This information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or highlight imperfections. You've likely landed here following your results of my quiz at YourHormoneQuiz.com. No matter what you discover in these results, you're beautiful and perfect as you are. You're good enough and trying hard enough. We're all unique and will experience hormonal shifts differently. This information is here to highlight that, despite what we've been told, we're not just little men — our bodies work differently — and if our hormones have us feeling less than our best, we absolutely can do something about it. My aim is to support and empower you on your journey, where you need and want it. Take what you need, leave what you don't. No judgement here, just good honest support.
Estrogen dominance is about how estrogen relates to progesterone. Ideally, we want progesterone to be higher than estrogen during the second half of the cycle. If you have estrogen continuously higher than progesterone, you can feel it.
Estrogen dominance becomes a challenge in the perimenopause years when a woman’s hormones fluctuate naturally as ovarian production goes high one month, then low the next month.
Interesting side note: Estrogen dominance is not just a female thing. Men can be estrogen dominant as well when estrogen exceeds testosterone.
For women, estrogen dominance can present in several different ways:
- High estrogen, lower progesterone
- Normal estrogen, low progesterone
- Low estrogen, even lower progesterone
Estrogen Dominance might look like:
- Headaches (especially around your period)
- Bloating, puffiness, or water retention
- Mood swings or irritability (especially before period)
- Crying easily
- Tender, swollen or fibrocystic breasts
- Irregular or abnormal or heavy periods
- Spotting between cycles
- Weight or fat gain, especially around abdomen and hips
- Feeling tired or lethargic
- Fibroids or myomas
- Ovarian cysts
- Low libido
- Hair loss
- Estrogen related cancer
- Infertility or miscarraige
- Trouble sleeping
- Allergies or histamine intolerance
- Accelerated aging
- Brain fog or memory issues
- Brown facial spots or discoloration (melasma)
- Hot flashes (even when not in menopause)
- Restless legs at night
- Feeling groggy upon waking
- An increase in colds or infections
- Feeling anxious or easily stressed
- High blood sugar levels
- And more…
Estrogen dominance will present itself differently in different women. You might find you have a few or many of the above symptoms while someone else could have completely different symptoms of estrogen dominance. We’re all wonderfully unique like that.
Different ways our bodies become estrogen dominant:
Most often, estrogen dominance is multifactorial and women arrive at it for multiple reasons, not just one. Some of these reasons could be:
- Xenoestrogens from the environment (man-made chemicals that act like estrogen in the body, often found in plastics, beauty products, fragrance, cleaners, and more)
- The perimenopausal years, when estrogen fluctuates
- Hormonal birth control
- Low levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), can be due to PCOS, insulin resistance, hypothyroidism, alcohol use, and more…
- Imbalanced gut bacteria (dysbiosis)
- Stress of any kind — it comes in so many forms
- High body fat percentage, greater than 28%
- Estrogen supplementation, most often without progesterone supplementation to complement
- Recreational drugs
- Cigarette smoke
- Alcohol use
- Insufficient diet or movement for your current hormone type (our hormone type varies throughout our life)
- Nutrient insufficiencies or deficiencies
- And more…
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What’s happening physiologically with estrogen dominance?
With estrogen dominance, the body, especially the liver who filters and disposes of used hormones or other estrogenic compounds, is often overburdened with its job of eliminating toxins and moving out our metabolic waste. This could be for a number of reasons and is often multifactorial, ranging from our genetics to diet to sleep to constipation to toxic exposure to alcohol, cigarette or drug use (think toxins), and more.
When our metabolic waste isn’t moving out fast enough — because the body is overburdened and can’t keep up — it stays in the body and gets recirculated. And we feel the symptoms.
How estrogen dominance affects other hormones
Estrogen dominance can lead to blood sugar imbalance or insulin resistance. It can affect our thyroid as well as our stress, impacting our cortisol levels. Estrogen dominance can be at the root of infertility or miscarriage as it throws other sex hormones off balance. And as these hormones get thrown of balance, we’ll notice other important mood-, energy- and weight-regulating hormones get off their game as well.
What we can do about estrogen dominance
When dealing with any hormone imbalance, it’s important to address what’s causing it. Dealing with the root cause is essential for sustainable, longterm improvement.
Balancing estrogen dominance is multifactorial and often requires — first and foremost — reestablishing a strong foundation with a supportive diet and lifestyle.
Reducing your total stress load is key. This can be done by nourishing your neuroendocrine system with stress reducing and stress managing practices, such as:
- improving sleep
- reducing your toxic load
- optimizing nutrition and type of exercise
- shifting mindset and unsupportive thought patterns
- and sometimes targeted supplementation to help get you back on track.
Not sure where to start?
Here are 3 easy and free ways you can get started right now:
- Add broccoli sprouts to your meals. They’re the highest food form of sulforaphane, a nutrient that helps detox estrogen. You can buy them or grow them yourself.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol. Alcohol raises estrogen and SHBG, which lowers free testosterone, depletes zinc and other important minerals for optimum hormonal function.
- Book a call with me (see below) to discuss what could help get your estrogen back in balance.
Check out this post for even more ways to get your hormones back in harmony.
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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, manage, or treat disease or serious conditions. Always check with your doctor before making any changes. It's important to consult a well-informed health practitioner for personal advice about your situation before relying on general information — we're all wonderfully unique.
Laurie Villarreal, CHWC, CFNS, LMC, CPT, RYT
As a functional nutrition practitioner and fitness expert specialized in women’s hormones, I help active, driven women, like you, get back to feeling, performing (heck, even looking!) your best when nothing else has worked. From personalized nutrition and lifestyle guidance to doing the deep, much needed inner work of coaching, I help you soar to new heights — to show up and play bigger (and brighter!) than you’ve ever imagined. So you can get back to living your best life and chasing your dreams — with much more joy and ease.
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