Estrogen dominance is a common pattern in women, where estrogen levels are high in comparison to progesterone levels.
To learn about estrogen dominance go here:
Our hormones respond to so many aspects of our physiology that it can take some detective work to figure out the root cause of estrogen dominance. And that is the Functional Medicine approach to health care.
Here are 8 potential hidden causes:
1. Body Fat
Our fat cells contain an enzyme called aromatase which converts testosterone into estrogen. That means the more fat cells in the body, the more estrogen produced. This is one of the reasons that heavier women nearing menopause may not experience hot flashes. We also watch this in men who are on testosterone. Aromatase can convert their testosterone replacement into estrogen and result in breast pain and enlargement.
2. Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance (when cells do not properly respond to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar) increases aromatase activity, leading to increased estrogen levels. Insulin resistance is epidemic in the U.S. affecting over 100 million people so this is contributing to estrogen dominance.
3. Liver Problems
The liver is the main site of estrogen metabolism. If the liver is not functioning well, estrogen will be metabolized (and therefore eliminated from the body) more slowly.
4. Poor Gut Health
There’s an enzyme in the gut called beta-glucuronidase that causes estrogen to recirculate into the body. Overgrowth of certain unfriendly gut bacteria boost levels of this enzyme, contributing to estrogen dominance. Gut health is key to your overall health. To heal your gut, buy the book “Super Gut” by William Davis MD and follow his recommendations.
5. Low Thyroid Function
Estrogen and thyroid hormones have an intimate relationship. High estrogen blocks the conversion of T4 to T3, and low thyroid function slows elimination of estrogen from the body. This can create a vicious cycle and worsen estrogen dominance! Half of women over 40 years of age have thyroid dysfunction and are unaware. TSH screening is not accurate enough to find this issue so most women with thyroid dysfunction go undiagnosed for about 10 years.
Alcohol increases activity of the aromatase enzyme in the liver, contributing to higher estrogen levels.
Here’s a big one. Did you know that progesterone and the stress hormone cortisol are made from the same precursor hormone? That means that with more stress, we produce more cortisol and less progesterone—leaving estrogen unchecked 😮
Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. They can be found in plastic water bottles, grocery store receipts, cleaning products, shampoos, and lotions to name a few. Xenoestrogens are literally everywhere. Here is an article I wrote about Xenoestrogens: https://healthwithoutrisk.com/hormone-health-surprising-sunscreen-risk/
Estrogen dominance is not straightforward, but we can help you make sense of it and feel better. Are you looking to better understand YOUR hormones? Reach out to us if you need help at https://healthwithoutrisk.com/
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