Estrogen is the primary sex hormone in females. It plays key roles within the female body and some of these include: regulating the menstrual cycle; inducing breast growth; regulating moods and emotions; balancing cholesterol levels in the body; and maintaining strong bones.
So what is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance means having excess estrogen in your body. Instead of having a normal level of estrogen required for the well functioning of the reproductive system and overall body, you have a higher level, which leads to an imbalance.
Let’s see some of the reasons Estrogen Dominance occurs:
Progesterone is the other major female sex hormone, which works together with estrogen. Both progesterone and estrogen need to be at normal levels for the system to be in perfect synchrony. If one of them becomes dominant, then the other one goes out of balance.
Excess estrogen can also build up in the body through personal care, hygienic and beauty products. Many of these products contain xenoestrogens, which are chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body.
Certain foods in our diets including factory-raised meats, eggs and milk may also contain added growth hormones including estrogen.
Also, excessive intake of refined sugar, refined cooking oil, fast foods and processed foods containing artificial flavor & color may be culprits. These are sources of harmful hormone-disrupting and inflammatory substances you are putting in your body.
Another culinary – culprit that injects excess estrogen into the body is soy and soy products such as soy milk, tofu (“awara”/“beske”).
The liver helps process and gets rid of excess hormones in the body including estrogen. An overburdened liver does not clear out excess hormones like it is supposed to. Some bad habits such as drinking too much alcohol, hard drugs, even drug abuse can weaken the liver, resulting to hormonal imbalances.
What happens if your estrogen gets too high and goes out of control? Estrogen dominance and its associated symptoms/conditions in women are:
Uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, irregular periods, low libido, ovarian cysts, severe premenstrual syndrome, fatigue, anxiety, depression, obesity, weight gain mainly in the hips and waist.
How to reverse Estrogen Dominance naturally: The key aspects of reversing estrogen dominance involve clearing out excess estrogen in the body, while limiting estrogen exposure from the environment, food and beauty products.
If you experience some of the above symptoms or find out that you have estrogen dominance, then there are some lifestyle and dietary changes you should seriously consider making to regulate your hormones:
High dietary fiber: eat foods that are rich in dietary fiber such as fresh fruit and green leafy vegetables. Fiber helps to expel excess estrogen by regulating bowel movements.
Cruciferous vegetables: e.g.- cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, mustard seeds, maca, kale, watercress etc. Cruciferous veggies contain a nutrient, indole-3-carbinol that is a powerful estrogen-detoxifying agent. It helps prevent the development of estrogen dominant cancers including breast, endometrial and cervical cancers. A combination of 2 or more crucifers will tame excess estrogen. You may even find some cruciferous supplements in powder form or capsules and use them in smoothies or juices.
Omega 3 fatty acids – foods that are rich in Omega 3 help balance excess estrogen in the body. Good sources of this nutrient include – flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, oysters, common purslane (portulaca oleracea) e.t.c.
Take Herbal Teas- many herbs have indicated to alleviate symptoms associated with estrogen dominance. And from my own experience, liver-promoting herbs (hepatics) help a lot when it comes to expelling excess estrogen in the body. Herbs that support the liver to help clear out excess estrogen in the body include: milk thistle, beetroot, ginger, dandelion (leaf/root), and turmeric root and artichoke leaf. Many of these are locally available and can be found in form of teas, capsules or powders. I’ll recommend that anyone having issues with hormonal imbalance, fibroids and related estrogen dominance symptoms indulge in these herbs. Get them to detoxify your liver and help optimize its function.
Make avocado your new best friend-Eat 1 avocado every night until you see changes.
Take natural supplements – some of the supplements that balance estrogen dominance includes: chasteberry, DIM (diindolylmethane), evening primrose oil, dong quai, fish oil, maca root e.t.c.
Workout regularly- excess weight gain or body fat increases estrogen activity. Overweight women tend to have high levels of estrogen in the body, which increases the risk of estrogen dominant conditions such as breast cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and ovarian cysts. Working out regularly will help the liver stay in shape and function properly.
Drink clean water -drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Water helps flush out all kinds of “ bad guys” including harmful toxins and excess hormones from the body. But please avoid tap water, which actually can be a source of excess estrogen, in the form of xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body). Get a water purifier and ensure to drink clean filtered water.
Getting a full night’s rest is crucial for all your hormones to be in balance and well functioning. Estrogen can go out of control because of lack of sleep.
If you find it hard to fall asleep at night, try a relaxing bath with drops of lavender essential oil; sip chamomile/passion flower tea.
Also, decrease your intake of refined sugar, refined cooking oil, fast foods and processed foods containing artificial flavor and color.
By doing so, you tend to eliminate the amount of harmful hormone-disrupting and inflammatory substances you are putting into your body.