To understand oestrogen dominance, we must look at the normal menstrual cycle which gets regulated by oestrogen and progesterone.
During the first half of the cycle, the bulk of oestrogen gets released into the bloodstream and oestrogen builds up the lining of the uterus to prepare for the implantation of a fertilised ovum. Progesterone then gets released during the second half and acts to maintain the rich lining of the uterus that the oestrogen helped to build up. If there is no implantation or pregnancy, the body stops producing progesterone and menstruation occurs.
There are multiple areas in this mechanism where things can go wrong, causing an imbalance:
- Exposure to Xenoestrogens
- Contraceptive pill
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Plastic cookware
- Petroleum products
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s)
- Growth hormone found in animal products
- Consumption of phytoestrogens in foods like soy, legumes and flax.
- Being Overweight: We produce oestrogen in different parts of the body such as the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat cells. Fat cells convert testosterone to oestrogen through a process called aromatisation, and more body fat equates to more oestrogen. This does not necessarily mean that overweight women have low testosterone. Testosterone production is stimulated by insulin, and many overweight women have a degree of insulin resistance. Being overweight thus predisposes women to high oestrogen and testosterone and low progesterone by comparison.
- Chronic Stress: Whether you suffer from chronic physical and/or emotional stress, the body starts converting progesterone into the stress hormone, cortisol.
- Low Fibre Diets: We excrete excess oestrogen into the bowel. High fibre diets improve this process, and with a decreased incidence of constipation, you lower the reabsorption of oestrogen.
- Decreased Liver Function: Anything that impairs liver detox or function will result in excess oestrogen levels. A hypercaloric diet with significant volumes of sugar, alcohol and other chemicals will make the liver sluggish in its ability to detoxify.
- Breast tenderness
- Cervical dysplasia
- Low or absent libido
- Early onset of menstruation
- Endometrial (uterine) cancer
- Fat gain around the abdomen, hips and thighs
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Depression with anxiety or agitation
- Dry eyes
- Higher risk for blood clots
- Mood swings
- Gallbladder disease
- Slow metabolism
- Water retention and bloating
- Irregular menstrual flow
- Memory loss
Since many of these symptoms overlap with other conditions, it's important to do a full hormone profile.
Tips to prevent and treat oestrogen dominance:
- Avoid exposure to xenoestrogens
- High fibre diet
- Reach and maintain your ideal weight
- Dietary supplements like amino acids, lecithin and milk thistle
- Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a phytonutrient from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. This helps the metabolism and breakdown of oestrogen in the body.
For more information and assistance, visit a Health Renewal Doctor at your most convenient Renewal Institute location today.