How to tell if you have estrogen dominance & what to do about it

Mar 24, 2021 | Energy, Fatigue, Hormone Balance, Lab Testing, PMS, Root Causes, Symptoms

Estrogen dominance is a term that we are hearing more about – but do you know what it is, exactly?

It can occur when estrogen is elevated above normal levels OR if estrogen is high in comparison to progesterone.

That means you can actually have “low” or “normal” estrogen levels but still be estrogen dominant because progesterone is too weak to balance it out.

This is not something that only women deal with – both men & women can experience it.

Here is a list of symptoms of estrogen dominance:

 As you can see, the list of symptoms is quite long.

One thing I want to stress is that – just because you have these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have estrogen dominance BUT it does mean that your body is telling you something.

These are a signal from the body that something is going on and it’s worth exploring.

Symptoms, while common, are NOT normal and we don’t have to just accept the fact that this is how life is, that we’re aging, and that we’re going to have to deal with this for the rest of our lives.

Before I healed myself, I had 14 of the symptoms listed above. Now I have none, so it is possible to heal from these and truly thrive!

So how does estrogen dominance even happen? 🤔⁣
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There are several reasons why this can happen – estrogen dominance can happen as a result of one or a combination of any of these:

  • Taking birth control pills: They suppress the production of progesterone and increase levels of SHBG
  • Poor elimination / constipation: Estrogen that should have been eliminated in the stool is reabsorbed in the gut and recirculates in the body
  • A sluggish liver: The liver processes hormones to get rid of them, so if it’s not functioning properly, the body can’t break estrogen down
  • Poor bile production: If bile production is inadequate, detoxification is impaired and estrogen recirculates
  • A low-fiber diet⁣: Fiber binds to estrogen to help it be excreted in the stool
  • Poor gut health: This can inhibit the excretion of excess estrogen from the body and cause it to be reabsorbed ⁣
  • Chronic stress⁣: Physical, emotional, and dietary stress can increase cortisol and DHEA, which convert into estrogen
  • Inflammation: Food, pathogens, and toxins are the top 3 sources of inflammation which can drive up hormone levels ⁣
  • A poor diet⁣: Caffeine, sugar, alcohol, conventional meat & dairy products, and non-organic produce can increase estrogen in the body
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Many key minerals and vitamins help keep estrogen levels under control ⁣
  • Heavy metal toxicity: Aluminum, mercury, and lead can mimic estrogen in the body⁣
  • A lack of ovulation in premenopausal women⁣: If ovulation doesn’t take place or there is a luteal phase insufficiency, progesterone isn’t’ produced in high enough amounts to balance out estrogen.

What do you do if you suspect you have estrogen dominance?

If we suspect estrogen dominance, what we don’t want to do is run out and buy a bunch of supplements that we read about online.

While that seems like the easiest thing to do, in the long run, it could be harmful without knowing for certain.

BUT – there are plenty of things we can do to help reduce the effects of estrogen on your body! 

This is important because…

  1. the symptoms that come with estrogen dominance are not fun to deal with (and we do NOT have to deal with them) and…
  2. long-term, estrogen dominance can lead to much greater health issues such as cancer, stroke, thyroid problems, and more.

The best first step to take is to support the body through healthy lifestyle habits, which are going to be beneficial for the body as a whole and improving how you feel.

Some suggestions that you can get started with today include:

    • Identify and address any sources of stress such as physical, emotional, dietary stress, and infections
    • Address constipation – aim for at least 1 bowel movement per day
    • Include plenty of fiber-rich foods to bind to estrogen
    • Consider liver support therapies like castor oil packs
    • Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep
    • Buy organic whenever possible – but prioritize animal products and the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list
    • Drink filtered water – tap water contains a lot of harmful chemicals
    • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars
    • Avoid plastic water bottles and food storage and definitely do not microwave plastic (plastic raises estrogen)

As you can see, there are plenty of steps you can start taking today to reduce your exposure to estrogen-raising agents. These strategies are not only good when it comes to estrogen dominance but also are amazing for overall body support.

If it feels overwhelming to implement all of these – then break it down.

Just pick the 1-2 that feel the easiest today. Work to incorporate those for a week.

Then save this and refer back to it in a week to find another 1-2 that you can add in once the first couple have become a habit.

Rome wasn’t built in a day – and building good habits takes time as well.

But committing to being consistent with even just a few can be life-changing in the long-term.

Get Testing & Support

So you suspect you have estrogen dominance and want to know for sure? Or the suggestions I provided above seem a little overwhelming to try to implement on your own?

What do you do?

🔍 Test – don’t guess.

Testing is the only true way to know for sure whether you have estrogen dominance – and to determine the root cause of this hormonal imbalance.

It’s not enough to JUST run a hormone test. In fact, if someone comes to me asking only that test, I will tell them no.

The reason is that healthy hormones are dependent upon so many other factors, as you saw in yesterday’s email.

I often explain to people that trying to fix your hormones without looking at many of the factors that influence them is like trying to fill a bucket that has a hole in it 💧 – you’ll never quite get to where you’re going.

And you end up being almost in a symptom-treating mode rather than going after the root cause.

Imbalanced hormones are often just as much a symptom of imbalances in the body as the fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, migraines, and more that we deal with.

My recommendations are to look into some or all of the following labs:

  • HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis): Looks at minerals and heavy metals in the body and can also clue us into some important vitamins you might also be in need of (or which ones to avoid).
  • Gut Pathogen Screen (GI-Map): Looks at your digestive health overall as well as parasites, H.Pylori, other bacteria, yeast, fungus, and worms.
  • Organic Acids Test (OAT): Provides information on important neurotransmitters, nutritional markers, glutathione status, oxalate metabolism, and much more. This test includes 74 markers that can be very useful for discovering underlying causes of chronic illness, which impact hormones.
  • Hormone Panel (DUTCH Test): The most extensive profile of sex and adrenal hormones to assess hormone imbalances. The DUTCH test gives you the full picture of your reproductive and adrenal hormones AND includes values for melatonin levels and oxidative stress.
  • Food Sensitivity Test: Looks at 170 different foods and food chemicals that the body is reactive to. Food sensitivities can cause inflammation throughout the body, which can affect our hormones.

These five tests alone will give you so much data and clues into hidden stressors that are leading to estrogen dominance and nagging symptoms that you deal with. 🕵️‍♀️

These are the labs I run on my clients and I’ve found that they have given us so much insight into why someone is feeling the way they are.

They also give us a clear path for a very specific and customized plan designed specifically for you so you know the steps to take to address your health concerns.

Plus, when you pair this with the lifestyle habits listed above and an accountability coach in your corner who can break everything into manageable steps, you really can’t go wrong!

If you’re interested in exploring what this could look like for you, book a complementary Thrive Over 35 session with me.

On this call, we’ll get crystal clear on your health concerns, your goals, and the path I recommend to get you there.

Schedule a Thrive Over 35 Discovery Session here.