Have you been feeling irritable, unable to concentrate, or having trouble sleeping? These are common symptoms of estrogen dominance, an elevated level of estrogen that disrupts hormonal balance in the body. But with a proper diagnosis and some simple lifestyle changes, it’s possible to feel like yourself again. Let’s explore what you can do to naturally support your hormone health.
What is estrogen?
Estrogen is a hormone that is primarily responsible for the development and regulation of female sexual characteristics and reproduction. It also promotes healthy blood vessel function, regulates cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk of heart disease in premenopausal women. It helps regulate brain function, and maintains skin elasticity and hydration. Most estrogen is produced by your ovaries during your reproductive years (since it’s triggered by your pituitary gland), but it’s also made by fat tissue, and in your adrenal glands (the glands located on top of your kidneys that regulate our stress response).
Progesterone supports pregnancy in female bodies. It thickens the uterine lining in preparation for a fertilized egg. If fertilization doesn’t happen, the lining is shed, progesterone levels drop, and estrogen begins to rise once again.
Since both estrogen and progesterone are vital for maintaining healthy bones and cholesterol (and both diminish naturally as we age), the key to healthy hormone function is to ensure there is a healthy balance of both.
What is estrogen dominance?
Estrogen dominance occurs when there is either an abundance of estrogen or a shortage of progesterone. It can occur at any age, but largely affects women between 35 and 50 years of age. This leads to a hormonal imbalance that can cause many unpleasant symptoms including:
- Mood swings & irritability
- Decreased sex drive
- Fertility issues
- Hair loss
- Bloating & weight gain
- Hot flashes
- Fatigue & trouble sleeping
- Memory problems, headaches & brain fog
- Irregular & heavy periods
- Cystic acne
- Thyroid imbalances and more
It’s important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and schedule a test to know for sure if it’s estrogen dominance. Conventional blood tests are the most common examination, but a more detailed procedure is a DUTCH test (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones). DUTCH tests are able to determine how your hormones are metabolized, giving you a more accurate reading over 3 days. It can be done at home but is an additional cost so be sure to ask your healthcare provider which test is best for you. Getting a proper diagnosis is the first step to feeling better.
If your tests have confirmed an estrogen overload, you can move forward with confidence in the success of our next hormone-balancing tips.
Small changes make an impact
While estrogen dominance can happen naturally with age, there are factors in the environment that can increase the severity of symptoms. In the last century, over 80,000 synthetic chemicals have been created and used in everyday products like soft plastics, cosmetics, and fragrances. Many of those chemicals act like estrogen when they enter our bodies because they have a similar molecular structure.
Let’s take a look at some common household items that are easy to replace with healthier alternatives. Laundry detergent is a great place to start since many contain synthetic fragrances. Fragrances are made up of compounds that can cause hormones to go haywire! Since our skin absorbs the fragrant chemicals from our clothes and bedding, switching to a fragrance-free laundry detergent is an excellent first step to balancing your hormones. You may even find your skin looks and feels better because of the lack of chemical-causing dermatitis. If you’re willing to go a bit further, you can also ditch the antibacterial soap (or anything with triclosan) and opt for fragrance-free body lotions and cleansers.
Having a cupboard full of plastic food containers is pretty common in many households, but plastics contain chemicals that leach into food, and heating it up makes it even more potent. Just like fragrance, the molecules in plastic look a lot like estrogen, so they easily blend in and cause problems in our bodies. Glass and stainless steel containers are much healthier options since they have zero chemical leaching or off-gassing. As they become more popular, they’re easier to find AND more affordable – huge bonus! When it comes to cooking, go for ceramic, cast iron, or glass. Try to avoid using Teflon, since those chemicals are proven to be highly toxic.
A fine balance
Now that we’ve dealt with some of the external factors that can cause estrogen dominance, we can start focusing on how to help manage symptoms from within. Incorporating hormone-supporting herbs and nutrients into your daily routine can help combat symptoms of estrogen dominance.
MenoChill takes care of many of the symptoms without affecting hormone levels. EstroG-100® is a clinically proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herbal blend that has been extensively researched and documented to quickly ease hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. KSM-66® is a form of full-spectrum ashwagandha root with the highest concentration on the market, helping with stress reduction and general well-being.
To start balancing the hormones, Healthy Hormones contains Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a substance found in veggies like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. It works synergistically with other key herbs and nutrients to effectively decrease the level of unhealthy estrogens, stabilize the menstrual cycle, and relieve symptoms of estrogen dominance and PMS.
Although there are quite a few symptoms associated with estrogen dominance, there are many ways you can take back control of your hormones and feel like yourself again. Whether you’re ready to make some changes in your home, or simply add some easy, natural nutrients to your daily routine, you can take control of your hormones and find your perfect balance.
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Risk of Hormone Deficiency in Women
Estrogen vs. Progesterone: Functions in the Human Body
Do you have estrogen dominance?
What the DUTCH Test Can (and Can’t) Do for You