What is estrogen dominance?
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, affects your brain (including mood), bones, heart, skin, and other tissues.
Your skin is plumper and more elastic due to estrogens effect on collagen. Furthermore, it aids in building your muscles and bones, slows down the aging process, increases your libido, balances your moods, and your sleep cycle.
Slow dancing with estrogen is 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 due to which you can feel sluggish for days, weeks, or even months until you finally balance your hormones.
Symptoms of Estrogen Excess:
- 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
What causes estrogen dominance?
Estrogen dominance develops when the body produces too much estrogen or if the levels of progesterone are low. Estrogen dominance can be attributed to genetics or family history, but many lifestyle and environmental factors can contribute to this type of hormonal imbalance.
Some of the lifestyle and environmental factors that can lead to estrogen dominance include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Consuming too much caffeine
- Certain birth control methods
- Elevated stress levels
- Inadequate amount of quality sleep
- Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins
- Eating animal products that were given growth hormones
Balancing Hormones Naturally
The best natural way to balance estrogen is by detoxing your body. Detox does not mean that you starve your body. 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.
Additional Ways to Balance Hormones Naturally
- Reduce processed packaged foods, refined sugars, and dairy products
- Include more fiber, fresh vegetables, and fruit
- Reduce animal and soy-based products
- Incorporate 30 minutes of moderate movement into your daily routine
- Eliminate the use of plastic and switch to glass storage containers and water bottles or look for BPA free products
- Reduce stress with yoga, meditation, journaling, or by practicing some other form of mindfulness
Estrogen Detox Smoothie
- High-speed blender
- Lemon press
- 3 cups kale or spinach kale is best for balancing hormones
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 knob of ginger, peeled
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 cups pineapple
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- 3 cups spring or filtered water
- 1-2 scoops healthy protein powder optional
- To enjoy this tasty estrogen detox smoothie, blend all ingredients until the mixture looks smooth and creamy and enjoy!
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 to get a better feel for your hormone levels so you will have a more personalized and informed path to balance.
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