Estrogen Dominance: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Health
Estrogen Dominance. It's a term that most likely you have heard very little about, but it describes a host of symptoms that may be plaguing you or the people you know.
Estrogen dominance is associated with everything from headaches and chronic fatigue to hormonal cancers and even infertility. In fact, estrogen dominance is one of the most prevalent hormonal imbalances afflicting women and even men today, and is the leading cause of female infertility caused by hormonal imbalances. In men, estrogen dominance has been shown to reduce sperm counts by 50%. Estrogen dominance is becoming more and more prevalent, and affects far more than just male and female fertility, but there are steps you can take to reduce the estrogen in your system and bring your hormones back into balance.
What are the Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen Dominance has been associated with the following conditions:
- Weight gain, especially around the hips and thighs
- Slow metabolism
- Male impotency
- Allergic reactions such as sinus congestion, hives, or rashes
- Water retention
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Cancers of the breast, uterus, prostate (in men),
- Auto-immune disorders
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Sleeping Problems
- Heart Palpitations
- Metal imbalances such as zinc and magnesium deficiencies
- Dry eyes
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Irritability and mood swings
- Cloudy thinking and poor memory
- Digestive Problems
- Early onset menstruation
- Heavy periods
- Irregular period cycles
- More pronounced PMS symptoms
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Low libido
- Low sperm count in men
- Male pattern baldness
- Breast tissue Growth in men
Estrogen Dominance and Fertility
Estrogen dominance has been linked to a whole host of female fertility issues including the early-onset of puberty, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, low libido, irregular or heavy periods, amenorrhea and repeat miscarriages. Women are often simply prescribed the pill to "fix" these issues, but this really just masks the problems; it doesn't cure it. In men, estrogen dominance can cause low libido, impotence and low sperm count.
Before spending tens of thousands of dollars on expensive and potentially unethical medical procedures, it might be prudent to try to reduce the amount of estrogen in your body and/or improve the ratio of estrogen to progesterone/testosterone.
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance has multiple causes. Long term stress can fatigue or exhaust the adrenal glands, causing the body to make less progesterone and creating estrogen dominance. A diet heavy in processed foods, soy, fat, sugar and caffeine also raises the estrogen level in the body, as does being overweight or obese because fat cells actually have the capacity to convert adrenal steroids into estrogen.
Finally, pesticides, plastics, pollution and even meat and dairy from animals given growth hormones expose us to xenoestrogens, a toxin that mimics the estrogen hormone in the body.
How to Reduce the Amount of Estrogen in Your Body
- Avoid processed foods and limit the fats, sugars, caffeine and alcohol in your diet
- Get to a healthy weight
- Switch to organic fruits and vegetables, and avoid pesticides and fertilizers
- Avoid soy. Soy contains the highest level of xenoestrogens of almost any food.
- Switch to organic, hormone-free milk (See my hub on raw milk, which is even better)
- Switch to hormone-free meats
- Avoid plastics containing the chemical BPA
- Stop taking birth control pills
- Consider using herbs like flax seed and red clover to help rid your body of xenoestrogens
How to Improve the Ratio of Estrogen to Progesterone or Testosterone
Sometimes estrogen dominance is caused by too little progesterone or testosterone rather than too much estrogen. This is can be especially true in the case is repeat miscarriage. Talk to your doctor about progesterone or testosterone creams that can help restore the proper hormonal balance.
Additionally, thyroid and adrenal dysfunction can also cause hormonal imbalances. Often people have issues even though their functioning is actually in the lower range of normal. Naturopaths and other natural health practitioners can test your function and help you to restore proper balance if needed.
A wide variety of herbs are believed to naturally help the body balance hormones.
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