So what is oestrogen dominance?
In perimenopause both oestrogens and progesterone levels drop. Oestrogens drop by 40% to 60% and progesterone levels can drop to nearly zero.
Usually, progesterone declines first. What this means is that a woman may have excessive, normal or deficient oestrogen(s) levels only because progesterone levels drop so drastically, which creates an imbalance or the so called ‘oestrogen dominance effect’ even though oestrogen(s) levels are not excessively high.
In other words, the term ‘Oestrogen Dominance’ doesn’t necessarily mean we have too many oestrogens, it means we don’t have enough progesterone, we have an imbalance.
Restoring hormones is an ‘art’ and takes a doctor qualified in restorative medicine to perfect them. Whether a woman has excess oestrogens or a deficiency of progesterone, many of the symptoms can be the same. Careful dosing and hormonal level monitoring are an essential fact to the correct practice of restorative medicine.
Symptoms of Oestrogen Dominance
Oestrogen dominance (or progesterone deficiency) causes a long list of symptoms, some of which are:
- decreased sex drive,
- decreased HDL levels,
- weight gain,
- pain and inflammation,
- mood swings,
- migraines prior to menstruation,
- breast tenderness
- excessive menstruation (heavy bleeding that lasts more than 7 days),
- uterine fibroids (benign growths on the uterus),
- breakthrough bleeding and haemorrhaging, which may lead to a hysterectomy.
Oestrogen dominance can also occur in younger women when there is lack of ovulation (anovulation). A premenopausal woman may still have a normal menstrual cycle even if she has not ovulated. She could then experience PMS symptoms such as swollen and tender breasts, endometriosis, weight gain, mood swings and cramps. When oestrogen dominance does occur in younger women and they start feeling an imbalance, it is possible to supplement with progesterone exclusively – this is because they already have enough oestrogens. This will help to put things back into balance.
Oestrogen dominance can also be caused by bad diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Xenohormones (hormones taken in from outside the body), which are found in certain foods can throw hormonal balance off track. The biggest contributor to oestrogen dominance is xenoestrogens. Also, when there is an environment of high stress in your life, there will be low progesterone, which brings with it oestrogen dominance. When the body is stressed, a feedback mechanism increases the production of the hormone cortisol, in order to monitor stress in the body. This increase in cortisol production reduces progesterone levels, e voilà, oestrogen dominance occurs. We should remember that everything in the body is connected.
Oestrogen dominance may lead to a hysterectomy that is not actually necessary. There is absolutely no reason why women should have to get to this point. The only circumstance under which a hysterectomy should be performed is if cancer has been diagnosed! No other single reason should be given, especially in this day and age. Other things that influence oestrogen dominance or low progesterone can be antidepressant drugs, high sugar intake, stress, decreased thyroid hormone, low luteinizing hormone (LH), and an increase in prolactin production. Get in balance to avoid a hysterectomy.