I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in this post. Full disclosure here.

estrogen

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and over 200,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed every year. We’re seeing girls reaching puberty as early as age 8. Ask any woman, and she’s bound to say she’s experienced PMS, and maybe even endometriosis, fibroids, or ovarian cysts. The common thread in these conditions? Too much estrogen.

Estrogen: It’s one of a woman’s two main sex hormones; the other is progesterone. Estrogen peaks in the first half of a woman’s menstrual cycle to trigger ovulation, then progesterone peaks in the second half of the cycle and continues to rise if there is a pregnancy, or falls to trigger menstruation.
(side note: Men have estrogen too. Too much estrogen in men contributes to gynecomastia (AKA man boobs).

In women, progesterone and estrogen should exist in a ratio of about 30:1, but when this ratio becomes skewed and a woman has a deficiency of progesterone and/or an excess of estrogen, that woman is in a state of estrogen dominance. Over 50 percent of women over 35 are estrogen dominant, and I see it so frequently in my practice. Typically, women will have very low progesterone, so even if their estrogen is in a normal range on lab work, that’s still estrogen dominant due to the low progesterone. Or, they may have high estrogen levels.

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

  • painful periods, heavy bleeding or clotting
  • sore, tender breasts
  • swollen fingers and feet
  • irregular periods
  • PMS
  • ovarian cysts
  • fibroids
  • breast cancer
  • endometriosis
  • fat gain
  • hair loss
  • PCOS
  • dry skin & eyes
  • early menarchy
  • low thyroid function (hypothyroid)

What Causes Estrogen Dominance?

  • xenoestrogenschemicals in cosmetics, pesticides, plastics, pollution, and our environment that are shaped like our body’s own estrogens and plug up estrogen receptors, contributing to our estrogen load
  • CAFO (conventionally raised) beef and meats fed antibiotics and growth hormone
  • soy, which contains plant-based estrogens, especially processed soy
  • conventional dairy, which contains hormones and is naturally androgenic (promotes growth)
  • birth control pills: the average low dose pill has 20 TIMES  a woman’s natural estrogen levels!
  • being overweight or obese
  • stress
  • processed foods, corn syrup
  • excess alcohol
  • ovarian cysts or tumors that can produce excess estrogens
  • liver congestion
  • B vitamin deficiencies
  • too much coffee

Here is a classic pattern I see in my practice: busy career woman and/or mom hustling in her job and raising her family, eating too many processed or refined foods; drinking a lot of coffee as a pick-me-up; too much sugar to beat the energy lulls; grabbing fast food or take-out too frequently. She doesn’t have time to plan meals or cook and often picks up take-out pizza for the family on the way home. She drinks wine every night to unwind and help her sleep, but she ends up tossing and turning and wakes up feeling unrested. Eventually, this pattern causes weight gain, and she may notice a worsening in PMS, and her periods get heavier and more painful. Her breasts are very tender the week before her period. She may notice infertility issues, fatigue, and irritability. What’s going on?

In a word, stress. This woman is burning the candle at both ends, eating poor quality food, not getting quality sleep, not exercising, and drinking too much caffeine and alcohol. These are all stressors for the body, which contributes to increased cortisol, your main stress hormone. Your body churns out cortisol in response to stress, whether it be too much sugar or too much work or too little sleep, and it will begin to borrow reserves it would normally use to make your other hormones, like progesterone, to feed the excess cortisol.

Eventually, progesterone levels drop, but estrogen continues to rise due to chemical exposure from poor food and weight gain. Excess fat can convert to estrogen. This woman is now estrogen dominant and probably not feeling great. Add to this the cosmetics she’s applying to her skin, the alcohol that’s congesting her liver, which is in charge of detoxing excess estrogens (if it can’t perform that duty, the estrogens back in into the system and aren’t excreted), the environmental pollutants and pesticides she’s in contact with, and the lack of sleep (which raises cortisol), and we’ve got a hormone imbalance.

This cycle is exacerbated when a woman takes hormonal birth control pills, which artificially elevate estrogen levels and suppress progesterone to prevent pregnancy.

How to Rebalance Your Hormones and Prevent Estrogen Dominance

  • First point of business: Clean up your diet. Eat organic meats, plenty of fiber-rich veggies, and good fats, which is what your body uses to make hormones. Avoid non-organic meats, dairy, refined sugar, inflammatory vegetable oils, alcohol, coffee, refined flours and carbs. Focus on the cruciferous veggies (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts), especially broccoli, which contain indole-3 carbinole that helps estrogen detox.
  • Detox twice yearly: A happy liver is crucial to hormone balance, because one of the liver’s main jobs is metabolizing hormones and detoxing excess hormones from the body. Click here for an easy liver detox (and see below for more detail).
  • Poop well. After your liver detoxes and sends excess estrogens to be excreted via stool, they must then be excreted from the body. If you’re constipated, the stool is immobile, and estrogens and toxins can be reabsorbed through the gut and back into your system. You don’t want that! Daily pooping will facilitate detox.
  • Clean up your products: get rid of cosmetics with any ingredients you cannot pronounce, and stop putting chemical lotions on your skin. It’s all absorbed and filled with xenoestrogens. Here’s an example of my natural skin care routine, and I use chemical-free shampoo.
  • Clean up your environment: use green cleaning products, or make your own. There are tons of DIY cleaning product recipes out there.
  • Address stress level by getting 8 hours or sleep, making time to prepare healthy meals (hello, crock pot), and exercise. Prioritize. Your health is worth it. Here are 10+ ways to build stress relief into your day.
  • Exercise and maintain ideal body weight.

Supplemental Support to Help (can use this protocol when detoxing from hormonal birth control pills)

I recommend saliva testing to measure stress hormones and estrogen and progesterone levels to see exactly what level of hormone imbalance exists. Then I design a personalized protocol using a combination of diet and supplements to help rebalance hormones. I also stress lifestyle habits like sleep, exercise, and addressing emotional well-being.

Resources

Dr. Lam’s Estrogen Dominance info
How to Balance Your Hormones in 4 Easy Steps
How to Heal Adrenal Fatigue

Want an easy program you can start right now to balance your hormones?

My book provides you with a 21-day simple, whole-foods based detox program to help you regain your health, lose weight (if that’s your goal), dump the junk from your diet, break sugar & carb cravings, gain energy, sleep better, get clear skin, and be the best version of yourself.

 web_book_graphic

Is This You?

  • PMS, menopausal symptoms, trouble with hormone balance?
  • Overweight or having trouble losing those last 5, 10, 20 pounds?
  • Fatigued, brain fog, 3pm energy crash?
  • Can’t drag yourself out of bed, much less through the day?
  • Bloated, gassy, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, been recently diagnosed with IBS or Crohn’s disease?
  • Suffer with anxiety or depression?
  • Acne or skin rashes?
  • High cholesterol?
  • Joint or muscle pain?
  • Headaches or migraines?
  • Insomnia?
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmune disease?

This program was designed to help you feel better. Click here for all the details and to buy now.

What You’ll Get

  • immediate access to the 3 Weeks to Vitality manual AND Bonus guide, over 100 pages of nutrition & wellness resources, recipes, tips and information
  • easy to follow 21 day whole foods-based detox plan with directions and guidelines for each week
  • complete list of foods to avoid and why
  • plenty of info on what foods to include to enhance your experience
  • shopping list & diet journal template
  • meal plans
  • recipes
  • lifestyle tips and info on how to detox your environment for a healthy home
  • how to transition off the detox and into a maintenance plan for life
  • resources & products recommendations
  • FAQ
  • tons of nutrition education

fall-into-health-autumn-sale-2

 

 

Like what you’ve read? Join my mailing list!

* indicates required

Email Format