Oestrogen dominance is a prevalent hormonal imbalance that affects many individuals, especially women. This condition occurs when estrogen levels outweigh other sex hormones in the body, throwing off the delicate hormonal equilibrium. As a result, it can lead to a range of uncomfortable and distressing symptoms, from irregular menstrual cycles to bloating, mood swings, and more. Understanding the intricacies of estrogen dominance is crucial for promoting hormonal health and overall well-being.
Meet leading hormone expert and naturopathic endocrinologist Dr. Jolene Brighten— best-selling author of Beyond The Pill & Is This Normal. Oestrogen dominance is one of the most common issues Jolene sees, and manifests in those miserable PMS symptoms— think bloating, water retention and sore boobs. Dr. Brighten is on a mission to empower women with the information they weren’t taught at school— starting with hacking our hormones.
The Root Cause Of Oestrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance is a type of hormone imbalance where you have too much oestrogen in relation to progesterone.
There are two main types of oestrogen dominance:
- Frank oestrogen dominance: your body makes too much oestrogen
- Relative oestrogen dominance: You have too much oestrogen relative to progesterone
There are many ways in which our environment, food, stress, and other lifestyle factors can mess with our hormones and create oestrogen dominance.
Your liver is responsible for packaging up oestrogen so your gut can move it out. If either your liver or your gut doesn’t do its job, then oestrogen could build up, and you might develop oestrogen dominance.
You must supply your liver with what it needs to process oestrogen, and you must eliminate every day to remove excess oestrogen from the body.
Environmental toxins known as xenoestrogens can also be behind your symptoms. A lot of household and personal care items expose you to xenoestrogens.
Anovulatory cycles (months where you don’t release an egg) could also lead to oestrogen dominance.
If you don’t ovulate or are otherwise having issues getting progesterone levels up during your luteal phase, this can cause relative oestrogen dominance.
What Happens When You Have It?
There is a range of oestrogen dominance symptoms to look out for if you suspect you have too much oestrogen, although it is different for every woman. Some women will experience a range of symptoms, and others may experience just one or two.
Excess oestrogen can cause symptoms such as irregular/heavy periods, water retention, breast swelling, mood swings, weight gain, hair loss, painful periods and PMS.
Steps To Solving Oestrogen Dominance
~ Love Your Liver: Your liver is responsible for getting oestrogen ready to be moved out of the body. Some basics of how to show your liver some love and support include: eating quality protein, a minimum of 3x cups of cruciferous vegetables a day & taking a B complex.
~ Fix Your Gut: Once the liver processes oestrogen for elimination, it is up to your digestive tract to move it out. If you are experiencing constipation, there is a good chance your oestrogen exiting efficiently, and instead, going back into circulation in the body.
Figuring out and treating the underlying cause of your digestive issues is crucial in creating optimal hormonal health. When there is dysbiosis or an imbalance of gut flora, these organisms can make more beta-glucuronidase— an enzyme that can lead to higher levels of oestrogen in the body.
~ Eat Fibre: Aim for at least 25 grams per day by eating plenty of vegetables and fruits.
Fibre will keep your bowels regular and help eliminate waste, including unnecessary oestrogen.
~ Sleep: 7 hours sleep is the minimum you should be getting nightly. Your body needs sleep and your hormones demand it. For many of my patients, I recommend wearing light-blocking glasses 1-2 hours before bed to help them get the rest they need and shift their hormones to a more favourable state.
If you’re struggling with sleep, I recommend you meet with your doctor to determine the cause and treat it appropriately— your hormones could be a cause of sleep disturbance.
For more information, visit drbrighten.com