What do polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and fibrocystic breast disease have in common? For one thing, all three of these conditions have a significant impact on women’s health. PCOS affects 1 in 10 women 1 of childbearing age. A major cause of infertility, PCOS is also associated with weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and other problems.2 Uterine fibroids are also quite prevalent—some experts believe that up to 80 percent of women may have fibroids, sometimes with symptoms severe enough to need treatment. 3 And the Mayo Clinic estimates that more than half of all women will experience fibrocystic breast changes at least once over the course of their lives.4
Aside from how many women are affected by them, PCOS, fibroids, and fibrocystic breast disease are woven together by another common thread: estrogen dominance. Characterized by high levels of estrogen in the body, estrogen dominance is increasing at an alarming rate, and it’s seriously affecting our health. I’d like to take a closer look at estrogen dominance, and suggest some natural ways to reverse it and bring the body back into balance.
When a woman has too much estrogen relative to progesterone in her body, the excess estrogen can overstimulate her body and brain. 5 This overstimulation manifests itself in many different ways, including the following symptoms 6 of estrogen dominance:
In addition to these symptoms, estrogen dominance has also been linked to infertility, immune disorders, allergies, breast and uterine cancers, and ovarian cysts. Science suggests estrogen
dominance may even accelerate the aging process.7
Many women experience estrogen dominance when they enter perimenopause because they start to experience cycles without ovulation, meaning their estrogen levels aren’t properly balanced out by progesterone. However, estrogen dominance can be caused by a number of other factors not related to perimenopause. Some of these are:8
Synthetic hormones like the ones used in birth control and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may also throw your hormone levels out of whack, contributing to estrogen imbalance.
As a functional medicine practitioner, I believe in a holistic approach to treating health problems. This means looking not just at symptoms but at the whole person, and suggesting lifestyle changes that may help rebalance the body. Here are some things you can do to reverse estrogen dominance.9
Adjust your diet. Avoid meat and dairy that contain growth hormones as well as conventional produce that has been treated with hormone-disrupting chemicals. Instead, opt for grass-fed and pasture-raised animal products, and buy organic whenever possible. Try to up your intake of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage, which have been shown to mitigate estrogen dominance. 10
Get plenty of exercise. Not only can this reduce estrogen-storing body fat, but working up a sweat can help your body detoxify, removing excess estrogen. And exercise is a great way to reduce stress, which is also critical for reversing estrogen dominance.
Minimize your exposure to toxins. In addition to eating “clean” foods, this means investing in a good water filter, avoiding plastic packaging when you can, and using natural body care products that are formulated without chemicals.
Consider supplements. Milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid, and diindolylmethane (DIM) can all be useful for supporting removal of excess estrogen through the liver. Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, as well as herbs like maca and passion flower, may also help reverse estrogen dominance.
If you suspect estrogen dominance is affecting your health, give us a call at My Pure MD. We’re here to get to the root of the problem and help you reverse it, naturally.