When we think of midlife, many of us think of changing hormones. Throughout peri-menopause and menopause, hormones eventually decline, but it’s important to recognize that estrogen can become elevated along the way.
Estrogen dominance symptoms can appear when estrogen is high in relation to progesterone. There are many factors that contribute to this happening, and there are steps you can take to feel better and bring your estrogen back to an appropriate level for your age. Check out my symptom tracker to get a clear picture of your symptoms to discuss with your doctor.
Function of Estrogen
Estrogen is a group of steroid hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics of the body. Estrogen not only regulates the menstrual cycle, but it also affects the urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, skin, hair, breasts and the brain.
There are three main types of estrogen. Each plays a role in a woman’s health and at varying stages of her reproductive journey.
- Estrone (E1) – this is the primary form of estrogen found in women after menopause and the primary estrogen hormone found in men.
- Estradiol (E2) – this is the most potent form of estrogen found in women and highest during child-bearing years.
- Estriol (E3) – the placenta produces this type of estrogen when a woman is pregnant.
Yes, men’s bodies contain estrogen as well but in smaller amounts. Both men and women need some of this hormone for sexual and reproductive health.
How is Estrogen Dominance Diagnosed?
Like most conditions, estrogen dominance can be diagnosed with blood work once you report symptoms to your physician. Only you know how you feel. Be clear with your symptoms and how long you have been experiencing them. Your doctor may also test your urine to get a clearer picture of your health as well.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
- Irregular or painful periods if you are still menstruating
- Fatigue, insomnia and brain fog
- Fluid retention, weight gain and bloating
- Headaches and migraines
- Hair loss
- Depression and anxiety
- Low libido
Why Does Estrogen Dominance Occur?
A build up of estrogen in the body is primarily due to either your body making too much, your medication containing too much or changes in metabolism or excretion of this hormone in your body. This can occur if your liver is not functioning properly. Or if you have too few digestive enzymes (problem with your pancreas), low magnesium levels or poor fiber intake can also prevent the liver from removing excess estrogen.
Another factor that can lead to estrogen dominance is having an elevated body fat percentage. This can be corrected with a change in lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise. Learn how I can help with one-one-one coaching services for additional support.
What Do You Do For Estrogen Dominance Symptoms?
Taking steps to correct estrogen dominance is necessary but can take months to correct. The elevated levels didn’t happen overnight for many of you. It’s like turning a ship around. It takes time.
First talk to your doctor about possible underlying health conditions or adjusting medication if you are taking estrogen in some form. Many of the women I work with have found estrogen delivered trans-dermally (patch) to be very beneficial. If you still have your uterus, you will need progesterone as well.
Other factors like blood sugar stability, genetics, inflammation and stress levels will play a role in how long it takes to get this hormone back in balance to a level appropriate for your age. The best way to correct estrogen dominance is by looking at your lifestyle choices and making some changes:
- Consuming more fiber such as beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Pooping regularly helps!
- Reduce your BMI (body mass index) if you are overweight starting with diet and exercise Consider this affordable and easy-to-store treadmill that I highly recommended especially if you are tight on space.
- Increasing foods rich in probiotic bacteria for optimum gut health such as sauerkraut, ginger, kim chi, high-quality yogurt
- Steer clear of red meats, processed foods, sugar and foods rich in saturated fats
- Stay hydrated
- Reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens — plastics and pesticides
- Get proper sleep and limit stressful situations when possible
Feel free to contact me to further discuss how I can help you feel your best at this time in your life! Changing hormones are inevitable, suffering is not.
I’m a registered nurse for over 24 years with a Masters Degree in Nursing (Education). I am also a Certified Women’s Health Coach specializing in helping women navigate changing hormones in their 30s and beyond after my own difficult experience through menopause. I believe women should truly thrive in midlife and not just survive!