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Is Estrogen Making You Fat?

What is estrogen dominance?

There are three main reproductive hormones - estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Women have mainly estogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate the female reproductive system.


Higher estrogen levels during the reproductive years have many benefits for women including lower risk of heart disease and increased bone density. But estrogen must be balanced by progesterone to limit the negative effects.


Estrogen dominance for women is when there is too much estrogen relative to progesterone.




Symptoms of estrogen dominance in women

The symptoms of estrogen dominance in women can often be mistaken for other conditions or even just normal PMS. They include:

• bloating

• breast tenderness or fibrous lumps

• irregular menstrual periods

• mood swings

• headaches

• anxiety

• hair loss

• sleeping issues

• fatigue


What causes estrogen dominance?

Estrogen dominance may be caused by excess estrogen production or by too much estrogen relative to progesterone.


1. Perimenopause is the primary cause of estogen dominance because estrogen levels fall slower that progesterone levels for women at this time.


2. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome can have high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone.


3. Excess body fat, insulin resistance and inflammation - can all contribute to imbalances in estrogen production. Fat cells can produce a form of estrogen so someone with excess body fat will have higher estrogen levels.


4. Inflammation, alcohol, sugar - One function of the liver is to rid the body of excess hormones like estrogen. But inflammation and consuming too much alcohol and sugar can make it hard for the liver to do this.


5. Increased cortisol levels due to stress can lower progesterone levels resulting in estrogen dominance.


6. Xenoestrogens can contribute to an estrogen to progesterone imbalance. Xenoestrogens are estrogen like substances that can bind to estrogen receptor sites. They can come from plastics, pesticides, and chemicals found in cosmetics.


7. Hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives can also contribute to estrogen dominance if the dosage is not properly controlled. Find out more about oral contraceptives here.


Can you have estrogen dominance after menopause?

Estrogen dominance usually occurs around the time of perimenopause or a little earlier as hormone levels start to shift. But because it's the relative amount to progesterone that's important it can still occur at other times.


If you are using hormone replacement, you’ll also want to make sure that your physician monitors your dosage.


Dangers of estrogen dominance

Estrogen dominance can lead to:

• Increased risk of breast cancer

• Higher risk of ovarian cancer

• Endometriosis

• Uterine cancer


What can you do?

If you think you have signs of estrogen dominance you should check with your physician to rule out other causes. The symptoms can be similar to other conditions like hypothyroidism.


Here are some things you can do to lower estrogen dominance:

  • Lower your body fat percentage. Some forms of estrogen are created by body fat

  • Support your liver health by limiting alcohol, sugar and high fat intake and eating more cruciferous vegetables, more turmeric and more limes and lemons

  • Support gut health by eating more fibre, less processed foods and eating or supplementing with probiotics

  • Reduce exposure to xenoestrogens. Limit plastic exposure in your foods, and choose cosmetics with fewer xenoestrogens.

  • Reduce your stress levels to reduce inflammation levels, and support a healthy gut

  • Support progesterone levels (see this blog post about progesterone vs progestins for more information)

Summary

Keeping hormones balanced is challenging, but the right eating plan can help. I can provide you with an eating plan that balances hormones and optimizes fat loss that is customized for you and your uniqueness. You will find that your personal food prescription will help to swiftly reduce the effects of estrogen dominance. Click here to book a free call.


References

#262: Overcoming Estrogen Dominance at Any Age with Magdalena Wszelaki

Veterans Affairs.

Signs and Symptoms of High Estrogen: Diagnosis, Treatment, and More