. Progesterone is the balance for estrogen and early in puberty you start making estrogens in spurts and you don't make as much progesterone to balance it because that's the calming hormone. That hits gaba receptors in the brain and has a calming effect in the brain. So you see that at puberty and then you see it again at menopause. When the brain and the ovaries are miscommunicating at that point in time and women tend to make too much estrogen at that time, but they make it in spurts so there's this big increase in estrogen and then it drops down and so they are going have estrogen dominant symptoms rather then estrogen deficiencies symptoms within a couple of days. This is the perimenopause period and it is age 45 to 55 and that is the period also where the excessive estrogen is associated with increase risk for fibroids and increase risk for overstimulation of the uterus and it is when woman usually have a hysterectomy because they have bleeding problems. They get fiber cysts in the breast , it over stimulates the brain. Everything starts to go off at that time. There's an increase risk for breast cancer. You see the rate of increase in breast cancer goes up at that time and it is closely associated with access of estrogen. So, that is not the angel of life at that point. And it is just simply because it is excessive and it is not well balanced with progesterone. Because the ovaries stop making progesterone. They'll make a little bit. so the woman will ovulate and she'll produce estrogen and then she won't make as much progesterone. That is why a woman will have her menstrual cycles up until age 50, but between the age of 40 and 50 she is very unlikely to get pregnant because she is making plenty of estrogen but she is not making enough progesterone. Progesterone is progestational. It maintains the pregnancy. That's the problem of making enough progesterone and that might be a lot of people believe that's because of environmental insults and things like that. The ovaries are very sensitive to chemicals from the environment and they are probably not making enough progesterone because of that.