What is Estrogen Dominance?
Another common hormonal imbalance seen today is estrogen dominance, which is caused by an imbalance involving estrogen and progesterone; specifically, a relatively low or deficient amount of progesterone in relationship to estrogen.
Estrogen dominance was first introduced by Dr. John Lee in his book about natural progesterone. He suggested that a majority of symptoms experienced by women during the premenopausal and menopausal years are caused by an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone levels. In reality, this is not as simple as it sounds.
What are Symptoms?
- Swollen, tender breasts
- Impatience and irritability
- Irregular periods
- Decreased libido and sex drive
- Fluid Retention
- Stomach cramps before the onset of menses
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
What Causes Estrogen Dominance?
As you age you approach the premenopausal years which may occur up to 15 years before you actually enter menopause. During this premenopausal time, your progesterone production declines, while estrogen production remains the same or increases. Due to this fact, estrogen becomes a predominant hormone in the body, and without proper counterbalancing of progesterone may cause a variety of symptoms.
Prolonged elevated estrogen levels throughout the years could result in:
- Fibrocystic breast disease
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Endometrial polyps
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Uterine fibroids
- Breast cancer
In recent years, estrogen dominance is also being documented in the younger female population during their early teenage years. This is not menopause; their progesterone production is still normal.
Unfortunately, other external factors also contribute to estrogen dominance. Recent studies note that estrogen dominance may also develop from exposure of the body to external chemicals called Xenoestrogens.
What are Xenoestrogens?
Xenoestrogens are fake or artificial estrogen-like chemicals, which, when entered in the body, tend to mimic estrogen by blocking or binding themselves to estrogen receptor sites, ultimately causing an imbalance of estrogen. Effective estrogen dominance treatment would include elimination of artificial estrogen-like chemicals from your body.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals found in products such as phthalates and pesticides. Other chemicals that may have estrogenic effects are hormonal residues found in dairy and meat products. Xenoestrogens accumulate in the body since they are stored in our fat cells. This means it can take the body a long time to get rid of them.
Below is the list of most common products with xenoestrogen chemicals:
- 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (sunscreen lotions)
- Benzophenone (sunscreen lotions)
Industrial Products and Plastics
- Bisphenol A
- Phthalates (plasticizers)
- DEHP (plasticizer for PVC)
- Polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
- Erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
- Phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
- Butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)
- Atrazine (weed killer)
- Lindane / gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (insecticide, used to treat lice and scabies)
- Methoxychlor (insecticide)
- Chlorine and chlorine by-products
- Ethinylestradiol (combined oral contraceptive pill)
- Metalloestrogens (a class of inorganic xenoestrogens)
- Alkylphenol (surfactant used in cleaning detergents)
What Can I Do To Avoid Estrogen Dominance?
Each body is unique, so there is no single magical pill to balance your hormones.
In our practice we might recommend that you take an herbal supplement, a bio-identical hormone, or a combination of both to help you reestablish hormonal balance. To be effective, you will have to actively participate in your rebalancing journey. You will need an individual approach, and the success of estrogen dominance treatment will depend on your ability to change your lifestyle, including your diet, exercise, sleep, and environment.
Your diet will need to include food high in fiber. Estrogen is eliminated partially through your gastrointestinal tract; thus, encouraging frequent bowel movements (not diarrhea, but well-formed stool) serve to increase the elimination of estrogen and prevent its reabsorption. Exercising routinely and maintaining a healthy body weight is another way to decrease estrogen levels in your body.
As mentioned, estrogen is stored in your fat cells.
Losing weight and having less fat will decrease your estrogen levels as well. Switching to organically grown foods will decrease your exposure to xenoestrogens such as pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The elimination of unhealthy saturated fats, refined sugars, products with artificial sweeteners, and food flavors is also important.
Dr. Fazylova and Staff at ReBalance of Radiance Aesthetic & Wellness strive to provide a holistic and individualized care to help you on your journey to a better health and vibrant appearance.
ReBalance of Radiance Aesthetics & Wellness
Aesthetic, Integrative Health & Functional Medicine Specialist
635 Madison Ave #1401
New York, NY 10022