What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance is not the same as having high estrogen levels. Estrogen levels themselves may be normal, but are imbalanced compared to their progesterone levels and are, therefore, ‘relatively high.’
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
In a perfect world, women’s hormones would ebb and flow appropriately throughout their menstrual cycle. However, a number of issues—many of which are the result of modern life—can throw off women’s hormones and leave them estrogen-dominant.
One of the most common culprits: being overweight. Fat stores estrogen and other hormones, so having excess body fat can lead to an increase in estrogen being stored in the body.
However, a number of other inputs can also throw us out of balance. Just to name a few: childbirth, PCOS, hyper/hypo-thyroidism, certain medications, gut bacterial imbalance, certain cleaning/beauty products, and STRESS.
We are also constantly surrounded by endocrine disruptors, like pesticides in our food and preservatives and chemicals in our environment, furniture, and even nail polish. Exposure to these chemicals can throw off our delicate hormonal balance and exacerbate symptoms.
Signs Your Estrogen Is Out of Whack
Estrogen dominance can look and feel a little different for different women, but many can experience a few telltale symptoms. (see image for list)
Testing for Estrogen Dominance
Since hormone interactions in the body are complex, not all patients with estrogen dominance develop all of the described symptoms. If you are experiencing two or more of the above symptoms without another explanation, you may wish to see your doctor.
Testing typically starts with a blood test, saliva, or urine test to measure progesterone and estrogen levels.
Treating Estrogen Dominance
Sometimes, regaining balance is as simple as changing your diet, fitness, and sleep habits (which I can help you with!). However, in more severe cases, you may need more extensive hormonal therapy—so it’s key to work closely with your MD or ND!