Tag Archives: estrogen-dominance

Hormonal Imbalance Causes

Hormonal Imbalance and Causes of Estrogen Dominance

We still have a lot to learn on how to balance the complex dynamics of women’s hormones and the research so far has only scratched the surface.

  • SunsetHormones are molecules that carry instructions from endocrine glands and tissues to cells all over the body. Humans have about 50 different known hormones that control a variety of biological processes including muscle growth, heart rate, menstrual cycles, hunger etc.
  • All of the hormones and especially the known key players – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol and thyroid need to be in perfect sync and harmony. How much of each hormone is made depends on a complicated feedback loop that involves brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, the ovaries, and the adrenal glands.
  • Stress, poor nutrition, use of birth control pill and exposure to toxins influence this feedback process and directly impact hormones and hormonal balance.
  • Just like the symphony orchestra, if one instrument (hormone) is out of tune, so is the melody and the symptoms like PMS, fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, insomnia, low libido, depression, fibrosis, night sweats start to appear.
  • When the orchestra (hormone system) is seriously out of tune, Ovarian cysts, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Endometrial cancer, Fibrocystic breasts, Cervix cancer, Cervix dysplasia may occur.

Estrogen Dominance = Hormonal Imbalance

  • Estrogen and progesterone are female sex hormones. During a menstrual cycle estrogen rises in the first half of the cycle, peaks at ovulation, then falls in the second half as progesterone, produced mainly by the ovaries, rises. If there is no pregnancy, woman has a period and the whole cycle recommences.
  • Estrogen dominance happens when estrogen is disproportionally higher than progesterone, however the judgment if the ratio is normal is not trivial as this ratio is individualized and dynamic. Estrogen dominance obviously leads to hormonal imbalance.
  • In the Western world women in the childbearing years tend to be estrogen-dominant which causes various health issues.
  • There are 3 main contributors to Estrogen Dominance and Hormonal Imbalance in women all of them equally important

1. Xeno-estrogens

2. Birth Control Pill

3. Stress

1. Xeno-Estrogens Are Key Contributors To Estrogen Dominance and Hormonal Imbalance

      • Estrogen-dominance can be caused by exposure to xeno-estrogens. Xeno-estrogens are the chemicals that resemble estrogen. Many of these xeno-estrogens are proven carcinogens. Our body unfortunately cannot always distinguish xeno-estrogens from natural estrogen which leads to estrogen dominance.
      • Xeno-estrogens behave like hormones and can alter the timing of puberty in children, decrease sperm quality and stimulate mammary gland development in men, disrupt reproductive cycles and cause ovarian dysfunction and PMS in women. Xeno-estrogens are associated with obesity, cancer, heart disease and more. Sperm counts have dropped by 50% in some studies and girls as young as 7 or 8 are increasingly entering the puberty.
      • Also important to know is that the estrogen inhibits the absorption of iodine, that’s why hypothyroidism disproportionately affects women. See more on Iodine Deficiency Epidemic.
      • The top environmental offenders like BPA (bisphenol A), BPS (bisphenol-S),  phthalates, agricultural chemicals, food additives, bovine growth hormone (rBGH), fluoride and many more are behaving as xeno-estrogens thus causing the estrogen to rise.  Find here The List of Top Environmental Offenders and Food Additives.
      • Metalloestrogens is a new class of estrogen-mimicking compounds. The metals like Aluminum, Chromium, Copper, Nickel and many others which are added to thousands of consumer products, including vaccines are adding to our estrogen levels and deepen further woman’s estrogen dominance.

2. Dangerous Birth Control Pill is Key  Contributor to Estrogen Dominance and Hormonal Imbalance

The birth control pills, which are synthetic, artificial hormones wreak havoc on woman’s body and their use is almost never justified.

A woman’s natural cycle is composed of rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. Birth control pills work by playing with hormones (e.g. keeping estrogen at a sufficiently high level) that they fool the body into thinking it is pregnant, therefore another pregnancy cannot occur.

The pill may

  • Increase the risk of cervical and breast cancers
  • Increase the risk of blood clotting, heart attack and stroke. Contraceptives containing the synthetic hormone desogestrel more than double your risk of fatal blood clots
  • Make your bones thinner
  • Increase your blood pressure
  • Cause sexual dysfunction. The pill may interfere with a protein that keeps testosterone unavailable, leading to long-term sexual dysfunction including decreased desire and arousal.
  • Cause side effects like migraines, nausea, weight gain, mood swings, irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, yeast overgrowth and infection.

There are numerous safe and effective ways to prevent pregnancy, the pill will indeed keep away unwanted pregnancy, but at the price of destroying the health and in some cases even causing the death.

3. Stress Is Key Contributor to Estrogen Dominance and Hormonal Imbalance

Stress plays a major role in estrogen overproduction by triggering an elevated level of cortisol, which interrupts the feedback loop between the brain, pituitary, and the ovaries.

When we are under a lot of stress and our adrenals are pumping out cortisol then our bodies take any available progesterone and divert it to meet that demand.

When woman is under stress too much progesterone may get diverted for cortisol so there is not enough to make the testosterone which is needed for a woman’s sexual response. She may feel sick, lethargic, may skip periods and be uninterested in sex.

So the answer may not necessarily be in supplementing hormones, but rather handling the stress so the body can balance the hormone levels naturally.

Read about some ideas/good practices on how to handle the stress levels Well-Being and Stress Handling.

Other Contributing Factors to Estrogen Dominance and Hormonal Imbalance

  • Obesity – the more fat you have, the more estrogen is present.
  • Decreased production of progesterone. If there is no ovulatation, no progesterone is made.
  • Coffee addiction. Coffee Significantly Increases Estrogen in Women. Women who consumed four or five cups, had nearly 70% more estrogen than women consuming no more one cup of coffee.

How do I know if I am Estrogen Dominant?

If you are woman and live in the Western world, the chances are good you are estrogen dominant, given inevitable exposure to environmental toxins, stress and busy life.  However there is no simple test available that would easily help us determine if we are estrogen dominant.

If you have severe symptoms of PMS, pre-menopause or menopause you may be estrogen dominant.

When estrogen levels are high in relation to our progesterone we experience symptoms, among them anxiety, breast tenderness, headaches or migraines, depression, fatigue, food cravings, irregular bleeding, water retention, weight gain and more.

The difficulty is that a number of these symptoms are also indicative of the exact opposite condition — a deficiency of estrogen which makes the assessment extremely hard.

You will want to make sure you get your hormonal levels checked properly before embarking on any kind of hormone supplementation program, and work with a knowledgeable health care practitioner who can guide you as the assessment is never a straight-forward exercise.

The hormones testing is a controversial topic because it is difficult to get an accurate measure of the levels. 24 hour urine test seems to be one of the better ways.

Read more about 8 Strategies That Help Restoring Natural Hormonal Balance

Sources and Credits

The Deadly Side Effects of The Birth Control Pill

Estrogen Dominance

Coffee Increases Estrogen in Women


8 Tips To Restore Natural Hormonal Balance

Restoring Natural Hormonal Balance Strategies

Treating hormone imbalances requires a whole-body approach; the best approaches are often preventive and involve diet, exercise and other lifestyle-based strategies.

Each woman will have a unique path to her hormonal balance.

Here are some of the strategies

  1. Reduce Exposure to Hormone-Disrupting Substances (Xenoestrogens).  Read Tips to Reduce Exposure to Hormone-Disrupting Substances
  2. Reduce stress. So your answer might not necessarily lie in using hormones, but rather addressing your stress levels so that your body can normalize your hormone levels naturally. Link to Stress Handling.
  3. Stop using birth control pill. In case you are using birth control pill, you have to stop immediately and go for natural and safe alternatives. All other strategies described below are most likely useless, should you be against discontinuing the oral contraceptive.
  4. Healthy diet and exercising regularly can keep our hormones balanced as we age. Refined carbohydrates, processed food and heated fats raise our estrogen to abnormal levels. This is a major contributing cause of premenopausal and menopausal symptoms.
  5. Herbs & Supplements
  • Vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil can be very effective in restoring the hormonal balance and are my favorites to relieve the symptoms of pre-menopause like PMS and irregular period.
  • Royal Macha seems to be a great aid for menopause symptoms that has helped many women. Make sure to obtain the authentic version from Peru.
  • Black Cohosh is very effective and may help regulate body temperature and hot flashes. Black cohosh (a phytoestrogen) and the natural progesterone are very effective.
  • Herb Eleuthero (“Siberian ginseng”) contains anti-fatigue and anti-stress properties that help to support the adrenal glands thus improving our tolerance to stress. Siberian ginseng is used when levels of cortisol are high.
  • Licorice root. Herb famous for supporting adrenal imbalance, licorice root also increases energy, endurance, and vitality. Beware, it can increase the blood pressure.
  • Indian ginseng, also known as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Chasteberry (Vitex). Ancient cultures used these herbs as a natural way to restore the hormone functions.

5. Detox and Elimination. Detox and elimination are key to healthy hormones See here for some simple Guidelines.

6. Consuming plenty of phytoestrogens (plant-estrogens) such as licorice and alfalfa before menopause can also help moderate your day-to-day estrogen levels so that when menopause comes, the drop won’t be so dramatic.

7. Consider Progesterone Supplementation.  Whilst natural progesterone supplementation is for sure warranted and work miracles for some women it is not a universal solution that works in every case. Progesterone Supplementation is a controversial and complex topic, please read more below.

8. Hormone Replacement Therapy HRT (using bioidentical and NOT synthetic hormones) seems to be warranted only in some sporadic cases especially in induced menopause (after hysterectomy). It is again a controversial and complex topic, please read more below.

Natural Progesterone Supplementation

The pioneer in this field, Dr. John Lee made a breakthrough when he stated that estrogen dominance was the real cause of pre/menopause symptoms. He suggested rebalancing the ratio of estrogen to progesterone through progesterone supplementation.

Whilst natural progesterone supplementation is for sure warranted and work miracles for some women it is not a universal solution that works in every case.

For example, if stress is creating your hormonal imbalance, adding progesterone may relieve the symptom, but will not tackle the cause.

That being said, the natural progesterone is very useful to somewhat balance excess estrogen which can be for example a major risk for breast cancer.

This natural progesterone helps to balance estrogen hormones and may help and provide: Relief from PMS and menopause symptoms, a normalized menstrual cycle, including relieving menstrual-related allergies , relief from breast pain and tenderness.

You will want to make sure you get your hormonal levels checked properly before embarking on any kind of hormone supplementation program, and work with a knowledgeable health care practitioner who can guide you as the assessment is never a straight-forward exercise. The hormones testing is a controversial topic because it is difficult to get an accurate measure of the levels. 24 hour urine test seems to be one of the better ways.

If you truly are progesterone deficient, then additional natural progesterone may be a good solution for you, particularly when used as part of a comprehensive plan that includes healthy lifestyle and healthy diet.

Only Natural Progesterone Supplement!

Extremely important to note is that the term « natural » progesterone means the real hormone. Synthetic versions like Provera will actually increase your risk of cancers and heart disease. Natural progesterone is made from a substance which is extracted from wild yams or soybeans.  Even though it may be extracted from soy it is a purified hormone and there should be no remnants of soy that would cause any problem.

  • In Europe hormones cannot be bought without prescription and it looks like FDA will soon impose the prescription requirement as well.
  • Hormones should not be taken orally. When taken orally only 10-15% will eventually reach the target tissues and you will need to take an oral dose that is 500% higher than you need. Over 30 different metabolites are created in your liver when you swallow the progesterone and any of these can then have unwanted side effects.
  • Dr.Mercola suggest “under the tongue” progesterone as opposed to cream or apply the cream to your mucous epithelial membranes that line your uterus and vagina.
  • The cream applied to other parts of the skin may work at the beginning but after a while may saturate the fat tissue which can even make your symptoms worse.
  • The last time I checked all natural high quality progesterone cream I used to use and have great experience with, still can be bought at http://www.life-flo.com/women-s-wellness/progesta-care-unscented.html

Estrogen Supplementation/Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Medical recommendations have fluctuated back and forth when it comes to replacing hormones like estrogen in women suffering from symptoms of menopause and induced menopause following a hysterectomy.

Most conventional doctors have been suggesting for years that all pre/peri/menopause symptoms result from a drop in estrogen production. Consequently, they prescribed estrogen supplementation, or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), usually with dangerous synthetic hormones.

Studies have found that HRT increases your breast cancer risk by at least one percent per year, and HRT with progestin increases your risk by eight percent per year, potentially going as high as 30 percent after just four years of use.

HRT (using bioidentical and NOT synthetic hormones) seems to be warranted only in some sporadic cases especially in induced menopause (after hysterectomy) – again, you’ll want to make sure you get your hormonal levels checked properly before embarking on any kind of hormone supplementation program, and work with a knowledgeable health care practitioner well-versed in bioidentical hormone replacement.

If a woman has had her ovaries surgically removed, there may be an indication to actually use a natural estrogen replacement (Triest or Biest) to support the physiology. Once the ovaries are removed the body tends to lose this normalization capacity.

Also if the hot flashes are persistent, small doses of natural human (NOT synthetic or horse!) estrogen may be warranted.

To minimize your risk of cancer it is very important to understand that you should never take any supplemental estrogen without taking natural progesterone.

Sources and Credits

Estrogen Dominance

Oral Progesterone And Progesterone Cream Complications