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All About Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen is the queen bee of reproductive hormones in the female body. It is famous for it’s role in the development of secondary sex characteristics ( e.g growth of breasts) and for the major role it plays in ovulation. Estrogen is that little bit of femme power that causes the uterine lining to build up in the first half of your cycle. It works in intricate balance with the other reproductive hormone - progesterone, which is produced by the corpus luteum in the second half of the cycle.

Estrogen is of great importance in the female body, however like with many good things in life, too much of it is not a good thing! Estrogen dominance is when the amount of estrogen in relation to progesterone is too high. Oh and by the way, men have estrogen as well and too much of it in men can also be problematic. But for today we will focus on the gals :)

What Causes Estrogen Dominance?

  • The age factor - Typically as women go into perimenopause the quality of the progesterone-producing corpus luteum declines. At this stage, women also do not always experience regular ovulation and therefore estrogen levels tend to rise unopposed by progesterone.

  • Stress - I am being polite when I say stress places a MASSIVE strain on bodily functions. Stress causes an overproduction of hormones like cortisol and estrogen and proceeds to throw entire systems out of whack uninvited. This stresses out the liver leading to what we commonly refer to as liver qi stagnation.

  • Hormonal Contraceptive - Most hormonal contraceptives rely on high doses of estrogen to suppress ovulation, and so this puts your body in a prolonged state of high estrogen exposure. The amount of estrogen in the pill is significantly higher than the normal estrogen levels during a natural menstrual cycle.

  • Our food/diet - We are a fruit of the earth and like many other living things, we are essentially nurtured by the soil. Sadly our current ways of growing food are nasty to the soils and foods they produce. The use of pesticides like glyphosate has become ridiculously widespread and these chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors.

  • Being overweight - Adipose tissue hidden in excess weight has the ability to produce estrogen, this is generally estrogen that is not needed and circulates in the body causing estrogen dominance and estrogen dominance then in turn causes more weight gain.

  • Toxic overload – Mankind in the 21st century is generally exposed to a whole bunch of toxins daily due to the trappings of modern day living e.g parabens, microplastics and heavy metals. These toxins overwhelm our livers and kidneys whose jobs are to detoxify and eliminate any excess estrogen.

Estrogen dominance has been commonly linked to weight gain, leaky gut, ovarian cysts, fibroids, breast and uterine cancer, infertility, and increased blood clotting.

What are the Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance?

  • Low sex drive

  • Irregular or painful menstrual periods

  • Heavy/clotted periods

  • Inability to ovulate

  • Bloating (water retention)

  • Breast swelling and tenderness

  • Weight gain (mostly around the abdomen and hips)

  • Sluggish metabolism

  • Foggy thinking, memory loss

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • Fibrocystic breasts

  • Headaches

  • Mood swings ( irritability and depression)

  • Hair loss

  • Thyroid dysfunction

  • PMS

  • Leaky Gut

  • Increased risk of uterine fibroids

  • Increased incidence of ovarian cysts

Treating Estrogen Dominance Holistically

Chinese medicine is very keen on balancing the Yin & Yang and when this balance is established in the body, it corresponds with improved hormonal balance. Some natural ways to establish this idyllic state of balance include:

  1. Acupuncture

    1. Greatly improves the body’s ability to detox itself.

    2. It is also great at regulating the nervous system especially when you are sympathetic dominant ( chronic stress)

    3. Helps to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs

  1. Diet

  • Get Veggied up! Load up on those cruciferous and dark green leafy veggies. If you can do this organic,even better. Veggies help you build up fibre for good bowel movements and remember that excess estrogen is passed in the bowels.

  • Buy only organic meats and dairy. Non organic meats are often grown with the use of synthetic hormones and antibiotics

  • Eliminate sugar and all refined, processed foods. ( buy buy donuts!)

  • Ensure you get moderate amounts of healthy fats e.g olive oil, avocados and fish.

  • Avoid alcohol

  1. Lifestyle

  • Move your body regularly research has proven that physical activity actually curtails the overproduction of estrogen!

  • Go for natural skin and makeup products. Your skin is the largest organ and what you put on it is directly absorbed into your bloodstream.

  • Avoid aluminum products often found in conventional deodorants and cookware.

  • Avoid drinking from plastic bottles. Microplastics are known endocrine disruptors. Go for glass or paper.

  • It goes without saying, that if you are struggling with estrogen dominance, it is paramount that you avoid all hormonal contraception or Hormone replacement therapy.


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