Too Many Hormones
If you follow the latest news reports, current articles from natural women’s health groups, or even information shared through social media, you will surely notice how women’s health issues and concerns are often at the forefront. One of the most common concerns is related to hormone imbalances, whether it affects the menstrual cycle or the thyroid. Estrogen promotes the development and maintenance of female characteristics of the body. However, too much estrogen is a cause for concern and is known as estrogen dominance. In fact, I was just on CTV Morning Live to discuss this.
But We Need Estrogen, Don’t We?
Women need estrogen, just not the toxic type found in the environment. The ovaries and adrenal glands create estriol (good estrogen). When a woman enters menopause and the ovaries shut down (or are surgically removed), the adrenal glands take on the task of producing estrogen. The problem we are seeing is that we are not eliminating cancer-promoting estradiol (bad estrogen—think “d” for “danger”) that we are adding to our bodies daily. We are getting them through multiple environmental mimickers, or xeno-estrogens. These xeno-estrogens can be found in plastic (e.g. water bottles), cosmetics and cleaning products. They are also in pesticides, which bioaccumulate (i.e., the higher you are on the food chain, the more it is compounded). We can also be affected, to some point, by phytoestrogens found in plants, such as soy.
When we continue to add more estrogen mimickers and do not remove them through diet and exercise, they can cause an imbalance in our hormones.
Estrogen Dominance Does Not Discriminate
It can also reduce our ability to effectively lose weight. This continues on during menopause when we see the adrenal glands take over. Because we live such stress-filled lifestyles in our younger years, our adrenals are now overtaxed and unable to support the production of estriol. Consequently, the increased estradiol wreaks havoc in our body and this is when we are hit with hormone imbalance symptoms, such as insomnia, frequently waking during the night, loss of energy, weight gain around the middle and reduced energy levels.
Men are also affected by xeno-estrogens: they can experience symptoms like gynecomastia (man boobs), erectile dysfunction, infertility, as well as weight gain. Estrogen dominance can also lead to hyperthyroidism and numerous cancers, such as breast, prostate and testicular.
Avoiding And Reversing Estrogen Dominance
There are many things that we can do to detox our systems from this overload of bad estrogen and help us rediscover good hormonal health. Eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts will help eliminate excess estrogens. Taking a detoxifying bath in Epsom salts will also help pull some excess hormones from your body. Other great detoxifying tools are infrared saunas and dry brushing (remember to always brush towards the heart!).
You should also look at reducing your environmental exposure. Avoid pesticides by buying organic. If you use a microwave, avoid heating your food in plastic. Opt for natural cleaners, hygiene products and cosmetics.
You may also want to look into supplementing your diet with the nutrients that are needed to help protect you from environmental estrogens and hormonal imbalances. Estrosmart™ by Lorna Vanderhaeghe is a great product for maintaining healthy estrogen-to-progesterone balance and halting the conversion of good estrogens to bad estrogens. In fact, several of my patients have seen resolution of their hormonal imbalance symptoms with these dietary changes and supplementation.
A Final Word On Understanding Hormones
I talk to countless women daily, many of them who tell me that, as they are approaching menopause, they feel like they are going crazy. They complain of being unable to sleep, think, and control their mood swings. Hormone imbalances are very difficult to live with.
A Smart Women’s Guide to Hormones by Lorna Vanderhaeghe is a great book to read if you suffer from hormonal imbalance symptoms. In fact, I recommend that all women read it. It is an easy read and will provide you with more tips on dealing with imbalances.
Hormones control just about every aspect of our physical and mental health. With these tips, you will learn to take control back.