Updated: Jul 9
Estrogen dominance is a complex issue for many women to face. However, there is no standard guideline as to how much excess estrogen constitutes estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance does not necessarily mean high estrogen!
There can be many a few different reasons for it:
✔️ Low progesterone (which keeps estrogen in check) and normal estrogen
✔️High estrogen and low progesterone
✔️High estrogen and normal progesterone
If there's an excess or deficiency of any specific hormone throughout the body's endocrine system, overall imbalances will occur, leading to health problems.
Not only do women suffer from estrogen dominance, but men are also vulnerable to its effects.
As you can see, estrogen dominance and other endocrine disorders are complicated conditions, requiring research to understand them.
There are 8 notable Signs of Estrogen Dominance.
One among the several symptoms of Estrogen Dominance is having Cold Hands and Feet. This is a very common symptom in women, who are more prone to suffer from this problem. The coldness of your hands and feet is caused by the excess estrogen levels in your body.
The best way to treat this problem by taking supplements such as magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium and zinc. You might also have to massage your hands and feet with olive oil before bedtime at least three times a week until you feel better again.
Another symptom you may feel that signals Estrogen Dominance is Anxiety and this is because your excess estrogen can increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
If you have high levels of cortisol in your system, you may experience anxiety or panic attacks. Your body will produce more cortisol when it senses a threat to its survival or well-being; however, when there's no real threat present—like if you're feeling anxious about an upcoming exam—your body will release too much cortisol into your bloodstream. This can lead to symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, dizziness, stomach pains and cramps, headaches, irritability and mood swings.
One of the most common symptoms associated with estrogen dominance is constipation. Hormonal imbalances can impact gut health and slow digestion thus having constipation is another sign of estrogen dominance.
Women who are experiencing this symptom should try to increase their fiber intake by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fiber acts as a natural laxative by absorbing water from the body which helps to flush waste from the colon which leads to regular bowel movements. It is also important for women to drink plenty of water throughout the day as dehydration can lead to constipation because it makes it difficult for your system to function properly.
Weight gain is another prevalent symptom of estrogen dominance. Estrogen signals the body to store fat, so when you're having trouble losing weight or putting on pounds, it's a sign that your body is not properly processing estrogen.
Progesterone is a sleep-producing hormone. When your estrogen levels are out of whack, i.e. in excess as compared to progesterone, you can have sleep issues. This is because your body needs to be in balance so that neither hormone dominates over the other—and too much estrogen makes it difficult for you to get any rest at all!
The best way to address this imbalance is by taking care of your diet and making sure you're getting enough sunlight every day so your body can produce its own natural progesterone.
Testosterone and sexual drive are closely connected. With estrogen dominance, high estrogen levels affect testosterone balance, thus affecting libido or sexual drive.
It's no surprise that estrogen dominance is a big problem in our society. After all, the hormone is one of the most powerful ones out there—it affects everything from menstrual cycles to fertility to mood swings. But what you might not know is that this hormone plays a key role in your sex drive and your libido. In fact, studies have shown that if you're experiencing low testosterone levels due to estrogen dominance, it can take up to six months for those levels to return to normal. That's why it's so important to check out what's happening with your hormones and make sure they're balanced out!
Migraines are an especially notable symptom of estrogen dominance because they can be triggered by hormonal fluctuations—and they can also worsen when you're experiencing an estrogen-dominant condition. The changes in hormone levels can also spark other symptoms of estrogen dominance, including breast tenderness, bloating, and fatigue.
If you're experiencing hair loss, it can be a scary experience. You may be afraid to tell your friends and family that you're losing your hair—because it's such a personal aspect of your appearance, and we all feel so self-conscious about it!
But losing your hair isn't the only symptom of a hormone imbalance. Estrogen dominance is another common cause of hair loss and acne, so if you're experiencing these symptoms, there's a good chance that your hormones are out of order.
What causes estrogen dominance?
Progesterone plays a major role in the childbearing years and having inadequate levels of it can cause difficulty in conceiving or carrying a pregnancy. This is why it is essential to ensure your body has enough progesterone to support fertility.
After ovulation, Progesterone is secreted during the second half of the menstrual cycle and ensures that the uterus lining is in optimal condition to receive a fertilized egg. It helps thicken the uterus lining and makes it capable of supporting an embryo.
The thickness of the uterus is important for the successful implantation of the egg. If it's not thick enough, fertilization won't take place.
Women who are not pregnant may experience irregular or missed menstrual cycles, emotional changes such as anxiety or depression, hot flashes, night sweats, low levels of vaginal lubrication, and headaches or migraines due to low progesterone hormone levels.
Progesterone is a hormone that pregnant women need to keep their uterus healthy until the birth of their baby. If the progesterone levels are too low, this can lead to complications such as spotting and even miscarriages. Having adequate progesterone levels is essential for a successful pregnancy outcome.
Generally, males and children have significantly lower progesterone levels than women of reproductive age. Postmenopausal women, on the other hand, experience a significant drop in their progesterone levels as compared to their pre-menopausal counterparts.
Progesterone levels can vary from person to person depending upon their age and gender. It is considered normal if it falls within the normal range for that individual's age and gender.
Progesterone hormone levels in the body rise and fall each month during the menstrual period, with the highest amount typically occurring about one week before menstrual bleeding begins.
How to manage Progesterone Deficiency
Prior to conception & pregnancy:
For couples looking to conceive, hormone therapy is often recommended to improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.
This treatment increases progesterone levels, which helps thicken the uterine lining and can help in carrying a baby to full term.
Menstrual irregularities and abnormal bleeding:
Hormone therapy is an effective way to manage menstrual irregularities and abnormal bleeding. It can help balance hormone levels to bring hormones more in line with the body's natural cycle.
For treating intense menopausal symptoms, hormone therapy is typically administered with both estrogen and progesterone.
The most common causes are gut infections and dysbiosis—which are both caused by an imbalance in the gut microbiota. When you don't address these issues, they can prevent progress in achieving hormonal balance and optimal estrogen levels.
But systemic inflammation ensues when the gut becomes imbalanced, which promotes disease and hormone dysfunction.
To have a healthy estrogen metabolism you need to have the right amount of beta-glucuronidase-producing bacteria.
Too much beta-glucuronidase will result in excess circulating estrogens, while too little beta-glucuronidase will result in estrogen deficiency.
If you're trying to figure out what's going on with your hormones but aren't getting anywhere, I highly recommend stool testing to measure beta-glucuronidase activity and rule out pathogens.
I recommend the GI MAP test to my clients.
The GI MAP is a really accurate and precise test because it's based on the PCR method.
PCR is short for a polymerase chain reaction and it's used to look at the genetic material of microbes to figure out what they are.
This tech has been around for an age. It's the same one used by forensic labs to identify DNA sequences from something as small as a strand of hair.
In this case, we're on the hunt for some nasty pathogens.
PCR testing is much more accurate than culturing. It can detect all kinds of bacterial presence – aerobic, anaerobic, and facultative. It also gives us information about the infection level and its intensity – mild or severe.
Testing like this is taking off and helping practitioners spot infections that have been overlooked for years.
Toxic Burden (Poor Bowel Movement)
If your body is struggling with estrogen dominance, then it's important to keep in mind that your liver isn't doing a great job of getting rid of excess estrogens. This is because the liver needs to be able to process these estrogens so they can be excreted from your body.
If you're not pooping as regularly as you should, then your body's ability to get those estrogens out of your body is reduced. As a result, they build up in your system and start building up on their own until they become too much for your liver to handle.
At this point, the liver starts to fail and gives up its function as an organ of elimination. Estrogens then continue to build up until they reach a toxic burden level beyond what the liver can cope with on its own. This can contribute to worse estrogen dominance symptoms and more severe health issues.
When you're stressed, your body responds by producing cortisol in order to deal with the situation. Cortisol is a hormone that can cause several health problems, including weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and mood swings. Cortisol also suppresses progesterone production—which means you're more likely to experience estrogen dominance.
A little review about progesterone and how it relates to estrogen.
Estrogen and progesterone belong to a group of hormones known as sex hormones. It’s important to note that estrogen and progesterone are not only for women or people who menstruate.
Therefore, for some their hormone supply is made in other areas of the body like fat tissues or the adrenal glands.
Estrogen dominance occurs when there is an imbalance in the ratio of estrogen and progesterone, which can cause the body to become unbalanced and produce too much estrogen or not enough progesterone.
When it comes to estrogen dominance, one of the most common nutrients that people overlook is Vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the body's metabolism of estrogens, and deficiency can cause high levels of estrogen.
While there are many other factors that contribute to a person's risk of estrogen dominance, vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the major contributors.
The body requires B vitamins, Magnesium, Zinc, Omega, and protein to effectively metabolize estrogen. If your diet is lacking in these vitamins and minerals, then estrogen levels will increase.
Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
When you have high blood sugar, your body releases insulin to help you burn up the glucose in your bloodstream. But when you have high insulin levels, that's when things get a bit more complicated.
Insulin is made from the hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). And IGF-1 is made from testosterone. So if your testosterone levels are rising because of high blood sugar, then so are the chances of estrogen dominance.
Now, Insulin and Cortisol are hormones that are involved with our stress responses and our body’s blood sugar levels. If these two become unbalanced, they can certainly affect other hormones in our bodies. In particular, the ovarian hormones, thyroid, progesterone, testosterone as well as sleep hormones. The imbalance causes these hormones to work out of order.
Read more: Detox the liver
Weight gain can result in increased estrogen production as fat cells are known to create the hormone. Therefore, the more fat we store, the higher our estrogen levels could become.
The Contraceptive Pill and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
This pill works by managing your hormones and preventing ovulation from occurring.
If you don't ovulate, your body won't make progesterone, thus resulting in higher levels of estrogen.
HRT includes increased amounts of artificial estrogen, which the body finds more complicated to get rid of than natural hormones.
Estrogen production is also influenced by family genetics.
Women may experience different levels of excess estrogen production, with some being asymptomatic and others facing more severe health issues.
It’s been found that we may metabolize it differently due to three distinct pathways of processing the hormone. This could explain why some women experience different effects from estrogen than others, depending on how their bodies process it.
By understanding these pathways, we can gain insight into why our bodies respond differently to estrogen and how to best regulate its intake for optimal health.
Harmful chemicals from products we use
Chemicals that mimic estrogens such as BPA, pesticides, and beauty products can have a major impact on our bodies when we ingest or absorb them through the skin. These chemicals cause our own estrogen levels to increase which can be potentially dangerous.
Ways to Detect if you have Estrogen Dominance
There is a wide variety of tests available to measure hormone levels accurately.
The DUTCH Test is an extensive analysis that utilizes dried urine test samples to look for hormone metabolites.
The hormone test provides insights into cortisol, cortisone, estradiol, estrone, estriol, progesterone, and testosterone levels along with those of DHEA and melatonin. It also examines the cortisol & cortisone rhythms & levels as well as the estrogen metabolism pathways.
The test allows us to better understand how our bodies metabolize estrogen, enabling health professionals to provide tailored hormone support for patients.
Ways to Reverse Estrogen Dominance Naturally
One of the most effective ways to do this is by improving your gut health. By making your gut healthy, you can reduce the activity of beta-glucuronidase which plays a role in estrogen metabolism. Additionally, making changes to your diet and lifestyle can also help reduce estrogen dominance naturally.
To reduce your beta-glucuronidase levels, you should focus on creating a balanced gut environment and eating food with high glucuronic acid content.
If you're looking for foods high in glucuronic acid, try apples, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and oranges.
Taking calcium D-Gluconate can help reduce beta-glucuronidase levels in the short run.
Manage or Lower Stress Levels
Get better rest and lower stress levels by making some simple changes to your daily routine.
Reducing stress and getting enough sleep can really make you feel better.
I've seen my clients benefit from these stress-relief techniques, so give them a go if you need a boost.
Exercise or spend time outside in nature. Spending some time outdoors can help to ease the symptoms of stress by releasing the tension, which can result in a feeling of euphoria. Nature is also calming and has been found to be effective at reducing anxiety, fear, and aggression.
Practice mindfulness meditation or deep breathing exercises.
Meditation promotes focus on a single task like breathing that decreases levels of anxiety and stress by increasing an individual's awareness of their thoughts, emotions and physical sensations (Source: Psychology Today).
Deep breathing exercises have been found to reduce heart rate and respiratory rate as well as blood pressure.
Get your nutrition in optimum levels
Increase dietary fiber, consume more liver-friendly food, and try to stick to organic nutrient-packed meals.
Some of the nutrients you need to maximize are the following:
B6 is an essential nutrient for the body that can help to flush out estrogen byproducts. This can be beneficial for those looking to reduce symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance, such as mood swings, weight gain, and fatigue. B6 can also increase libido and fertility, making it an important supplement for anyone looking to regulate their hormones.
Vitamin E has long been known to be a powerful antioxidant and an essential nutrient for overall health and well-being. Recent studies have shown that it can also help reduce estrogen levels in the body, making it an incredibly useful supplement for both men and women.
Keeping your body healthy by taking in essential nutrients like iodine, magnesium, zinc, omega-3s, and protein can help manage estrogen metabolism and encourage its proper functioning.
Monitor your Blood Sugar
Pay attention to the amount of sugar you eat - unfortunately, even so-called “healthy” foods are packed with it.
Pay closer attention to the glycemic index - it can help you make better dietary decisions.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners, instead opt for pure honey or syrups. Inositol may be especially beneficial if you have PCOS or insulin resistance.
Also, maintain a healthy balance between insulin and cortisol as they are essential for overall health and well-being. There are several strategies that can be employed to help keep these two hormones in balance, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, managing stress levels, and getting adequate sleep. By taking proactive steps to keep insulin and cortisol in check, we can help improve our overall health and well-being.
To help you reach your daily dietary fiber needs, it is recommended to make sure that you are consuming at least 25 grams of fiber per day through vegetables and fruits.
Fiber is key to maintaining regular bowel movements, and it can help flush out excess estrogen and other unnecessary waste.
Recent research suggests that increasing daily dietary fiber intake by at least 15-30 g over a two-month period can decrease estrogen levels in premenopausal women.
Get rest and enough sleep
It's essential to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. This allows your body & hormones to replenish, which is vital for their functioning. Not getting enough rest can have serious health implications.
I typically advise my patients to wear light-blocking glasses for about an hour or two before bedtime in order to help them sleep better and balance their hormones. It can be a great help in restoring their energy and health.
Estrogen dominance is a medical condition that affects women of all ages and can cause a wide range of symptoms. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with estrogen dominance, as well as the potential causes and treatments. By understanding these factors, individuals can take proactive steps to manage their own health or seek treatment if necessary.
I'm here to help you get to the bottom of your hormonal issues and find a solution. Together we'll identify the root cause of your troubling symptoms and develop an action plan to address it effectively.