First off, you may be asking what estrogen dominance is. From a clinical standpoint, it just means that your estrogen levels are high. But (and it’s a big but), this isn’t very common. What is common though, is functional estrogen dominance. Meaning that perhaps your estrogen levels are “normal” but your progesterone is low. Or both levels are fine, but you are not detoxifying excess estrogen like you should. Or, even more common, you are exposed to too many xenoestrogens in your daily routine.
Xenoestrogens are estrogen mimickers that are human-made. These come from things like plastics, beauty products, house hold cleaners, and more. They’re also commonly called “endocrine disrupters” because…well, they disrupt your endocrine system. These pesky little things are stored in our fat cells, and build up, and over time they lead to things like obesity, infertility, hypothyroidism and, anxiety.
The problem with too much estrogen is that progesterone levels are then inherently lower. You need progesterone to produce GABA, which is a neurotransmitter which controls mood (ahem, anxiety) and sleep. Similarly, too much estrogen leads to an increase in cortisol-binding globulin. Too much of this means you aren’t getting enough cortisol into cells which is just another cause of anxiety.
So, could you take some bio-identical progesterone? Sure. But, I’m never a fan of a band-aid approach, but rather identifying WHY you do not have enough progesterone. While it may start in the gut (I’m sure you’ve heard me harp on this before), it could also be that you’re simply exposed to too many xenoestrogens. What’s a woman to do then? I’ve got some tips:
Reducing Excess Estrogen
First, clean up your diet. Stop eating animal products that are laden with hormones and antibiotics. Those will absolutely lead to estrogen dominance. Start purchasing foods as close to their natural state as possible, and go with organic when you can since herbicides and pesticides also lead to estrogen dominance.
Check your personal care products as these are laden with toxins. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. Seriously. So that may mean that you need to slowly start transitioning your cosmetics, lotions, and shampoos to something more natural. If you haven’t checked out ewg.org/skindeep, that’s the first place to start.
Stop drinking from the tap! Yes, you! Tap water is chock full of chemicals. Sure, it goes through some county ‘filtration,’ but it still doesn’t fully get rid of hormones from birth control that women flush down the toilet, the fluoride, or the chlorine which both affect hormones. Unfortunately a Brita-type filter doesn’t either. I’m a fan of the Berkey system which does eliminate/minimize those chemicals.
Back away from the plastic. This is a hard one because…well, it’s everywhere. Plastic water bottles, plastic cups, plastic storage bags. You get the drift. But where you can, start swapping out. Use a glass water bottle. Use beeswax wraps instead of saran wrap. Consider glass storage containers. And PLEASE DON’T microwave in plastic. Hello cancer.