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Estrogen Dominance


Estrogen dominance is a common female condition in which the amount of estrogen in the body 40_smthg.jpgis out of balance and in excess compared to the amount of progesterone. The actual level of estrogen can be low, normal or high but is out of proportion to the amount of circulating hormones. A normal level of estrogen in conjunction with a low level of progesterone is indicative of estrogen dominance. That is why you must test for all of these hormones including testosterone and DHEA.  

The table below lists some of the most common symptoms associated with estrogen dominance.

  • Increased fat in abdomen and hips
  • Insulin resistance
  • Blood sugar fluctuations
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Irritability or anger
  • Memory problems
  • Cravings for sweets or chocolate
  • Osteoporosis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Allergies
  • Muscle or joint pains
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Breast tenderness or enlargement
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Bladder problems
  • Irregular periods
  • Low sex drive
  • Infertility
  • Cramps
  • Prolonged, heavy bleeding
  • Fluid retention
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Acne
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Adenomyosis
  • Cervical dysplasia
  • Polycystic ovarian disease
  • Cancer of Breast or Ovaries
  • Cancer of Uterus or Cervix

The causes of estrogen dominance are numerous and include many lifestyle issues such as exposure to xenohor mones, which are hormones that are taken in from outside the body. This can involve the consumption of hormone-laden meats, diets high in carbohydrates older_asian.jpgand trans-fats. Cosmetics are also a known source of estrogen and other hormones. Nutritional deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, copper and B complex vitamins can lead to this condition as well.

Stress which causes excess fatigue on the adrenal glands results in the lack of ability of the adrenal gland to produce progesterone. Conventional hormone replacement therapy and even birth control pills contribute to the dominance of estrogen over progesterone alleviating the symptoms without fixing the problem. Finally, women who don’t ovulate don’t make enough progesterone in the last half of their cycle, resulting in a marked increase in estrogen over progesterone which contributes to a whole host of symptoms around their period.

Estrogen dominance is a big factor in young teens. Their diet, usually high in refined carbohydrates, allows certain biochemical steps to occur that promotes the production of estrogen. We have to just look at our young women and see how much bigger their breasts are and now they are having babies as young as 10 years old. Cosmetics are being used at an earlier age, exposing young women to more estrogen. The earlier a girl starts to menstruate, the more times she will ovulate thereby increasing her lifetime exposure to estrogen which can increase the risk of breast cancer. Of course, foods such as milk and meat are full of hormones. When will this craziness stop?

Traditional Medical Approach: In conventional medicine, usually birth control is the answer for the symptoms the patient displays (irregular periods, heavy bleeding, PMS, and painful cycles). Hopefully you can see that it is ludicrous to put young teenagers on the birth control pill. It causes them to go into estrogen dominance even further.

Functional Medicine Approach: Instead of covering up the symptoms, functional medicine looks to find out what is wrong with your individual hormonal chemistry.

First you must test all of your female hormones and other endocrine glands that may affect your hormone levels. You have to realize that the whole body and endocrine systems intercommunicate with one another. It is important to balance the other organs and glands (like the gut, liver and the adrenal glands) along with the hormones. If you do this, the body will work the way it was designed by our Creator. If you do not correct the underlying cause, it is very difficult to break the vicious cycle. As you balance out the chemistry your symptoms will go away including the cravings for sweets and carbohydrates. Proper supplementation based upon your individual chemistry is a must. Dietary and healthy lifestyle changes play a significant role. These programs are individually customized based upon your unique chemistry



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