Estrogen dominance is on the rise in both men and women and across all age groups. What’s also interesting is that rates of cancers and chronic diseases linked to high estrogen levels are rising, as well. So, what’s causing this? One cause is a word you may not have ever heard before. It sounds like it’s out of a science fiction novel—Xenoestrogens.
Xenoestrogens are toxic chemicals in our environment, food, beauty products and cleaning products that mimic estrogen. Think of them, however, as a wrench thrown into your hormonal circuit. They are violent endocrine disruptors that affect nearly every bodily system, creating a slew of health issues.
Symptoms of estrogen dominance in women include: weight gain, hair loss, autoimmune disease, thyroid issues, fatigue, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, low libido, mood swings, infertility, acne, decrease in muscle mass, brain fog and much more.
Men experience the telltale sign of gynecomastia, or enlargement of the breasts. They may also experience some of the same systems as women.
Estrogen is metabolized by the liver through three different pathways. Depending on the pathway, estrogen will be converted into good or bad metabolites. Gene mutations, such as MTHFR, and methylation issues contribute to the production of these bad estrogen metabolites. Coupled with environmental factors, toxins and poor lifestyle choices, estrogen dominance can lead to some detrimental outcomes.
The risks of estrogen dominance and Xenoestrogens include Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland. Systemic candida overgrowth is also related to estrogen dominance as well as hormonal cancers and other autoimmune diseases.
So, what can you do to help your body remove these bad estrogen metabolites and balance hormones naturally?
Here’s What to Do:
- Reconsider birth control pills and hormone replacement: Although birth control pills may help short-term with PMS symptoms, heavy menstrual periods and other hormonal issues, they can destroy hormonal balance in the long-term. Birth control pills and standard HRT are synthetic chemicals that create estrogen dominance. Seek natural options for HRT that are plant-based. Work with a naturopath to address PMS, hormonal imbalance or perimenopause/menopause symptoms. There are other solutions.
- Clean up your diet: Buy organic fruits and vegetables that are free from synthetic pesticides, which are endocrine disruptors. Increase your intake of fiber as well as cruciferous vegetables, which help cleanse the body of excess estrogen. If you eat meat, choose grass fed organic meats that are hormone-free as well as wild-caught fish over farm-raised, which is high is toxins, leading to inflammation and hormonal disruption.
- Get a water filter: Tap water is full of contaminants from pollution. Chemical contaminants include bleach, pesticides, metals, toxins produced by bacteria, and pharmaceuticals, which include synthetic hormones! Added fluoride in tap water also disrupts hormones and affects thyroid function. Look into a high-quality filter system for your drinking water as well as the water you use for cooking and showering. For a less expensive option, check out a water pitcher filter, such as an Aquagear, which removes contaminants including over 90% of fluoride in tap water.
- Switch from Plastic to Glass: BPAs in plastics cause hormonal disruption, but it’s not just BPAs. Other chemicals in plastics are known to cause estrogen dominance, particularly when heated. Microwaving leftovers in plastic Tupperware, for example, leaches these plastics into your food, which can affect your health. Even running plastic-ware through a dishwasher releases these toxins. Instead, switch to glassware—and that goes for plastic water bottles, as well. Switch to glass or stainless steel.
- Exercise: A sedentary lifestyle can cause estrogen dominance. Sweating releases toxins and helps circulate hormones, so get active. High body fat percentage is related to estrogen dominance, so replacing fat with muscle will help to rebalance hormones. Combine cardiovascular activity with weight-training for optimal results.
- Reduce alcohol intake: Alcohol can contribute to estrogen dominance. Recent studies indicate that alcohol can elevate estrogen levels above healthy levels and reduce progesterone levels. Even moderate consumption of alcohol once you’re in your forties can have detrimental effects. As you age, your body has greater difficulty processing alcohol and other toxins. As few as three alcoholic beverages a week can cause estrogen dominance and an increased likelihood of developing hormonal cancers.
- Fix your gut: Gut dysbiosis can contribute to hormonal disruption. Issues such as Leaky Gut Syndrome and SIBO influence your endocrine system. Gut inflammation can fuel these issues. Your gut microbiome plays a vital role in your hormonal health. Gut dysbiosis is related to a multitude of estrogen-related illnesses, such as endometriosis, PCOS and hormone-related cancers. Taking a high-quality probiotic, managing systemic candida overgrowth and addressing Leaky Gut Syndrome are all key factors in balancing hormones.
- De-stress: A high-circulating concentration of estrogen is the most common cause of high cortisol levels in women, so stress and estrogen levels are connected. Adrenal fatigue is associated with estrogen dominance demonstrating the importance of reducing stress in balancing hormones. Take time to relax and unwind, meditate, practice yoga, be in nature and get 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Supplement: Several supplements are recommended to help your body remove Xenoestrogens and create optimal hormonal balance. These supplements help support the liver, open detox pathways, reduce inflammation and address gut issues.
DIM 3 +: DIM helps balance hormones along with providing the body with important antioxidants to fight free radicals. DIM also supports weight loss, enhances energy, boosts mood, improves memory and helps reduce systemic inflammation. Other ingredients such as turmeric and resveratrol help to balance hormones and manage estrogen dominance.
Liposomal Liver Detox+: Estrogen is metabolized by the liver. If your liver is not working optimally, it may need some help with processing toxins.
Leaky Gut Defense: Hormone imbalance is related to gut health. Creating a flourishing gut microbiome and reducing gut inflammation are key to managing estrogen dominance.
Saccaromyces boullardii: Candida overgrowth, SIBO and estrogen dominance frequently go together. This probiotic yeast helps keep candida in check along with harmful bacteria that can affect hormones.