Oestrogen dominance is a striking couple of words, and pretty unnerving to hear from a doctor if you don’t know much about it. Knowing that oestrogen dominance can also have an effect on fertility, as well as your overall health, makes you… well, suffice it to say those two words have your attention.
Education is key when setting aside the facts from old wives’ tales, so without further ado, what is oestrogen dominance, what are the signs to be on the lookout for, and what can you do about it?
First, What Is Oestrogen?
Oestrogen isn’t one hormone, but a whole group of sex hormones that are produced by the ovaries in women, and through an enzymatic process in men. It plays a role in many reactions and functions of the body, such as fluid balance.
It’s generally associated with things that occur in females bodies, but you might not be aware that it helps to keep your bones in good health while also balancing your cholesterol and promoting a good night’s kip. Not only that, but oestrogen is also good for glowing skin and maintaining a healthy urinary tract.
In young girls, oestrogen brings along changes in the body during puberty, and is responsible for the development of breasts and the beginning of periods. In the first part of a monthly cycle, oestrogen controls the lining of the womb, whereas during pregnancy, the placenta creates oestrogen – helping the female body carry the growing baby. Oestrogen is also what keeps breastfeeding mothers’ periods at bay.
Oestrogen also has the ability to expand blood vessels and can help with some of the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, night sweats and dryness in the vagina. This is because many of the symptoms of menopause are a result of a lack of oestrogen.
What Is Oestrogen Dominance?
Despite the symptoms of an oestrogen deficiency being so well-known, what happens when there is too much oestrogen and oestrogen dominates your body is a little less well-known. This is known as oestrogen dominance – or in other words, when your body has too much oestrogen or not enough progesterone to keep everything working as it should.
Oestrogen dominance usually occurs when women in their 30s and 40s enter pre-menopause, when no egg is released during their monthly cycle. When this happens, oestrogen outbalances progesterone. But it’s not only to do with menopause. Oestrogen dominance can also happen when your body fat is over around 28%.
In other cases it can be a result of the body not ridding itself of excess oestrogen, which can be related to diet. When you’re not getting enough fibre and healthy fats in your diet, or if your diet is too high in carbohydrates, the body sometimes can’t move the waste and excess oestrogen as it should due to constipation.
Another factor that can cause oestrogen dominance is stress. Too much stress can make your stress and fat-storing hormones act differently, which in turn can cause a hormonal imbalance, along with adrenal fatigue.
What are the Symptoms of Oestrogen Dominance?
Too much oestrogen, or not enough progesterone is more common than you might think, and the symptoms can uncomfortable and seemingly unrelated. These are some of the most common symptoms that you might experience:
- Sore breasts
- Migraines and headaches
- Cold hands and feet
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Slower metabolism
- Low sex drive
- Period problems
- Thyroid issues
- Mood swings
- Infertility and miscarriage
- Brain fog
- Trouble remembering
How to Treat Oestrogen Dominance
If you’re concerned about any of the above symptoms, it’s important that you speak to your doctor in the first instance. You’ll be pleased to know that there are things that you can do to help to manage and treat those symptoms yourself at home, so you can take charge of the situation and do all you can to feel your best.
1. Waste Management
As your body needs and wants to rid itself of excess oestrogen, you should help it to do just that by supporting your digestive system. Going out and purchasing a load of laxatives shouldn’t be your first port of call, but having enough fibre in your diet will keep the excess oestrogen from being reabsorbed into your body.
While you’re thinking about bodily waste, you’ll need to spare a thought for your liver, which is responsible for filtering the unnecessary things in your blood. For your liver to effectively filter out the extra oestrogen, you’ll need to knock the booze, drugs, cigs and caffeine on the head and try to eat as clean as you can, which takes us to our next point: how you should be eating.
Eat as clean and organic as you can. It’s not just a matter of heading to the organic aisle, per se, but it’s about avoiding refined foods like processed, frozen and junk food. Make sure that you’re getting healthy fats in your body in the form of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which you can get from nuts and oily fish, and also ensure that you eat plenty of lean protein.
Not only can regular cardiovascular and resistance training help you to manage your weight, it can also help you to reduce your stress. Taking the time out for a little exercise can be the perfect opportunity to focus on yourself once in a while.
Take Home Message
Oestrogen dominance is when there is too much oestrogen in your body or not enough progesterone. It can affect women during menopause, but also can arise when your body fat is too high or your diet is out of balance. The answer is to speak to your doctor and take more time for self care. Get more fibre in your diet, cut the junk, caffeine and alcohol and find out how exercise can help you to manage your stress.