What is Estrogen Dominance?
You may read elsewhere that estrogen dominance is having too much estrogen. That’s only partially true. Sometimes it is actually having an estrogen level that is too high, but more often it is having relatively more estrogen than one or more of the other hormones that should be available to balance your estrogen, such as progesterone, DHEAs and testosterone.
What are the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance?
While you need a certain level of estrogen, too much of a good thing can cause symptoms like:
- PMS – sad, emotional, weepy crying type PMS, your husband or boyfriend has no idea what’s going on type PMS
- Breast tenderness
- Headaches or Migraines
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine polyps
- Heavy periods
- Painful periods
- Hormone related cancers such as ovarian, uterine or breast cancer
- Anxiety or depression
How do you test for Estrogen Dominance?
Well now that depends. There is a blood test for estrogen (estradiol), but did you know that estradiol is only one of 3 main forms of estrogen in your body? The other two are estrone and estriol and these are not usually measured on blood tests. So your estradiol test may come back perfectly normal, but there may still be estrogen dominance. Even should your estradiol blood test be normal, it depends on how the other reproductive hormones are faring. It also depends on how active your estrogen is. A full hormone blood test panel would include: total testosterone, DHEAs, androstenedione, progesterone (best measured on day 21 of your cycle), estradiol (on day 3 and 14 of a cycle), LH and FSH (day 3). There may only be subtle shifts in these hormones that your doctor considers normal, but those subtle shifts are sometimes enough to cause the above symptoms. Even if all the blood tests are normal, we still have the unknowns of estrone and estriol. With the above symptoms, I would often help the liver with estrogen metabolism, regardless of blood test results, although I always like to see what the exact numbers are to see about the subtle shifts.
How do you treat Estrogen Dominance?
In order to efficiently process extra estrogen for disposal, the liver requires specific nutrients in specific forms. It does not require dandelion or milk thistle, which are the constituents of many liver detox kits. It does require 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, indole-3-carbinol, hydroxycobalamin, n-acetyl cysteine, glutathione, calcium-d-glucarate. These are all natural substances, but almost none of them are found in health food store liver detox kits. These are the types of treatments that I would use to enhance liver detoxification generally, but also complete, efficient estrogen metabolism. I have seen dramatic improvements in the above mentioned symptoms through improving liver metabolism of excess estrogen and xenoestrogens (chemical pollutants like BPA, that can act like and be even more powerful than estrogen).