Estrogen Dominance & why the extra pounds stick around
Updated: Jan 19, 2019
What happens when a hormone goes rogue and gets out of control? T.R.O.U.B.L.E. Our bodies are designed to work in a rhythm and flow of hormonal balance and counter-balance. Believe it or not, our daily choices directly impact our body's ability to do its jobs correctly. So while one may think they are at the mercy of their body, actually... our bodies are at the mercy of our choices.
Estrogen is found in both females and males and must exist in harmony with other hormones that counter balance it in both sexes. While it may play a greater role in a woman's body, males need it as well for their libido and sperm health.
Estrogen is produced in the adrenals, brain, ovaries or testes. It is a sex hormone that creates the female characteristics of the body and is used in part to regulate a monthly menstrual cycle and reproductive system.
Estrogen is also a primary player in the cycle of physical un-wellness from stress. In women estrogen is designed to be balanced by progesterone.
However, when the precursor hormone, pregnenalone, which is responsible for making both the stress and sex hormones, becomes too busy making cortisol, it's not making progesterone allowing estrogen to run unchecked. Without the balance we end up in estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance leads to weight gain, PMS, decreased sex drive, depression/mood swings, abnormal periods, bloating, difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, hair loss, breast swelling, tenderness, or fibrocysts. In males it decreases the presence of testosterone and virility, and can lead to breasts and sterility.
Other ways that estrogen is thrown off balance, besides not being properly kept in check by progesterone, is from a multitude of external sources. Conventional meats are given growth hormones and produce is coated in pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that are known endocrine disruptors (your hormone receptors) and while it's argued the small amounts are safe, it all adds up. Water supplies are heavily polluted with chemicals, fertilizer run off, synthetics, and prescription medicines, chemical plant runoffs, and plastics. Again, all of this adds up over time. Personal care products are full of chemicals, and if you put it on your skin, it is getting absorbed into your body. Think it's government regulated? Europe has banned 1328 chemicals, the U.S. - 30. Things that make you go hmm...
Unexplained weight gain can be a strong indicator of estrogen dominance. Some women complain they are eating the same or less, yet still gaining weight. The weight gain is resulting from the fact that estrogen is produced by fat cells. So as we begin gaining weight from blood sugar imbalance (from poor food choices and being under continuous stress) the fat cells produce more estrogen, which in turns causes more weight gain, more estrogen production, etc. So despite not eating much, exercising, and possible digestive issues, the weight problem remains. Excess estrogen explains why despite the time and effort, losing the weight seems impossible.
And chronically high blood sugar causes inflammation to be ever present as well. As time goes on often the insulin spike from the chronic stress is more than required, triggering us to crave sugar or carbs to balance it out. This can then manifest moodiness, irritability, headaches, and general fatigue and desire for some caffeine to give us a lift.
So our bodies need to work in harmony, and any unbalance can create a cascade of issues. The topic of stress, led to the topics of estrogen dominance and insulin resistance, all of which affect the adrenals... Therefore we see again the importance of treating the whole body, and why addressing the root cause is of great importance. When we use a medication to suppress a symptom we ignore the bodies need for balance and restoration.
What Can We Do?
- Certain foods, particularly cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, help the liver to process out hormones. The liver is your primary detox organ and needs support in order to keep doing its job properly. Herbal detoxing teas, milk thistle, and celery juice are excellent support as well.
- making sure you go to the bathroom regularly. Constipation allows toxins to be reabsorbed into the body, and estrogen when reabsorbed is particularly toxic to the body
- Choose organic as much as possible. Meats are concentrated with the toxins animals are exposed to and should be just as high or higher than your intentions for purchasing organic produce.
- Filter your water. Choose a high quality filter that will remove much of the chemicals.
- Do not put any cosmetics or lotions on your body that you wouldn't eat. Ok, that may sound a little crazy and you may not want to eat it no matter how clean the product is, but what you put on your skin will end up in your body just like food.
- Stress Less. I cannot emphasize enough how much stress affects your overall health. As a matter of fact it will be nearly impossible to get better as long as stress remains.
- Support your liver. Its primary job is processing out the old and bad, and requires diligence on our part to keep it up and running. Herbal detoxing teas, milk thistle, and celery juice are excellent support as well.
- Consider intermittent fasting. Digesting requires a large amount of energy from our bodies and only after that job is complete does the healing, detoxing, and restoring begin. If we never allow it the opportunity to do that, we are guaranteed to exhaust it. Imagine if your boss never let you go home from your job. That is exactly what we are expecting from our body when we continuously eat.
- Eliminate foods stored in plastic as much as possible. You and the environment will gain.
If you are interested in creating a personalized plan to help your body regain balance and vibrancy, contact me for an appointment today: https://www.jennifergarn.com/book-online