PMS, fibroids, cellulite, menopause, hair loss, allergies, hip fat, belly fat, thyroid nodules or cancer, breast or uterine cancer, endometriosis or infertility? It could all be due to your estrogen.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
You might have heard of the term before used loosely in magazines and conversations.
That’s hardly surprising – Estrogen Dominance is one of the most common hormonal imbalances women experience today.
In fact, it is so common, that we assume that feeling PMS, being menopausal and having fibroids is pretty normal. I want to show you that it is not and there is a way to fix it.
Which 3 Reasons Cause Estrogen Dominance?
You can experience estrogen dominance if you have one or even all three of the below:
1. E1, E2 and E3 ratio: When there is too much estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2), also known as the “aggressive estrogens”, as compared to estriol (E3), which is the “protective estrogen.” This measurement is called the “Estrogen Quotient” and can be measured with a simple saliva test.
2. Progesterone: Estradiol ratio: When there is insufficient progesterone to oppose the more aggressive estradiol (E2) – this shows up as a ratio of progesterone to estradiol in saliva or urine tests.
3. Metabolites: When estrone metabolites called 2:16 hydroxy-estrone get broken down unfavorably towards the “dirty” metabolite – 16 hydroxy-estrone (that tends to be highly estrogenic and act on the estrogen receptor).
What Are Estrogen and Progesterone?
Before we go any further, let me first explain the role of these hormones. In very simplistic terms, think of estrogen as the “builder” and progesterone as the “differentiator,” and as the name implies, “pro-gestation” hormone.
Estrogen and progesterone do a beautiful dance together. We can’t function without them and can only function well with both these partners in a delicate balance.
Take a look at the below chart to gain an understanding and appreciation of how these two hormones dance together.
Do You Have Estrogen Dominance?
If you have not done any tests yet, that’s OK. A good diagnosis is always based on lab work, symptoms and family health history, especially from your mother’s side (this applies to women).
Start by taking my Free Estrogen Quiz which will help to determine if you’re experiencing any symptoms of Estrogen Dominance.
Why Address Estrogen Dominance Proactively?
If you are already diagnosed with Estrogen Dominance you are probably motivated to do something about it. Some women experience painful PMS or other symptoms and learn to live with it. However, there is a far greater question:
“How is estrogen affecting me in the long run?”
The evidence that worries me the most is that of the clear connection between Estrogen Dominance and breast cancer. You can read the medical research and references here.
Breast cancer is second only to non-melanoma skin cancer as the most common cancer among women in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 192,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States. Other conditions that have been linked to Estrogen Dominance are uterine cancer, autoimmune diseases, and infertility.
Why Do We Become Estrogen Dominant?
Estrogen Dominance is a complex condition and can be caused by some of these:
- Eating non-organic food – which is grown “conventionally” (this term is ridiculous, in my world), contains a high amount of pesticides, fertilizers as well as growth hormones and antibiotics that are fed to animals. They contribute to endocrine disruption in every way you can imagine
- Excess exposure to environmental xenoestrogens – a number of chemical compounds (like phthalates, BPA, SLS, and many others) found in consumer products such as detergents and skincare products.
- Use of synthetic estrogens such as the birth control pill and hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Digestive issues which inhibit the estrogen detoxification process in the liver and overproduce cortisol which blocks progesterone receptors
- Chronic stress which strains the adrenals and the thyroid,
- Unresolved emotional issues from the past and present-day
- Poor diet
- Poor liver function, as the liver is responsible for eliminating metabolized or “used up” estrogens
- Lifestyle choices such as drugs (prescription and recreational), smoking, and alcohol
- Genetic variants that make some women more prone.
What Should Be Your Next Steps In Regards To Estrogen Dominance?
Here is the good news. You can do many things to help yourself right away.
There is always an option of taking topical creams but I do not recommend this as an immediate solution. Build a healthy foundation for yourself so you can prevent other conditions – like autoimmune conditions which are also becoming a pandemic. Your food and lifestyle choices can take away the underlying causes of Estrogen Dominance. Here is how:
1. A Thermography Scan can provide information about hormonal imbalance affecting Breast Tissue
A Breast Thermography Scan, can be suggestive of hormone imbalance and how this affecting/stimulating the growth of Breast Tissue. Remember the single biggest risk factor of a person developing Breast Cancer, is their exposure to estrogen in their lifetime. This information will not been given by structural tests such as MRI, Mammogram Ultrasound etc… Therefore Breast Thermography can truly play a role in Breast Cancer prevention.
2. Go organic
If you think that organic food is just a hype or a “hippie thing” to do, think again. Most of the chemical compounds used in raising “conventional” food and growing animals are highly detrimental to your hormonal balance. If you are on a tight budget, all main supermarkets offer a range of organic fruit & veg.
3. Eliminate xenoestrogen
Xenoestrogen are compounds found in general consumer products such as creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, hair sprays, and room deodorizers. Such compounds often have chemical structures similar to estrogen and indeed act like estrogen.
Other sources of xenoestrogens include: car exhaust, petrochemically derived pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides; solvents and adhesives such as those found in nail polish; paint removers, and glues; dry-cleaning chemicals; practically all plastics; industrial waste such as PCBs and dioxins, and synthetic estrogens from urine of women taking HRT and birth control pills that are flushed down the toilet and eventually find their way into the food chain and back into the body. They are fat soluble which means we need the engage the liver to get rid of them.
4. Improve your liver function
In short: your liver is responsible for the evacuation of metabolized estrogens (the methylation pathway in the liver) to make way for more healthy estrogens.
Please note that in order to detox your liver, you need to make dietary and lifestyle changes for a period of time. Powders, pills, and supplements alone will NOT be effective enough to help your liver.
5. Restore the health of your digestive system
The health of your gut is central to your overall health as much as your hormonal balance. I am yet to meet a person who is healthy but has digestive issues. When I say “digestive issues” I mean chronic constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, acid reflux, burping, and frequent stomach aches.
A distressed digestive tract will prompt the adrenals to release cortisol. Cortisol is a progesterone blocker at the cell level. Can you see now why any form of stress (emotional, physical, digestive, etc.) can lead to Estrogen Dominance?
Astrid de Vries says
I’m missing the mention of Iodine, as i.e. painfull breasts signal a lack of that which in the long run can cause breast cancer (source Nicole Jardin). Also progesterone seems to play a role in breastcancer. Further more Endometriosis can make its own oestrogen, which goes on after menopause (source Nancy’s Nook Endometriosis Education group).
Gretta Cullen says
Thank you for your recent comment. Breast Health & Hormone imbalance is a very complicated subject. An important nutrient, but it’s actually the last l add, is iodine. And a lot of people like to go to iodine first, right. I’m very slow to do that. I really encourage people to make sure that their magnesium status and their selenium status is where it needs to be. Because those are the two minerals that drive the detox function. Magnesium across a wide variety of enzymes, selenium because of glutathione. What not many people know is that glutathione is nothing without glutathione peroxidase enzyme. And so, people jump into iodine, but I don’t think people know why iodine is so useful. Yes it drives detox, I get that. I think many people are overwhelmed by the detox, it’s too much too fast. But recently I came across what is iodine really doing? See, it’s actually quite interesting. If you take five ferrous ions, that’s Fe with two plus, and mix it with iodine, you will get five ferric ions, the three plus. That’s mimicking the function of ferroxidase ( the master antioxidant enzyme).You’re oxidizing the plus two form, ferrous, and turning it into ferric, and then that can go off and be used in proteins etc.. So it’s like on the surface, that makes a lot of sense. As it is helping to move that iron safely in the cell. But then I found another study that was looking at what is ferroxidase really doing? And it’s taking that ferrous iron, again five ferrous iron, ferroxidase makes the five ferric, but it’s giving off water in the process of making that conversion. So it begins to raise all these questions of, you know, so what’s dehydration? Dehydration may in fact be if we’re low energy, it means we’re not making enough ATP, which means we’re not making enough water to release the ADP, right? So, we actually have a built-in ability to hydrate ourselves. So iodine, it’s a powerhouse. But I think it’s important for people to know the full story. And so iodine is doing a very important function, but it’s missing a key piece of the puzzle which is water. Water’s really important in the body. A lot of folks ask me about what form of iodine, food-based, Lugol’s, nascent, different things, so kind of where do you come down on the iodine? Where I come down on it is in the research, it’s very important for the amino acids that go to make the ferroxidase enzyme, they need to be iodized. And that’s a very important process, but it turns out that you’re familiar with thyroid peroxidase enzyme. Very important function in the thyroid. That TPO enzyme, back to those enzymes again. That TPO enzyme has two functions. It changes iodide into iodine, and then it loads iodine onto the tyrosine molecule, puts four of them on there. That one enzyme does both of those functions. And if you don’t have bioavailable copper, you can’t do either one. And so this iodizing process of the amino acids, is it iodine doing it, or is it copper doing it? It’s not clear in the literature. And so I’m respectful of the importance of iodine, I don’t jump to it, I would much rather get it from a food source than from an alternative to food. There are very strong and polarizing positions around this. Let’s put the spotlight on allowing the ferroxidase enzyme to regulate magnesium, copper and iron and just allow the body to do what it does best. The body is elegantly designed to bring us back to homeostasis, if the body has the right nutrients. Hormones don’t run the body. Enzymes activate hormones, and every enzyme need minerals to work, so really when hormone imbalance is showing up that is pointing to mineral deficiency. A nutrient dense diet, with suitable mineral and wholefood vitamin complexes added in to allow the body restore proper functioning. A HTMA coupled with a specific Blood test is a great starting point to assess the root cause of mineral imbalance. All I’m trying to do is really raise people’s awareness & knowledge. Let them make informed choice about what their path might be remember knowledge is power. Do we Suffer, treat the symptom, or address some of these root causes, which are dealing with minerals, enzymes, functions, all the oxidative stress that we’re under ? The choice is yours.