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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


No-No List of Foods & Stuff

Quick Summary Of The Things To Avoid

  1. Cigarettes.
  2. Genetically engineered foods.
  3. All processed foods, which are very high in processed salt and low in potassium and other essential nutrients.
  4. Processed foods labeled as “no-“ or “low-fat” (usually means it’s loaded with fructose or sugar), or “no-“ or “low sugar” diet foods (which usually contain artificial sweeteners).
  5. Read ingredients list and avoid food that contains ‘corn syrup’, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) or any variation.
  6.  Soda drinks.
  7.  Sugar/Sweets. A bar of preferably raw or dark chocolate is ok 😉
  8. All artificial sweeteners: aspartame (Canderel and others), saccharin and sucralose (chlorinated artificial sweetener). Agave syrup is typically highly processed so best to avoid it.
  9. Soy (except fermented soy products like tempeh, miso and natto)
  10. Vegetable oils (omega-6) like corn, soy, sunflower, canola.
  11. Margarine and all other butter mimicking foods including “cholesterol free” cooking fats should never be used especially for cooking.
  12. Frying. If you really need to fry use ghee or coconut oil.
    Intake of grains/starch in general needs to be reduced. Wheat (gluten), potato need to be reduced to bare minimum.
  13. Pasteurized and homogenized milk and pasteurized dairy.
  14. Bottled water, vitamin water and similar.
  15. Eating too much fruits at expense of vegetables.
  16. Coffee (a cup of organically grown coffee is fine).
  17. Alcohol (a glass of organic, red wine is fine).
  18. Microwave.
  19. Teflon (anti-stick) coated dishes.
  20. Fluoride.
  21. Exposure to electromagnetic fields, the radiation produced by cell phones, medical scans like X-rays, CT scans, and especially mammograms.
  22. Toxic housecleaning products.
  23. Toxic cosmetics, skin care and beauty products.
  24. Birth control pill. It compromises female hormonal balance and it may as well cause death.
  25. Exposure to environmental toxins (bisphenols, dioxin,  phthalates, perchlorate, fire retardants, lead, mercury, aluminium, arsenic, PFCs, organophosphate pesticides, and glycol ethers etc) that act as xeno-estrogens and cause hormone imbalance.

Toxins: 20 Biggest Offenders

We live in a toxic world and are surrounded by hormone-disrupting and cancer causing chemicals. The truth is that we can’t fully avoid them, however we need to educate ourselves on the biggest offenders and try our best to avoid them.

Toxins 800The list of all offenders would be far too long for this type of article. I list here only 20 of the most common offenders: 10 Environmental Toxins and 10 Food Additives.

Top 10 Enviromental Toxins

  1. Phthalates. Phthalates are used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible. They are one of the most prevalent endocrine disruptors. They are found in everything from processed food packaging to detergents, toys and beauty products like nail polish, hair spray, shampoo, deodorants etc. Exposure to phthalates can lead to fetus malformations, reduced sperm counts etc.
  2. BPA (Bisphenol A). BPA is used to make certain kinds of plastics, and can also be found in thermal paper, canned goods, toys, in fact – everywhere. Environmental Working Group (EWG) detected BPA in the umbilical cord blood of 90 percent of newborn infants tested — along with more than 230 other chemicals. Some companies are simply replacing the offending BPA with another less known but equally toxic chemical called Bisphenol-S (BPS).
  3. Metalloestrogens. Metalloestrogens are cancer-causing estrogen-mimicking compounds. Lead, mercury, copper, aluminium, cobalt, chromium, nickel etc. are some of them. These metals are added to consumer products like deodorants, vaccines!, etc.
  4. Bovine growth hormones (rBGH). BGH’s, generally found in commercial dairy, have been associated with premature puberty. This highly toxic chemicals is found everywhere and can increase hormonal levels, impair immune system, cause liver damage etc. Majority of our exposure comes from eating animal products.
  5. Fluoride. Fluoride is added to some public water supplies and toothpaste. Fluoride is associated with lower levels of melatonin and earlier onset of puberty.
  6. PFC. Perfluorinated chemicals are dangerous substances that are found in the nonstick pans.
  7. Organophosphates. Organophosphates are found in pesticides and can cause neurotoxic effects.
  8. Glycol ethers. Glycol ethers like 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) are typically found in paint.
  9. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). Found in housecleaning products, NPEs are known to be potent endocrine disruptors that affect gene expression by turning on or off certain genes, and interfere with the way your glandular system works.

Top 10 Food Additives To Avoid

  1. Artificial Sweeteners.  Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. The artificial sweetener Acesulfame-K has been linked to kidney tumors. All artificial sweeteners are dangerous.
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and contributes to development of diabetes.
  3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). MSG is used as a flavor enhancer. It is an excitotoxin, a substance that overexcites cells to the point of damage or death.
  4. Trans Fat. Numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL cholesterol levels and increases your risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes.
  5. Common Food Dyes. Artificial colorings may contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ.
  6. Sodium Sulphite. This is a preservative used in processed foods. People who are sulfite sensitive can experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death.
  7. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite. This common preservative has been linked to various types of cancer.
  8. BHA and BHT. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives that affect the neurological system of your brain, alter behavior and have the potential to cause cancer.
  9. Sulphur Dioxide. Sulphur additives are toxic and in the U.S., they have been prohibited in raw fruit and vegetables. Adverse reactions include bronchial problems, low blood pressure, and anaphylactic shock.
  10. Potassium Bromate. This additive is used to increase volume in some breads. It is known to cause cancer in animals, and even small amounts can create problems for humans.
Read about 8 Tips To Reduce Hormone Disruptive Substances

Sources and Credits