You probably remember estrogen from high school health class. It is one of your primary female sex hormones and it plays a critical role in your hormonal health. Estrogen imbalance can lead to an array of symptoms and health issues, including premenstrual symptoms, menstrual problems, endometriosis, infertility, headaches, and fatigue. If you are dealing with symptoms of estrogen and hormonal imbalance, you will be happy to hear that you can improve estrogen imbalance naturally.
In this article, I will explain what estrogen is and what are the three major types of estrogen. You will learn more about estrogen imbalance and estrogen dominance. You will understand potential problems with hormonal medications and xenoestrogens. I will explain how estrogen metabolism works. I will share the testing method I recommend for your estrogen levels and share my top natural solutions for estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance.
What Is Estrogen
Estrogen is one of your primary female sex hormones along with progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system. It is also responsible for secondary sex characteristics. It plays a critical role in your hormonal and overall health.
3 Major Types of Estrogen
You may not be aware that there is more than one type of estrogen you need to know about. Let’s look at the three main types of estrogen that affect your body (1):
- Estrone (E1): Estrone is a form of estrogen that is produced during menopause by your liver and fat cells. The problem is that a variety of toxins, including xenoestrogens, heavy metals, and pollutants are also stored in your liver and fat cells if your body has high levels of toxins, your estrones may be contaminated or altered as well.
- Estradiol (E2): Estradiol is a form of estrogen that’s created in your ovaries. It is critical for your energy levels, sex drive, pleasure, sleep, skin, hair, and bones. By supporting your mucous membranes, it also helps to moisturize your vagina, gastrointestinal tract, skin, lips, and eyes. While estradiol is important for your health, since it acts as a growth stimulator hormone, if you have too much of it, it may increase your risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer.
- Estriol (E3): Estriol is a form of estrogen that’s made in your liver and breast cells, as well as by the placenta during pregnancy. It helps to regulate which cells get turned on or off to estrogen and can regulate cellular growth factors and other forms of estrogen. It may reduce estradiol in your body, hence play a role in protection against breast cancer.
Having a healthy ratio of these three forms of estrogens is critical for your health. In a healthy body, you should have about 90 percent estriol, 7 percent estradiol, and 3 percent estrone, which is commonly referred to as the Tri-Estrogen Formula.
The Problem with Estrogen Imbalance
As you know, elevated estradiol can become a problem and may increase your risk of cancer. However, low estradiol levels can be harmful to your body as well.
One of the main roles of estradiol is to increase your serotonin levels naturally. When your estrogen levels are out of balance and your estradiol levels are too low, it means that your serotonin levels will drop too. This will push your adrenals into overdrive to create more norepinephrine (Nr) and epinephrine (Ep) to balance your mood.
The problem is that if your adrenals are already weak due to chronic stress or other health issues, your epinephrine levels will decrease and your body won’t be able to find its balance. Low serotonin can lead to headaches, fatigue, depression, insomnia, hot flashes, and low sex drive. An imbalance between norepinephrine and epinephrine may result in anxiety, insomnia, and hot flashes. Clearly, an imbalance doesn’t only disrupt your hormonal health, but affects your mental health and energy levels as well (2).
What Is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance means that you have elevated levels of estrogen or hormone imbalances in your body. Estrogen dominance can develop in both women (progesterone/estrogen) and men (testosterone/estrogen) (3, 4).
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance may result in a variety of symptoms, including:
- Premenstrual symptoms (PMS)
- Menstrual cramps
- Hot flashes
- Decreased libido
- Excessive menstruation
- Uterine fibroids
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Thyroid issues
- Breast, uterine, ovarian, prostate, or colon cancer
The Cause of Estrogen Dominance
There are a variety of factors that may increase your risk of estrogen dominance and related symptoms, including (5):
- Chronic stress
- High body fat and obesity
- Poor diet high in inflammatory, refined, and processed foods and low in greens, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and clean protein
- Lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Environmental estrogens (xenoestrogens)
Estrogen Dominance and Histamine Intolerance
Estrogen dominance and histamine intolerance share some common symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, and abnormal menstrual function. Estrogen and histamine also attach to the same receptors (H1), which will result in the release of histamine from your mast cells present near your reproductive organs.
The more estrogen your body has, the more histamine your mast cells will release. More histamine, however, will lead to more estrogen feeding a vicious cycle of estrogen dominance and histamine intolerance. If you are dealing with estrogen dominance, it is best to check for and address possible histamine intolerance as well. To learn more about the connection between estrogen dominance and histamine intolerance, I recommend reading this article (6).
Estrogen Dominance and Thyroid Disease
Your body is a holistic system where nothing happens in isolation. If you have one hormonal imbalance, it affects your other hormones as well. It is not surprising that if you are dealing with estrogen dominance or estrogen imbalance, it will affect thyroid hormones and increase your risk of Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid cancer, and other thyroid conditions.
When it comes to estrogen and your thyroid, both too much and too little estrogen can lead to thyroid problems. Estrogen stimulates thyroid growth, which means that too little estrogen can lead to not enough thyroid tissues resulting in an enlarged thyroid. Estrogen triggers your thyroid to create thyroglobulin, a thyroid precursor hormone. Too little estrogen will result in too little thyroglobulin, while too much estrogen can cause too much thyroglobulin creating an enlarged thyroid. Furthermore, estrogen also helps to increase the specific protein that transports your thyroid hormones in your blood. Too much of this protein can cause hypothyroidism even if you have appropriate levels of thyroid hormones.
Appropriate progesterone levels are also necessary for thyroid health. Progesterone and your thyroid hormone have a mutually beneficial relationship. Progesterone is essential for your thyroid health, but thyroid hormones are also important for your ovaries and progesterone production. Progesterone can help to lower the amount of protein that carries thyroid in your blood and can also increase your thyroid hormone levels. Essentially, it helps to counteract the effects of estrogen and to bring balance to your body. A healthy estrogen-progesterone balance is critical for your thyroid health.
If you have too much estrogen due to estrogen dominance, it may lead to overstimulation and overproduction of thyroid hormones leading to hypothyroidism. Excess estrogen may also cause elevation of your thyroid-stimulation hormones (TSH) and thyroid antibodies and increase inflammation wish further damage your thyroids. To learn more about the connection between estrogen dominance and thyroid disease, I recommend reading this article (7, 8, 9, 10).
Problems with Hormonal Replacement
The answer from conventional medicine for hormonal concerns is prescription medications. The problem is that these hormonal replacement medications, hormonal contraceptives, and other hormone therapies can overwhelm your body with an unnatural amount of hormones. This can lead to a variety of health issues including (11, 12):
- Reduced receptor site: Your body may try to protect your from too much hormone interaction by reducing cell receptor sites leading to poor cellular sensitivity.
- Altered hormone regulation: Your hypothalamus and pituitary gland are crucial for controlling hormone secretion. If your brain finds that there isn’t enough of a certain hormone, it will signal your hormonal cells for more production, however, when it notices too much hormones due to hormone replacement medications, it will prompt your body to slow down hormone production.
- Increased liver stress: Excessive hormone production and hormone activity can be particularly difficult for your liver. If it’s unable to keep up with removing the excess from your body, it can lead to inflammation, digestion issues, lowered immunity, high cholesterol, metabolic issues, low energy, and toxicity.
- Toxic estrogen accumulation: Poor liver function due to hormonal excess or other health issues can make it difficult to adequately break down old and excess hormones leading to estrogen metabolic accumulation and increased risk of ovarian cysts, endometriosis, breast cancer, cervical dysplasia, thyroid disorders, prostate issues, menopause, and andromenopause.
- Unaddressed hormonal issues: If we are addressing your hormonal imbalance with hormonal medications, we are not addressing the root cause that is leading to the hormonal deficiency itself. While in some cases a more natural approach of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may be part of your treatment, it is important that your and your healthcare provider’s main goal is to address the root cause of your health concerns and maintain hormonal balance without the use of bio-identical medications or other medication.
The Problem with Xenoestrogens
Xenoestrogens are artificial compounds that have estrogenic effects but are different from naturally occurring estrogen. They are hormone-mimicking compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen and contribute to estrogen excess or prevent the beneficial effects of natural estrogen in your body. Xenoestrogens may be hiding in your tap water, pesticides, herbicidal, conventional cleaning, cosmetics, nail polish, hair dye, personal body care products, canned food, dental sealants, food dyes, birth control pills, medical devices, building materials, home furnishing, laundry products, and air fresheners. They are endocrine disruptors that enter your fat cells, are difficult to break down, but may increase your risk of hormonal and other health issues (13, 14).
There are human estrogens that occur naturally in your body (estriol, estradiol, estrone) and synthetic estrogens come from medication. When we talk about estrogen and the problems with hormonal replacement therapy and hormonal medications, we must address the fact that human estrogens and synthetic estrogens metabolize differently. The metabolization of synthetic estrogen can increase the risk of various health issues.
Estrogens are metabolized in two phases, hydroxylation and methylation or detoxification. Detoxification can occur through three pathways. While the pathway that human estrogens, estradiol and estrone, go through are optimal for your health, the other two pathways hold certain health risks (15, 16, 17):
- 2-Hydroxy Pathway: Estradiol and estrone go through the same 2-pathway (2-hydroxy) for detoxification. First, estrone is converted into 2-Hydroxyestrone, then goes through a detoxification phase called methylation. This is optimal and holds the lowest risk for cancer and health issues.
- 16-Hydroxy Pathway: Another pathway is a 16-pathway (16-hydroxy) process where estrone is converted into 16-Hydroxyestrone, but then it gets turned into estriol, a weak estrogen. This pathway is less optimal and holds a higher risk of obesity, hypothyroidism, inflammation, and pesticide toxicity.
- 4-Hydroxy Pathway: The last estrogen metabolism pathway is a 4-pathway (4-hydroxy). Estrone is being hydroxylated into 4-hydroxy estrone, then goes through methylation. This process can turn into a problem if methylation is inadequate leading to a build-up and an increased of cancer.
The good news is that through testing, we are able to measure individual estrogens and hydroxy and methoxy metabolites in your body. This helps us to assess your hormonal health and your risk of cancer and other health issues associated with unhealthy estrogen metabolism.
Testing Your Estrogen Levels
I recommend testing your estrogen subtypes to help you discover your Estrogen Quotient (EQ) and uncover potential health issues and health risks. The higher your E3 is compared to your E1 and E2 levels, the lower your cancer risks may be.
The formula is simple: Total E3 / (Total E1 + Total E2) = Your EQ. You want this number to be over 1.0. If your EQ is under 1.0, your risks of breast cancer are higher than those with a result under 1.0. A low EQ may also mean an increased risk of hormonal issues and autoimmune problems. The optimal EQ is over 1.5.
To test your estrogen levels, I recommend a DUTCH Complete Hormone Panel. This comprehensive test not only allows us to look at your estrogen subtype levels, but to check your progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA, and melatonin levels, look at your complete adrenal profile, and understand your hormonal health better.
Solutions for Estrogen Imbalance and Hormonal Health
If you are dealing with estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance, you don’t have to deal with uncomfortable symptoms anymore. You can take control of your health through simple natural methods. Here is what I recommend:
Remove xenoestrogen containing products, including conventional cleaning, body, and beauty products, and choose natural and organic alternatives. Consult your doctor about getting off or reducing hormonal contraceptives and hormone-based prescription medications.
Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Remove inflammatory foods, including refined sugar, refined oils, canned and processed meat, artificial ingredients, and processed foods. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in greens, vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits, healthy fats, and organic meat.
Move Your Body
Exercise improves respiration, helps detoxification, and aids mobilizing your fat stores. Mix up cardiovascular exercise, such as swimming, running, rebounding, biking, dancing, and aerobics and strength training workouts, including weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, or TRX. Add low impact exercises into your routine as well, such as yoga, pilates, Barre, water aerobics, stretching, and walking. Exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes five days a week and move your body regularly. Stay active throughout the day by dancing to your favorite songs, taking a stroll in the park, stretching regularly, taking the stairs, and playing with your kids or pets.
Reduce Stress and Improve Sleep
Stress and poor sleep are major contributing factors to hormonal imbalance. I recommend practicing journaling, breathwork, meditation, yoga, time in nature, and positive affirmations for stress and anxiety reduction. Taking an Epsom salt bath is another great way to relax your muscles, calm your mind, and detoxify your body. Make sure to sleep at least 7 to 9 hours a night.
Improve Your Gut Health
Your gut health affects your entire body, including your hormonal health. Along with a gut-friendly anti-inflammatory diet, I recommend that you take a high-quality probiotics, such as ProBiota HistaminX or Mega Spore probiotics supplement to support your gut flora balance. You may further support your gut health and digestion with Optimal Reset Ultimate Gut Support.
Lower Your Histamine
Estrogen dominance and estrogen imbalance can lead to both histamine intolerance. I recommend that you work with a functional health practitioner, like myself, to check for histamine intolerance. If you are dealing with symptoms of histamine intolerance, I recommend that you follow my 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan outlined in my book, The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan: Getting to the Root of Migraines, Eczema, Vertigo, Allergies and More.
Take Care of Your Thyroid
Estrogen dominance and estrogen imbalance can also increase your risk of thyroid issues. I recommend that you work with a functional health practitioner to test your thyroid levels. If you have thyroid issues along with estrogen imbalance, I recommend reading and following the recommendations in my other book, The 30-Day Thyroid Reset Plan: Disarming the 7 Hidden Triggers That are Keeping You Sick.
Use Di-Indole Methane (DIM)
To improve your estrogen levels and estrogen metabolism, I recommend a Di-Indole methane (DI) supplement called EstroShield. DIM is an extract derived from broccoli sprouts. It helps your body to neutralize reactive estrogen metabolites, such as estrone and estradiol. It also helps the production of non-reactive estrogen and improves your estrogen balance. Take one 100 mg soft gel with a meal for optimal results.
Estrogen plays a critical role in your hormonal health. Estrogen imbalance can lead to a number of symptoms and health issues, including premenstrual symptoms, menstrual problems, endometriosis, infertility, headaches, and fatigue. You don’t have to deal with the symptoms of estrogen imbalance anymore. Follow my natural solutions for estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance to improve your health, regain your vitality, and reclaim your happiness.
If you are dealing with symptoms of estrogen dominance or hormonal imbalance, I invite you to schedule a consultation with me. I can help to identify the root cause of your condition and recommend a personalized treatment plan to repair your body and regain your health and well-being. Schedule your consultation here.
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**This not medical advice just my opinion based on the research that I have done. Never replace the information in these articles with the advice of your doctor.**