Estrogen dominance is a term that refers to an unhealthy ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Meaning, there is much more estrogen present versus progesterone. Interestingly, it is possible to be considered estrogen dominant even with low estrogen metabolites present because progesterone levels can be critically low. Testing your hormone levels can be done by virtually any health care provider via a blood sample. The physician will base the results on where you reside in your menstrual cycle when the serum is collected.
The symptoms of estrogen dominance are quite lengthy and include the following:
-Breast cancer, fibrocystic breasts and or tenderness
-Mood disturbances: depression, anxiety and agitation, mood swings
-Brain fog and memory loss
-Premenstrual Syndrome: edema, headaches, and abdominal pain
-Deficiencies in zinc and magnesium
-Uterine fibroids, uterine cancer and cervical dysplasia
-Cold hands & feet
-Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Estrogen dominance is becoming one of the more common hormone imbalances among both men and women. Genetics may play a role in unhealthy hormone metabolites yet other likely factors may include lifestyle habits and your personal environment. After all, neither our food supply nor our personal care products are what was experienced by our ancestors. Our current environment is filled with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, xenoestrogen and BPA producing plastics, and chemicals in our cleaning and building products to name a few. In fact, it is quite amazing the chemicals allowed in US products that are not permitted in other countries due to health concerns. These chemicals can be considered endocrine disrupters. They are known to interfere with development and reproduction and may block hormonal signals in your body or interfere with the way the hormones or receptors are made or controlled.
So what can you? You can consider having your hormone levels checked and supplementing with a bio-identical progesterone, compounded by a local pharmacy. A compounding pharmacy can provide many options for hormone replacement, a pill or cream for example. And if your libido is low, they may be able to compound testosterone and progesterone in one cream. Here are some additional health habits to consider:
-DIET: Eat a nutrient rich diet with a variety of anti-inflammatory foods
-LIMIT Alcohol, caffeine, and refined vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, soybean, and corn.
-AVOID processed foods that contain hidden additives like preservatives, sugar and salt.
-Purchase organic produce, meats and dairy when possible, otherwise peel non-organic produce or soak in a 10% vinegar mixture.
-READ ingredients: Avoid parabens, phthalates, BPA, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and benzophenone in personal care products. Also read lists on cleaning products avoiding things like alkylphenol ethozylates. Consider making your own cleaning products with vinegar, lemon, salt, and essential oils.
-StTORE food in glass containers. If you use plastic, do not place in microwave or dishwasher.
-REDUCE stress by choosing your reaction to potentially volatile stimuli while finding modalities that you find relaxing like meditation, yoga, music therapy, exercise and or journaling.
-REST: Shoot for 8 hours of sleep per night to insure cell regeneration and emotional well-being.
It is difficult to completely isolate ourselves from the chemicals in our environment and yet we cannot simply trust in our government to keep us safe and healthy. It is imperative that we monitor ourselves and make good choices when possible. I encourage you to start reading labels and researching ingredients. I am confident that even a few simple steps may be beneficial. After all, our children and grandchildren may be affected by the choices we make today.