An MD On The Importance Of Your "Estrobolome" & How To Care For It
We're obviously big on gut health here at mbg, and it's no secret that maintaining a balance of good bacteria in your microbiome is important for overall health. But did you know certain branches of bacteria have different functions? On a recent episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, midwife and certified family physician Aviva Romm, M.D., unpacked one specific branch: the "estrobolome."
Why does the estrobolome matter?
The estrobolome is essentially a branch or department within your microbiome that's "literally dedicated and genetically programmed to maintain estrogen balance," Romm explains on the podcast. "And of course in women, this is critically important," she adds.
When someone's microbiome isn't metabolizing estrogen properly, "You either eliminate too much, and that puts you at risk of low estrogen, or your body's not eliminating it adequately, and you reabsorb too much," she says. "Then, typically, we're reabsorbing a more toxic form that our body was actually trying to get rid of."
If you're dealing with low estrogen, this can impact your mood, skin health, hair, cognitive function, and even cardiovascular health, Romm notes. "And if you're producing too much," she adds, "then you can have symptoms like heavy bleeding, uterine fibroids, breast tenderness, breast lumps, and cysts."
Too much estrogen is also a risk factor for blood clotting, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer, she explains. Long story short? Estrogen balance is particularly important for women's health.
How to support estrobolome health.
Supporting your estrobolome isn't unlike general gut health support. "Keeping our microbiome healthy [...] with probiotics, prebiotic foods, lacto-fermented foods, and fiber is so important for a healthy estrobolome," Romm tells mbg.
She also notes that estrogen levels naturally fluctuate depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, whether you're pregnant, or whether you're pre- or postmenopause. Either way, supporting overall gut health is your best bet for a healthy estrobolome.
As always, talk to your doctor if you're worried about a hormone imbalance or your estrogen levels. And in the meantime, tending to your microbiome is one way you can support estrobolome health from the inside.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.