Rather often, I have women see me with a history of uterine fibroids or PCOS or difficulty losing weight and they’ve tried “just about everything” to reverse their symptoms to no avail. In many cases, once their underlying issue of estrogen dominance is addressed, they are finally able to regulate their periods, gain more energy, effectively and sustainably shed weight, and so much more!
Moral of the story: If you haven’t talked with your doctor about the possibility of estrogen dominance, then do so today!
So, here’s a quick refresher on female hormones – Estrogen is one of two main sex hormones that women have. The other one is progesterone. Estrogen is primarily responsible for female physical features and reproduction. Men have estrogen, too, but in smaller amounts.
Estrogen governs the growth of the breasts, pubic, and underarm hair. During puberty, it’s estrogen that triggers the start of menstrual cycles and estrogen that helps control the cycle through childbearing and into menopause. This hormone has other functions too. Estrogen keeps cholesterol in control, protects bone health, and affects your brain (including mood), bones, heart, skin, and other tissues.
Your skin is plumper and more elastic due to estrogens effect on collagen. It also aids in building your muscles and bones, slows down the aging process, increases your libido, balances your moods, and your sleep cycle.
You can see how “slow dancing” with estrogen can be great, but everything takes a 180-degree turn if estrogen dominance becomes an issue…
The term “estrogen dominance” refers to a condition where your body continually produces estrogen in excess as compared to progesterone. During the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle, estrogen is naturally more dominant, but only for a few days. Hormonal imbalance tends to have a cascade effect, so estrogen dominance often leads to a plethora of other health-related problems. Estrogen dominance can cause PMS symptoms causing you to feel sluggish for days, weeks, or even months until you finally balance your hormones.
Symptoms of Estrogen Excess:
If you experience any two or more of the following symptoms, you may have estrogen dominance.
– Constant headaches or migraines
– Water retention and bloating
– Gaining weight in your lower body
– Ovarian Cysts
– Oily hair and skin
– PCOS or Endometriosis
– Tender and painful breasts
– Hair loss
– Random mood swings
– Heavy flow during periods
– Painful cramps before and during periods
– Irregular periods
***With any of my clients, I typically go by the “test, don’t guess” strategy. This is because estrogen dominance could mimic other dynamics. A reliable test to confirm estrogen dominance and also investigate for other important hormonal imbalances is the DUTCH test. Ask your provider if he or she can order it. If not, you can order it for yourself in most states here, although it’s strongly recommended you have a DUTCH provider help with interpreting the results.***
How to balance estrogen:
The best natural way to balance estrogen is by detoxing your body. Detox does not mean that you starve your body or indulge in ridiculous juice cleanses. Instead, it refers to eliminating certain foods and drinks and replacing them with healthier options.
To get rid of estrogen dominance and balance your hormones, you will have to take care of your liver. The liver is responsible for filtering blood, removing toxins, and balancing your hormones. To support liver health, avoid foods high in processed fat, sugar and salt and focus instead on fresh, whole foods and foods that are rich in fiber. Foods that are rich in vitamin C, sulfur, and B vitamins are also great for liver health. Eating this way helps the body naturally detox and can be part of your path back to balance.
Ditch the toxins that you put on your body and in your environment for another layer of support. Try to use products that are clean and free of harmful chemicals. Whether it be makeup or skincare products, try to use organic products made from natural ingredients. Apart from this, you should also take care of your mental health by detoxing and removing all sources of negative energy from your life.
Estrogen Detox Smoothie
To enjoy a tasty detox smoothie, blend the following ingredients until the mixture looks smooth and creamy and enjoy!
– 3 cups kale/ spinach
– Half peeled cucumber
– Half lemon
– Peeled knob of ginger
– 2 stalks celery
– 2cups mango
– 1 handful fresh cilantro
– 3 cups of water
– 4 tablespoons ground flaxseed
– 1 to 2 scoops of healthy protein powder (optional)
Taking steps to balance your hormones, reduce toxins, and kick your natural detox response into gear may take some time. If you don’t find yourself improving within about 30 days of solid changes, please consult your doctor. Your doctor will be able to more fully assess your health and order labs (such as the DUTCH test) to get a better feel for your hormone levels so you will have a more personalized and informed path to balance.