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Is There a Link Between Hormonal Imbalance and Breast Cancer?

Is There a Link Between Hormonal Imbalance and Breast Cancer?

There is a clear increase in a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer as they age, in particular once they get into their 40′s, 50′s and beyond. Why would there be such an increase in breast cancer rates in women at this age? What is the significance of this time in a woman’s life?

Hormone Imbalances and Estrogen Dominance

During this time, a woman is likely experiencing hormonal imbalance as she enters peri-menopause, and eventually menopause. The primary reasons for this imbalance are:

  • declining levels of progesterone that occurs with aging, surgical removal of the ovaries or excessive stress (high cortisol equals low progesterone)
  • higher levels of estrogen as the body struggles make an egg from aging ovaries
  • accumulation of environmental hormone disruptors in the body from a lifetime of exposure to pollutants, plastics and pesticides (all contain xeno-estrogens)
  • use of oral contraceptives (past or current)
  • synthetic hormone replacement therapy
  • an unhealthy digestive tract (where hormones are removed from the body)

These factors can contribute to an excess of estrogen in the body known as Estrogen Dominance.  Since estrogen stimulates cell growth, a predominance of it, especially in the absence of adequate levels of progesterone, presents an increased risk of cancer, particularly in the breast.

Don’t get me wrong, estrogen is not a demon!  It is all about balance.  To better understand, let’s explore the relationship of estrogen to cell growth, particularly in the breast.  Humans produce three types of estrogen: Estrone, Estradiol and Estriol.  Each has a different effect on breast tissue:

  • Estradiol: The most potent estrogen, equally stimulates and inhibits cell growth. In other words it is neutral.
  • Estrone: The second most potent estrogen, stimulates cell growth.
  • Estriol: The weakest estrogen, inhibits cell growth.

The key takeaway here is that having levels of Estrone that are too high in your body may result in more breast stimulation.  While higher levels of Estriol in your body results in less breast cell stimulation, and therefore, breast protection.

Basically Estrogen = GROWTH and Progesterone = NO GROWTH.  Without adequate amounts of Progesterone to balance the stimulatory effects of the estrogen go unchecked. This over stimulation is particularly bad for the breast tissue.

Know The Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance:

  • Unwanted weight gain/inability to lose weight
  • Premenstrual weight gain/bloating
  • Heavy/painful periods
  • Irregular bleeding
  • PMS
  • Tender and/or fibrocystic breasts
  • Mood swings
  • Low Libido
  • Depression
  • Low thyroid symptoms
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • High stress
  • Belly fat
  • Low immunities/susceptibility to illness

What Can I Do to Prevent / Treat Estrogen Dominance?

If your hormones are out of balance, adding in all of the separate hormones you are deficient in makes zero sense to me. Besides the fact that this is not how we’re meant to keep our hormones balanced, this can be extremely hard on the body, especially the liver and adrenals. Hormonal imbalances have 3 main root causes: a sluggish liver, stressed adrenals, and a copper imbalance (and these 3 are all connected too!).

 It is important to find a Therapist that takes the time to discuss all your symptoms and takes everything into consideration along with your lab results.  This will give the best picture of your unique situation and is crucial to establish the root cause.

Address any problems you have with your digestive system.  Imbalances of the gut flora can reduce your ability to clear excess estrogen from your body.  Eating a whole foods diet, supplementing with a probiotic and getting adequate soluble fibre are all essential to establishing hormone balance.

  • Reduce the use of pesticides, pollutants, and chemicals in your home
  • Eat organic foods that are free of hormones and pesticides
  • Maintain an ideal body weight (excess fat increases estrogen production)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Find ways to better manage your stress

Finally, consider having a Thermogram.  This is a form of breast imaging that does not require exposure to radiation.  Instead, it measures the heat released from the breast, which indicates areas of increased cellular activity/growth.  A Thermogram can identify problems in breast tissue years before they can be seen by a Mammogram or felt by your doctor.

For more information about managing estrogen dominance, hormone testing etc…. contact us Ph: 086 1623683 or e mail info@thermographyireland.ie

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