Estrogen Dominance: What You Should Know!
Estrogen dominance, add it to the list! Honestly, you'll read the list of signs and symptoms and think... sounds like PCOS. A lot of hormone imbalances cause the same symptoms. It's hard to keep up with all the different possibilities. Though the S'moo babes are here to help! So let's dive into estrogen dominance and get you all the facts.
What is so important about Estrogen?
Estrogen is essential for fertility, cardiovascular health, energy, bone formation, it promotes our sex drive, it helps develop and maintain both the reproductive system and female characteristics. During your cycle, estrogen is produced by the ovaries. This estrogen regulates your cycle and the growth of your uterine lining before ovulation.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen Dominance is when you have excess estrogen. This can be because your body can't get rid of excess estrogen or your levels of estrogen are out of balance compared to progesterone. It can be a delicate balance and it doesn't take much for it to tip the scales and cause unpleasant symptoms like painful periods and a possible impact on your fertility.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Here are common signs and symptoms associated with estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance symptoms are different in every woman, you may have one or many symptoms:
- Heavy periods
- Weight gain
- Fibrocystic breasts (Noncancerous changes that give a breast a lumpy or ropelike texture.)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Depression, anxiety, irritability
- PMS symptoms (Breast tenderness, Bloating, Severe cramps, Mood Swings)
- premenstrual acne
- Low libido
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular periods
- Uterine fibroids
It sounds like I have Estrogen dominance, how do I know for sure?
If you've already been diagnosed with PCOS or Endometriosis, chances are you could also be experiencing estrogen dominance. However, if you haven't identified your possible hormone imbalance yet and you're learning about all of this for the first time, you can visit your doctor for a blood sample to test your hormone levels. If you're getting your estrogen levels tested, remember to also have your progesterone levels tested, as well. Sometimes your estrogen isn't crazy high but paired with low progesterone, you may still have estrogen dominance.
Why do I have Estrogen Dominance?
There is always more to learn but currently experts believe estrogen dominance happens from three main factors: environmental, dietary and lifestyle factors.
Environmental: There are elements that act like estrogens, they are made synthetically and called xenoestrogens, they are commonly found in fragrances, pesticides and plastics. These toxins are absorbed by your body and you won’t even realize it, your body stores it in your liver and fat cells. These xenoestrogens can act with endogenously produced estrogens and can disturb your hormone balance with extra estrogen!
Dietary: Processed foods, chronic stress, poor liver function, inadequate sleep and substance use like too much alcohol can create excess estrogen or make it more difficult for your body to get rid of extra estrogen. Also, Fat cells produce and store estrogen, so excess weight means more estrogen is created.
Lifestyle Factors: Medication like hormonal birth control and estrogen replacement therapy used for treating menopause will also cause extra estrogen.
PCOS and Estrogen dominance:
If you have PCOS and are wondering why estrogen dominance is commonly linked it's because of the excess androgens women with PCOS often have, this prevents ovulation and lowers progesterone. Women with PCOS often don't have extremely high estrogen levels but they have such low levels of progesterone that the imbalance creates the same effect: estrogen dominance.
What can help me with my estrogen dominance?
There are 6 steps you can take to help control your estrogen dominance, these suggestions help with a number of health related and hormone imbalance situations so implementing them can't hurt!
Exercise: As we talked about earlier, fat cells store estrogen and so an exercise program that helps lower body fat can reduce levels of estrogen.
Foods: Some foods can lower estrogen, like cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mushrooms, red grapes, flaxseeds, and whole grains.
Avoiding pesticides, herbicides or fungicides: When you're eating fruits and vegetables that are sprayed with pesticides, herbicides or fungicides you're bringing Xenoestrogens into your life. Same goes for cattle injected with hormones. Try choosing organic foods and grass fed beef in order to reduce these toxins (xenoestrogens) that can act as excess estrogens.
Avoid plastic containers and bottles: Xenoestrogens are also in many products (creams, cosmetics, hair, skin care and hygiene products) as well as plastics. These xenoestrogens imitate estrogen and cause excess estrogen in our bodies. There isn’t any federal regulation on these items and they’re nearly impossible to cut out or your lifestyle but knowing about them and making choices of how often to include them in your life, can help.
Manage stress: It seems like we are always talking about stress! The truth is, stress is wreaking havoc on your hormones. In this situation, stress uses progesterone to create cortisol, which helps your body handle the stressful situation, however this creates an imbalance that leaves too much estrogen compared to progesterone.
If you want to manage your stress or even start exercising in order to help regulate your estrogen dominance these blogs can help: Think Positive, Reduce Stress; Changing your Life in 5 minutes a Day!
Supplements: Zinc, N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), Magnesium, Taurine, B5, B12 & Vitamin C and more.
You can stay healthy!
We believe in you! I know it seems like a lot but lifestyle changes and adjustments are the best way to help your hormone balance. Monitoring your diet, working on your stress levels and including exercise into your weeks will be some of your strongest tools. Don't forget there are also natural supplements you can take to help in your journey. You can talk to women like you in our S'moo Babe Community. Together we can work through estrogen dominance, PCOS, endometriosis, you name it! Hormone balance might not be easy but together it is possible.