Are you struggling with your weight, but you can’t figure out why?
Do you have sleep issues?
Do you have fibrous breast tissue?
Do you have heavy periods?
Do you have painful periods?
Do you have an irregular period?
Do you have raging PMS?
Has your sex drive up and left?
Do you feel bloated?
Do you experience swollen and tender breasts?
Do you experience regular headaches (especially before a period)?
Are you moody and/or depressed?
Are you hanging on to fat around your belly and hips?
Have you experienced infertility?
Do you experience cold hands and feet?
Have you noticed hair loss?
Have you been told by a doctor you have thyroid issues?
Does it seem you have the slowest metabolism ever?
Do you experience brain fog and memory issues?
Is fatigue a normal part of your life?
Have been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Have you had ovarian cysts?
Have you been diagnosed with uterine cancer?
All of these symptoms are a sign of ESTROGEN DOMINANCE.
Before you close this article because you think, “that couldn’t possibly be true for me because (fill in the blank)”, please understand that estrogen dominance is EXTREMELY COMMON and MISUNDERSTOOD!
Why is it so common?? Keep reading.
Let’s first set the stage for some basic hormone understanding. Both men and women produce the hormone estrogen in their adrenal glands as well as fat tissues. Women also produce estrogen in the ovaries and men in the testes.
WHAT DOES ESTROGEN DO?
Estrogen is responsible for the physical development in a woman having to do with child bearing: breast development & curvy hips, for example. However, it’s also a driving force in regulating serotonin which plays into mood, sleep and appetite.
Progesterone is important to recognize in that it is a team player with estrogen. It interrupts continuous effects of estrogen in situations such as stepping in to end the menstrual cycle to start the 28 days over again. When the balance between estrogen and progesterone is off, a woman will experience symptoms that our culture tends to embrace as normal and blame hormones in general and/or age. The truth is, the symptoms many women experience that have to do with PMS and menopause (and post menopause such as weight gain) are truly signs of imbalance.
Here’s where you really need to pay attention!
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ESTROGEN AND PROGESTERONE ARE OUT OF BALANCE?
THIS is the question to ask right here! Why? Because it is SO. Darn. Common.
There are three scenarios we are looking at here:
1) Estrogen is high
2) Progesterone is low
3) A combination of both high estrogen and low progesterone
This is keeping it pretty basic, but what you need to understand is that either way, your body will experience the symptoms mentioned above and this is due to ESTROGEN DOMINANCE.
NOW, for you ladies who are in menopause or beyond, YOU STILL HAVE HORMONES!!! So, you do not escape this scenario! Yes, your hormones look different, but you are very much still at risk for estrogen dominance. A LOT of it has to do with our culture. Keep reading.
WHAT CAUSES ESTROGEN DOMINANCE?
The crazy thing is how common this is becoming. In fact, this is why people think such symptoms are “normal”. They are in fact not NORMAL but becoming TYPICAL. Big difference.
Here are some root causes:
• Excess body fat
• Too much stress, resulting in excess amounts of cortisol, insulin, and norepinephrine, which can lead to adrenal exhaustion and can also adversely affect overall hormonal balance (hello adrenal fatigue)
• A low-fiber diet with excess refined carbohydrates and deficient in nutrients and high quality fats (hello Standard American Diet, AKA: “SAD””
• Impaired immune function
• Environmental agents (which both overload the liver so it cannot properly detox as well as allows our bodies to absorb substances that act as estrogens in our bodies.)
What I truly want to drive home today are both the affects of stress and environmental agents on estrogen. The others causes are more cut and dry; these two are SO important and can be complicated.
I have mentioned adrenals and adrenal fatigue a couple of times here. What happens when our bodies are chronically stressed? Our cortisol eventually bottoms out (this is a super simplistic way of describing it, but essentially, that’s what happens). To make up for it, our bodies will convert progesterone in to cortisol, trying to maintain that homeostasis. What then? LOW PROGESTERONE.
Before we leave this topic I want to draw attention to what STRESS is. It’s not just a big fight with your spouse, money issues or a car accident…it is also:
never resting (always on the go)
not getting adequate sleep
not exercising enough
exercising too much (can’t tell you enough how bad this is and how often I see it these days!)
always being plugged into technology
constantly being inundated with artificial light (throws off the circadian rhythm)
chronic health conditions
not having healthy boundaries (raise your hands all you people pleasers!)
2) ENVIRONMENTAL AGENTS
This is one that frustrates the living daylights out of me. WHY? Because people don’t think it’s a thing!
The problem with that is that, not only is it a thing, it is one of the biggest culprits having to do with our underlying health (not just hormone disruption, but chronic disease, autoimmune conditions, mental health conditions…I’ll save this for another article on another day).
How exactly do environmental agents impact our hormones?
Let me paint you a picture:
You wake up in your spring fresh smelling bed with sheets bathed in artificial fragrances from the detergents, softeners and dryer sheets. You then shower using body and hair products full of chemicals and artificial ingredients. You dry off and head to the vanity where you lather lotions on your face and body…then move on to the hair products and makeup: all with chemicals and artificial ingredients.
Next comes breakfast! Coffee with creamer made from milk that has hormones. A breakfast sandwich made from meat that has been treated with antibiotics and hormones…OR you opt for a soy-based food which is a quick ticket to high estrogen. You top it off with a smoothie made with fruits and vegetables all covered in pesticides.
You get where I’m going with this, right?
“Xenoestrogens are any chemical we are exposed to in the environment that has an estrogen like effect or promotes more estrogenic activity. The big ones that people hear about are BPAs and phthalates, but unfortunately, they are in our drinking water, shampoo, deodorant, dryer sheets, laundry detergents, and all plastics, even the BPA free ones. Besides having an estrogenic effect, xenoestrogens also have to be detoxified by the liver and compete with the same pathways to get out of the body.”
This is not meant to overwhelm you. We have these agents around us 24/7. What YOU CAN DO is take baby steps in order to reduce exposure! Then do things to support your body in being able to detox the way it should (I’m not talking about a major, intense cleanse, but giving your body the help it needs using things like supplements/herbs/essential oils in order to do what it is designed to do!).
If you are experiencing symptoms of estrogen dominance but want to know exactly what that looks like (low progesterone, high estrogen, etc??) I would suggest getting a DUTCH test. DO NOT get your hormones tested through blood. This will not give us an accurate picture of where your hormones really are. Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones is gold standard as it tests metabolites you simply can’t get in a blood or saliva test. In addition, you can test cortisol which is what you need to see in order to address adrenal issues.
If you work with a functional or holistic practitioner, they will very likely be on board with ordering this test for you. If not, you can absolutely order the test yourself and complete it in the comfort of your own home.
Go here for more info and/or to order: https://dutchtest.com/ Please use my code in order to receive $100 OFF any DUTCH test on their site: hwj100
There’s a lot of great information and education on their site as well!
• STEPS TO BALANCING HORMONES
Whether or not you test to get the real snapshot of what your hormones look like, you can do something about it starting NOW!
1) REDUCE STRESS
Even if you can’t do something major like leave the job you hate, you can do a lot to manage your stress:
Get the right nutrients to support your body
Take an adrenal support
Connect with friends/family/church/some kind of network on a regular basis
Regularly turn things OFF. Take time to allow your brain to decompress at the end of the day.
Take steps to get adequate sleep
2) PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FOOD
No artificial “stuff”
DITCH sugar and refined carbs
Consider going low carb to regulate blood sugar and insulin
3) LOVE YOUR LIVER
Your liver is responsible for cleansing excess estrogen. The problem is that we are overwhelming our livers with all sorts of stuff in our food and environments. In order to support it in doing its job, you can:
A) avoid those things that cause overload (mentioned above)
B) eat foods that support your liver in detoxing: cruciferous veggies for the win!!
C) take supplements that support your liver (herbs such as turmeric, dandelion, milk thistle, peppermint, yellow dock root, garlic, artichoke)
The bottom line here is that all the things that set us up for having estrogen dominance are directly related to our standard American lifestyle! YOU can take steps RIGHT NOW to help support your body and get back to feeling VIBRANT!
I challenge you to take a good look at your body/hair/makeup products, your cleaning products and any other household items such as things that you plug in or spray for odor control.
Download the FREE Think Dirty App to assess the products you use and replace them!
FEELING OVERWHELMED? NEED MORE SPECIFIC HELP?
Connect with me and we’ll schedule a FREE consultation to see where I might be able to jump in on this journey and help guide you through this process!
Email me at [email protected]