Estrogen dominance is a hormonal imbalance that affects many women of all ages, and is also becoming more common in men. It occurs when estrogen levels become too high, or the hormones that balance it are depleted (for women, this is progesterone, and in men, testosterone). Beginning around the age of 25, progesterone and testosterone start to decline. Because of this, estrogen dominance is a normal occurrence as we age and move toward menopause. Additionally, we lose about 15% of our testosterone with each pregnancy, further contributing to estrogen dominance.
Our personal hormonal imprint naturally changes as we move through different stages of life, but it can also be impacted by various external factors – toxicity, diet, exogenous hormones, and traumas will all impact the communication of our hormones and can also lead to estrogen dominance. A hormonal birth control pill can create this imbalance in the body, as well as endocrine disruptors found in our environment and common household products (for example, this includes harmful compounds found in plastic products and some personal care products, in pesticides, and in heavy metals).
COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ESTROGEN DOMINANCE:
- Mood swings
- Low libido
- Acne (particularly along the jawline or on the body)
- Hot flashes and night sweats (more common in menopause)
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain in the hips, thighs and abdomen
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Difficulty losing weight
- Chronic fatigue
- Fertility issues
HOW TO ACHIEVE HORMONE BALANCE
There are different options for determining and addressing hormonal imbalances through testing, detox protocols, and lifestyle changes to seek more harmony with our hormones and find more vitality at all stages of our lives. Some imbalances will require the support of hormone replacement therapy or specific supplements to address your particular needs, but there are also a number of nutritional and lifestyle choices that can assist us finding a healthier balance with our hormones:
- Deepen your awareness at a holistic level – Observe and document your overall health, mood, energy levels, and specific symptoms, as well as the way your body responses to different stressors, foods, environments and products; the better you understand the unique interplay of all of your systems, the more balance you can achieve in both body and mind.
- Be mindful of your diet – many animal products (particularly dairy, fish, and chicken) contain high levels of estrogen, even when synthetic hormones aren’t added. Reducing the amount of animal products you consume can help to balance your hormones.
- Tap into the practices that help you destress – managing your stress levels is another natural way to help restore hormone balance. When you’re in a state of chronic stress, cortisol levels rise and the body will begin to steal sex hormones (like progesterone) to keep up, ultimately creating estrogen dominance. Discover the practices that help you destress and make them a regular part of your routine.
- Support your liver to encourage detox – try to incorporate more leafy greens in your diet (like broccoli, kale, and swiss chard), be sure to include healthy fats (like flaxseed oil and pumpkin seeds) and drink lots of water, as well as detox-supporting teas like milk thistle and dandelion.
Drs. Nick and Sonya remind us that there are many layers to hormone health, which makes it very important to focus on developing greater awareness around our unique experience. Become a mindful observer and start taking note of your mood changes, energy levels, emotional reactions, sleep patterns, and the overall way you find yourself moving through life to better understand how your own hormones are affecting you.
In this video, Drs. Nick and Sonya Jensen discuss the different ways that estrogen dominance can present depending on age, gender, environment, lifestyle habits, and a number of other influences.
Do you suspect you might be suffering from estrogen dominance? Reach out to us to schedule a visit with one of our naturopathic doctors if you’re ready to start exploring your own hormone blueprint and achieving more balance in all areas of your life.