If you’ve been dealing with a range of hormonal issues and have been trying to get to the bottom of your hormonal health, I’m sure somewhere along the lines in your research you’ve come across the term – Estrogen Dominance.
What exactly is estrogen dominance? Basically, it’s having too much estrogen in relation to other hormones. You can find out through hormonal lab work what your hormone levels are, but, in my experience and working with hundreds of women, the best way to know if you have estrogen dominance is through symptoms.
Let’s talk about those symptoms because there are lots of them! And with the over exposure to plastics, chemicals, environmental toxins, food toxins and mismanagement of stress, there’s a good chance many women (and men) are dealing with estrogen dominance.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance Include:
- irregular periods
- excess weight on hips and abdomen
- pms related migraines
- heavy periods
- uterine fibroids
- swollen lymph nodes
- ovarian cysts
- breast lumps
- breast tenderness
- hormonal acne
- abnormal paps
- breast cancer
- uterine cancer
Ok, so, there’s a lot. And just to be clear, just because you might be dealing with some pms, cramping and bloating around the time of your period doesn’t mean your estrogen is completely high, off the charts and you need medical intervention and your life and hormones are doomed.
Take a breather.
As a woman who suffered with PMS and estrogen dominance myself, (and sometimes still get some of these symptoms), it’s common and can be managed through diet and lifestyle.
Over the years as I’ve become more in tune with my body and track my cycle, I’ve become more aware of certain symptoms and why they show up. For example, if I’ve had a busy stressful month, late nights, indulged a little in too much in sugar, wasn’t consistent with my supplements and didn’t drink enough water or eat enough leafy greens; pms symptoms appear. I’ll get some cramping, bloating and will get a swollen lymph node under my left armpit.
On the flip side, when I’m working out regularly (i.e. sweating!), drinking my water, supporting detoxification through dry brushing, supplementation and food and managing my stress effectively, my period comes with ease and no swollen lymph node. Amazing how that works!
I often hear from my weight loss clients how amazing and regular their periods are just from following their meal plans and my supplement protocols. Although we are addressing weight, a bonus side benefit is more balanced hormones, easy breezy cycles and effectively eliminating estrogen! Yup, the right plan can do all of that.
Did you know that back in 1960 1 in 20 women developed breast cancer and today, 1 in 9 women develop breast cancer!? That’s an alarming rate (and may I add, millions and millions of dollars are being spent on breast cancer awareness, yet these numbers seem to suggest that we aren’t getting any closer to true healing).
That’s why it’s all about prevention. I know prevention isn’t a sexy word, but ladies, it’s what we have control over and we better start being more proactive about our health and our diets.
I’m sure you’re wondering… what actually causes estrogen dominance? Well, a few things – prolonged stress, pharmaceuticals, the pill, emotional or physical trauma, heavy exercise, diet, environmental toxins, soy, plastics, tap water, alcohol; just to name a few. Truth is, these aren’t actual causes of estrogen dominance, but they contribute to estrogen dominance. There’s a difference. Just because you have a few glasses of wine a week doesn’t all of a sudden mean you have estrogen dominance. However, combine that with the use of the pill, stress, a poor diet, exposure to environment toxins, eating lots of conventional animal products – well then, now there’s a potential for estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance altogether.
So what can we do now to deal with estrogen dominance and bring our hormones into balance? Here are some very easy-to-implement tips that you can start doing today!
- Eat More Fiber – at least 45g a day! Yes, that’s a lot but in order to effectively eliminate estrogen, you need fiber to bind to the excess estrogen in your gut to help flush it out. Great sources include – leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower , brussel sprouts, flax, chia, artichokes, figs, apples, pears, beans and legumes, turnips, squash, peas, berries.
- Brush Your Skin – I’m talking about dry skin brushing. Read my full article here on how to effectively dry skin brush and why it’s beneficial.
- Drink More Water – this will be essential especially if you’re increasing your fiber intake. Water is essential for detoxification and is necessary for flushing out toxins from your system. Plus, it helps to support digestion and gut health. Aim for at least 2-3L a day and I suggest drinking spring water. FYI – tap water contains your neighbours birth control pills! Gross.
- Ditch the Plastic – plastic water bottles, food storage containers, all of it. Get yourself a pretty glass bottle fill it up with lots of water and drink your toxins away. Plastic contains BPA (even BPA-free plastic is no good in my books!) which mimics estrogen in our body. Basically, the chemicals in plastic increase the estrogen in our body leading to estrogen dominance.
- Ditch Your Toxic Store-Brand Makeup – which is also full of estrogen mimicking compounds. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Mineral oil, Phthalates, Synthetic Fragrances, Imidazolidinyl Urea And DMDM Hydantoin, FD and C Color Pigments, Isopropyl Alcohol, just to name a few, all wreak havoc on your hormones.
- Use Safe Household Cleaning Products – another culprit of environmental toxins, cleaning products contain many questionable ingredients. Click here for my homemade all natural multi purpose cleaner that is free from toxins and won’t cause hormonal disturbances.
- Rethink the Pill – the birth control pill contains a combination of synthetic (I repeat, synthetic!) estrogen and progesterone. Need I say more? Try non-hormonal contraceptives like the copper IUD or barrier methods such as condoms or the cervical cap. You can read more here on the issues with the pill and why it’s destroying your health and hormones.
- Buy Local & Organic – as much as possible! Grass fed and pasture raised meats/animal products are the way to go (if you are a meat eater). Conventional meat and animal products contain pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones. Avoid it and your hormones will thank you.
- Manage Stress – ok, easier said than done, but seriously, freaking out over spilled coffee, being stuck in traffic and being pissed off because your netflixs is down ain’t doing your hormones any good. You have to find time to chill the eff out! A hot bath, a yoga class, a walk, deep breathing, more sleep, it is ALL important. Stress is a cause of estrogen dominance.
- Supplement – DIM, Turmeric and I3C are incredible for supporting estrogen dominance, detoxing the liver and supporting overall hormonal health. You could also take Estrosmart, which contains a combination of all these ingredients.
Don’t be overwhelmed by this list. My suggestion is that you start with ONE of the above tips and go from there. And may I point out, just popping a supplement everyday, although helpful, isn’t going to be the solution. In a society where we all want a quick fix, it really does take effort and commitment to heal our bodies and hormones. But, you’re worth it, so make the effort to do all 10 suggestions, even if it takes you 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. Just do it!
As you know, I offer as comprehensive weight loss program and specialize in women’s hormonal health. Whether you need help losing losing weight, or addressing your hormones, or both, email me and we can set up a complimentary consult call to discuss your health history and goals. My mission is to get more women off the pill, reverse the rates of breast cancer, heal PCOS, and help women feel more vibrant and damn-freaking-tastic. Basically, I’m here to help women unleash their superpowers so they can live a healthier, happier, more purposeful life. Email me at – email@example.com or fill out my application form here.
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*A quick note on hormone testing – I think it’s great and can definitely serve a purpose, however, most saliva or blood hormone tests cannot tell you what is going on at the receptor site. Also, hormones fluctuate quite dramatically throughout the day and month, so it can be difficult to get an accurate read. I think that if you’ve exhausted all your options when it comes to healing your hormones, this would then be a good time to test. In the meantime, having a practitioner (such as myself) assess your diet, lifestyle and symptoms will give you a clear understanding of what imbalances you are dealing with.