Oestrogen + histamine: are they causing your symptoms? And want can you do about it?
Do you regularly experience any of the following symptoms?
- Nasal congestion
- Excess phlegm
- Skin flushing
- Sleep disturbances
- Brain fog
- Period pain
Do they get worse during certain times of your menstrual cycle?
Or during times of high stress?
Or when you eat certain foods like sauerkraut, dried anchovies, tomatoes, cocoa, eggplant, red wine, citrus fruits, bananas or papaya?
If so, you may have a problem with how your body responds to histamine.
But what is histamine and what does it have to do with any of these symptoms or foods?
Histamine is a substance naturally present in the body that is involved in immunity, inflammation (hello allergies), brain function and stomach acid production.
It can be released by some cells following exposure to certain substances that are produced by the body (internal stimuli) or that we eat, drink or breath (external stimuli).
Following its release, histamine can cause the body to produce many of the symptoms listed above.
Why? Because histamine receptors are located in cells all around the body in many different organs and systems. (In cells, histamine acts like a key and receptors like a lock that sets off a range of processes in the cell which ultimately lead to these symptoms occurring).
And many people are sensitive (or intolerant) to histamine.
This means that the normal effects of histamine in body are exaggerated, causing more a more pronounced response.
But what does this have to do with your menstrual cycle?
Histamine also interacts with hormones involved in the menstrual cycle, particularly oestrogen, which stimulates the production of:
OESTROGEN > HISTAMINE
In the first half of the menstrual cycle (after menstrual bleeding ceases) there is a natural increase in oestrogen levels.
So in women who are sensitive or intolerant to histamine, they have something of a double-whammy – they already get an exaggerated response to histamine in the body and then more histamine can be produced as a result of elevated oestrogen levels.
Stress can play a role as well, which is where you might notice that the symptoms listed above get worse during periods of stress:
STRESS (Stimulates the production of) > HISTAMINE
HISTAMINE (Stimulates the production of) > CORTISOL
So what can be done about it?
The specific treatment protocol required can vary between individuals
This is because while many of the symptoms of histamine intolerance can be similar between people, the internal and external factors that are causing them can be different from one person to the next.
But the good news is these symptoms can be addressed when a specific, individualised clinical approach is taken.
If you have questions or are interested in booking in a clinical naturopathic and nutritional consultation to help map out your specific treatment protocol you can get me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those people who are interested in learning more (or are nerds like me), the link below will take you to a more detailed article on this topic.