Breast tenderness, bloating, mood swings, headaches…. If you’re a woman, you’ll instantly recognize these as common symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome).
All these symptoms, as well as PMS itself, may be signs of estrogen dominance, which is an imbalance of the hormones. More precisely, it describes a situation where the ratio of estrogen to progesterone is out of whack. Your estrogen level may actually be normal or even elevated, but if your progesterone level is too low, you will have estrogen dominance.
Here are 10 common signs that you may be suffering from estrogen dominance:
- Breast Tenderness
- Irregular Periods
- Water Retention/Bloating
- Weight Gain (especially around the middle)
- Foggy Thinking
- Fibrocystic Breasts
- Uterine Fibroids
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that are secreted by the ovaries and prepare the uterus for menstruation and potential pregnancy.
Estrogen is actually made up of three hormones—estradiol, estrone, and estriol—and its role in the body is the growth of secondary sex characteristics, such as the breasts, and the development of reproductive organs. Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy by causing the uterine lining to thicken so that an egg can be implanted, and it also regulates estrogen so that it doesn’t get out of control.
Both these hormones are essential because they work to balance each other out. Estrogen causes water retention, while progesterone acts as a diuretic. Estrogen stores fat, while progesterone uses fat for energy. Estrogen can promote breast cancer, while progesterone can prevent it. As you can see, too much estrogen in ratio to progesterone is a health concern because it goes beyond bad PMS—it can lead to breast or uterine cancer, endometriosis, infertility or ovarian cysts.
Typical causes include:
- Diet. Commercial meat and dairy usually come from animals that have been given hormones, and when we eat it, we absorb the hormones, too. Likewise, consuming pesticide-sprayed fruits and vegetables disrupts our endocrine system. A diet low in fiber can also cause estrogen dominance because without frequent bowel movements, excess estrogen will be reabsorbed into the system, rather than eliminated.
- Stress. Unrelenting stress causes an overproduction of the “stress” hormone cortisol and then the body goes into fight or flight mode. When this happens, it signals the body to shut down reproduction in favor of survival, which leads to a hormone imbalance, including progesterone deficiency.
- Toxic Liver. The liver filters toxins from the body, but when it’s overtaxed by too much alcohol, processed food, and environmental poisons, it becomes “clogged” or damaged, resulting in an accumulation of excess estrogen.
- Xenoestrogens. These are synthetic estrogens that come from environmental toxins and mimic estrogen in the body. Pesticides, plastics, industrial waste, car exhaust, and parabens are examples of xenoestrogens.
The best way to get your hormones back in balance and reduce estrogen dominance is to start with a lifestyle change. Your diet should consist of organic and chemical-free food with plenty of fiber and cruciferous vegetables, which regulate estrogen production.
In addition, you can take specific supplements such as Calcium D-Glucarate (which can detoxify the liver of excess estrogen), DIM (which balances estrogen metabolism by increasing 2-hydroxyestrone, the “good” estrogen), and natural progesterone cream.
And finally, get plenty of exercise, limit exposure to xenoestrogens in the environment, and buy toiletries that do not contain parabens.
The articles on this website are not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.