Women usually think that their hormonal problems are due to an estrogen deficiency. For both younger and older women, the opposite may be true. You may have an over production of estrogen. Any hormone that is over or under-produced in the body becomes a problem. You need to have all your hormones in balance to be healthy mentally and physically.
How do I know if I am estrogen dominant? One sure way is to have your hormone levels checked by a physician. All hormones should be evaluated: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid. Those labs tests should be standard for any woman having depression problems, mood swings, and other symptoms that show her hormone levels are out of balance. Adrenal function should be evaluated as well. This is a real problem in women today who are often overworked and stressed out.
Estrogen Dominance symptoms: Beast cancer; breast swelling; fibrocystic breasts; tenderness; decreased sex drive; mood swings; water retention; edema; bloating; heavy or irregular periods; craving for sweets; weight gain on hips and thighs; fibroid tumors; endometrial cancer; ovarian cancer; and increased risk of strokes. Severe allergies can even be related to estrogen over production.
What causes estrogen dominance and what can I do to balance my hormones? In a healthy hormonal system, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone work together to keep things balanced. From age 35 to 50 your progesterone balance declines by 75%. Your estrogen also declines but in a lesser degree, 35 per cent. These declines in hormone levels can cause havoc in our body.
Progesterone Deficiency: If your estrogen is too high, your progesterone is usually too low. You may need to supplement with oral Natural Progesterone cream. It is safest way to increase your progesterone hormone level. Test first. Get examined by a female doctor who has an open mind toward natural therapies. Not all progesterone creams are equal. Some of them have chemicals or herbs that promote estrogen with no real USP progesterone. Creams with wild yam are often not effective to solve the problem. Your doctor can give you a prescription to have your hormone cream created especially for your hormone needs. They are called compounding pharmacies. Evaluate progesterone creams carefully.
Provera: A drug which is not the same as Natural Progesterone. Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) is a drug given by physicians. The main side effects include: increased risk of birth defects; sudden loss of vision; increases the risk for thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism; liver disease or dysfunction; fluid retention; migraine headaches; cardiac problems; can lower blood sugar; rashes; breast tenderness; edema; weight gain; depression; breakthrough bleeding; amenorrhea or changes in periods; and acute allergic reactions. This is from the PDR on Provera.
Environmental and Lifestyle Factors Contributing to Estrogen Dominance:
Stress: When a woman is chronically stressed, her whole hormonal system becomes imbalanced. Controlling stress is one of the important keys to achieve hormonal balance.
Birth Control Pills: Contain estrogen that combined with other factors may cause an excess of estrogen.
Nutrition Is Important: The healthiest diet to balance hormones is a low-fat, high-fiber nutritional program based on organic vegetables and fruits.
Avoid These Foods for Hormone Balance: Alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, red meat all stimulate estrogen production. Cattle are fed growth hormones to make them gain weight. They are fed antibiotics to keep disease down. Residues of hormones and antibiotics end up in chicken, red meat and milk. Pesticides in the fruits and vegetables also rack havoc in the balance of the hormones.
Supplement with B6 and Calcium/Magnesium: Many women because of stress and poor nutrition are deficient in both Vitamin B6 and Magnesium. These two vitamins are extremely important in getting rid of excess estrogen. The standard American diet which is rich in sugar, convenience, and processed foods cause deficiencies in these vitamins. Estrogen dominance is also a factor in depletion of B6 and Magnesium. The best supplemental Calcium is Calcium Citrate. Oyster shell and carbonate are hard for the body to digest. Capsules are better absorbed than tablets by most people.
Eat Organic: Diet is extremely important to a healthy body and hormonal system. Your milk, meat and chicken should be organic. It should state on the label that the animal was raised with no growth hormones and antibiotics. Fresh cold water fish such as salmon and tuna that is not farm raised should be eaten three times a week. Omega 3’s are important to female health. Organic vegetables should be increased as well.
Reduce Chemical Exposure: Petrochemicals have chemical structures similar to estrogen. They are called Xenoestrogens. They occur in almost everything from body creams, soaps, lotions, perfumes; nail polish; and end up in our water supply. Our chemical, saturated life style is affecting our health in many ways including hormonal imbalances.
Lose Weight: Women who are overweight tend to produce too much estrogen. Fat contains an enzyme that changes adrenal steroids to estrogen. The more fat you have, the greater the estrogen production. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is another way to get your hormones in balance.
Exercise: Moderate exercise helps diffuse excess estrogen helping to keep hormones in balance. Extreme athletes and professional long distance runners may on the other hand experience disturbances in hormonal cycles.
Drink More Water: Water flushes out toxins from the kidneys. Most women do not drink enough water. They tend to think that ice tea or soda does the same thing. Pure water is an absolute necessity for maintaining hormonal balance.
Support Liver Function: One of the jobs your liver performs is to diffuse excess estrogen. When your liver is not functioning properly, your estrogen level increases. Many prescription and illegal drugs cause liver disease or impaired liver function. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol reduces the liver’s ability to get rid of excess estrogen. Herbs that help support healthy liver function include: Tumeric, Milk Thistle, Esseac with cats claw.