What is Oestrogen Dominance?
Oestrogen dominance is a common issue for women and is associated with either a higher than normal level of oestrogen, or a ratio of oestrogen to progesterone is out of balance. Both of these hormones play major roles in the female reproductive cycle. Note: Oestrogen is also known as estrogen.
Oestrogen dominance results in symptoms such as painful periods, abnormal bleeding, long menstruation cycles, menstrual clotting, infertility, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, bloating and weight gain. Oestrogen dominance is linked to conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), breast cancer and endometrial cancer.
Let’s first have a look at these two hormones...
- Helps egg development.
- Together with progesterone, causes the thickening of the nutrient dense lining (endometrium) of the uterus.
- Builds and maintains vaginal mucosal thickness and lubrication.
- Rises just before ovulation.
Types of oestrogens:
- Oestrone (E1): comes from chemicals released from the adrenal glands and is also stored in fat. This is a weak form of oestrogen.
- Oestradoil (E2): mainly produced in the ovary. Normal levels allow for proper ovulation, conception and pregnancy. This form of oestrogen also supports healthy bones and regulates cholesterol. This is the most potent form of oestrogen.
- Oestroil (E3): is a weaker form of oestrogen and is the result of the liver breaking down oestrone and oestrodiol.
- Rises in the second half of the cycle.
- It's role is to thicken the lining of the uterus to receive a fertilised egg and prepare the body for the potential of pregnancy.
- If there is no pregnancy the levels of progesterone drops and menstruation begins.
There are a number of contributing factors that can result in oestrogen dominance.
- Stress: can result in a decrease in progesterone, resulting in oestrogen dominance.
- Inflammation: increases oestrogen producing enzymes, which convert low potency forms of oestrogen into more powerful forms.
- Poor detoxification: all forms of oestrogen need to be detoxified by the liver. If the liver is over burdened with alcohol, or other toxins, oestrogen will remain in the body.
- Poor bowel function: oestrogen is excreted through the bowel. If your bowel motions are not regular, oestrogen will be reabsorbed.
- Environmental oestrogens: (or xenoestrogens) are chemicals found in the environment that mimic the role of oestrogen. They include plastics, pesticides, some skin care product ingredients and some building products.
- Increased weight: body fat stores oestrogen, the more fat we have the more oestrogen there will be.
- - - - -
So, as a Naturopath, if I have discovered my client has oestrogen dominance, I would recommend the following:
- Increase fibre and water in your diet to maintain a regular bowel motion.
- Support a healthy liver by decreasing alcohol and avoiding xenooestrogens. Try replacing plastic drink bottles and plastic containers with glass. Consider switching to organic and all natural skin care products.
- Increase phyto-oestrogen. Phyto-oestrogens are a weak oestrogen-like compound found in soy products such as tofu, tempeh, soy milk, as well as flaxseeds. These decrease oestrogen levels by binding to the oestrogen receptors, blocking the stronger form of oestrogen.
Below are some dietary changes that I would recommend to assist with oestrogen dominance.
- Cruciferous vegetables help the liver to detox oestrogen. These include:
- Brussel sprouts
- Bok choy
2. Decrease inflammation in your body by increasing omega 3 fatty acids:
The best sources of omega 3 fatty acids in a vegan or vegetarian diet are found in flaxseeds (which you should always use ground) and chia seeds. You should always soak your chia seeds before ingesting them.
A new and great vegan omega 3 supplement is Algal Oil. This is an oil extracted from seaweed which has shown similar benefits to fish oil. Always look for a good quality algal oil, ensuring it is practitioner prescribed.
3. Other foods that help to decrease inflammation are:
I hope this blog has been helpful to you. It can be hard to know if you are oestrogen dominant as the above symptoms may be clues, or may be symptoms for other issues.
However, if you are presenting with any of the above symptoms and feel like something is not quite right, you can book in for an online naturopathy consult with me. We will work together to get to the bottom of your issues and on the path to amazing health!