Are you a woman in her 40s-50s struggling with PMS, mood swings, weight gain, heavy or erratic periods, or low libido? If so, you could be Amid a hormone imbalance where you have too much estrogen — known as estrogen dominance. Estrogen Dominance is not only linked to uncomfortable and frustrating symptoms; it also may put you at risk for a whole host of chronic issues from autoimmune conditions, thyroid dysfunction, IBS, and cancer. Estrogen, when out of balance with progesterone, the other dominant female sex hormone, can wreak havoc on your body if it is not in balance.
And here is the truth, if you are a woman in your 40s – 50, it is relatively natural for estrogen to be high relative to progesterone. Progesterone naturally declines long before estrogen. But, some of us women have a greater imbalance during this season of life than others.
Why Is Estrogen Dominance on the Rise?
It’s because we are being constantly bombarded by chemicals called xenoestrogens. Estrogen dominance is at an all-time high because of the chemicals we have added to our food supply, chemicals such as plastics and pesticides, and other toxicants. We put more than 87,000 chemicals into foods and the environment. Many of these chemicals are estrogen-mimicks, meaning the chemical structure is similar. These compounds act like estrogen in the body.
When Estrogen Becomes a Problem…
We all naturally produce the hormone estrogen in our ovaries; however, we also have estrogen in adrenal glands and our fat tissue, especially in the belly area. Men also produce it in their testes. Estrogen is necessary for many essential body functions such as fertility and childbearing, mental function, cardiovascular health, protecting bone health, and even modulating cholesterol levels.
However, when you’re in your 40s-50s, estrogen levels get out of balance with your other hormones — leading to estrogen dominance. This can lead to several issues.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
- Weight gain, mainly in the belly, hips, waist, and thighs
- Menstrual problems such as light or heavy bleeding, cramps, and erratic periods
- Loss of sex drive
- Depression or anxiety
- Sleep issues
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Uterine fibroids
Obesity is the greatest epidemic we face today, contributing to an increase in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The most common but most complex and little-understood issue related to estrogen dominance is the endocrine-disrupting activities to other hormones and the metabolic derangement in estrogen dominance. Excess estrogen increases fat stores and fat production. It increases insulin resistance, leptin resistance leading to weight gain and an inability to lose weight.
Estrogen dominance has been linked to hormonal cancers like breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Women are diagnosed with autoimmune conditions 10X more than men. In some autoimmune disorders, higher estrogen levels can enhance the immune system’s inflammatory response, increasing the antibodies that attack your body’s own tissues.
However, estrogen can also be protective in some autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS), so it is not entirely a clear-cut issue. It may be that fluctuations in estrogen levels, such as those that happen around childbirth, perimenopause, and menopause, may contribute to autoimmunity onset and severity.
Excess levels of circulating estrogen increase levels of thyroid-binding globulin (TBG). This protein acts as a taxicab driving your thyroid hormone around. More TBG means your thyroid hormone can’t get out of the cab to do its work.
It seems that it may all be about the dose and the balance of estrogen relative to other hormones.
Many studies point to lifelong exposure to estrogen and the total amount of estrogens you encounter that pose a problem. They may lead to the development of cancer. This may also be related to and relative to the balance with other hormones such as progesterone. For example, if you started your period at a young age, or did not have children, or had children late in life, you would be at a greater risk for cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer.
However, that’s not is the entire story, and it is not entirely accurate. It’s really all about your lifelong exposure to estrogen byproducts that your body makes called estrogen metabolites that research shows may increase your cancer risk.
Because women tend to be more susceptible to estrogen dominance because of natural shifts in menarche, childbirth, and mostly our 40s-50s, they may are more vulnerable to autoimmune conditions.
Your gut has estrogen receptors, and estrogen plays a role in gut motility and activity. Your gut microbiome modulates circulating estrogen using an enzyme known as beta-glucuronidase that is made by bacteria in the gut. When your microbiome is out of balance, as in the case of IBS and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), these enzymes can’t properly metabolize estrogens, and those estrogens may influence your gut motility, visceral sensitivity, and bowel movements. Essentially, your estrogen levels and your gut microbiome may be interacting, causing your gastrointestinal symptoms. This is where my Ph.D. research was centered, and we are only just now scratching the surface.
Our estrogen dominance is not only from this season of life, perimenopause, but it is often coming from the things in our foods, body care products, plastics, pesticides, and herbicides. And when estrogen becomes dominant through perimenopause (or also in conditions like PCOS), we get an increase in weight gain and weight loss resistance, sleep issues, mood issues, low libido, and hair loss, and a greater risk for hormone-related conditions.
I know this because I struggled as I left my late 30s through all of my 40s, dealing with estrogen dominance symptoms. During my Ph.D., I came across 4 key discoveries that unraveled the mystery of estrogen dominance. I was able to rebalance my hormones naturally, without harsh medications and extreme dieting. And I was able to help other women do the same.
That’s why I am more passionate than ever about helping women overcome estrogen dominance and get their body back in balance.
Do you want to find out how we may be able to help you overcome Estrogen Dominance? Click here to schedule a free 20-minute consult.
To learn more about Estrogen Dominance and the secret to unraveling perimenopause, click the link below for access to a webinar explaining the 4 Key Discoveries and the 3-Step Process to resetting your hormones.