Estrogen Dominance: When Too Much Estrogen Causes Problems
Most women are aware that the female hormone estrogen helps regulate one’s menstrual cycle and is also a necessary component for conception and a healthy pregnancy. But estrogen also plays many other roles in a woman’s body, including Libido (sexual drive), sexual sensation, keeping cholesterol controlled, and preventing osteoporosis.
As the saying goes, you can “have too much of a good thing”. And estrogen is no exception to this! It is true that many women suffer from declining estrogen levels as they approach menopause. However, having too much estrogen can also be a problem that throws the body out of balance.
When a woman’s body has too much of the hormone estrogen, it is called “estrogen dominance”. Clinical research has shown that that estrogen dominance plays a role in many diseases, including PCOS, infertility, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, and even some types of breast cancer.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance refers to a female hormonal imbalance wherein the female body produces too much estrogen and/or a woman’s estrogen levels are abnormally high in comparison to her progesterone levels.
When estrogen levels are too high, and/or when progesterone levels are too low, estrogen can become the dominant female hormone in the body. This type of hormone imbalance is called “estrogen dominance.”
Progesterone is another female hormone that is necessary for proper functioning of the female body. Progesterone also helps keep regulate menstrual cycles regular – in addition to supporting conception and pregnancy, and much more. Estrogen and progesterone work hand-in-hand to regulate each another, to keep the body’s systems balanced, to maintain menstrual cycle regularity, and to support the body’s other organs including the thyroid.
Signs of Estrogen Dominance
Because estrogen affects so many of the systems of a woman’s body, many of the signs of estrogen dominance are the same as the symptoms of PMS, perimenopause, or menopause. So, keep in mind, looking at symptoms alone is not enough to diagnose estrogen dominance.
Any or all of the symptoms below may be signs of estrogen dominance. However, they may also be the signs of other causes of hormonal imbalance.
- Weight gain
- Increased fat storage in the belly, hips and/or thighs
- Slow Metabolism, i.e., eating less but gaining more weight
- Bloating / Water Retention
- Headaches | Low Energy | Sleep Problems
- Difficulty Concentrating | Mood Swings |
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) | Uterine Fibroids
- Irregular Periods
- Trouble Getting Pregnant (Infertility)
- Loss of Sex Drive (Low Libido)
Thyroid Dominance Due to Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen and progesterone have opposite effects on the thyroid. While estrogen suppresses thyroid hormone (increasing the need for thyroid-stimulating hormone “TSH”) – progesterone stimulates thyroid hormone production. So, when estrogen levels are dominant, it can cause the body to enter a state of hypothyroidism, having low thyroid hormones.
Prolonged levels of excess estrogen can also put a woman at greater risk for autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s disease), many other autoimmune disorders, and even some cancers.
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
In most cases, estrogen dominance is the result of a combination of factors, rather than just a single cause.
In women before menopause, chronic stress, poor gut and liver health, and environmental toxins can all contribute to estrogen dominance. Also, failure to ovulate (anovulation) can result in lowered progesterone during the last half of a woman’s menstrual cycle, which can cause estrogen levels to be more dominant.
In pre-menopausal women, heredity, birth control hormones, as well as obesity can also contribute to estrogen dominance.
During perimenopause (the 5 to 10 years before menopause when hormones fluctuate wildly), estrogen dominance often occurs. As a woman’s reproductive functions begins to fade, both estrogen and progesterone production declines during perimenopause. But if progesterone levels decline more than estrogen production decreases, estrogen dominance can occur.
Estrogen Dominance Therapy
Identifying the type and degree of hormone imbalance is the first step to treating any hormone imbalance, including estrogen dominance. A certified SottoPelle physician has extensive training in identifying hormone imbalances. For other many biodentical hormone replacement therapy can help restore the optimal balance between estrogen and progesterone.
Many perimenopausal women can benefit from progesterone replacement therapy – in doses custom tailored to the female body’s needs. Progesterone replacement may, in some case, balance out estrogen levels. This may enhance libido but may also provide benefits in terms of muscle strength, bone density, and mood stabilization.
Customized SottoPelle Method hormone replacement is not a “one-size-fits all” solution– but rather ensures that the optimal personalized dosages are administered for symptom relief and improved health and wellbeing through customized dosing.
Only “bioidentical” hormones, such as those used in the SottoPelle Method, exactly replicate the molecular structure of the hormones produced by a woman’s body. So, they are not only more effective, but also much safer and free of many of the side effects of synthetic hormones.
Additionally, if the estrogen dominance has caused or contributed to an underactive thyroid, patients will also usually need to undergo thyroid hormone replacement to improve the body’s metabolism and help alleviate Hashimoto’s symptoms and other health problems.
Lifestyle Changes for Estrogen Dominance
Certain dietary and lifestyle modifications can also help bring a woman’s body and her hormones back into balance.
Women using hormone-based birth control may need to switch to an alternative method of birth control that does not use synthetics estrogens
Increasing dietary fiber and restoring microbial balance to the digestive system can help also assist in helping the body get rid of “bad” bacteria that may be contributing to estrogen imbalance.
Reducing alcohol consumption, decreasing exposure to toxins, and getting daily exercise can support the liver – which is the organ that gets rid of excess estrogen. Getting sufficient sleep also helps the body to detoxify itself and get rid of excess hormones.
Chronic stress leads to chronically high cortisol levels which also worsens autoimmune conditions and inflammation. So, meditation and other relaxation techniques can also help to balance estrogen and progesterone levels.
Estrogen Therapy | Scottsdale, AZ
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, your first step should be to schedule an appointment with a SottoPelle provider to see if your estrogen and/or progesterone levels are out of balance. SottoPelle has helped women across the globe restore hormone balance and get their quality of life back. A certified SottoPelle provider can conduct a thorough blood test hormone analysis, and then personalize a hormone replacement plan that is safe and effective for your unique health needs.
Estrogen Therapy | Scottsdale, AZ: : (323) 986-5100
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as general information only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. While the benefits of hormone replacement are well documented through clinical research, we are not representing that hormone therapy is a “cure” for any disease. Only your treating physician can determine if hormone replacement may be a beneficial part of your healthcare regimen, based on your age, overall health, risk factors, and lifestyle.