Estrogen Dominance

Has your doctor ever spoken with you about estrogen dominance? 

Estrogen dominance underlies many health problems for both women and men. Estrogen is one of the major sex hormones in women, and levels need to be in an optimal range, or problems arise.

High estrogen can lead to symptoms throughout the entire body, not just typical "hormone symtpoms" like period changes. Estrogen receptors are located everywhere, so high levels can cause a variety of concerns. For men, elevated estrogen levels can lead to enlarged breast tissue, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, or headaches.

While estrogen naturally fluctuates during the monthly cycle, estrogen dominance symptoms can be present for the entire month. For cycling women, progesterone helps to balance estrogen, so progesterone deficiency can contribute to estrogen dominance. For women in perimenopause, estrogen levels fluctuate widely, which can lead to similar symptoms of estrogen dominance, although this is a normal part of the menopausal transition.

What causes estrogen dominance? 

Think of your body’s estrogen stores as a lake with a dam. What could cause high water levels? Either there is too much water going in, or not enough being taken out. Similarly, high estrogen levels can be due to high production or exposure to environmental estrogens. Estrogen breakdown/metabolism by the liver and the gut is how the levels go down. 

Genetics

Some people have a genetic susceptibility to estrogen overload due to slowing of estrogen breakdown in the liver. You may be one of those people if you have had poor reaction to birth control pills, migraines, are sensitive to chemical smells/perfumes, or poor reaction to even small levels of alcohol! Ask your Naturopathic Doctor if you want to explore your genetic susceptibilities. 

Some common symptoms experienced by women with estrogen dominance:

Luckily, there are safe, gentle, and effective ways to decrease excess estrogen levels. Some treatment approaches include:

Since every patient is different, an individualized approach to reducing estrogen dominance is always best. If you suspect you may have estrogen dominance and are ready to take action to improve your health and your hormones, book a free alignment call to get started creating health today!

Author
Dr. Caitlin Fanning Dr. Caitlin Fanning, ND, is a naturopathic doctor and women’s health specialist at Pacific Coast Integrative Health in Santa Cruz, California. She provides compassionate and comprehensive care to patients of all ages and conditions with a focus on women’s health, hormone health, nutrition, stress management, fertility, and preconception care.

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