Estrogen Dominance



What is “Estrogen Dominance”?

Estrogen Dominance occurs when hormones in your body become imbalanced and your estrogen levels become abnormally high creating an overload. Estrogen Dominance can cause numerous symptoms or different health conditions including excess weight around your midsection. If you are concerned that you may have estrogen dominance, be sure to speak with your primary care physician about your concerns.

What are the symptoms of it?
The symptoms/health conditions caused by estrogen dominance include:

PMS
Infertility
PCOS
Missed or irregular periods
Swollen or fibrocystic breasts
Irritability
Fatigue
Allergies
Asthma
Fibroids
Mood swings
Magnesium deficiency
Thyroid dysfunction
Excess fat accumulation around the stomach, hips, and thighs.


What causes it?
Chemically-laced processed and packaged foods promote unnatural estrogen levels. As a matter of fact, not only do these foods add extra fat to your body but some of the chemicals put in these foods mimic the natural estrogen hormone leading to higher estrogen levels and essentially, estrogen dominance. These foods also include soy, corn, and gluten which are genetically modified.

Excess fat also produces higher estrogen levels. Most estrogen is produced in the ovaries, but adipose tissue (fat) synthesizes estrogen as well. So the more fat you have, the more estrogen your body will produce.

Stress is also a factor in estrogen dominance. With high levels of stress come higher cortisol and insulin release, both of which are fat storing hormones.

If you don’t get enough sleep every night, your body is likely to hold on to or add to your fat storage and even cause stress. During sleep your body processes all the food and activity that occurred that day, so without the recommended amount of sleep, it may become difficult to reduce stress, fat, and obviously estrogen levels.

What can I do to reduce my risk?
There are several things you can do to prevent or reduce estrogen dominance. Altering the foods you eat by abstaining from process/packaged foods and incorporating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, bokchoy, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and kale will help significantly. These veggies contain indole 3-carbinol (an anti-estrogen) and crambene, which has detoxifying effects against carcinogens. And as an added bonus, they are high in fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that lower cancer risks. With just a few diet changes you can fight against cancer, excess estrogen, and fat all at the same time. Note that these veggies are also “goitrogens,” which means you should lightly cook them so they don’t block with thyroid function.

Getting proper sleep and maintaining a good exercise program is very important. With these two elements, your body is able to produce good hormones to help burn fat, reduce stress levels, and essentially reduce or prevent estrogen dominance. But make sure you are doing the right exercise program because if you over-train, it can cause problems with your fertility by bringing on irregular ovulation and menstrual cycles. No one has time for an improper, ineffective training program so be mindful what program you choose.

How can you be tested for it?
Any primary care physician can run a hormone panel test to determine your estrogen levels and any other hormone levels you desire. After testing, your doctor can help you determine the appropriate treatment or life changes you may need to make.

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