Estrogen is a naturally occurring hormone that plays an important role in functions such as childbearing, regulating cholesterol, and bone health. At the appropriate level, estrogen provides significant support to these and other areas of wellness. However, if estrogen levels exceed healthy norms, known as estrogen dominance, issues can develop.

What is Estrogen Dominance?

Even though estrogen is a necessary component of health in both men and women, too much can cause significant problems. Estrogens are steroid hormones derived from cholesterol. There are actually three forms of the hormone (estradiol, estrone, and estriol) of which estradiol is the most common. Produced primarily in the ovaries, estrogen is also produced in the adrenals and fat tissues. When “dominant”, it doesn’t necessarily mean the body is making too much. Proportion is the key. When it’s not in proper proportion to the hormone that balances it, (primarily progesterone), estrogen can be dominant even if levels are low. Estrogen stimulates cell growth, while progesterone keeps it in check. Without sufficient progesterone available, unregulated tissue growth can generate diseases, such as breast cancer.

An estrogen dominance can develop naturally, but it can also be a result of:

  • Poor diet
  • Gut dysbiosis
  • Exposure to BPAs and/or heavy metals
  • Stress
  • Estrogen replacement therapy
  • Birth control

Additionally, poor metabolization may contribute to estrogen dominance. Depending on how it is metabolized, estrogen influences the body in different ways. The liver metabolizes estrogen via three different paths, 2-Hydroxyestrone (2-OH), 4-Hydroxyestrone (4-OH), and 16-Hydroxyestrone (16-OH). These pathways determine whether estrogen is converted into harmful or helpful metabolites. The 2-OH pathway is considered safest as it has the lowest risk of producing malignancy while also supporting areas of wellness such as mood and energy level. Conversely, the 4-OH and 16-OH pathways are associated with a greater risk of breast cancer and an increase of PMS symptoms.

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Recognizing Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

Many women believe that uncomfortable and occasionally severe PMS symptoms are a normal occurrence. However, that is not the case. Increased intensity of PMS symptoms is perhaps the most obvious and immediate indicator of estrogen dominance. PMS symptoms occur on a spectrum and as estrogen becomes increasingly imbalanced, so too does the intensity and duration of PMS symptoms. The most common symptoms of PMS exacerbated by estrogen dominance include:

  • Bloating
  • Changes in mood
  • Cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Fibrocystic or sensitive breasts
  • Skin issues
  • Uterine fibroids

Those suffering from a severe case of estrogen dominance will likely experience symptoms of greater intensity including:

  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Erratic mood swings
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Insomnia
  • Severe cramping

It is important to keep in mind that although it’s called the female hormone, men’s bodies also require estrogen and can suffer from an estrogen dominance.

Symptoms of high estrogen in men include:

  • Infertility: Estrogen is involved with creating healthy sperm. When estrogen levels are too high, sperm levels may fall, which can lead to fertility issues.
  • Gynecomastia (the stimulation of breast tissue growth in men): This condition is often associated with “man-boobs” and alcohol abuse. The liver function becomes impaired, leading to an excess of estrogen.
  • Erectile dysfunction: High levels of estrogen can often lead to men struggling to get or maintain an erection.

Resolving an Estrogen Dominance

There are multiple approaches to resolving the increased PMS symptoms and other issues associated with estrogen dominance. Perhaps the most effective and quickest method of alleviating estrogen dominance and restoring hormonal balance is through proper supplementation. Therefore, those suffering from PMS symptoms or other indicators of estrogen imbalance should consider supplementing with an estrogen regulating product such as HoltraCeuticals’ Cellular Support. Dietary changes can also help lower estrogen levels. Patients suffering from estrogen dominance are typically encouraged to maintain a low-fat and high-fiber diet until the issue resolves.

Estrogen dominance is increasingly common and contributes significantly to the worsening of PMS, infertility, and other issues. Many women who suffer from exceptionally challenging PMS symptoms and other forms of discomfort often do not realize that resolving an estrogen imbalance may be the key to improving their situation. If you are suffering from estrogen-related dysfunction and feel you are not getting the help you need, contact Holtorf Medical Group today.

*Always consult your doctor before beginning supplementation.

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