Estrogen Dominance. Chances are you've heard this term pop up somewhere lately-in your news feed, an online wellness article...from a friend....and that's because right now it's a trending topic! Estrogen Dominance or excess estrogen is a very real issue and behind many of the common health issues we as women (and men) have today. Do you suffer from painful periods? How about irritability? Difficulty losing weight can be attributed to excess estrogen and so can frequent headaches, mood swings, insomnia and other not so fun experiences. Eventually excess estrogen can be linked to breast, cervical and prostate cancer.
Much like everything, estrogen is necessary and good IN MODERATION. Do you know what hormones actually do? I know you've heard of them, but do you know why they're so important? Hormones basically are the language used by our bodies, so different parts can 'talk & coordinate'. Pretty cool huh? Hormones are released to tell us what's going on in each part and how we should react to the outside world. Whether it's fat storage, blood sugar level, speed of digestion or body temperature, you name it and a hormone controls it. When you look at it that way, it's no wonder out of balance hormones can have such intense consequences. Our bodies are super complicated and hormones evolved in a very specific balance to bring optimal function (read: the right balance of hormones makes us happy & healthy). When these levels get out of whack, we see effects ranging everywhere from mood to poop to pounds to disease.
You might be thinking: how do hormones get out of whack? Didn't you just say our bodies evolved specific balances for optimal health? I did say that! And left alone, our bodies would manufacture the right amount of hormones almost every time. But once again, we are coming back to this crazy world we live in and all the 'new' exposures we deal with on the daily, plus a whack diet. This, combined with normal body processes can result in excess estrogen and excess estrogen results in all the brutal side effects I described earlier. In terms of estrogen, there are specific causes that increase yours, so read on to find out if this could be a problem for you.
- If you are over 35 and haven't hit full menopause yet, odds are your ovaries are making more estrogen that they once did, to compensate for diminishing ovarian reserve (read-less eggs).
- Carrying excess weight past menopause? Definitely a candidate for too much estrogen. After menopause your body switches from making estrogen in your ovaries to producing estrogen in your fat cells. The more you have, the more estrogen you produce
- Stress! High levels of cortisol (the stress regulating hormone) actually increases your estrogen to progesterone ratio which means-yup-too much estrogen
- The environment. Things called xenoestrogens are found in everything from plastic to cans to cosmetics and pesticides
- Your diet is high in conventionally raised red meat & dairy. The theory here is that you cultivate very different gut bacteria when eating these types of products, and this gut bacteria is less efficient at processing estrogen, leading to a buildup in the system.
If a few of these factors apply to you, and you experience things like fatigue, headaches, bloating, anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness (you know-all the issues we take for granted as a natural side effect of life) then it's worth looking at your estrogen levels and trying to increase removal rate or decrease production! Read on for tips you can implement today to regain optimal estrogen balance.
How do I get get my estrogen back into balance? Here are 3 tips you can work with RIGHT NOW!
- Fibre is a great place to start! The more fibre you eat the more estrogen binds to particles removing it from your body. This means you poop and pee out excess estrogen instead of having it build up in your body. So increase fibre!
- Stop using plastic to eat, drink and store your food in. Plastic contains many hormone disrupting chemicals like xenoestrogens (here's looking at you BPA) that WILL leech into your food and then-you got it-into your body. These will act as estrogens , increasing your overall estrogen load as well as wreaking havoc on some of the functions your actual estrogen is supposed to do.
- Get to a healthy weight. Fat cells actually MAKE estrogen which means the more excess fat you are carrying the more likely your estrogen is to be out of balance. If you tend to carry a lot of excess weight around your hips, thighs and breasts you are more likely to be estrogen dominant (this is where estrogen tells your body to store fat). Interesting fact: the 'manboob' phenomenon is due to an increased estrogen load in the male body.
Short story-start implementing these tips, and if you think estrogen could be a problem for you then definitely seek out a partner in health to work with you and balance those hormones so you can finally know what FABULOUS really feels like!