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What is estrogen excess?

Estrogen dominance occurs when there is an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, with estrogen being relatively elevated compared to progesterone. While estrogen dominance can occur in both men and women, it is more commonly associated with women, especially during reproductive years, perimenopause, and menopause.

Causes of Estrogen Dominance: Several factors can contribute to the development of estrogen dominance, including:

  • Insulin and cortisol imbalance: These two hormones are involved with stress responses and blood sugar levels in the body. If they become imbalanced they can affect other hormones in the body, in particular the ovarian, thyroid, progesterone, testosterone and sleep hormones, disrupting how they work.

  • The Contraceptive Pill and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): The pill regulates your hormones by stopping ovulation. However, if you do not ovulate you do not produce progesterone, which can lead to higher levels of estrogen. HRT provides high levels of synthetic estrogen, which the body finds harder to get rid of than natural hormones.

  • Poor liver function: the liver detoxifies estrogen, it is then eliminated through the bowel. If our livers aren’t functioning properly and we are not eliminating the estrogen it can lead to a build-up.

  • Weight gain: our fat cells can make estrogen, so the more fat we store, the more our estrogen levels can increase.

  • Poor diet: the body requires B vitamins, Magnesium, Zinc, Omega’s and protein to effectively metabolise estrogen. If your diet is lacking in these vitamins and minerals, then estrogen levels will increase.

  • Genetics: Family genetics also play a part in estrogen production. Some women may find they produce excess estrogen and do not suffer with any negative symptoms, while others will struggle significantly. This is due to how we potentially metabolise down the 3 different pathways for estrogen metabolism.

  • Chemical estrogen's: such as BPA, pesticides, beauty products, that are either ingested or absorbed through the skin can mimic our bodies own estrogen, causing levels to increase.

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance: Estrogen dominance can manifest in a wide range of symptoms, which may vary in severity and duration. Common symptoms include:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles

  • Heavy or painful periods

  • PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms

  • Breast tenderness or swelling

  • Mood swings and irritability

  • Weight gain, particularly around the hips and thighs

  • Fatigue and low energy

  • Insomnia

  • Headaches or migraines

  • Brain fog and memory issues

  • Fibrocystic breasts

  • Fibroids

  • Endometriosis

  • Fatigue

  • Reduced sex drive

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Bloating

  • Breast tenderness

  • Mood swings

  • Brain fog

  • Insomnia

Consequences of Estrogen Dominance: Estrogen dominance is not merely a collection of unpleasant symptoms; it can also have serious implications for long-term health. Chronic exposure to high estrogen levels has been associated with an increased risk of various conditions, including:

  • Breast cancer

  • Endometriosis

  • Fibroids

  • Ovarian cysts

  • Thyroid dysfunction

  • Cardiovascular disease

Strategies for Achieving Hormonal Balance: Fortunately, there are steps you can take to address estrogen dominance and restore hormonal harmony:

  1. Support Liver Health: Optimize liver function by eating a nutrient-rich diet, reducing alcohol consumption, and minimizing exposure to toxins.

  2. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can disrupt hormone balance. Incorporate stress-reducing practices such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine.

  3. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess body fat can contribute to estrogen dominance. Focus on maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.

  4. Limit Exposure to Xenoestrogens: Minimize exposure to environmental toxins by choosing organic produce, using natural household and personal care products, and avoiding plastic food containers and water bottles.

  5. Hormonal Support: Bioidentical progesterone is a great way to balance estrogen/progesterone imbalance.

  6. Avoid chemical estrogens: look for BPA approved plastics or alternatives, switch to natural brands for your toiletries & cosmetics, and go organic to limit your exposure to pesticides.

Conclusion: Estrogen dominance is a common yet often overlooked hormonal imbalance that can have far-reaching effects on health and well-being. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and consequences of estrogen dominance, individuals can take proactive steps to restore hormonal balance and optimize their overall health. Whether through lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, or targeted interventions, achieving hormonal harmony is essential for vibrant health and vitality at every stage of life.


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