Dr. Taylor Green N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
4 min|Dr. Taylor Green

Is Histamine Contributing to your PMS or Perimenopause Symptoms?

Wellness, Hormones

What is Histamine & Its Role?

When we hear of histamine, many of us immediately think of the runny nose, watery, red eyes, swelling, and nasal congestion that comes with allergy season. However, histamine is actually a neurotransmitter and our bodies have different types of histamine receptors throughout, including our brain & nervous system, heart, blood vessels, lungs, digestive tract, adrenals, and urinary tract. Thus, histamine plays a role in our sleep, mood, energy, blood flow, inflammation, ovulation, and aids in stomach acid production.

It is important to first understand where histamine comes from. Mast cells are a type of immune cell found in all body tissues that release histamine when signaled. When we are in proper balance, healthy histamine release is vital to our functioning and does not cause issues. However, when our histamine bucket is full, this is when issues start to emerge.

Symptoms of Mast Cell Activation & High Histamine Include:

  • Urticaria (Hives)
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Fluid Retention
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Brain Fog
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Period Pain
  • Blood Pressure Changes
  • Migraines and Headaches
  • Breast Tenderness and Fibrocystic Breasts
  • Bladder Hypersensitivity
  • Anxiety
  • Bloating
  • Palpitations

The Histamine & Estrogen Connection

So, what is the link between histamine and our hormones? Estrogen, particularly the strong estradiol form, stimulates mast cells to release histamine. Estrogen peaks at ovulation, which is why many women find they experience symptoms around this time. During perimenopause, estrogen tends to be high & erratic relative to progesterone. The higher estrogen is, the more histamine increases. In turn, histamine can also raise estrogen levels even more, creating a chicken and egg scenario. Estrogen also decreases the activity of the DAO enzyme, which is the enzyme that breaks down histamine.

Furthermore, progesterone helps to suppress histamine release. So, if progesterone levels are suboptimal in the second half of our menstrual cycle, or as they drop when we hit perimenopause, this leads to a state of estrogen dominance that sets the stage for histamine related bloating, GI upset, fluid retention, mood swings & sleep changes, pre-menstrual migraines, painful periods, and breast tenderness.

Some women find taking an over counter antihistamine during ovulation or PMS can help, which strongly suggests histamine as being the driving force for their symptoms. When anti-histamines fail to provide adequate relief, high prolactin, low progesterone, and thyroid function are other avenues to consider. Another option to assess if histamine is impacting your hormonal picture, is to trial an anti-histamine diet to lessen the histamine load during these times of our cycles.

Taking The Next Steps

Working with a naturopathic practitioner, such as myself, can provide appropriate testing where valuable, and personalize dietary & supplement recommendations for addressing estrogen dominance and high histamine symptoms. Key areas to support in order to address the root of dysregulated histamine and estrogen excess are:

- Dietary Modifications and Food Sensitivities

- Reducing Stress Levels

- Balancing the Gut Microbiome – bacterial, yeast, parasites or other imbalances can all contribute to further histamine reactions. A compromised gut can also play a role in how histamine is metabolized and excreted from the body. Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) is another common cause of histamine intolerance.

- Supporting Liver Detox
    If these symptoms sound all too familiar, let us guide you in restoring healthy, happy hormones and periods so you can feel like yourself no matter the timing of the month.

    1. J;, K. U. (n.d.). The role of histamine in the neuroendocrine regulation of pituitary hormone secretion. Acta endocrinologica.
    2. CN;, H. L. (n.d.). Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: Epidemiology and treatment. Current psychiatry reports.
    3. Briden, L. (2018). Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for better hormones and better periods. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

    Take the first step towards a healthier you by scheduling a consultation with us today. Our experienced naturopathic practitioners, including Dr. Taylor Green are here to guide you through personalized solutions and help you restore hormonal balance.

    Dr. Taylor Green N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR

    Dr. Taylor Green

    Dr. Taylor Green has always been fascinated by the intricacies of nature, the human body and health sciences. For her, health is not defined by the absence of disease, but the balance between mind, body, and environment.

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