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Articles on Hormone Balance


Estrogen Dominance

Do you feel like an alien in YOUR own body? If so, you may have Estrogen Dominance. In other words, It’s Your Hormones! 

Many women say “I just don’t feel like myself anymore.” The usual complaints are “I’m cranky, depressed, bloated, no energy, cannot focus and I can’t sleep!”  “My hair is falling out” is another common complaint.  Some women say, “I’ve been told I’m going crazy” by my husband, children, even my doctor!

What is it really?  It is most likely a condition called Estrogen Dominance.

Estrogen dominance refers to a time in a woman’s menstrual life when the primary influencing hormone is estrogen. It describes a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal, or excessive estrogen but has little or no progesterone to balance its effects in the body.

Characteristics of Estrogen Dominance:  IS THIS YOU?

  • Weight Gain
  • Insomnia, restless sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Acne
  • Menstrual Cramps
  • Irregular menstrual flow
  • Depression
  • Anxiety / Panic attacks
  • Osteoporosis, osteopenia
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Breast tenderness
  • Hair loss
  • Thyroid imbalance / hypothyroid
  • Increased breast cancer risk
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Infertility
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Urinary frequency
  • Dry eyes
  • Increased body fat
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Blood clots
  • Bloating / fluid retention
  • Mood swings
  • Headache, including migraines
  • Heavy periods
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Uterine fibroids
     
  •  

These symptoms may sound common to some of you, but they are not normal.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is essential to get your hormones back in balance as soon as you can.  The symptoms usually will get worse as time goes on, especially the weight gain.

What Has Happened to Me? As your ovaries age, their function begins to decline.  The progesterone hormone production falls dramatically between the ages of 35 and 50.  This decline in progesterone occurs for two reasons.

1) the decline in function of the aging ovaries

2) as a woman ages she begins to have menstrual cycles during which she does not ovulate (produce an egg) This is called an anovulatory cycle and without the production of an egg, no progesterone is produced.  You are now “progesterone deficient”, a very undesirable state.  Progesterone is the “feel good” hormone and you will definitely begin to not feel good!  Your estrogen hormones now have undue influence on your body and you are Estrogen Dominant. Sadly, many women have experienced this state since puberty causing them to experience mild to severe PMS symptoms which they took as “normal”.  Other women develop the condition more gradually.  Things are not hopeless! Estrogen Dominance can be stopped and reversed.

SUMMARY: Even low estrogen levels can result in estrogen dominance if your body is not producing progesterone every month. You can see, then, that during peri-menopause and menopause even when your estrogen levels drop, estrogen dominance can still be a big problem. You are making no progesterone, but you still make estrogen, primarily estrone, in your fat cells at approximately 50% of what you made before menopause. Estrogen levels never decline to zero.  This is a myth! Estrogen dominance is exacerbated if you have been taking synthetic estrogen pills. Why? After a hysterectomy where the ovaries are removed (known as surgical menopause), the doctor will usually prescribe synthetic estrogen hormones or a horse estrogen such as Premarin.  This only continues to maintain the estrogen dominant condition which may have caused the problems in the first place. Symptoms of estrogen dominance will persist and worsen on synthetic estrogens.

WHAT ARE THE WORSE CAUSES OF ESTROGEN DOMINANCE?

 

When does Estrogen Dominance commonly occur?

  • During perimenopause or premenopause, when women are not ovulating regularly and thus not producing progesterone
  • When women are exposed to xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are environmental toxins and chemicals present outside the body in the air and food that have an estrogenic effect on the body
  • When women are taking estrogen replacement therapy
  • When women are taking birth control pills that are high in estrogen
  • When a woman has had a hysterectomy and either had her ovaries removed or her ovaries are no longer functioing properly due to the removal of her uterus. Many women do not know that even when the ovaries remain, they function sub-optimally after a hysterectomy
  • When a woman has had a tubal ligation that is affecting the function of her ovaries
  • During and after menopause when a woman is making little or no progesterone
  • When stress is a factor in a woman's life 

Men Can Have Estrogen Dominance: Yes, that’s right, men too. As men age, their estrogen levels gradually rise (xenoestrogens have an effect on them, too) and their progesterone and testosterone levels gradually fall leading to a state of estrogen dominance A sign of estrogen dominance in men is the development of breasts. If a man has signs of developing breasts, he is most probably low in progesterone.

HOW DO I CORRECT ESTROGEN DOMINANCE?

  • It’s not that difficult!  Start now, before things get worse!
  • The use of natural progesterone crème will usually restore hormonal balance and help a woman “feel like myself” again. Used just 25 days of the month for non-menstruating women and 12 days per month for menstruating women, it can work wonders!
  • Avoid external sources of estrogen (xenoestrogens from meats, dairy, plastic, petrochemicals
  • Use a supplement called DIM (diindolyl methane) or Indole-3-Carbinol which encourages your body to excrete excess estrogens.  Good for men, too!
  • Follow the Estrogen Dominance Diet Guidelines

IS THERE A DIET THAT CAN HELP WITH ESTROGEN DOMINANCE?

We have been researching this for some time and have found the following data for you to help eliminate excess estrogens that may be in your body. 

  • Eliminate conventional dairy foods. Try this for about one month.  You might notice a huge difference, especially with breast tenderness.
    I can tell you from my own experience with fibrocystic breasts that this really works! Spend the extra money for organic milk.
    It is worth it – especially for your teenagers if they drink a lot of milk.
  • Eat cruciferous vegetables in moderate to high amounts broccoli, cabbage, turnips, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts.  These modulate estrogen levels because they contain indole-3-carbinol.
  • High fiber – fiber decreases total circulating estrogens!  It will pull it right out of the body. Best sources:  oatmeal, shredded wheat, popcorn.  You want about 25 grams per day.
  • Eat foods high in essential fatty acids (walnut oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil) or take an EFA supplement
  • Meat is okay, but not in copious amounts
  • Eat organic vegetables as much as possible. My personal rule:  If it is something you eat often (for instance, I eat lettuce almost every day), spend the extra money to buy organic.
  • Eliminate refined sugar foods to the best of your ability
  • Low fat foods are best because the higher the dietary fat, the higher the estrogen levels.
  • Definitely avoid trans-fatty acids (which, thankfully, is getting easy due to product labeling requirements.
  • Soy foods are good if they are fermented:  tofu, miso and tempeh. Processed soy products are not beneficial.  In fact, they can negatively affect the thyroid.