What is “estrogen dominance”?
Estrogen dominance does not necessarily mean that the body produces too much estrogen (although that can happen too); it means that your body’s estrogen production is not in balance with your progesterone production. Estrogen dominance occurs when your ovaries produce a relatively consistent amount of estrogen while producing significantly less and less progesterone. All women experience this change at varying levels — a natural process of aging ovaries.
For the typical teen starting her period, the balance of hormones produced in the body is a healthy ratio of estrogen to progesterone. This balance begins to shift in your late 20s or early 30s as symptoms related to stress, lack of sleep, and side effects of synthetic birth control start to appear. Mid-30s weight gain and worsening PMS are common symptoms of estrogen dominance. As you reach your 40s and 50s, symptoms begin in earnest as your aging ovaries gradually lose their ability to produce steady amounts of each sex hormone.
To understand estrogen dominance, it is essential to understand the role of progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone operate like sides of a seesaw, shifting up and down during a woman’s monthly cycle.
Negative symptoms of low progesterone include:
- Heavy periods
- Weight gain
- Uterine fibroids
When the progesterone side of the seesaw gets stuck on low, the estrogen side stays elevated relative to progesterone. It’s not (necessarily) that your estrogen is high — it’s that your progesterone level drops so low that estrogen effectively dominates. Contributing factors: xenoestrogens (man-made environmental estrogens) found in hormone-injected meats, certain pesticides, petrochemicals, herbicides, plastics, and drugs, as well as phthalates (plastic-softening chemicals) add to the body’s estrogen load. In addition, fat cells can churn out estrogen, so if you have been 10 pounds or more overweight for one or more years, your body fat may be causing your estrogen levels to increase. Lifestyle choices can also contribute to eating processed foods, too little exercise, too little sleep, and too much stress, which can accelerate estrogen load.
Estrogen dominance can short-circuit your internal remote control physically, emotionally, and mentally.
- Low libido/poor sex drive
- Mood swings/increased irritability
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Abdominal weight gain
- Irregular bleeding
Estrogen is vital to a woman’s physical well-being; however, an overload can be destructive, causing a cascade of unpleasant symptoms and raising the risk of life-threatening diseases. Untreated estrogen dominance has been clinically linked to an increased risk of breast and uterine cancers, osteoporosis, low thyroid, and dementia.
Can Estrogen Dominance Be Reversed?
Absolutely. The first step towards restoring an optimal balance of hormones is bioidentical progesterone cream that can eliminate your condition of estrogen dominance at a cellular level and begin to bring all your hormone levels into better balance. Lifestyle changes like regular exercise, stress-reduction strategies, and a hormone-healthy diet are fundamental to feeling and looking your best – at any age.