Do you have Estrogen Dominance?
A diagnosis of Estrogen dominance is determined by your Naturopathic or Medical Doctor and is based on lab work, symptoms, and your family health history.
Here is a quick symptom list. If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms it is wise to see a health care provider familiar with sex hormone imbalance and saliva testing.
Fat around hip and belly area
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Breast or ovarian fibroids
Irritability, mood swings, or anxiety
Cyclic headaches or migraines
Heavy bleeding or postmenopausal bleeding
Bloating, puffiness or water retention
Endometriosis or painful periods
Why should you care?
If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms you probably don’t need further motivation to make changes to restore the balance of Estrogen in your body. And from a symptom and cancer prevention perspective you will want to keep your Estrogen levels as normal as possible.
Why do we become Estrogen dominant?
In natural menopause the first hormonal change is a decline in Progesterone; Estrogen actually remains within normal ranges and sometimes increases. Estrogen and Progesterone are meant to offset each other throughout the menstrual cycle in a specific ratio and rhythm. When one falls, the other rises like a teeter-totter. When Progesterone levels decline, either naturally or due to excess Cortisol, or both, Estrogen levels increase unopposed. This condition, known as Estrogen dominance, is made worse by exogenous estrogen-like compounds called Xenoestrogens that come from our environment or from our own fat cells.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals that mimic the effect of Estrogen. I always instruct new clients to remove chemical Estrogens from their homes and bodies. Xenoestrogens are dangerous because they disrupt hormones and can cause cancer. Hormone expert, Lorna Vanderhaeghe, states that “Xenoestrogens cause breast cancer, uterine cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, premature sexual development, uterine fibromas, heavy periods, infertility, and in men benign prostatic hypertrophy and prostate cancer.” SMART WOMEN’S GUIDE TO HORMONES BY LORNA VANDERHAEGHE.
Our bodies absorb Xenoestrogens from pesticides and herbicides. We also absorb Xenoestrogens from plastics. When plastics break down from sunlight, including plastic used in water bottles, baby bottles, and food packaging materials, Bisphenol-A is released. Originally used for synthetic estrogen replacement, Bisphenol-A causes hormone havoc in both women and men. Other sources to avoid include plastic wrap (especially in the microwave), cleaning chemicals, and cosmetics containing Xenoestrogens. Check your makeup and skincare creams for Iso-propyl Parabens at www.ewg.org.
If a woman experiences uncomfortable symptoms during perimenopause it is often due to Estrogen excess. Since there is a great deal of overlap in the symptoms of various hormone imbalances it’s not uncommon for a woman experiencing symptoms of Estrogen or stress hormone excess to be given a prescription for more Estrogen – Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). We now know that this is not the solution.
What can you do?
Here is the good news. You can do many things to help yourself right away. Your doctor may prescribe Progesterone cream however I believe that building a healthy foundation for yourself will help you to prevent other conditions – like autoimmune conditions, which are becoming a pandemic. Progesterone cream alone will not take away the underlying causes of estrogen dominance. Your food and lifestyle choices will. Here’s how:
- CHOOSE ORGANIC FOODS: Particularly peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes. Pesticides are one of the greatest contributors to Xenoestrogens.
- LOSE THE PLASTIC CONTAINERS: Pack and reheat veggies and leftovers in glass containers, not plastic. While the FDA maintains that microwaving in plastic food-containers is of no concern I recommend cooking in glassware. When plastic is heated it breaks down. Also, purchase a reusable glass water bottle or stainless steel. And be aware that some plastic bottles are safer than others. See article here: Water Bottle Safety
- INCREASE FOODS THAT HELP TO REMOVE BAD ESTROGENS: Food such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, buckwheat, figs, melons, green beans, squash, pears, and flaxseed.
- FOLLOW A LOWER CARBOHYDRATE PLAN: Losing visceral belly fat will decrease the number of estrogen-producing fat cells. The more belly fat we have the more estrogen we produce. I cannot emphasize enough that blood sugar balance is key to hormone balance. Your adrenal glands will always respond to low blood sugar by secreting cortisol. Cortisol blocks the uptake of progesterone at the cell level further allowing estrogen to dominate. You can see why any form of stress – emotional, physical, digestive, etc., can lead to estrogen dominance.
Where to start?
Working with my gals to normalize blood sugar is number one from a nutrition perspective. I can hear you saying, “But Kelly, I can’t do all that cooking and shopping and eating healthy because I’m busy, and I hate cooking, and I have kids, etc.” Well I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be painful. It takes strategy, practice, support, and a willingness to change your perspective. I’ve worked with women who want to feel better immediately (who doesn’t?) but these gals give up after a week if they don’t see results. Women who are successful give themselves time. They learn how to change, what to change, and they accept that life is going to throw some curve balls. Instead of giving up they come back and tell me what they’ve learned from the situation. In my experience, the women who succeed at weight loss and hormone balance understand that slow and steady wins the race. Weight loss companies don’t sell “slow and steady” because it’s not sexy. I teach it because it works.
If you want to learn more about balancing your hormones you will want to grab my free ebook below.
And if you want to join the group of gals following the Body Beautiful Program for Hormones click here to book a free consultation: Hormone Focused Nutrition Assessment.