In women, estrogen controls the growth of the uterine lining during the first part of the menstrual cycle, and causes changes in the breasts during adolescence and pregnancy. Moreover it regulates metabolic processes, including bone growth and cholesterol levels. Men have estrogen too, and estrogen balance is essential for both men and women to achieve and maintain fat loss. When we have too much estrogen (referred to as estrogen dominance), it can cause weight gain, water retention, bloating, and other health issues.
WHAT CAUSES ESTROGEN DOMINANCE?
While estrogen dominance can naturally occur due to the decline in testosterone and progesterone levels as we age, environmental toxins also significantly affect our hormone levels.
One of the most common hormone disruptors is plastic. Plastics contain xenoestrogens which mimic estrogen in the body and contribute to estrogen dominance. Additionally, many of the pesticides and organic solvents used in our food and water supplies act as xenoestrogens too, as do our conventional household cleaners and some daily beauty products, such as shampoo, moisturizer, nail polish, and lipstick. Xenoestrogens are difficult for us to break down and fool the body into thinking they are estrogen.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
Women with estrogen dominance will likely have PMS, belly fat, and difficulty losing weight. They may also have a history of varicose veins, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, headaches or migraines before periods, sore breasts, as well as heavy and painful periods. Men with estrogen dominance will often experience fatigue, loss of muscle mass, depression, belly fat, and sometimes sexual dysfunction.
HOW TO CORRECT ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
1. LOVE YOUR LIVER
The liver is responsible for breaking down estrogen, and any health issue that impairs healthy liver function can cause an estrogen build-up. Support your liver with herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion, turmeric, artichoke, and essential estrogen-balancing supplements such as indole-3-carbinol, calcium-d-glucarate, and diindolylmethane (DIM). I often recommend EstroSense® to my patients to help detoxify those harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals from the body and correct estrogen dominance.
2. PROBIOTICS – THE GOOD BUGS
Bacterial imbalance in the gut and poor digestion can interfere with the proper elimination of estrogen from the body through the digestive tract. Include a daily probiotic in your diet.
3. BOOST FIBRE
Insoluble fibre binds to excess estrogen in the digestive tract and helps the liver excrete the toxins. Include sources like flaxseeds; chia seeds; rice/oat bran; lots of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds; lentils; and most beans.
4. GO ORGANIC
Try to choose organic produce, dairy, and meats to minimize your exposure to potential estrogen-mimicking pesticides. Plus the more you purchase organic produce, it will drive demand for cleaner foods. This is better for the entire planet and future generations. Think long term.
5. CLEAN UP THE TOXINS IN YOUR HOUSE
Switch over to environmentally friendly household cleaners and detergents, choose organic beauty products and makeup, and minimize your exposure to plastics. Switch out all the plastic in your kitchen and dump the plastic Ziploc bags and wrap. Wax paper is excellent for wrapping sandwiches; or better yet, get a stainless steel lunch container. Try to go plastic free! Check out ewg.org for more information.
6. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
When stressed, progesterone is depleted to manufacture more of the stress hormone cortisol, often leaving an excess of estrogen. Choose stress-busting vitamins such as vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, and adaptogenic herbs such as rhodiola, Siberian ginseng, and ashwagandha.
7. GET YOUR ZZZs
Poor sleep habits reduce the hormone melatonin, which helps protect against estrogen dominance. Go to bed at the same time each night and prepare for bedtime by winding down, turn off the TV, put away your phone, and try reading. Aim for 7–8 hours of sleep per night.
Manage your stress.
Get your Zzzs.
ESTROGEN DOMINANCE in MEN and WOMEN
- In both men and women (especially pre-, peri-, or menopausal women), too much estrogen (a condition called estrogen dominance) can cause toxic WEIGHT GAIN, WATER RETENTION, BLOATING, and a host of other health issues as we age.
- Beyond the natural impacts of AGING, estrogen dominance is showing up in younger men and women because of ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS.
- If you are a woman with estrogen dominance, you will likely have PMS, BELLY FAT, and DIFFICULTY LOSING WEIGHT. You may also experience VARICOSE VEINS, UTERINE FIBROIDS, ENDOMETRIOSIS, OVARIAN CYSTS, HEADACHES and MIGRAINES before periods, infertility, sore breasts, as well as heavy and painful periods.
- In men, estrogen dominance can cause ENLARGED BREASTS (gynecomastia), SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION, WEIGHT GAIN, and INFERTILITY.
- Estrogen dominance in both men and women is thought to cause many types of illnesses, such as BREAST, UTERINE, and even PROSTATE CANCER.