Our hormone balance affects our overall health and wellbeing. After all, hormones are the chemical messengers in the body and they affect all parts of the body by coordinating and controlling activities. The different hormones act on different aspects of bodily functions and processes. Estrogen is an important hormone for our reproductive health, and in females it helps control the menstrual cycle and is particularly important for childbearing. But estrogen has more functions than that. It also helps keep cholesterol in control and protects our bones. Whenever estrogen gets out of balance, we can suffer some unpleasant consequences.
What happens when estrogen gets out of balance, and specifically when it becomes dominant?
Estrogen dominance means that there is either an absolute excess of estrogens in the body, or a relative excess, because the opposing quantity of progesterone is too low. Whenever the ratio between estrogen and progesterone is too high, we have estrogen dominance.
Sources of excess estrogen
Our estrogen balance can be tipped by many sources that produce estrogen, such as:
- High body fat content. Fat cells will convert DHEA from the adrenal to estrogens
- Lack of sleep. Not enough sleep will reduce the levels of melatonin – and melatonin opposes estrogen.
- Overloaded liver. When the liver is not working efficiently it will not be able to conjugate and excrete estrogens and clear it from the blood. When estrogens are not properly detoxified by the liver, they accumulate in toxic forms such as estrone and estradiol, which are potent forms of estrogen and are linked to breast and endometrial cancer.
- Gut imbalances. Unfriendly bacteria, such as candida can synthesize estrogen-like substances and deconjugate estrogen allowing for its reabsorption in the blood.
- Constipation slows down transit times and allows for toxins and estrogen reabsorption.
- External estrogens, such as xenoestrogens, external synthetic estrogen-like pollutants, which are becoming more and more difficult to avoid. Hormones that have been given to livestock, cosmetics and plastic containers all can increase the load on external estrogens we consume.
- Low levels of progesterone. Progesterone naturally opposes estrogen and not having enough of it can cause estrogen dominance. As progesterone and cortisol share the same metabolic pathways, high levels of stress can lower the body’s level of progesterone.
What happens when there is estrogen dominance?
Too much estrogen in the body can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as bloating and high blood pressure due to sodium and water retention. It can make us more irritable, and negatively affect blood sugar balance, by increasing sugar cravings. Additionally, unopposed estrogen can increase inflammation in the body, and even cause depression and infertility. Other symptoms of excess estrogen include migraines, breast tenderness, constipation, weight gain, low energy, and mood swings. When you think of the typical PMS symptoms, excess estrogen might be the cause of them.
How to balance estrogen levels?
There are many things you can do to balance your estrogen levels that range from lifestyle and dietary changes.
Making sure you avoid xenoestrogens and plastic is a good start. Reducing stress and improving your sleep can be very helpful to balance all hormones as well as making sure you incorporate a regular exercise routine. Switching up your diet is another big factor in rebalancing hormonal levels and body systems. What we eat on a daily basis affects the function of our body and the ability for our organs to perform at their best. Certain foods have been shown to be particularly helpful in clearing out excess estrogens.
If you want to learn more about estrogen dominance and hormone balance, make sure you join my live webinar this Sunday 25.10.20 at 17:00h CET. There I will go much more in depth on estrogen and how it is linked and influenced by other hormones in the body. You will also be given plenty of information and tools on how to balance your estrogen levels through diet, lifestyle and supplement recommendations.