Estrogen dominance has become a hot topic in recent years. I believe that it has also become a little confusing.
So what exactly does it mean when we talk about Estrogen Dominance?
Firstly! What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a natural hormone found in the body, important for bone density, blood clotting and reproduction in men and women. It is produced mainly in the ovaries of women; but also in the adrenal glands and the fatty tissue.
Unlike women, men don’t actually make estrogen; testosterone is converted into estrogen. Estrogen travels throughout the body in the blood stream; binding with receptor sites throughout (where it becomes active).
What are Endocrine (Hormonal) Disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen and interfere with the body’s own hormonal balance. They produce adverse effects with development and reproduction; also greatly disrupting neurological and immune functions.
Where do Endocrine Disruptors come from?
There are literally hundreds of commonly used hormone disrupting chemicals and they are virtually impossible to escape. Exposure comes from chemicals in food, water, herbicides, pesticides, plastics, personal care products, cleaning products and air pollution.
Also from treatments used on soft furnishings, carpets, bedding and furniture.
Other commonly used chemicals found in beauty and hair treatments such as acrylic nail, polishes and hair dyes etc. are very concerning.
These are just a few examples; these chemicals are everywhere and in everything and may lead to devastating effects within the body.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
BPA one of the most proven and dangerous endocrine disruptors; commonly known to wreak havoc on your health and hormones. Widely used in everyday common products, such as: the lining of canned foods, plastics and the coatings on cash register receipts.
2 Dietary Factors to Consider in Estrogen Dominance
1 – Soy & Other Phytoestrogens
Soy is the most concentrated source of phytoestrogen (plant-based estrogen).
Phytoestrogens in general have many positive attributes; although there are some negative. The problem is further complicated by the fact that all soy is not created equally.
The Japanese are one of the healthiest races on earth where soy is a staple; although, when compared to western countries…they eat minimal genetically modified (GM) soy.
Nearly all soy consumed in western countries today is GM and thereby toxic to your system. Because of that I would never advocate soy. But on the flip side, soy can be good for you if it’s an organic, fermented soy and you are not flooded by other chemical estrogens.
Phytoestrogens in soy are weaker estrogen’s in comparison to the damaging synthetic, chemical mimickers; and even the natural estrogens found in the human body. They should still be considered as detrimental; especially for those who have issues with estrogen dominance.
2 – Dairy & Estrogen Dominance
When the dairy cows (or any mammals) have just given birth, their hormonal status produces estrogens that are transferred to their milk. Thereby, drinking cow’s milk may significantly increase estrogenic levels in the consumer.
Excess dairy consumption may account for as much as 60-80% of estrogenic foods consumed through the human diet.
Research suggests that estrogen in cow’s milk, may:
- Promote the growth of hormone sensitive cancers such as breast, ovarian & prostate.
- Contribute to early puberty in children.
- Reduce fertility in Men & Women.
Estrogen Dominance in Women
Estrogen & Progesterone Need Balance
When the adrenal glands become burdened by too much stress (physical, emotional, chemical or environmental); this can cause disruption to other hormones such as progesterone.
Stress triggers a woman’s body to produce additional cortisol and adrenaline, effectively diminishing progesterone levels. This, along with external endocrine disruptors and dietary hormonal (estrogenic) intake has the ability to cause extreme havoc in the body.
Many women with signs of hormone imbalance have low progesterone with estrogen exerting too much influence. Most are completely unaware that this may be greatly effecting their health.
Symptoms & Complications of Estrogen Dominance
include: I’ve only mentioned a few as the list is extensive.
10 Linked Cognitive Issues
- Mental fatigue
- Poor memory
- Poor concentration
- Emotional hyper-sensitivity
- Headaches & Migraines
8 Possible Complications
- Cholesterol imbalance
- Decreased bone density
- Physical fatigue
- Other hormonal imbalances
- Weight gain – estrogen is also produced and stored in fat cells; so the more over weight someone is the more estrogen they are likely to have stored
- Hormone sensitive cancers e.g. breast & prostate
- Increased risk for developing autoimmune conditions, such as: coeliac disease, hashimoto’s ,Type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid Arthritis
6 Reproductive Complications of Estrogen Dominance
- Irregular periods
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Breast tenderness
7 Reproductive Complications of EstrogenDominance
In the male body, having sufficient progesterone and testosterone helps rein in the negative effects of excesses estrogen. Which is a trigger for abnormal cell growth; if this balance is out, it can lead to high estrogen symptoms.
As progesterone and testosterone begin to decline (generally with age), estrogen begins to rise. This can precipitate hormonal imbalance called estrogen dominance.
As well as the above, additional complications for men may be loss of virility; such as:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Loss of libido
- Inability to get or maintain an erection
- Inability to orgasm
- Low sperm count
- Male breast tissue
As estrogen levels rise so may the size of the prostate; this increase in fibrous tissue may make it harder to urinate and increase the risk of prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).
The conventional diagnosis protocol for an enlarged prostate is quite invasive and treatment options are medications and surgery
Maintaining the correct balance of estrogen and testosterone is key to good prostate health and good heart health. What’s greatly neglected, is that estrogen dominance is rarely even a consideration when a man receives a prostate diagnosis.
Regaining Your Health
With both men and women suffering from relative health concerns, there are generally traceable links to assume estrogen dominance. With the correct health assessment from a qualified Natural Health Professional; testing this can be easily confirmed or dispelled.
To regain optimal health (for you), stress, diet & lifestyle factors need to be carefully scrutinised and the necessary protocols and changes put in place and adopted.
I will be able to guide you through this.
This is an extremely broad topic and impossible to cover all aspects without writing a book. I hope in this post I managed to cover some of the main topics of interest regarding estrogen dominance.
BEFORE YOU GO!