Estrogen dominance is a term that seems to be gaining in popularity. More and more I hear women come into the office already familiar with what the terms are. But, if you are anything like me about 10 years ago, then perhaps you aren’t too sure of what it truly means for you and for your health.
Estrogen dominance occurs when your estrogen-to-progesterone ratio is off. This can look like too little progesterone with normal levels of estrogen or normal amounts of progesterone with elevated estrogen (1). In either situation, the goal is to return levels back to being balanced.
Now before we get into correcting estrogen: progesterone ratios, let’s first take a look at some of the ways in which it can manifest:
- Weight Gain in the hips, thighs, and breast area
- Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Uterine fibroids
- Mood Swings
- Fertility Challenges
- Night sweats
How Does Estrogen Dominance Arise:
- Not ovulating: without ovulation (the release of an egg) no progesterone is produced. Without this process, the body produces lower levels of progesterone, which unfortunately isn’t enough to balance out elevated estrogen levels. Oral birth control pills and polycystic ovarian syndrome are both common causes of skipped ovulation (1).
- Xenoestrogens: these are any products or chemicals that contain a structure similar to that of naturally occurring estrogen and can mimic estrogens effects (2). Xenoestrogens are found in many of your beauty and skincare products, such as parabens (BPA) and phthalates (2).
- Poor Gut & Liver Health: both your liver and gut work together to ensure proper metabolism and removal of hormones from your body. The liver breaks down estrogen through a series of reactions and then moves on to your gut where it is eliminated. If you are lacking key nutrients required for estrogen detox pathways or not consuming enough fiber, you end up with a build-up of estrogen (1).
- Chronic Stress: it is inevitable, but chronic stress actually pushes your body to produce more cortisol at the expense of progesterone (3). Perhaps you have even experienced this first hand, when you get really stressed or go through a stressful period has your period ever changed the following month or skipped completely? That is a result of excess estrogen.
How to Correct Estrogen Dominance:
💫 Prioritizing self-care to lower stress
💫 Taking a quality multivitamin and/or liver support supplement
💫 Identify and Remove food allergies
💫Cleaning up your home environment and removing products that contain xenoestrogens such as parabens and phthalates
💫Using botanical medicine to help support healthy stress responses
Functional medicine can help further support hormone imbalances, by doing a deep dive you’re your actual hormone numbers and ensuring you have the right nutrients for estrogen metabolism, along with a healthy liver and gut.
- Clinic, H. (2020, January 29). Estrogen Dominance & progesterone deficiency. The Holland Clinic. Retrieved June 12, 2022, from https://www.thehollandclinic.com/blog/estrogen-dominance
- Xenoestrogens: What are they, how to avoid them. Women in Balance Institute. (2017, October 26). Retrieved June 12, 2022, from https://womeninbalance.org/2012/10/26/xenoestrogens-what-are-they-how-to-avoid-them/
- About The Author Dr. Jolene Brighten Instagram FacebookDr. Jolene Brighten, Author, A. T., Dr. Jolene Brighten Instagram FacebookDr. Jolene Brighten, Dr. Jolene Brighten, Instagram, & Facebook. (2017, May 13). What is estrogen dominance, and what to do about it. Dr. Jolene Brighten. Retrieved June 12, 2022, from https://drbrighten.com/what-is-estrogen-dominance-what-to-do-about-it/