Do You Know if You Have Estrogen Dominance? What is Estrogen Dominance Anyway? Here’s What to Look for:
Millions of women suffer from estrogen dominance and polycystic ovary syndrome in Africa than any other continent. In fact, if you feel or think that you do not suffer from estrogen dominance, you must be living in some sort of a bubble because every woman does at some level – on planet earth.
In this article, we will dig deep into Estrogen dominance that affects EVERY WOMAN on planet earth. Find out WHY YOU CANNOT LOSE BELLY FAT and how to get you through, be healthier, happier and achieve your goals.
I see hundreds of thousands of women on Facebook chasing one fad diet after another. Detox this, detox that diet but still cannot attain a healthy weight.
Another several hundred thousands more chasing new hair growth cookie cutter cosmetic products.
Another million more chasing Acne products and endless youtube recipes that promise miracles but in actual sense, they just DON’T WORK. They WILL NOT WORK until you balance the right hormones!
You may be working out like crazy; following everything dieticians and fitness gurus say about diet, fitness and weight loss but you still cannot lose weight or melt off that belly fat.
What is Estrogen Dominance Anyway?
Estrogen dominance is a syndrome where women with low, normal or high estrogen levels have little or no progesterone to balance it and its effects.
Estrogen dominance symptoms happen to almost all females and even women with low estrogen levels could be suffering from estrogen dominance if they have little or no progesterone to counter the effects of estrogen in the body.
Estrogen dominance should not be confused with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) although estrogen dominance causes PCOS to some women. Either way, the key is hormonal balancing.
Some symptoms will shock you, & you probably have more than one… Continue Reading:
What Causes Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance affects everyone and it is safe to say that we all (men, women & children) suffer from some effects of estrogen dominance. The world we live in today has so much synthetic estrogen or estrogen-mimicking chemical exposures that it is impossible to avoid it.
Common Dirty Sources of Estrogen Exposure:
- Plastics: Bisphenol A or BPA is common in almost everything plastic you may have come across, especially water bottles. Bottled water, for example, is a major source of BPA, a synthetic form of estrogen. BPA is associated with gynecological cancers such as breast, uterine and endometrial cancers (1)
- Pesticides: are potent endocrine disruptors (2). This means that chemicals used in most pesticides disrupt our endocrine system. Research has shown that exposure to pesticides can affect both male and female fertility, menstrual cycles, ovulation & menstruation (3).
- Industrial Wastes: There is no single term to describe industrial wastes that either contains synthetic estrogens or disrupts a human endocrine system. They are just too many such wastes.
- Car Exhaust/Fumes: Numerous research papers have indicated that chemicals found in petroleum combustion cause estrogen and endocrine disruption (4).
- Meats: Meats we eat every day pass on a certain amount of estrogens from the animal the meat came from. In fact, one research (5) evaluated estrogen levels in both meat eaters (omnivores) and vegetarians. The research found far less estrogen in vegetarians than meat eaters.
- Soaps: Most commonly used soaps and body wash contains chemicals called Phthalates, a potent estrogen disruptor (6).
- New Carpets: New fiber carpets are notorious sources of synthetic estrogen-like chemicals.
Signs & Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
There are so many so common signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance that you are going to find one or more that you could be experiencing. The good thing is, there is a natural non-pharmaceutical remedy for it.
1. Estrogen Dominance Causes Rapid Aging:
Estrogen hormone is important is keeping your skin smooth, soft and attractive. In fact, research has shown that women are more attractive before and during ovulation, the time when estrogen levels are higher than the rest of the cycle.
However, estrogen dominance where the progesterone levels are low makes the effects of estrogen destructive to the skin, causing rapid skin aging (7). The key to preventing rapid skin aging is estrogen balance with progesterone.
2. Allergies & Asthma:
Increased estrogen levels or imbalanced estrogen levels causes the body to have an immune response as if it is responding to an allergen, causing allergic response and worsening of asthma (8).
3. Breast Tenderness:
Breast tenderness, especially before periods, is caused by high estrogen levels. The specific area of the breast where the tenderness occurs means a lot. Example, breast nipple tenderness indicates high estrogen and estrogen dominance, according to Dr. Natasha Turner, a clinical endocrinologist a Canadian British Columbia University.
4. Hair Loss & Thinning:
You could be wasting money trying expensive hair products to rejuvenate your hair without knowing that your hair thinning and hair loss is being caused by poor estrogen balance. As earlier referenced (9), estrogen balance is important in many aspects of female beauty.
5. Body Fat Gain:
You may have tried diet, exercises or even fad diets but still cannot lose the weight. Or, you may have lost significant weight but the belly fat won’t go away. Love handles persist or you have reached a point where you are no longer losing any weight or fat.
In situations where estrogen dominance has caused polycystic ovaries (PCOS), the weight gain is more on mid to upper body – a more dangerous type of body fat that leads to diabetes and heart diseases.
6. Polycystic Ovaries:
Polycystic ovaries cause many symptoms included here, especially those related to weight gain, males like features, hair loss, and PMS.
7. Mood Swings:
Pre-Menstrual mood swings and low/poor temper is almost always present in estrogen dominance and PCOS. In some cases, especially before periods, this becomes severe and may be accompanied by depression (10).
8. Abnormal Hair Growth:
This is another problem with poor estrogen balance in polycystic ovaries that can lead to hair growth in areas you do not want it. This is a condition called hirsutism.
This is abnormal hair growth on the face, hands, arms, back, stomach, chest, and toes. It occurs when cystic ovaries lead to overproduction of male hormones called androgens (11). It is these excess androgens that cause male & female baldness.
In situations where estrogen imbalance has lead to PCOS, your body produces excess estrogens in form or ESTRONE, a more dangerous form of estrogen. Estrone, in turn, causes an increase in androgen (male hormone) that increases insulin level in the body.
See #13 below about insulin resistance.
9. Headaches & Migraines:
Do you get headaches out of no good enough reason? While there are so many causes of headaches, estrogen dominance is one of the commonest causes of headaches in women. These headaches tend to be worse before or during periods. Women suffer more migraine headaches than men according to research (12) and largely attributed to estrogen imbalance.
10. Irregular Menstrual Periods:
Irregular periods can be caused by many reasons, notes Dr. Axe, a renown medical and naturopathic blogger. It is even more interesting to note that irregular or missed periods are commonly caused by PCOS – which is thought to be caused by estrogen dominance.
11. Water Retention & Bloating:
Most women report weight gain before and during periods due to water retention. This is caused primarily by estrogen & progesterone hormonal imbalance (13). These two hormones are associated with an increase in sodium retention, leading to water retention, weight gain & potential risk to the heart (14).
12 Slow Metabolism:
You could be struggling to lose weight. Estrogen dominance is one of the commonest reasons why it is much more difficult for women to lose weight compared to men. Poor glucose metabolism leads to higher than normal blood sugar levels (15), leading to weight gain and can ultimately lead to diabetes.
13. Dark Armpits Neck Folds and other areas:
Arm Pit Darkening
This is a condition scientifically called Acanthosis Nigricans. One of the commonest causes of skin darkening is insulin resistance and PCOS in women. Notice there are many other reasons that can cause Acanthosis Nigricans.
In medical care, doctors and endocrinologists use this sign as diagnostic criteria for investigating diabetes or insulin resistance. Where the family history of diabetes is not there with a female client, a closer look at estrogen dominance and PCOS is warranted.
If your body is producing too much insulin than needed, even when your blood sugar levels are normal, this is what is called insulin resistance.
14. Skin Tags:
Skin tags in the neck, armpits and chest region are related to poor sugar metabolism (insulin resistance) and obesity (16). Other research studies have shown that skin tags are caused by estrogens & androgens and not obesity (17).
It is important to note that it is essentially very difficult to draw a thin line between skin tags caused by obesity, insulin resistance, and estrogen imbalance. One can cause the other leading to an obscure line of definition.
15. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS):
Over 80% of all women in their reproductive age get a form of PMS (18). There are other severe forms of PMS called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) that is not as common (19). Race and environmental exposure to chemical estrogen disruptors seem to have a huge effect on prevalence and severity of PMS.
16. Uterine Fibroids:
While the causes of uterine fibroids remain unclear and contested, scientific evidence shows that estrogen & progesterone hormone is to blame. High estrogen levels cause uterine fibroids in guinea pigs and mouse, while progesterone seems to inhibit the growth of the same fibroids (20), consistent with estrogen dominance. Hormonal balance of estrogen and progesterone consistently control severity and proliferation of uterine fibroids (21).
17. Decreased Sex Drive & Vaginal Dryness:
As stated earlier in this article, women with higher estrogen levels seems have a higher sexual drive but not when such estrogen is not counter checked by consistent enough levels of progesterone hormone and balanced androgens.
Proper estrogen balance and female Androgen hormone called DHEA has been shown to increase sex drive, prevent vaginal dryness, help in weight loss, slow or even reverse some effects of aging according to Mayo Clinic.
18. Cystic Acne (Acne Vulgaris) & Oily Skin:
Acne and oily skin are normally associated with higher levels of androgens than normal (22) and/or excessive progesterone (23). While commercial dermatologist may not like to hear this, research shows that it is easier and better to treat acne without using antibiotics and other commercial creams (24, 25).
Shorter than normal luteal phase (irregular periods) is caused by abnormal progesterone levels. If a luteal phase disorder causing infertility, the luteal phase lasts less than 10 days, insufficient time for uterus lining to develop and prepare to carry a normal pregnancy. Estrogen dominance and cystic ovarian syndrome are some of the causes of luteal phase disorder.
Correcting hormones/hormonal balance can increase chances of becoming pregnant. One of the commonest causes of infertility in women today is a short luteal phase.
Other issues related to estrogen dominance:
- Breast cancer
- Cervical dysplasia
- Lupus disease
- Low magnesium & zinc levels
- Dry eyes
- Gallbladder disease
- Osteoporosis or low bone density
- Memory loss
- Fibrocystic breast
- Endometrial and uterine cancer
- Early onset of menstruation
- Foggy thinking
- Cold hands and feet
- Trouble sleeping
- Thyroid dysfunction (low thyroid hormone) leading to weight gain, hair loss, and low metabolism
Natural Treatment of Estrogen Dominance
Understanding the causes of estrogen dominance in this article probably suggests some of the things you can do to lower estrogen exposure to environmental contaminants.
Introducing DIM (3,3 Diindolylmethane) with Vitex.
What is DIM?
DIM is a naturally occurring phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables. DIM promotes beneficial estrogen metabolism and healthy hormonal balance.
Besides regulation and balancing of estrogen metabolism, DIM also inhibits the growth of abnormal cervical cells, a condition called cervical dysplasia (28).
What is Vitex or Chaste Berry Extract?
Chaste Berry Castus
Chaste Berry is a natural herb native in Europe and Asian countries with thousands of years of history in the treatment of PMS (29), infertility and prostate enlargement in men.
As noted earlier in the effects of estrogen dominance, migraine headaches are more common in women. Scientific evidence shows that Vitex is effective in suppressing headaches caused by PMS (30).
Vitex has earned accolades in women fertility treatment where fertility is caused by shorter luteal phase due to low progesterone (31). Some experts call Vitex “Natural Clomid”.
It is important to note that while vitex seems more effective in bringing up progesterone (the hormone that maintains the pregnancy) levels, DIM works in regulating estrogen metabolism.
Side Effects of DIM & Vitex
There are no known side effects or interactions with Chaste Berry extract. The first 3-5 days on DIM, however, some people have reported headaches.
But there is a way to avoid side effects!-
For the first 3-5 days, take one veggie cap in the morning on an empty stomach and drink at least 2 glasses of water. Stay hydrated throughout the day (you always should – anyway).
In the evening, have your dinner early, at least 3 hours before sleep. Take the second pill at bedtime, followed by a glass or two of water.
The key to avoiding the headache the first few days is drinking a lot of water. Make sure you are staying away from coffee and alcohol to avoid getting dehydrated.
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