Everything you should know about estrogen dominance
If a woman’s estrogen levels are too high, there can be many signs. If a woman has not yet reached menopause, for example, she may miss her period, she may experience frequent spotting, or she may have trouble conceiving. The hormone estrogen plays a crucial role in the female cycle. After all, a woman’s monthly cycle is subject to a cyclical pattern – a repetitive rhythm – in which the hormones involved influence each other. Estrogen and progesterone therefore always act in conjunction with each other. If the relationship between estrogen and progesterone is out of balance, the result is usually rather unfavourable for the hormone progesterone. An excess of estrogen therefore leads to a deficiency of progesterone. If there is too much estrogen and too little progesterone, one can speak of estrogen dominance. More correctly, “estrogen dominance” is an umbrella term that describes a pattern of increased estrogen levels and low progesterone levels that occurs together in most cases. It is the discrepancy between these two hormones that can cause troublesome symptoms.
Symptoms of estrogen dominance
In the case of excess estrogen in women, a wide variety of symptoms can occur and there can be many causes for this. Especially during the important hormonal transition periods in a woman’s life – puberty, pregnancy or menopause – the ratio of progesterone and estrogen production can shift.
Symptoms of excess estrogen can include:
- breast tenderness around or after ovulation
- PMS: irritability, increased emotionality and mood swings
- headaches or migraines
- unusually heavy bleeding
- irregular cycles or very short cycles
- weight gain: especially in belly and hip area
- water retention
- anxiety and/or nervousness
- low libido
- difficulty falling asleep or insomnia
Estrogen dominance and the skin
Excess estrogen usually causes acne and blemishes in the first half of the cycle, especially around ovulation when estrogen levels rise sharply. Insufficient elimination of excess estrogen can lead to breakouts further along in the cycle.
Pimples due to estrogen dominance?
Estrogen contributes to the skin producing less oil. If estrogen is high during the cycle and the hormones are in balance, the skin is usually clear and glowing. However, if hormone levels are out of balance, pimples may appear. This is partly due to the interaction between estrogen and testosterone.
Hair loss due to estrogen dominance?
In principle, the hormone estrogen does not cause hair loss, but estrogen dominance can certainly lead to hair loss. If estrogen is too high or too low, the finely tuned system of hormones gets out of balance and a wide variety of symptoms, including hair loss, can present itself.
Weight gain due to estrogen dominance?
An excess of estrogen can lead to weight gain, mainly around the abdomen, thighs, hips and buttocks. When weight is gained, the number of fat cells in the body goes up. The fat cells also produce estrogen. The result is an estrogen level that keeps rising. Too much estrogen also slows down the metabolism, which is of course not helpful in this case. In addition, more water is stored and the unpleasant symptoms of estrogen dominance can increase.
How can you treat estrogen dominance?
If you want to treat estrogen dominance, you should first understand how estrogen is metabolised and eliminated from the body. Our liver metabolises excess estrogen and then passes it on to the intestines for excretion, where it is eliminated with our (ideally daily) bowel movements. If there are problems here – the liver or digestion are not functioning optimally – excess estrogen cannot be excreted but continues to circulate in the body. In addition, the body continues to produce more estrogen. For this reason, optimal liver function and gut health are two hugely important cornerstones of hormonal health.
Don’t forget: To prevent or treat estrogen-related problems, the detoxification organs should function optimally and be supported.
Avoiding these things if possible can be helpful:
- refined sugar, coffee and alcohol
- heavily processed foods
- environmental toxins (for example: pesticides, chemicals, etc.)
- use of plastic bottles, plastic Tupperware
- animal products from factory farming
You can also support the liver wonderfully with various herbs. Dandelion and milk thistle are particularly recommended for this purpose.
Which foods are best for estrogen dominance?
We already know that food can greatly influence our hormones. Certain foods can help with estrogen dominance by positively influencing estrogen metabolism. A diet in sync with the menstrual cycle is particularly recommended.
Pomegranate for estrogen dominance
Pomegranate is said to have a supportive effect on estrogen dominance, which could be explained by the fact that it is rich in phytohormones. Natural phytohormones are said to be able to balance ‘extremes’. This means that they are said to be able to balance both estrogen deficiency and estrogen dominance.
Turmeric for estrogen dominance
Spices such as turmeric can help with estrogen dominance by supporting the liver and therefore estrogen metabolism.
Zinc for estrogen dominance
Zinc also plays an important role when it comes to hormone metabolism. On the one hand, the body needs zinc to produce hormones and on the other hand, it needs zinc to keep the hormones in balance.
Evening primrose oil for estrogen dominance
Cold-pressed evening primrose oil is said to have healing and preventive effects. This applies not only to inflammatory processes but also to disorders of the hormonal system, as is the case with estrogen dominance. This is most likely because evening primrose oil has a very high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
High estrogen levels and conception
Estrogen dominance very often goes hand in hand with anovulatory cycles. Considering the effect of estrogen, it makes sense that when there is an excess of estrogen, the lining of the uterus is also affected. In most cases, estrogen dominance is also accompanied by a lack of progesterone and a corpus luteum defect. Thus, estrogen dominance can very quickly become an obstacle when it comes to conception.
High estrogen levels during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, estrogen levels rise, which is quite natural and perfectly normal. This is because the body recognises that pregnancy occured and therefore prevents ovulation.
The menopause and estrogen dominance
During the major hormonal transition periods in a woman’s life, there are often shifts in the production of estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen dominance can also mark the beginning of the menopause (premenopause).