Have you ever had something that you were completely obsessed about and you just could not get enough information?
This is me on the path of figuring out hormones. Every chance I get I am chatting with experts, reading research studies, and books until all hours of the night (well at least until 9:30 then my internal clock says it’s time for bed 🙂 )
Over the last decade of working with women, I see how much hormone imbalances are really affecting women. It has also helped going through my own hormone journey to really respect this season of life that is rarely discussed.
So I decided to take a deep dive and I am not coming up for air until I have answers and solutions people!
Let us then discuss what I have found as the problem child for most women…ESTROGEN!
I am sure the majority of you have heard of estrogen. I feel like it is the most common hormone mentioned…if not let me define it for you.
Estrogen is a class of hormones that is important in stimulating cell growth including the blood-rich tissue in the uterus, maturation of an egg-containing follicle in the ovary, as well as the female sex organs at puberty.
Estrogen dominance happens when women have excessive estrogen but little or no progesterone to balance its effects on the body.
We would have to live in a bubble to escape all the excess estrogen we’re exposed to in plastics, pesticides, industrial waste products, certain meats, soaps, carpets…the list goes on and on. For so long I poo-pooed this idea of environmental xenohormones but the more research I am doing the more I am believing it plays a role!
Throw out your plastic Tupperware my friends 🙂
Same ol’ story and dance, friends
Diet always seems to be a common “helper” in making us feel good.
Up until our late twenties, we can get away with a lot of crappy lifestyle choices. We could stay up late and party into the wee hours, have late-night pizza runs and drink pure junk. Then, show up the next day to class or work.
As we get older, our bodies can no longer just deal (not to mention those crappy habits are taking a toll we just may not feel it yet). Therefore, eating highly processed and sugary foods play into the estrogen dominance equation for many reasons.
Side Note: You should read “Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers” on the ways stress affects our bodies…so fascinating!
When we are experiencing high levels of stress, stress being physical like exercising too much or emotional stress, we have increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that competes and blocks progesterone receptor sites. As previously discussed, progesterone is the hormone that keeps estrogen balanced. Without it, estrogen levels increase.
Stress also may cause anovulatory cycles, which are menstrual cycles without ovulation but menstruation can still be present. Unfortunately, if a woman doesn’t ovulate then progesterone will not be produced in any significant amount. The consequence is estrogen dominance.
Birth control pills and Conventional hormone replacement therapy
Birth control methods are a whole other ball of worms that I will save for a later tangent. Just know, synthetic hormones do not work the same as our natural hormones and can be the cause of many mineral deficiencies and hormone imbalances. (This does not include natural forms of hormones to be discussed in our healing blog next week 🙂 )
Medically induced menopause from hysterectomies…this procedure is being performed more and more often.
Even when the ovaries remain intact, their blood supply is severely compromised by a hysterectomy and they usually stop functioning altogether within a year or two following the removal of the uterus. In normal cases, common practice is to prescribe estrogen and no progesterone to women with hysterectomies. Between the estrogen-only hormones, estrogen made in fat cells, and environmental estrogens, estrogen dominance can most likely happen.
Excessive calorie intake-remember how fat cells produce large amounts of estrogen
Mineral deficiencies that may impact cell function “leaky gut”
Whoa, buddy! That was a ton of information and probably a bit overwhelming.
I promise not to just leave you hanging. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post as I will discuss some healing options for Estrogen Dominance!
If you have questions or thoughts, please email me! I love hearing from you!
As always, here to support you!