Estrogen Dominance and What You Can Do About It
Estrogen dominance is when there is more estrogen in your system than is needed, and this excess of estrogens may be causing fertility issues.
This may show up as PCOS, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or ovarian cysts.
Even an abnormally heavy flow can be an indicator of estrogen dominance.
But generally, any time where there’s excess growth in the reproductive system – such as uterine fibroids – estrogen is stimulating that growth.
This post is going to cover some of the causes of estrogen dominance and more importantly, what you can do to combat it.
What Causes Estrogen Dominance?
A common underlying cause of estrogen dominance is exposure to xenohormones.
So, what are xenohormones?
Xenoestrogens are “foreign” estrogens, substances that are close enough in molecular structure to estrogen that they can bind to estrogen receptor sites with potentially hazardous outcomes. – Mosby’s Guide to Women’s Health, 2007
And unfortunately, we live in a world filled with chemicals like these.
Some of these are xenoestrogens – meaning they act like estrogen in our body and stimulate our estrogen receptor sites with a very strong estrogenic effect.
Where Do Xenohormones Come From?
Xenoestrogens are found in a lot of things that we’re exposed to daily (such as skincare, cleaning products, haircare, etc.)
I know this might sound worrying, but don’t stress too much. All of these products have extremely effective alternatives and making the switch away from these products is just a simple lifestyle change.
Many products are being advertised as “safe” and “all-natural”, but are they really all that safe, especially as it pertains to your fertility and families health?
The packages are pretty and the labels are clever, but the more you dig, the more you find out that many of the chemicals in main stream cleaners are xenoestrogens and can mimic hormones within our body.
In addition to having a negative impact on hormonal and reproductive health, many common household cleaning products can lead to health problems like eye and throat irritation, headaches, respiratory issues, allergic reactions, worsened asthma, and possibly even cancer!
Skincare and Makeup
There are common compounds in skincare and makeup products that also mimic estrogen. This is key to know because these are products you use on a consistent basis.
The good news is that the natural makeup and skincare industry is now filled with alternatives that perform just as well as (if not better than) other well-known brands.
Sunscreen is another product that is often full of estrogen-mimicking compounds. Since it is absorbed through your skin, it’s important to pick natural sunscreens.
BPA in Plastics
Crinkly plastics (like water bottles from the gas station) and soft plastics (like Tupperware that you put in the microwave) often have BPA.
BPA is another chemical that mimics estrogen, so it’s important to stay away from these types of plastic as much as you can.
You can also avoid BPA by buying reusable water bottles and not microwaving your food in plastic containers.
A key part in balancing your hormones is avoiding pesticides such as glyphosate, the most commonly used one.
To do this, you should eat as organic as possible and avoid using herbicides or pesticides in your yard. Also, make sure to wash your produce to remove any pesticides or herbicides that have been sprayed on them.
(Organic food is an especially important part of this, but we’ll get more into diet specifics in a little bit.)
Feminine Care Products
The cotton used to make tampons and pads is generally not organically grown, unless marked otherwise. Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the United States.
Luckily, there are other options you can use like diva cups and reusable cloth pads. Using alternatives like these is a good way to ensure that you’re not exposing very absorbent tissue to xenoestrogens.
How to Help Your Body Balance Hormones and Expel Xenoestrogens
Use Phytoestrogenic Herbs
I know; this sounds counterintuitive. Why would I use herbs that have an estrogenic effect?
Well, phytoestrogens are incredibly fast at getting to our estrogen receptor sites. This is key because they have a much smaller stimulating effect than other xenoestrogens.
Here are a few of the best herbs for this purpose:
- Red clover
- Licorice Root
And yes, we do want our own estrogen to take up those receptor sites.
But if you’re experiencing estrogen dominance already, taking phytoestrogenic herbs is a good way to be proactive.
Fertility cleansing is a great way to support the liver’s natural ability to get rid of toxins – including xenoestrogens.
This is something the body naturally does, but a fertility cleanse helps your body be more efficient at this task.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating the fertility diet – meaning cutting out processed foods and including more whole foods – is a good place to start. And an important part of this is getting enough fiber. That’s because fiber helps your body get rid of excess estrogen.
Some especially beneficial foods to include in your diet are:
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
Beyond that, it’s crucial to eat organic as much as you can. This helps you to avoid any pesticides with estrogen-like effects.
Herbs That Can Help with Estrogen Dominance
Maca is a gentle tonic herb that supports the endocrine system. You can get it in capsules, powder, and tinctures.
This is a natural compound that’s found in cruciferous vegetables.
It helps the body to expel “bad” estrogen more quickly – and taking it in a supplement form helps speed up that process.