Vicious cycle- inflammation and excess oestrogen

As someone working with a lot of women with oestrogen-dependent conditions, such as fibroids, endometriosis, cysts etc., I have always noticed the high incidence of gut inflammation in these patients. Often reducing inflammation in the gut, and  systemically throughout the body, can help to significantly reduce or get rid of many of the symptoms typical for these conditions. Absorption of nutrients will undoubtedly play a big part in this, but there are some other, more direct mechanisms to do with inflammation that are becoming more apparent these days.


One of the mechanisms responsible for this improvement is that by reducing inflammation one can reduce oestrogen levels - here is the mechanism explained ...


Inflammatory agents have an effect on aromatase conversion. Aromatase is an enzyme that promotes the conversion of testosterone into oestrogen, so once activated more oestrogen is produced. 

There is a link here to the arachadonic acids - the proinflammatory fats (Omega 6s). Prostaglandings (especially PGE2) synthesised from the arachadonic acid pathway are strong stimulator of aromatase in tissue - (found for example with breastcancerous tissue) and interleukin 1B (together with PGE2 are the most potent stimulators of aromatase activity in fibroids).


And here is where it becomes a viscious cycle - Oestrogen in return stimulates COX 2 (which leads to increase in PGE2)- so the higher the oestrogen levels the higher the inflammation and the higher the inflammation the higher the oestrogen levels are going to be.


Ref: Sem Repr Med 2004:22(1):51, Makio Shozu et al. )


The type of oestrogen that we have also makes a difference- we also know that some enzymes  that usually regulate the conversion from a stronger to a lesser oestrogen are reduced in endometriosis lesions- thus leading to even more inflammation.


What can you do?

Reduce inflammation!


A few ways to reduce inflammation:

  • pay attention to oral health & any slow-healing injuries
  • use anti-inflammatory foods such as those high in omega 3s (fish oils, algae, grass fed meat)
  • reduce animal fats (unless grass-fed) 
  • anti-inflammatory herbs and spices: turmeric, ginger, galangal
  • anti-inflammatory herbs - some key herbs include chamomile, yarrow, marigold, meadowsweet, willow bark, cats claw, devils claw, hawthorn - depending on where the inflammation is: most herbs have a specific affinity for some body tissues/ organs


 More on ways to regulate oestrogen levels to follow soon... 

Write a comment

Comments: 5
  • #1

    aanda porter (Saturday, 23 November 2013 00:45)

    Thanks for the post Suzie, that topic came up in PCT training this week. Wahat a great resource for our new practitioners.

  • #2

    skaiser1 (Saturday, 23 November 2013 08:52)

    Pleasure Amanda, yes its so important to understand that connection to start to interrupt the cascade that is feeding the imbalance.

  • #3

    Sue Calvert (Thursday, 28 November 2013 12:16)

    Thanks Suzie,all good information.
    Do you think the anti inflammatory drink Zambroza would be beneficial, in cases such as this?

  • #4

    skaiser1 (Tuesday, 03 December 2013 23:22)

    Thanks Sue. I am not sure re the Zambroza drink, I have not used it. It does seem high in antioxidants but would want to look at the (natural) sugar content etc.. which can sometimes be counterproductive. I tend to go for turmeric and other anti-inflammatory herbs high in flavonoids.

  • #5

    Katy P (Thursday, 30 October 2014 20:12)

    Susi, I really found this an interesting article. Many thanks, Katy