Estrogen is a highly active messenger in the body, and it’s role goes well beyond all the feminine stuff we naturally associate it with. Now some of you may already be familiar with the term ‘estrogen dominance’ however what you may not know is that ED is not only about having high estrogen. It’s about the ratio of our three key estrogens: estriol, estradiol and estrone.
When this balance of estrogen is off, we end up with a domino effect across the body. Aggressive estrogen is a bit of a bully, and nothing else does well when it’s in command. All the positive effects of estrogen are detoured and ED can leave you feeling moody, mess with your metabolism and even go so far as to interfere with normal detoxification, gene expression and methylation. Serious stuff. Although often undiagnosed and not on the radar for most GP’s, ED is likely at the root of many cases of PMT, infertility and even certain types of cancers.
Hormones are sensitive and have an important role in our wellbeing. And we need to be paying close attention.
Common signs estrogen dominance in women you may not have considered
- Spider or varicose veins
- Stubborn cellulite
- Heavy menstrual bleeding or flooding
- Breast or ovarian fibroids
- Irritability, mood swings, or anxiety
- Headaches or migraines, particularly before your period
- Fat around your hips
- Bloating, puffiness or water retention
- Breast tenderness
- Endometriosis or painful periods
- Depression and anxiety
- Crying spells for no apparent reason
- Trouble falling asleep
- Gallbladder problems
If you experience these symptoms, or have noticed a sudden or gradual change, it’s worthwhile chatting to a Functional Medicine practitioner who understands this ‘root cause’ philosophy and finding out what your options are. The good news is that ED can be cleared with fairly straightforward diet and lifestyle changes once you know what’s happening.
Let’s learn more.
There are 2 types of estrogen dominance
The one that’s got all the power
ED can play out in a couple of different ways. In the first type of we see too much of the aggressive ‘bad’ estrogens, estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2), in comparison to our ‘protective estrogen’’ estriol (E3). And in the second instance we see an imbalance with low or suppressed progesterone dominated by high E2.
To make sense of this further let’s look at the key role of these hormones. Basically you can think of estrogen as the “builder” and progesterone (our other key sex hormone) as the “differentiator,” and as the name implies, your “pro-gestation” hormone. Effectively, estrogen and progesterone work in synergy to prepare the body for fertility throughout our monthly cycle, and then release the cycle to start over again.
The one that’s suppressing your power
When progresterone is suppressed we end up feeling flat and anxious, with cravings, low libido and less zest for life. It’s a real shame to go without our progesterone fix as it really keeps us on the up.
Our progesterone and estrogen hormones clearly influence the body beyond our sex organs. Estrogen in particular plays a major role and is involved in calcium deposition, interacts with gut bacteria and affects vascular tone, blood clotting and body fat deposition. Cellulite? Thank aggressive estrogen. In fact, there is almost nothing estrogen imbalance doesn’t impact. And don’t forget, men have estrogen too.
So whether it’s lowering your natural progrestone or reducing the potential of good estrogen, high E2 or E1 is no good.
Male symptoms of estrogen dominance
- Difficulty sleeping
- Depression and moodiness
- Difficulty gaining muscle
- ‘Softer’ looking muscles
- Water retention
- Night sweats
- Low libido
I’ve had male clients come up with high estrogen in saliva tests, and it’s actually such a relief. They feel like their mystery symptoms finally make sense.
Hormone testing for estrogen dominance is easy
The best way to investigate estrogen dominance in both men and women is to order a full hormone profile. These are available for my patients (you need to register for the Mind Body Reset to become a patient), and will help you pinpoint exactly where the imbalance is. The best test is simple a saliva collection, and this will look at free hormones at specific times, plus compares ratios. Most serum blood tests aren’t as comprehensive.
Once you know where your hormones are at, you will be able to make diet and lifestyle choices to help direct your body back to balance. The problem lies in leaving the imbalance unaddressed, as many men and women do. We are too good at adapting in many ways, and more often choose to ‘suck it up’ and live with the uncomfortable symptoms instead of pushing for answers.
Common toxins and vulnerabilities that lead to estrogen imbalance
- BPA from common plastics
- Non stick cookware
- Pthalates from cosmetics
- Heavy metal exposure: lead, arsenic, mercury
- Mineral deficiency: iodine, zinc, selenium, magnesium
- Excess sugar
- Low fibre diet
- Imbalance of gut flora
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Fat deficiency
Reducing exposure to these toxins can be difficult, as they are everywhere in common household goods, sprayed on our food and even on clothing and furniture. At the end of the day it’s a whole picture that needs to be taken into account, and every individual will vary. In addition to reducing exposure, there are also ways to rebalance the right ratios and clear excess estrogen.
Top foods and supplements to rebalance estrogen
- Broccoli sprouts, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts
- Rosemary herbal extract and essential oil
- Green tea extract
In addition to these it’s important to address any secondary ‘domino’ impacts that may have occurred. These include looking at the gut, thyroid, adrenals and liver.
I’ve designed the 30 Day Mind Body Reset specifically to work on all of these areas. As a participant of this online program you are also a client, and during our consult we can discuss all your testing options. Find out more about the reset
And if you want to learn more about estrogen watch my Estrogen Dominance Video over on facebook
Yours in shining health,
Sita Huber, BHSc