Estrogen Dominance is a condition identified by Dr. John Lee, an advocate of natural progesterone hormone replacement. It occurs when a woman has low, normal or high estrogen levels, but does not have enough of the progesterone to balance the metabolic effects, thus symptomatically expressing excessive estrogen symptoms. So estrogen dominance is a relative deficiency of progesterone.
At the high end of estrogen dominance concern is the estrogenic proliferation of cancer. This occurred in pandemic proportions when modern medicine put women on synthetic estrogen hormone replacement therapy. Due to the resulting huge rise in breast, uterine and ovarian cancers, doctors now employ lower doses of the same synthetic estrogen drugs with the assumption that a little bit won’t cause as much cancer as the higher doses.
Dr. John Lee’s research established that bioidentical hormone replacement is safe and effective, and that in most cases, progesterone is the hormone actually needed. Today, Functional Medicine doctors often support a broad spectrum of bioidentical hormone replacements (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) tailored to blood lab values.
Beyond hormone replacement, many savvy practitioners want to first support the body to make and balance its own hormones and thus allow the female body its innate, natural cycles of menarche, menses, peri- and post-menopause which, in a healthy woman, does not have to include bone loss or loss of muscle mass.
Estrogen Dominance Symptoms
Estrogen, when not effectively conjugated by the gut microbiome and the liver, can over stimulate the estrogen receptors in the brain and throughout the body. Today, Estrogen Dominance is pandemic and helping women balance their hormonal input for normal cellular metabolic functions requires a comprehensive approach to address the CAUSE as well as nutritional support help the body self-regulate its hormonal processes.
Estrogen Dominance Checklist
- Adrenal fatigue (evidence of long term stress, elevated cortisol and stress hormones)
- Allergies, food sensitivities
- Autoimmune conditions (must be medically diagnosed)
- Birth Control drug usage
- Bloating (water retention)
- Body Fat greater than 28%
- Breast cancer (must be medically diagnosed)
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Cold extremities (hands and feet especially in thyroid dysfunction)
- Environmental toxins
- Estrogen-mimics (plastics, bisphenol-A, pesticides, insecticides)
- Estrogen replacement therapy, synthetic
- Fats, lack of high quality fats in diet
- Fiber, low dietary fiber intake
- Foggy, loggy thinking processes, memory loss
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Gut microbiome (altered estrobolome)
- Hair loss
- Headaches, pre-menses
- Infertility (must be medically diagnosed)
- Menses, Irregular duration of cycle (too short, too long)
- Menses abnormal (clotting, breakthrough bleeding, excessively profuse)
- Mood swings (irritability, anxiety, depression)
- Ovarian cysts (must be medically diagnosed)
- Sluggish metabolism
- Stress and stress hormones
- Sugar, excess dietary sugar, use of high fructose products
- Thyroid dysfunction (must be medically diagnosed)
- Trouble sleeping/insomnia
- Uterine cancer (must be medically diagnosed)
- Weight and/or fat increase (abdomen, hips, upper thighs)
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
According to Nature’s hormonal rhythm, estrogen is the more active hormone after menses leading up to ovulation. After ovulation, progesterone rises to balance the estrogen. Later in life, as the ovaries quit producing hormones, estrogen often reigns un-balanced by progesterone so symptoms of estrogen dominance often increase with peri-menopause.
However, estrogen dominance is not so much an ovarian issue as it is a liver and gut microbiome issue. The liver must conjugate estrogens to render them into a form that does not promote cancer; and the estrobolome—the probiotic bacterial genes that metabolize estrogens—can be impaired due to dietary issues and prescriptive drug impact.
Hormone Balancing Strategy
Diet & Organic, Plant-Based Multi-Supplement. A hormone balancing strategy should start with a diet that is rich in organic vegetables; healthy fats, proteins, and fibers which helps remove excessive estrogen from the intestines; and be supplemented by a certified organic, plant-based vitamin complex. A proper diet will also support the riddance of excessive fat deposits when coupled with exercise.
Liver Support & Cellular Purification. The liver is a crucial component and plays a critical role in a woman’s overall hormone balance. For hormonal balance, the liver must not be impaired in its normal, natural functions. Today, the liver has massive duties to clear out caffeine, alcohol, prescription drugs, and environmental toxins. Impairment in liver function means impairment in breaking down the toxic forms of estrogen that can lead to unwanted concerns.
Stress Relief. Stress alters the gut microbiome and exhausts the adrenal glands which serve the body’s overall hormonal processes via the hypothalamic, pituitary adrenal and thyroid axes. Adrenal hormones cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine impact the delicate hormonal balance and push the estrogen dominance condition.
Gut Microbiome Support. Many probiotic species serve the body’s hormonal balance by processing hormones in the gut as well as providing signaling molecules that the cells use to manage their hormonal receptor sensitivity. The
gut microbiome is now recognized as perhaps the most important endocrine gland and general gut health is essential for hormonal balance and function throughout the body.
Adaptogenic and Specific Herbs. Modern scientific research abounds in the importance and effectiveness of adaptogenic herbs that stabilize hormonal processes as well as select botanicals such as Hops (Humulus lupulus), Angelica, Cynanchum, Lycium, Paeonia, Picea, Pueraria, Schisandra, Vitex, and Rheum. Many of these plants contain natural DIM (Di-Indoly Methane—a component of many cruciferous vegetables) for its ability to influence the aromatase enzyme that shunts adrenal DHEA into estrogenic compounds thus supporting overall normal balance processes.
The woman’s natural and balanced hormonal rhythm is considered a sacred moon and fertility cycle of creativity and self-purification. Today, many forces serve to upset this natural, complex clockwork. In addition to the ovarian production of hormones (estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone), the holistic components of this cycle include: 1) the diet (nutrition, fibers) and exercise, 2) the liver, and 3) the gut microbiome. Environmental toxins present a daily onslaught that disrupts cellular hormone receptors. Herbs and nutrients can directly support a balanced female hormone experience in accord with Nature’s intent, especially when employed via a balanced, combinetic formula in conjunction with functional liver and gut microbiome health.
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