Estrogen and progesterone work together in a delicate dance in our bodies, and when they are out of balance symptoms may present themselves.
Estrogen dominance can result from a physical production of more estrogen in your system, or estrogen dominance can result from a relative deficiency in progesterone.
So what does estrogen dominance look like?
Irregular periods, heavy periods, fibrocystic breasts, depressed mood, anxiety, ovarian cysts, decreased libido, water retention, food cravings.
You might be thinking, this just looks like my typical PMS symptoms?
Believe it or not, your period actually isn’t supposed to be a horrendous event that occupies a week every month. As women, our environment is really working against us with respect to our hormone balance.
Some key factors that contribute to women having excess estrogen are: xeno-estrogens (also known as endocrine disruptors– some common ones are solvents, dioxins, BPA, pharmaceuticals), diets high in processed sugars and low in protein as well as lacking healthy fat consumption, lack of exercise, obesity, constipation.
Addressing all of these factors is an excellent starting point to getting your hormones back in balance .
So how can we support our hormone balance?
Digestion– you need to be pooping at least once per day. Estrogen – being a steroid hormone, is removed from our body in our bile. If you aren’t eating healthy fats, you will not stimulate your gallbladder to contract and release bile. You need to be releasing the bile in order to get rid of the excess steroid hormones your body has in its system. Ways to support your digestion: eat healthy fats, fibers, lots of plants – basically, just eat REAL food.
Liver– the MEGA detox organ of the body (shout out to the kidneys though – those are two small badass organs) but I want to focus on the liver today. The liver is where estrogen is chemically modified through our detoxification pathways in order to be added into the bile in order to be excreted. For our liver to properly clear estrogen from our system, it needs some key cofactors in order to support the chemical conversion. Some key cofactors are: Vitamin B6, DIM, Calcium D-Glucarate, Indole 3-carbinol.
Lifestyle– from last week’s post on the causes of estrogen dominance, you can see that a lot of those factors are from our external environment. To prevent the build-up of excess estrogen in your system do your best to avoid cooking or drinking out of plastic, use simple detergents and soaps with minimal chemical additives, shop organic as best you can, buy local grass-fed hormone free animal products, avoid makeup or personal hygiene products that contain parabens.