Estrogen dominance is a condition that occurs when the levels of estrogen in the body are high relative to other hormones, namely progesterone. It can have many different causes and can lead to a wide range of symptoms. In this article, we’ll explore the various causes of estrogen dominance and suggest some natural medicine-based solutions for addressing it.
What is estrogen dominance?
Estrogen dominance is a condition where there is an excessive amount of estrogen relative to other hormones, particularly progesterone, in the body. This can happen due to a number of factors, including environmental toxins, diet, stress, genetics, and certain medications.
Estrogen dominance can cause a range of symptoms, such as irregular periods, heavy or painful periods, breast tenderness, mood swings, weight gain, and fatigue. It can also increase the risk of certain health problems, such as fibroids, endometriosis, and breast cancer.
You can easily measure your hormones at home using this convenient saliva test to better understand where your estrogen and progesterone levels are.
Balancing hormone levels through lifestyle changes and natural remedies can help to address estrogen dominance and alleviate its associated symptoms.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance is more commonly observed in women particularly during perimenopause or menopause. The symptoms of estrogen dominance can vary from person to person and may include:
Irregular periods - Estrogen dominance can cause changes in menstrual cycles, leading to irregular periods, heavy or painful periods, or shorter or longer cycles.
Breast tenderness - excess estrogen can cause breast tissue to become swollen and tender, leading to discomfort.
Mood swing, including anxiety, irritability, and depression.
Weight gain, particularly around the hips and thighs.
Fatigue, even after adequate rest.
Insomnia - whether it's difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night.
Decreased sex drive (libido) and vaginal dryness are common.
Headaches or migraines are oftentimes caused by hormone imbalances.
Bloating, water retention and GI upset are also common causes of estrogen dominance.
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
There are many different factors that can contribute to estrogen dominance. Some of the most common causes include:
Diet A diet that is high in processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats can contribute to estrogen dominance. Eating a diet that is rich in whole foods, especially those that are high in fiber, can help to balance hormones.
Environmental toxins Exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides, plastics, and heavy metals, can disrupt hormone balance and contribute to estrogen dominance.
Stress Chronic stress can disrupt the balance of hormones in the body and lead to estrogen dominance. Most commonly, excess stress (cortisol production) can deplete progesterone levels allowing for estrogen to be relatively elevated in comparison.
Age Beginning around age 40, a woman’s progesterone levels begin to decline while estrogen levels remain stable, or become influenced by several of the other factors listed here. This sets up estrogen as being more dominant than progesterone, which typically opposes the actions of estrogen.
Genetics Some people are genetically predisposed to estrogen dominance.
Medications Certain medications, such as hormonal birth control and hormone replacement therapy, can contribute to estrogen dominance.
Lack of exercise A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to estrogen dominance. As weight is gained, fat cells can become an important contributor to estrogen load in the body.
Natural Medicine-Based Solutions for Estrogen Dominance
Here are some of the most effective solutions for estrogen dominance:
Diet Eating a diet that is rich in whole foods, especially those that are high in fiber, can help to balance hormones and reduce estrogen dominance. Foods that are particularly beneficial include cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.The reason these foods are helpful is because of their DIM (di-indolemethane) content. DIM is a compound that helps the liver metabolize and remove excess estrogen from the circulation. In addition to consuming foods rich in DIM, we also recommend taking it in supplement form known as Indolplex. Indoplex helps the liver detoxify estrogens into healthier versions.
Calcium-d-glucarate stops the function of an enzyme in the gut that can re-toxify estrogens. Taking this ensures toxic estrogens aren't reabsorbed and moved back into the body.
Exercise Regular exercise can help to balance hormones and reduce estrogen dominance via increased metabolization through the liver, and through weight loss. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day.
Stress Management Managing stress through techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help to balance hormones and reduce estrogen dominance. Less stress equals less cortisol production, which will allow for greater production of progesterone.
Detoxification Reducing exposure to environmental toxins and supporting the body's natural detoxification pathways can help to reduce estrogen dominance. This can be achieved through techniques such as sauna therapy, dry brushing, and using a liver supportive detoxification supplement like Lipotropic Complex.
In some instances, other botanical medicines can help balance out estrogen and progesterone. Women's Vitality contains several botanical medicines and nutrients that have traditionally been used for supporting female health and vitality by supporting hormone balance and restoration at healthy levels.
Test, don't guess - you can measure your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol levels at home using this convenient test.
Estrogen dominance can have many different causes, but there are many natural medicine-based solutions that can help to address it. By making simple lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and supporting the body's natural detoxification pathways, it is possible to reduce estrogen dominance and improve overall health and well-being.