Estrogen Dominance is becoming a hot topic, with many people not really understanding what it is.
In this episode, I walk through the functions of estrogen, what estrogen dominance is, and 3 ways that you can start healing from it.
Ep 10 - The Effect Of Trauma On Hormones
What is Estrogen Dominance and 3 ways to start healing from it
Hello my friends. I’m really happy to have you back with me this week and I wana talk about a hot topic that I get a lot of questions about.
But first of all, have you subscribed to my podcast yet?
And maybe shared some of the episodes with friends or family?
I would so appreciate if you could take a minute to do that and help me reach more women so they can too be educated on the importance of our menstrual cycles and hormones.
Ok, so let’s get into today’s topic.
Maybe you’ve heard this term before but you just have no idea what it means.
Or maybe today is the very first time you’ve ever heard the term estrogen dominance.
Before we get to what that means, let’s take a minute to look at what estrogen is and what it’s functions are in the body:
Estrogen is one of our main sex hormones and is produced by the adrenal glands, ovaries and also fat cells.
There are 4 forms of estrogen, of which one is only produced in the body during pregnancy.
So for the majority of our lives, your body will produce 3 different types of estrogen, at fluctuating levels, during different stages of life.
During puberty, estrogen is responsible for the development of what we call the secondary sex characteristics, like breasts and changes in body composition. So this is when we develop our curves.
Estrogen also plays an important role in your menstrual cycle, such as thickening of the uterine lining.
In the days leading up to ovulation, estrogen levels will peak which is when you’ll be most fertile.
Estrogen also has other non-reproductive functions, such as regulating important processes in your skeletal, cardiovascular and central nervous symptoms that has a huge impact on your overall health.
Estrogen affects cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, bone and muscle mass, circulation and blood flow, collagen production, moisture in your skin and mucous membranes, brain function, metabolism and so much more.
So you can see that estrogen is a really important hormone with many responsibilities in your body.
But the key here, is that estrogen can at times be a bit of a rebel, so it needs to be kept in check. And the only hormone that can provide this, is progesterone. So when the balance between estrogen and progesterone goes a bit off, that’s when we start having issues.
So estrogen dominance doesn’t necessarily mean your estrogen levels are too high, it means that it is too high in relation to progesterone.
So for me, I had really low estrogen, but my progesterone was even lower, and therefore I had low estrogen and also estrogen dominance, which is what happens when that balance is out.
Our western lifestyle is the biggest culprit when it comes to estrogen dominance, because many of the things that we are exposed to daily and also most of our habits are working against the production of progesterone. And because the production of progesterone is not supported, it’s really easy for this balance to become a bit lob-sided. And you’ll definitely be well aware of it, because your body will start telling you.
So I wanna share with you the most common symptoms of estrogen dominance and I would love for you to do a quick self-assessment.
If you are currently or have in the past, experienced 3 or more of the following symptoms, you are highly likely to suffer from estrogen dominance.
But don’t get too panicked, there are ways to heal your hormones and reverse the effects of estrogen dominance and that’s exactly what I’ll be sharing with you towards the end of this episode.
Ok, so let’s do that quick assessment.
The most common symptoms of estrogen dominance are:
Irregular or abnormal periods
Heavy painful periods that last 5-7 days
Breast swelling & tenderness
Lumpy breasts or fibrocystic breasts
Headaches and migraines
Mood Swings - including irritability, depression or even anger
Weight gain, particularly around the hips and thighs
Exhaustion and fatigue
Those are the most common, but you may also be experiencing some of the less common symptoms, such as:
Cold hands and feet (because estrogen dominance quite often goes hand in hand with and underactive thyroid)
Skin and nails that don’t look good or healthy
Sluggish metabolism and gut issues such as IBS or irritable bowel syndrome
Weight that just won’t shift
Foggy thinking or forgetfulness
PMS symptoms or
Lower back pain
So like I said, if you ticked off 3 or more of these signs, it is time to make work of this.
Even if symptoms have been around a long time, it doesn’t mean that’s normal… Don’t brush it off as nothing. Things don’t have to be like this.
OK, so I just want to talk a little bit about the 3 main focus areas for addressing the root causes of estrogen dominance and they are a sluggish liver, gut issues and nutrient deficiencies.
So in order to reverse estrogen dominance, and all the symptoms that go with it, we need to address all of these 3 root causes. We need to enhance liver function, optimise gut function through healing the gut lining and building a healthy bacterial environment in the gut, and we need to provide the body with plenty of all the nutrients that it needs to perform all of these important functions, 24 hours of each day.
So you’ll remember that I mentioned that we become estrogen dominant when estrogen is not held in check by progesterone.
When these 2 hormones are in balance, we feel absolutely amazing, we don’t have any symptoms.
And there are a few factors that will contribute to estrogen dominance, so let’s look at the main contributing factors:
First of all, peri-meopause, which starts from about age 35-38, when your body starts to experience anovulatory cycles, which is a cycle with no ovulation occurring. And this means no progesterone because in order for us to produce progesterone, we need to ovulate!
Or you might be ovulating, but due to nutrient deficiencies, you might have far less progesterone than needed to balance out the estrogen.
We also tend to have high levels of stress during peri-menopause because that’s when it all goes down right? Pre-teens, teenagers, sport, career, friends, being involved in the community, running a household, etc. etc.
As we move through peri-menopause, between the ages of 35 to say about 45, progesterone production will decline with about 70%, and then the rest of the decline will happen after menopause.
Estrogen production will also reduce during the peri-menopausal phase, but much less than that, only like 25-35%, which you can see, puts this balance out completely, and this is why estrogen dominance is so significant in the peri-menopausal years.
The second big factor is higher storage of estrogen due to various aspects in our modern world. Things like environmental exposure to toxins like xenoestrogens, which are foreign estrogens, not produced by your body. They are usually substances that are close enough in molecular structure to estrogen that they can act like estrogens in your body. These substances include plastics, particularly single-use plastics, pesticides, herbicides, household chemicals, such as cleaning products and laundry detergents, beauty products, candles, fragrances, the list goes on.
These substances are just everywhere in our homes and it can be quite easy to fix once we become aware of their presence, but can be a costly exercise. This is why I recommend you do this over time. As you run out of products, you replace them with toxic-free products.
Thirdly, synthetic estrogens in birth control or hormone replacement therapy, specifically synthetic hormone therapy.
Fourth, the standard western diet, which consists of non-organic food sources, processed foods, high amounts of pesticides and herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics, high intake of take-outs, exposure to plastics like when we actually buy our take-outs in plastic containers, low fibre intake, high intake of animal products and low intake of plant-based foods.
All these toxins in our food contribute to endocrine disruption and causes liver issues, gut issues and hormonal pathway interruptions.
The fifth big factor is excess body fat, greater than 28% because, as I mentioned, fat cells actually make estrogen, so the more body fat we have, the more estrogen we will produce
Next, is a Leaky gut, gut dysbiosis and constipation. Gut dysbiosis is when there's no healthy balance of good bacteria in the gut.
This inhibits the final phase of estrogen detoxification by disrupting the gut bacteria that metabolises estrogen and we know that if we’re not moving estrogen out through bowel movements, it just gets absorbed right back in the colon and gets recirculated back into the blood.
The seventh, and a major factor, is chronic stress, which affects the gut, liver and thyroid, reduces progesterone levels, and further contributes to that imbalance.
Unresolved trauma can also manifest into hormone issues and you can listen to episode 10 where I talked about the effect of unresolved trauma on hormones.
Next, poor liver function.
The liver is responsible entirely for metabolizing estrogen and when we are consuming a lot of liver loaders, in other words, things that require primary attention from the liver, we overload the liver and create what we call a non-alcoholic fatty liver. Foods that I class as liver loaders include alcohol, caffeine, sugar, highly processed foods and also medication and smoking. The liver will always prioritise toxins from outside above its own waste products, so this means your own waste products, such as used estrogen, will be recirculated back into your body, further contributing to estrogen dominance.
There are also nutrient deficiencies that affect the liver detoxification pathways in the liver, such as b vitamins, choline, vitamin E, vitamin C, glutathione, magnesium, amongst many others
So just take a moment to consider if any of these root causes are affecting your hormonal health
I know for me physiological stress such as working long hours or not moving my body enough or not getting enough good quality sleep, will lead to a noticeable imbalance.
Some of these factors can feel really unavoidable at times and that’s why it’s important to use a systematic approach to clean it up and then adopt lifelong lifestyle habits that will keep excess estrogen under control and establish a good balance between estrogen and progesterone.
Now let’s look at some simple things you can do daily to heal your body by addressing those 3 root causes we talked about.
Liver health, gut health and nutrient deficiencies.
You can use some natural solutions and lifestyle changes that will not only heal your hormones, but will also reduce inflammation, heal your gut and absolutely improve all the annoying symptoms that you may be experiencing at the moment.
You can absolutely address and reverse estrogen dominance in about 60-90 days, but you should start seeing some significant changes within about 30 - 45 days. But you definitely need at least one full cycle to start experiencing some change.
So let’s get into it.
Eating hormone and liver loving foods.
You may even be doing some of this already, but it’s definitely about being very intentional when you plan your meals and snacks every day
Hormone loving foods include good quality proteins, healthy fats, foods that are high in fibre, such as plant based foods and legumes, and ultimately eliminating all the toxic foods. So you wanna replace foods that contain hidden estrogens, for example
Replacing conventional meats with grass-fed, pasture raised or organic meat wherever possible and avoiding dairy products, conventional produce which will be covered in pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, any foods that are processed, and sugar.
Then you wanna have loads of Fibre, so include lots of green leafy veg, cruciferous veg, quinoa, seeds, basically a high intake of plant-based foods.
Other liver loving foods include beets, blueberries, flaxseeds, avocado, and carrots.
You also need to use filtered water. Water in our taps is filled with pollution and runoff, hormone disruptors, heavy metals, toxins and endocrine disruptors.
So I recommend installing water filters at home.
Also make sure you don’t use plastic water bottles, so opt for stainless steel or glass.
You also wana remove as much toxins from your environment as possible.
So it’s using non-toxic cleaning and personal care products
If you do a little research, you can literally swop out your toxic products for vinegar, baking soda, water, essential oils and some other easy-to-find ingredients. But even opting for environmentally friendly and toxin-free products at the supermarket will already be a massive step in the right direction. I personally use Young Living household cleaner and it’s incredibly versatile. It cost me about $100 a year for the concentrate and I literally use in on all surfaces, including the kitchen, bathrooms, toilets, floors,etc.
And if there’s only ONE thing you’ll take from today’s episode, that has to be ditching the of use plastic bottles and containers, especially single-use bottles and containers. These containers are filled with toxins that leach into our water and food, so make sure you replace all plastic with glass and stainless steel
Also minimize exposure to heavy metals and chemical by buying as much organic as you can and using good water filters
So that was all the basics about liver health. Now let’s look at gut health:
Pretty much the same principles that you’ll be implementing for liver health will be important here. Exposure to environmental toxins will destroy your gut bacteria and the gut lining, so looking after your liver will definitely contribute hugely to your gut health.
Further to this, a good quality probiotic is essential and including fermented foods such as apple cider vinegar, kombucha and other fermented foods. Fibre is also critical, as it feeds the bacteria that we introduce to the gut. Like anything else, if we don’t feed it, it will die.
Another critical factor for gut health is stress management, so do your very best to reduce your perceived stress by introducing regular selfcare habits, breathing exercises or even dancing it off. Walking is one of my favourite selfcare habits and it has done amazing things for my body. So it really comes down to prioritising YOU! Not only do you need it, but so do those around you. And I wanna encourage you to listen to Episode 18, where I share the 7 habits that I practise pretty much every day that keeps me feeling amazing. I’ll link to this episode in the show notes.
And then lastly, making sure that you provide your body with all the nutrients that it needs to perform all of these important tasks every minute of every single day.
And you do this by eating good quality food, regularly throughout the day and making sure that each meal and snack you have, counts. So pack every single meal full of amazing nutrients.
As a general rule of thumb, my recommendation for supplements would be a good quality, methylated multivitamin, a calcium-magnesium supplement, that provides 2 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium and of course, a good probiotic.
These are the basics and should be adjusted to your individual needs.
So there you have it friends, estrogen dominance explained and how you can start clearing that excess estrogen from today by implementing small dietary changes that are likely to have a huge impact.
I would love to hear from you. Send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram or send me an email at email@example.com and let me know which symptoms it is that gets the better of you at the moment. What are the things that you would love to heal and are ready t take action on?
If you’ve been listening to this episode and had a friend or loved-one top of mind the entire time, please share this with them. It might just be the thing that will turn the light-bulb on for them so they can start seeing some must-needed change and healing.
Ok my friends, thanx again for joining me, I’ll see you next week.
Bye for now.