Do feel bloated? Do your kids or husband say you’re bitchy? Is your skin breaking out? Are your breasts tender? And, are you bleeding? Congratulations, these are the classic excess estrogen symptoms. Isn’t life great?
Excess estrogen levels can be just as problematic for women as low estrogen levels. There are several common reasons for excess estrogen. One is estrogen replacement therapy in which the dose is too high. This does not mean that therapy should be discontinued, but the estrogen dose should be adjusted.
Secondly, excess estrogen can also occur from extra estrogen in the environment such as hormones used in commercially raised cattle and poultry, and from estrogen like products found in pesticides, cosmetics, and household products. Also, poor nutrition can lead to excess estrogen.
Another reason is a bit more difficult to explain, but let me give it a try. A key for optimal women’s health is to keep estrogen and progesterone in balance with one another. Progesterone and estrogen levels decline with age, but progesterone usually declines earlier and farther creating an imbalance where there is too much estrogen relative to progesterone. The term “estrogen dominance” is used when there is more estrogen relative to progesterone leading to symptoms of excess estrogen. Stress is one factor tilting the body to make more estrogen than progesterone.
Obesity leads to excess estrogen as fat contains aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen in both men and women.
A more complete list of symptoms related to excess estrogen is below.
Excess Estrogen Symptoms
- Bloated and/or puffiness
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Sleep disturbance
- Thinking difficulty (foggy)
- Facial flushing
Symptoms from estrogen excess improve by adjusting the dose of estrogen being used. For women taking a synthetic estrogen switching to a bio-identical estrogen many times improves symptoms. Another alternative is to add progesterone therapy.
How to Lower Estrogen
If you suffer from excess estrogen, don’t panic as there are number of things women can do to lower estrogen. Changes in diet and exercise can reduce estrogen as do some nutritional/herbal supplements.
Reducing the fats in your diet while adding more fiber can lower estrogen. Fiber binds estrogen and eliminates it. Fiber can be obtained from whole grains, and fruits and vegetable. Cruciferous vegetables also help to break down estrogen into healthy metabolites. Beans are another good source of fiber. Soy products are phytoestrogens that rid the body of estrogen. Switching to organic foods and natural fed animals for meat will enable you to avoid excess estrogen.
Vigorous exercise at least three times a week can successfully lower estrogen.
A number of herbs are reported to lower estrogen and include milk thistle, licorice, sage, nettle, hops, anise, black cohosh, clover, and many others.
Don’t let the signs and symptoms of excess estrogen drive you crazy. Get your estrogen levels down and achieve hormonal balance and family harmony.
Originally published June 1, 2011.
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