Women are typically intrigued when it comes to their hormones. Most feel that they have some type of imbalance, but aren’t sure exactly what hormones are off. One of the most common hormone imbalance problems for women is estrogen dominance. You have likely heard the term. But what exactly is it?
Estrogen dominance is either an overabundance of estrogen or too much estrogen in comparison with progesterone. Being estrogen dominant can cause a variety of symptoms. These include:
Estrogen dominance can also affect your thyroid. If estrogen is too high, it can decrease available thyroid hormones in the body. This leads to a myriad of other symptoms.
Where does excess estrogen come from?
You might be thinking, why do I have too much estrogen? Estrogen can be found in the environment, personal care products, and plastics. These are known as xenoestrogens. They can contribute to estrogen dominance through mere exposure. Estrogen can also become too high from excess body fat. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and keep your blood sugar balanced.
If estrogen is in excess, it is your liver’s job to detoxify it and send it to your gut for excretion. If these systems are not working well, you will not be able to clear it out. This is how your liver and gut function are closely connected to your hormones.
Another key factor is your stress level. When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol. The problem is, your body will produce cortisol instead of progesterone. When progesterone levels are low, this causes estrogen dominance as well. This is why we always test adrenal function and your cortisol pattern when we look at your hormones.
Testing for Estrogen Dominance
At Functional Health Unlimited, we use the DUTCH complete test to evaluate your hormones. This test looks not only at hormone levels, but also at which pathway the hormones are being sent down. We know there are good pathways and bad pathways to detoxify estrogen. The DUTCH test shows where you are sending estrogen and our ability to detoxify. So, if you are not detoxifying very well, or sending estrogen down the wrong pathway, we can recommend supplements and dietary modifications that will correct the imbalance.
How to Decrease Estrogen Dominance
Decrease/manage stress. Though we can’t always control what is going on around us, we can control what we do to deal with it. You may need to try meditation, deep breathing, or other stress reduction techniques that make you feel better. Maybe it’s taking a walk, talking to a friend, or exercising. Whatever makes you feel better is stress reduction. Supplementing with adaptogenic herbs can support your adrenal glands under times of stress.
Focus on gut health. Take a good quality probiotic, drink enough water, and eat fiber rich foods so that you are having a daily bowel movement. You will not be able to clear excess hormones if you are constipated. If you continue to struggle with gut issues, work with your functional medicine provider to find the cause.
Liver support – The liver has to sort all of the garbage in our body and ship it to the next place to get it out. It has a big role in clearing excess hormones and can’t do it without proper nutritional support. Taking a methylated B complex helps support the detox pathways in the liver. Wondering what foods will help? Eat at least 3 servings of cruciferous vegetables per day. Think broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts.
Sleep. Getting enough sleep is key for hormone balance. Without sleep, your cortisol pattern gets all out of whack. And as we discussed above, high cortisol is detrimental to other hormone levels. So, get your shut eye instead of staying up late.
Test, Don’t Guess
Try these few tips to support your hormone levels. And when in doubt, get tested to find out how your body is functioning. We are not all the same. For a plan that is tailored to you, it is best to understand what your hormone levels actually are. We believe that “test, don’t guess” is the best way to go. Contact us for a complimentary hormone consultation.