How do you treat estrogen dominance naturally? Let’s get into what it means to be estrogen dominant first.

I have to admit, I’m not quite in to the hot flash stage of life. But I have experienced night sweats where I was literally soaking the bedsheets and everything below. Ick!  Seriously gross. And embarrassing because my husband didn’t want to get close to me in bed.

On top of that, I was feeling sad (coming home in a weepy pile on the floor each night), fatigued (no energy to even sit and meditate) and cycles were off and heavy PMS symptoms.

This brings me to a good question: Is it normal to have night sweats and hot flashes in peri-menopause?  Or in post-menopause?

Well, not exactly. It may be a sign of estrogen dominance. Progesterone and estrogen should be in balance with one another. When estrogen is high relative to progesterone, then you may experience unbecoming symptoms of estrogen dominance. And this can start in your mid thirty’s to forty’s and beyond.

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

  • Moodiness
  • Irritability
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain around the middle
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Abnormal menstrual cycle
  • Painful periods
  • Hot flashes/ Night Sweats
  • Fibroids

What might be causing this estrogen dominance?

  • Obesity (fat cells produce estrogen)
  • Unbalanced insulin
  • Hormones in meat or dairy
  • Excess of toxins and compounds in products/chemicals that mimic hormones (xenoestrogens)
  • Excess alcohol intake
  • Missing B vitamins
  • Stress

But wait, “I thought my hormones in menopause were dropping so it didn’t really matter anymore.”

Estrogen dominance can happen as we enter into peri-menopause and into menopause. Hormone levels are dropping. But we still produce estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, just at a lesser extent now that we’re out of the reproductive years.

Even into menopause, estrogen continues to be made by our fat (think, obesity), liver, brain, adrenal glands, hair, skin and bone marrow.

Progesterone also continues to be made, by our ovaries, brain and our peripheral nerves. But again, at lower levels than in our reproductive years.

hormone flow through menstrual cycle

hormones through life cycle

So signs of estrogen dominance are somewhat similar to menopause. And I should caution, these symptom can be seen with adrenal fatigue as well, so it’s best to sort this out with your health care professional.

Just as in peri-menopause, it’s important to detox excess estrogen during menopause and beyond.

Estrogen breaks down like this: 17 beta-estradiol breaks down to 16α-hydroxyestrone (16αOHE1) or into 2-hydroxyestrone (2OHE1)

  • 16αOHE1 is highly estrogenic, and has been shown to enhance breast cancer cell growth in culture
  • Your Goal is a 2:16 ratio, 16αOHE1: 2OHE1
  • That means that your estrogen is breaking down to a healthier form
  • Shifting to this ratio, may mean that your body is better able to detox estrogen
  • The liver detoxes estrogen in Phase II pathways
  • May reduce risk of estrogen-sensitive cancer risk and eliminate painful cysts and fibroids
  • Cruciferous vegetables have been shown to detox the “bad” estrogen
  • May reduce the above symptoms of estrogen dominance

Other ways to treat estrogen dominance naturally:

  • Eat more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage)–helps support Phase I and Phase II liver pathways
  • Eat more beet greens, the leafy tops of beets are a rich source of betaine–helps support Phase II liver pathways
  • Eat more fiber 35-45gm/day (2 tablespoons/day of flaxseeds or psyllium + fresh vegetables and fruits)
  • Turmeric (optimized curcumin longvida)–inhibits Phase I and stimulates Phase II liver pathways
  • Milk thistle–supports both Phase I and Phase II liver detox
  • Eliminate or carve out alcohol and caffeine
  • Reduce exposure to toxins that mimic estrogen (BPA, pesticides, birth control pills, household cleaners, chemicals in shampoos and lotions, ie phthalates, parabens, “fragrance”)
  • Adding in a B Complex Vitamin, especially with Folate (in the active form of L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate), – B6 (in the active form of P5P), and – B12 (in the active form of methylcobalamin)
  • Hydrate—suggested to drink at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces (ie if I weigh 100 pounds, then I would want to drink 50 ounces/day)
  • Increase progesterone levels (See Link HERE)

Start now ladies. It’s not too early to start to balance estrogen levels. It will make the ride into menopause so much smoother.

It’s a delicate balance and you have to find out what works for you. It’s best to have your hormone levels tested so you can work from there. Contact your integrative ObGyn or Functional Medicine Practitioner for proper testing.

If you found this article helpful, please share it. If it left you with more questions, please feel free to contact Tianna to see how she can begin to help you improve that progesterone predicament.


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References:

  • Higdon JV, Delage B, Williams DE, et al. “ Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis.” Pharmacological Research. Mar:55(3) (2007): 224-36.
  • Palanisamy, A. (n.d.). The Paleovedic Diet: A complete program to burn fat, increase energy, and reverse disease.
  • Notes from Integrative Women’s Health Institute, Modules on Menopause