Do You Suffer From Estrogen Dominance?
Here's What To Do?
Q: I suffer from very bad PMS. My periods are extremely painful and heavy, and my breasts swell and become really tender. I think I might have what is called fibrocystic breasts. What can I take to help? Cindy, 24 – Milton
A: Healthy hormone balance is an important part of well being. When there is an imbalance, health problems can arise. A common concern is when the body has an excess of estrogen and insufficient amounts of progesterone, a condition called estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance has been linked to PMS, uterine fibroids, infertility, fibrocystic breasts, abdominal fat gain, decreased libido, and cancers that develop in the uterus, ovaries and breasts.
In the modern world there are many things that can contribute to estrogen dominance such as excessive exposure to environmental xenoestrogens (found in cosmetics, detergents, lotions, plastics), the use of synthetic estrogens such as the birth control pill, poor gut bacterial balance, chronic stress (which also taxes the adrenals and thyroid), a poor diet, smoking, alcohol consumption and poor liver function.
So what now?
1. When addressing anything hormone-related, it is always important to start with the diet. Remove processed foods, remove or drastically reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars, avoid alcohol consumption, stay well-hydrated, choose organic whenever possible, and eat an array of fruits and vegetables, clean proteins and healthy fats.
2. Invest in a good probiotic to benefit gut health.
3. Decrease/eliminate your exposure to xenoestrogens. For more information on xenoestrogens go to www.ewg.org and www.balancedconcepts.net/tips_avoid_xenoestrogens.pdf
4. From a supplement perspective many things could be of benefit, such as:
Calcium D-glucarate: Supplementation with calcium D-glucarate has been shown to promote liver detoxification and excretion of hormones and environmental toxins, thus preventing their recycling in the body. This action has been shown to lower unhealthy estrogen levels.
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C): I3C is a phytochemical derived from the Brassica family of vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc) that increases estrogen metabolism in the liver for safe excretion from the body and competitively inhibits estrogen receptor activity.
Diindolylmethane (DIM): DIM is a natural component derived from indole-3-carbinole known for the role it plays in stimulating liver detoxification enzymes and supporting normal hormone metabolism.
Curcumin: A powerful anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic that can help with menstrual cramps and back pain. Curcumin is also liver-protective and improves liver function, thus helping flush out harmful environmental toxins.
Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste Tree): Vitex is a popular herb for PMS and hormone regulation. Vitex works by acting on the pituitary gland, and through a cascade of chemical messenger signals can help create a balance of estrogen and progesterone.
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis): Dong Quai is a traditional Chinese herbal remedy that is sometimes referred to as “female ginseng”. It can balance estrogen levels, reduce menstrual cramps due to its antispasmodic activity and can help reduce the severity of mood swings.
**Before choosing any products consult your MD or ND to assess your hormone levels and discuss your best options for a comprehensive treatment plan**