Estrogen and progesterone are the two main sex hormones in women. Estrogen plays a strong role in female reproductive abilities as well as physical appearance. It is thanks to estrogen that women grow breasts and have a reliable reproductive cycle each month.
Men also have estrogen, but in much smaller amounts. This hormone also plays a role in non-reproductive related things like cholesterol, bone strength and brain function (including your moods!).
What Causes Estrogen Dominance?
As with most things in our bodies, balance is key. When our hormones are balanced, we are able to function optimally. When they are imbalanced, our bodies start to suffer. The modern lifestyle and culture leave many of us with an imbalance of estrogen in our bodies. This includes both men and women, but seems to be a particularly big issue with women. Estrogen dominance is simply an imbalance of progesterone to estrogen ratio in the body (it doesn’t always mean you have a lot of estrogen, per se).
The biggest culprits that cause this imbalance are:
Meat and dairy – Conventionally raised farm animals are pumped with antibiotics, growth hormones, and medications that are then transferred to us when we eat them or their milk products. These can cause some major hormone imbalances and disruptions over time.
Plastics – It is well documented that plastic contains many endocrine-disrupting properties including, but not limited to, BPA.
Lotions and perfumes – Many of us unknowingly lather hormone-disrupting chemicals all over our bodies that exist in lotions, makeups and other personal care products.
Stress –Chronic stress is an unnatural condition to the body and slowly wears down the internal organs, including sexual-related organs. Because we don’t NEED to reproduce in order to survive, the body takes energy from reproductive organs when we are in a constant state of stress.
Xenoestrogens – These are environmental hormone disruptors that mimic estrogen and confuse the body. They are in pesticides, dry cleaning chemicals, BPA, perfumes, deodorizers, chemical sunscreens, nail polish, etc.
How do you know if you have “too much” estrogen in your body?
A lot of people are walking around with this condition and they don’t even know it.
Symptoms of ESTROGEN DOMINANCE include:
Menstrual headaches and migraines
Lumpy painful breasts
If you experience several of these symptoms during your monthly cycle, then it is very likely you have an estrogen dominance issue. The first step would be to be tested by your doctor during the second part of your menstrual cycle. They can confirm if you have an imbalance and also tell you what TYPE of estrogen imbalance you have.
If left untreated, estrogen imbalance can lead to fertility issues, blood clots, elevated blood pressure, weight gain, cramping, vaginal issues and more.
Frank Estrogen Dominance – other hormones are normal, only estrogen levels are high.
Broccoli and Cruciferous Veggies – Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain a property called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane not only helps to process excess estrogen in the body, but also has anti-cancer properties. For even more benefits, use broccoli sprouts. They have 50 TIMES to potency of regular broccoli!
Progesterone Deficiency – This is where your estrogen levels seem high but only because your progesterone levels are low. The symptoms of progesterone deficiency can be very similar to those of estrogen dominance, so it is a good idea to get tested so you know for sure which one you have.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C has been shown to help boost progesterone levels. Vitex –Vitex is an herb that you can take to help regulate hormones and support good progesterone/estrogen levels. Evening Primrose Oil – Evening primroseoil is high in a certain fatty acid called GLA that is great at treating symptoms of PMS and progesterone deficiency.
Remember:Although these are all safe methods to use on your own at home, it is a good idea to get tested by your doctor. Understanding exactly where your imbalances are will make any efforts at healing more effective. Make sure you are aware of where you are on your cycle so that the tests will be the most accurate.
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Dr. Katherine Zagone combines the mind of a doctor and the heart of a healer to serve couples and women in their journey to conceive their healthiest baby and build the family of their dreams. Dr. Zagone graduated top of her class from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine where she completed internships in natural fertility and preconception.
She assisted in the training of the next generation of naturopathic doctors at Bastyr University California. She also authors content for Orb Health, and supports patient care at Shine Natural Medicine. As an elite guest lecturer, she has spoken at UCSD and throughout the community on topics including hormones and gut health.
As a belly dancer and champion for feminine power, she embodies the fertile goddess and helps her female clients access their own embodiment to promote fertility. Every visit with Dr. Zagone is a healing experience in itself.
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