The Wellness Library

What is Estrogen Dominance? Signs and Treatment Options

by | Apr 14, 2021 | Hormones, Women's Health

A treatment room at Minneapolis Integrative Medicine Center.

Feeling super sluggish, experiencing mood swings and brain fog, irritation and seriously frustrating and painful periods? Estrogen dominance could be a culprit. Estrogen dominance occurs when the level of estrogen is relatively high compared to the level of progesterone and/or testosterone.

“Estrogen” is actually collective term for various types of this hormone: estrone (a weaker form that is higher in postmenopausal women), estradiol (the most common form present in women and men), and estriol (helps prepare the body for childbirth during pregnancy). Primarily made in the ovaries, these estrogens are also produced in the adrenal glands and in fatty tissues.

When these hormones don’t detox from your system properly or when the balance of your hormones is out of whack, you can experience too much estrogen. Here’s what it looks like, what could be the cause, and what you can do about it.

Symptoms of Too Much Estrogen

Although estrogen dominance can occur at any time, because of the declining levels of progesterone with aging, symptoms of estrogen dominance can become noticeable during middle adulthood. But what does it actually look and feel like? Estrogen dominance can include symptoms like:

  • intense PMS.
  • fibrocystic breast.
  • uterine fibroids.
  • ovarian cysts.
  • decreased libido.
  • irregular menses.
  • mood swings.
  • sluggish energy.
  • weight gain.
  • trouble sleeping.
  • hair loss.

Causes of Estrogen Dominance

So how does your system get out of balance, causing estrogen dominance? There are myriad reasons, but these are common causes:

  • Excess adipose tissue.
  • Over-conversion of your testosterone to estrogen.
  • PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
  • Alcohol (2 or more glasses per day).
  • Estrogen supplementation – bioidentical hormones, estrogen based birth control pills (listen to me talk to Yoga Magic Podcast about other oral contraceptive information).
  • Steroid medications (overuse of Nasonex, Flonase, Cortisone injections, oral Prednisone).
  • Poor liver detoxification.
  • Poor bowel clearance.
  • Environmental exposures from makeup, skin care, home cleaning supplies, and pesticides on foods.
  • Amongst others. 🙂

How to Identify Estrogen Dominance

It’s imperative that you get proper blood or urine testing to determine your hormone status before just starting treatment! Symptoms of estrogen dominance can be from estrogens that are actually to high, or an imbalance with progesterone (which is the cooling yin to estrogen’s fiery yang!).

In order to treat unbalanced estrogens, we need to identify first what your hormone levels are, and also what is causing them to go haywire. To find this out, you’ll need a proper integrative medicine workup. During each hormonal workup, we take an in-depth medical history and identify some areas where your body may be imbalanced. This means we ask questions about and run tests that can identify the cause of your hormonal imbalance—whether that be genetic mutations, poor detoxification pathways, bad gut bacteria, environmental exposures, and much more.

Interested in getting a more complete picture of your hormonal health? Book an appointment with our practitioners for personalized medicine that treats the root cause.

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