Many of you know that any imbalance in hormones can wreak havoc on our health. Hormones are chemicals produced by our body that act as messengers that help control and coordinate how our body works and responds to our environment. There are different kinds of hormones in our body, but today I would like to focus on Estrogen, because “Estrogen Dominance” patients are growing and not many people are aware of how this happens.
Estrogen dominance is a hormonal disorder that occurs when estrogen levels are either too high, or when other hormones (Female: Progesterone, Male: Testosterone) that are required to balance out estrogen become too low. It is often thought of as a female-only disorder, however estrogen dominance is increasingly common among men and women of all ages. Estrogen dominance is rarely diagnosed and failing to identify it can have a dramatic and damaging effect on all aspects of a person’s health.
We naturally produce the hormone estrogen in our adrenal glands and it is stored in our fat tissue, as well as the ovaries in women and the testes in men. Estrogen is necessary for many important functions such as childbearing, keeping cholesterol in check, and protecting bone health.
Estrogen dominance can cause numerous mental and emotional symptoms, such as memory problems, an inability to concentrate, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, and emotional hypersensitivity. Estrogen dominance can also cause insomnia, physical fatigue, fat gain, bloating, bone loss, headaches, hair loss, infertility, and low (or no) sex drive. Moreover, increased PMS, breast tenderness and/or fibrocystic breasts, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) & ovarian cysts, endometriosis & fibroids are some of the symptoms seen in women. Also, some of you may know that “man-boobs” are caused by estrogen dominance. If you keep ignoring these symptoms (often people don’t take it seriously because these symptoms are too common), you may more at risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer, and prostate cancer.
It is better to get tested to find out how estrogen and the counterpart of hormone levels are balanced. The reason why most medical doctors “miss” the diagnosis of estrogen dominance is because they don’t test for it to begin with. Many naturopath doctors recommend DUTCH test (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones); however, you might be able to take saliva test even with your allopathic doctor. Please keep in mind that if you have your period and you are of child-bearing age, you should take multiple saliva tests over the course of your menstrual cycle because your hormone levels fluctuate during the cycle. However, one saliva test may be sufficient in menopausal women, men, and some women in pre-menopause.
Of course, you can save money on testing by changing your diet and lifestyle first because estrogen dominance is mostly caused by those factors.
Xenoestrogens are a sub-category of the endocrine disruptor group that specifically have estrogen-like effects. Xenoestrogens are not biodegradable so, they are stored in our fat cells. We are constantly exposed to these substances in the world we live in. Examples of everyday items that may include xenoestrogens are: fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides, livestock injected with growth hormones, plastic water bottles and Tupperware, nail polish, makeup, birth control and and so on.
Here is a link to the list of xenoestrogen: http://balancedconcepts.net/tips_avoid_xenoestrogens.pdf
Estrogen is metabolized in the liver and you can make sure that you properly metabolize estrogen by ensuring proper liver function. Conditions such as fatty liver disease from being overweight may cause liver damage and result in impaired detoxification pathways. When the liver is congested, its ability to metabolize estrogen is compromised, which will cause excess estrogen to build up over time. So it’s helpful to detoxify the liver once in a while.
3) Cruciferous Vegetables and DIM
DIM (Diindolylmethane) is a plant nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables. It is useful for managing estrogen levels and has anti-cancer properties. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, arugula, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, and watercress are all cruciferous vegetables. DIM has been found to reduce the production of the “bad” estrogen metabolites, thus encouraging production of the “good” metabolites. This effect appears to be through a decrease in estrogen signaling and an alteration of estrogen metabolism.
So, before taking hormone supplements and medication, start changing those above. I am sure you can feel the difference in 3 months. Remember, the key is consistency!