If you’re familiar with hormone imbalances, you’re likely well-versed in the extreme impact Estrogen dominance can have in everyday life - from work performance, reaching your goals in the gym, and feeling like yourself in your downtime. In recent years, physicians and healthcare professionals have shone a spotlight on Estrogen, to better understand the role this necessary hormone plays, the way it can impact one’s body when there’s too much or too little, and of course, how to maintain optimal balance.
Want to learn more about Estrogen dominance and the top signs to look out for? Keep reading!
What is Estrogen Dominance?
When you think of Estrogen, you most likely think of female hormones, right? However, Estrogen dominance goes beyond this - it occurs in both women and men. In simple terms, Estrogen dominance is the accumulation of excess Estrogen in the body to the point it outweighs the amount of Progesterone - which for women is the hormone that balances your cycle. For men, this means the conversion rate of Testosterone to Estrogen is higher via the hormone conversion process called aromatase.
6 Common Symptoms to Look Out For
Many symptoms can indicate Estrogen dominance in both men and women, and some will overlap with other health conditions, so we've listed the most common signs below:
Mood swings, minor or erratic, can be a clear indication of a hormonal imbalance. A significant role of Estrogen is to increase the levels of Serotonin (the feel-good hormone) which plays a crucial part in nervous system functioning and neurotransmissions. However, when our body produces too much Serotonin, those 'feel good' feelings can quickly lead to intense spikes and drop-offs, bringing on irritability from higher nerve cell activity.
Find yourself feeling bloated a little too often? As Progesterone is a natural diuretic, when this hormone is low due to Estrogen dominance, water retention can result as your body cannot clear out the accumulation of excess Estrogen actively. For women, in particular, this can often occur around the time of your period, which usually adds to the level of discomfort many women experience during this time.
Not in the 'mood'? As both Testosterone and Estrogen contribute to a healthy sex drive, maintaining a healthy hormonal balance is crucial for libido. Estrogen and decreased levels of free or total Testosterone availability are often expected in women who use the contraceptive pill. One of its primary functions is to tie up sex hormones by inhibiting androgen synthesis, which occurs in the ovaries and adrenal structure, causing an increased imbalance in Estrogen.
If you're on a weight loss journey and have found that calories in vs. calories out isn’t working for you, there may be an underlying hormonal issue. Estrogen dominance, as we know, can cause water retention; however, that's not all. It may also cause your body to hang on to extra fat around the lower abdomen, hips, and thigh area. The worst part of this is that fat cells produce even MORE Estrogen, creating a vicious cycle that can lead to thyroid issues, various metabolic disorders, heart disease, and diabetes.
Worsened PMS Symptoms and Irregular Cycles
From drastic mood changes, breast tenderness, heavy bleeding and related pain, headaches, and acne flare-ups, PMS symptoms can become increasingly unpleasant and unmanageable for women who suffer from Estrogen dominance. The effects and benefits of Progesterone can be significantly outweighed by excess Estrogen, which can lead to very heavy and irregular periods.
Effecting the intricate chemical balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, Estrogen dominance can upset Serotonin and GABA, which can significantly affect moods and the nervous system. Surging hormones can result from this imbalance, leading to increased anxiety, panic attacks, and unmanageable emotions.
While these signs are not qualifying on their own, they can indicate that something else may be going on. Discussing your symptoms with your healthcare professional first and foremost is recommended to discover the root of the cause and a plan for treatment if required.
From fibre-rich diets and increased water consumption, treating Estrogen dominance with a nutritional diet and healthy lifestyle is possible.