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Three Common Causes Of Estrogen Dominance and What You Can Do To Prevent it.

Today we are talking about three common root causes of estrogen Dominance. Estrogen dominance is a condition characterized by an excessive presence of estrogen hormones in the body, relative to progesterone levels. This hormonal imbalance can lead to a range of symptoms and potential health risks, affecting both men and women. While estrogen dominance can have several causes, today’s article will delve into the role of stress, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and xenoestrogens in its development. Woman of all ages are experiencing hormone imbalances in record numbers. One of the most common problems affecting these woman is a state of hormonal imbalance called Estrogen Dominance. Many times Estrogen Dominance overlaps another condition called hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue. If you suffer with one, you most likely to some degree, are being affected by the others.

estrogen dominance symptoms

Estrogen dominance is the condition of increased estrogen levels relative to progesterone levels in the body. Estrogen dominance may be the result of overproduction of estrogen by the body, changes in estrogen metabolism and excretion, or an imbalance in the estrogen to progesterone ratio. Many conditions are thought to be associated with or exacerbated by estrogen dominance, including breast and uterine cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

The body makes three main estrogens:

  • Estrone (E1)
  • Estradiol (E2)
  • Estriol (E3)

Estrone (E1) is the main type of estrogen present in the body after menopause, made primarily in adipose tissue. Estradiol (E2) is the strongest estrogen, made by the ovaries and present in the body before menopause. Estriol (E3) is the weakest estrogen, present in the body primarily during pregnancy.

The body has two main receptors to which estrogen binds: alpha receptors that promote cell growth and beta receptors that inhibit cell growth. Each type of estrogen binds with varying affinity to these receptors, resulting in either cell proliferation or cell inhibition. Besides the direct effects of estrogen in the body, its metabolites are also important.

What causes estrogen Dominance

1. Stress and Estrogen Dominance:

Stress Is a common cause of estrogen dominance. Stress is an inevitable part of modern life, but excessive and chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance, including the estrogen-progesterone ratio. Stress triggers the release of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, which can interfere with the production and regulation of estrogen and progesterone.

When cortisol levels are consistently high due to ongoing stress, the body prioritizes cortisol production over other hormones. Consequently, estrogen dominance may occur, leading to symptoms like irregular menstruation, weight gain, mood swings, and sleep disturbances.

Dealing with chronic prolonged stress(Physical, Chemical, Emotional) on a regular basis will “stress” out your adrenal glands.

This in turn can decrease the amount of progesterone produced, which will cause a progesterone deficiency.

This takes time to occur, but people who fail at identifying their stress will inevitably develop adrenal gland problems, which over time will most likely lead to a progesterone deficiency. You can read more about the connection between hypothyroidism and adrenal burnout here and dietary changes that need to be made if you suffer with adrenal fatigue or Hypothyroidism here

2. Birth Control Pills, Patches, Rings, Intra Uterine Device (IUD).

Birth control pills are widely used as an effective contraceptive method. However, their estrogen content can contribute to estrogen dominance. Oral contraceptives contain synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone that mimic natural hormone levels in the body. Taking oral contraceptives also suppresses the production of progesterone. As a result, a progesterone deficiency can develop, leading to estrogen dominance. The continuous exogenous estrogen intake from birth control pills affects the body’s natural estrogen-progesterone balance. This can lead to a relative dominance of estrogen and potentially cause symptoms such as breast tenderness, weight gain, and mood changes.

One obvious solution to this is to stop taking oral contraceptives. But many women won’t want to do this, even if it is negatively affecting their health. If interested in learning more about the pill and the problem it can cause, click on any of the links you see below.

  1. 7 ways the Pill and Synthetic Hormones Cause Anxiety and Depression 
  2. The Pill and Gut Dysbiosis 
  3. Nutritional Deficiencies Caused By The Pill and Synthetic Hormones 
  4. Signs and Symptoms of A Toxic Liver
  5. How the Pill and Synthetic Hormones cause IBS and Gut Dysbiosis 
  6. How the Pill and Synthetic Hormones can cause Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Crohn’s 
  7. How the Pill Can Cause Leaky Gut and Why Testing is Important 
  8. The Pill and Synthetic Hormones link to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and Yeast Overgrowth 
  9. The Pill and Synthetic Hormones connection to Gallbladders Disease Gall stones and Surgery-
  10. The Pill and Thyroid Disease- Why The Pill causes Weight gain, Depression, Fatigue and more 

For those women who want to remain on “the Pill”, taking natural progesterone can help with the progesterone deficiency. Of course it’s not offering a permanent solution, so taking natural progesterone really isn’t a correction. However, this can help to manage the symptoms of estrogen dominance while someone is taking oral contraceptives. The ideal situation would be to stop taking oral contraceptives altogether. For every cycle that goes by where you do not ovulate your body will not make adequate progesterone. The downside to all of this is, If you don’t make progesterone, you continue to move towards a state of estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance is now accepted as being a cause of many female cancers.

3.Xenohormones

Xenoestrogens are synthetic compounds found in various environmental sources, including pesticides, plastics, personal care products, and industrial chemicals, these foreign chemical can cause estrogen dominance. These compounds have estrogenic effects and can disrupt the body’s natural hormone balance, potentially contributing to estrogen dominance. Exposure to xenoestrogens can occur through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals may lead to estrogen dominance throughout the  body, giving rise to symptoms that include reproductive and menstrual problems, weight gain, and increased risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers.

It is of course nearly impossible to completely eliminate your exposure to xenohormones, but chances are you can do a much better job of minimizing your exposure to them by eating organic foods, and purchasing natural personal care products and becoming a label reader. A great resource for xenobiotic exposure is the environmental working group you can visit their site here

The bad news is that it can be difficult to make these changes when you’re used to eating certain foods and using certain household products. Once again, simply eliminating the xenohormones won’t cure an estrogen dominance condition once it has been established. On the other hand, becoming knowledgeable about xenohormones is an important step in minimizing exposure and preventing a relapse.

Preventing and Managing Estrogen Dominance:

While we have talked about three major cases of estrogen dominance, stress, birth control pills, and Xenohormones, lets review some of the ways you can minimize your exposure.

1. Addressing Stress: Implementing stress management techniques, such as regular exercise, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and seeking psychological support, can help reduce chronic stress and support hormonal balance.

2. Choosing Alternative Contraceptive Methods: For individuals concerned about estrogen dominance, non-hormonal contraceptive methods like condoms, diaphragms, or copper IUDs can be considered, reducing the risk of hormonal imbalances associated with birth control pills.

3. Proper Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy: If considering HRT, discussing the appropriate dosage and the specific estrogen-progesterone ratio with a healthcare professional is crucial. Regular monitoring of hormone levels can help ensure optimal results while minimizing the risk of estrogen dominance.

4. Reducing Xenoestrogen Exposure: Minimizing exposure to xenoestrogens involves using organic and natural personal care products, avoiding plastics with recycling codes 3, 6, and 7, eating organic foods, and filtering water to reduce exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Hormone testing estrogen dominance

Testing for Estrogen Dominance

If you feel you can related to any of these root causes of estrogen dominance, the next logical step is testing. Testing for estrogen dominance typically involves a comprehensive evaluation that includes a combination of medical history assessment, symptoms analysis, and laboratory tests. Here are some common methods used to assess estrogen dominance:

1. Medical History Assessment: A healthcare professional will discuss your medical history, including any symptoms related to hormonal imbalances or estrogen dominance. This discussion helps identify potential risk factors and underlying causes.

2. Symptoms Analysis: Estrogen dominance is often associated with specific symptoms, such as irregular menstrual cycles, heavy or prolonged periods, mood swings, bloating, breast tenderness, weight gain, and sleep disturbances. Evaluating your symptoms can provide valuable insights into the possibility of estrogen dominance.

3. Hormone Testing: Laboratory tests can measure hormone levels in the body and help determine if estrogen dominance is present. These Hormone tests may be blood, saliva or urine. We often incorporate a combination of tests when working with woman who struggle with estrogen dominance or other hormone imbalances.

What Hormones are Tested To Identify Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen levels (specifically estradiol): Estrogen levels can be assessed using blood, saliva, or urine samples.

Progesterone levels: Progesterone levels are often evaluated in conjunction with estrogen levels to determine the estrogen-progesterone balance. This can help identify hormonal imbalances that contribute to estrogen dominance.

Estrogen metabolites: Testing for estrogen metabolites can provide additional insights into how estrogen is processed and eliminated in the body. The ratio between various estrogen metabolites can offer valuable information about hormonal balance.

 Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG): SHBG is a protein that binds to sex hormones, including estrogen. Measuring SHBG levels can help assess hormone availability and metabolism.

 FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone): These tests may be conducted to evaluate the function of various organs involved in hormone production and regulation, such as the ovaries and pituitary gland.

 Thyroid hormones: Imbalances in thyroid hormones can impact estrogen metabolism. Therefore, assessing thyroid hormone levels may be relevant in cases of suspected estrogen dominance.

Cortisol and DHEA- These are adrenal hormones that are involved in the stress response.

Here is a panel I run on new patient that evaluates for Estrogen dominance as well as many other hormone imbalances. If you have questions about this test, reach out to our office.

What You Need To Remember About This Article

Estrogen dominance has several root causes, including stress, birth control pills, HRT, and xenoestrogens. Understanding these root causes is essential for individuals seeking to maintain hormonal balance and prevent the onset of estrogen dominance-related symptoms and health risks. By addressing lifestyle factors, making informed contraceptive choices, and minimizing exposure to xenoestrogens, individuals can take proactive steps towards promoting hormonal equilibrium and overall well-being.

Estrogen dominance is a common condition, but one can usually correct it by following a natural treatment protocol. Although natural progesterone can help manage the symptoms of estrogen dominance when a progesterone deficiency is the cause, taking bio-identical hormones can not correct the cause of this condition.

Being familiar with the Common causes of Estrogen Dominance I listed here, will serve two purposes. It will help with the recovery process (limiting the stressors), but will also help prevent this condition from developing in the future.

Remember, the diagnosis and treatment of estrogen dominance should always be done under the supervision and guidance of a healthcare professional. They will be able to provide personalized recommendations and develop a treatment plan based on your specific situation and needs.

Learn more about how to reduce estrogen dominance here

WARNING

Before you go out and take progesterone, you need to understand that it’s not that simple. Years ago many women in menopause rushed out to take estrogen, only to find out that the estrogen they were prescribed (because it was not properly balanced with the other hormones) caused cancer! Hormones are very powerful and if not used or monitored properly can cause many serious risks.

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