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What is Estrogen Dominance?

When we work out, many of us typically have one side of the body that is stronger than the other. That side, your dominant side, is usually the one that is able to go lower, stretch longer or lift stronger. As humans, we are no stranger to these types of natural imbalances. However, sometimes it’s best to identify an imbalance and treat it before the scales are tipped so much that they break.

Let’s talk hormones. Since there are a plethora of ways that hormones can be impacted, such as changes due to your environment, diet and age, it can be hard to keep them in check. Sex hormones, such as estrogen (female sex hormone) and testosterone (male sex hormone), are detrimental in the body, and imbalances to these hormones can be the reason we gain weight in certain areas, have mood swings and more. But how do we know when we have an imbalance?

According to Medical News Today, female symptoms of estrogen dominance include irregular cycles, bloating, cold hands/feet, mood changes, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and hair loss. In men, common symptoms include erectile dysfunction, swollen breasts and infertility.

(First things first: To truly know if you have an imbalance, it’s a good idea to go get bloodwork done. This way, you and your doctor can figure out how to safely tip your hormone scales back into place. Manipulating your hormone level sans a doctor could be potentially dangerous.)

Why is this an issue?

Even though people can live with symptoms like fatigue and bloating, having high estrogen levels can lead to other health issues. The most common of these issues are autoimmune and thyroid issues.

According to the American Thyroid Association, one in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder during their lifetime and are five to eight times more likely to develop a thyroid condition than men. Of the entire United States, 12 percent of the population will develop thyroid issues during their lifetime. When people experience thyroid dysfunction (we’re talking hypothyroid problems), that means that their metabolism slows down, not enough hormones are being produced and hormones aren’t being converted correctly.

Basically, estrogen dominance is a common problem.

As much as we all want to blame our genes, that is not all that contributes to hormonal imbalances. Some of it can be genetic, but the rest comes from how our body is reacting to our different environments. To fix these issues, we must look at what we expose our bodies to everyday. According to Dr. Amy Meyer’s website, hormonal imbalances can be from food, water, the products we use on our skin, gut issues, excess body fat, stress, birth control and more. Even the things we don’t think will impact us, such as skincare products, do.

Good news: There are some changes we can make to help ourselves out a little bit. On Dr. Meyer’s site, she suggests eating foods that are free of all of the toxic “cides.” “Any of the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides found on conventional produce are known endocrine disruptors that interfere with your natural hormone activity and metabolism.”

Next, reevaluate your skincare products. As the skin is technically our largest organ, anything, and I mean anything, will be absorbed into our bodies. So, if you’re layering on harsh chemicals, chances are they will end up affecting your body’s system.

Third, it’s time to look at our body fat. All of those dips and curves that we all have can attribute to estrogen imbalance. As estrogen is stored in fat, if there is excess fat, then there will be a higher level of estrogen. Shedding a few pounds of fat (and estrogen) could change your mood and make you less likely to develop other conditions.

Finally, seek a professional. Even though there are small changes we can make, the most efficient treatments will come from a medical doctor.

Being estrogen dominant is something that we don’t just have to sit back and accept. By altering our environments, we can balance our hormone scales back into place and be the happy and healthy humans we were meant to be.

 

Previously published in Austin Fit Magazine. 

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