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Do you have Estrogen Dominance?

Your gynecologist or family doctor may never tell you that you have estrogen dominance ... but if you have these signs and symptoms you should be worried:

  • Accelerated aging
  • Allergies
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Foggy thinking
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Headaches
  • Hair loss
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Increased blood clotting
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular menses (timing of the cycle is off, light or heavy bleeding)
  • Irritability
  • Low sex drive
  • Memory loss
  • Water retention
  • Weight gain (particularly mid-section of the body (waist, hips, and thighs)

What Is Estrogen Dominance?

The idea behind estrogen dominance is that there is an excess of estrogen in relation to its balancing hormone partner, progesterone. The term estrogen dominance was created in 1996 by gynecologist John R. Lee in his book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause.

Estrogen dominance in women happens from one of three primary causes. First, estrogen levels are too high in the body in relation to its' counterbalancing hormone partner progesterone. This might happen because of environmental estrogens such as synthetic hormones (birth control pills, xenoestrogens from pesticides, plastics, etc), from fat tissue making excess estrogen, and poor detoxification and elimination of estrogen in the body. Second, progesterone production is low (from low ovary production), while estrogen is regular. And third, estrogen levels are too high, and progesterone levels are too low.

Conditions Associated with Estrogen Dominance

  • Autoimmunity.
  • Breast tenderness and fibrocystic breasts or increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Cervical dysplasia.
  • Endometrial thickening or endometrial cancer.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Fibrocystic breasts/Breast Cancer.
  • Infertility/Miscarriage.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • PCOS.
  • PMS.
  • Thyroid suppression (hypothyroidism).
  • Uterine Fibroids.

Watch Out for Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

Hormone disrupting chemicals from the environment are known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Examples consist of pesticides, fungicides, plastics, plasticizers, industrial solvents, heavy metals, and pharmaceuticals. The majority of EDC's are human-made but some occur naturally in the diet. The exposure to EDCs starts in the womb as they move across the placenta to the growing baby. As of 2017, the Endocrine Disruption Exchange database noted 1,491 EDCs. These EDCs create hormone imbalance, like estrogen dominance, by interfering with the body's hormone production, release, transportation, metabolism, binding, action, or elimination.

Foods That Remove Estrogen

There is good evidence that phytoestrogens from plants can also bind to receptors and have an anti-estrogenic effect. This is why extensive population studies show that individuals that consume high quantities of phytoestrogens have less hormone-related cancers. Research has shown that phytoestrogen consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, brain function disorders, and various cancers. (breast, prostate, bowel, and others).

The most well-studied foods having phytoestrogens are soy (fermented type) and flaxseeds. However, several common foods have phytoestrogens like carrots, celery, apples, and legumes.

Ground flax-seeds are not only a good source of fiber, but they have been shown to boost sex-hormone binding globulin, which binds estrogen. As well, lignans are compounds in flax-seeds that interfere with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen. One to two tablespoons of ground flax-seeds each day, together with 10 ounces of water, supports estrogen detoxification.

One of the best groups of foods to boost estrogen detoxification is cruciferous vegetables. This includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, bok choy, Swiss chard, and others. Cruciferous vegetables have several compounds that promote estrogen detoxification, including indole-3- carbinole and its metabolite diindolylmethane (DIM). Aim to eat several servings of cruciferous vegetables weekly.

Water needs to be purified since it often contains pesticides and hormone residues fed to animals for fattening reasons. Also, hormone by-products from birth control drugs and prescription hormones taken by people wind up in the water supply as they are secreted during urination. Plasticizers such as BPA and BPB are often in water, particularly bottled waters. It is best to consume drinking water that has been purified in your home. In addition, avoid plastic water bottles and containers and instead use glass or stainless steel items.

Restrict alcohol as it interferes with the body's detoxification of estrogen and raises estradiol levels. Alcohol also raises the risk for different types of cancer, including breast cancer in women.

A hormone-balancing diet is a modified Mediterranean Diet that emphasizes organic foods, reduced grain and dairy products, and purified water.