Do you have Estrogen Dominance?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women. Precocious puberty is on the rise, where girls are reaching puberty as early as age 7. Most women will report that they experience PMS, have fibroids, ovarian cysts or heavy and painful periods. What do they all have in common? Too much estrogen!
Estrogen and progesterone are the two primary female hormones. They need to be in balance to offset the action of one another. Estrogen dominance occurs when there is an excess of estrogen AND/OR a deficiency of progesterone. Thus, you can still have estrogen dominance with low estrogen levels, if the body does not produce enough progesterone. Although estrogen dominance can occur at any age, it is most common for women between 35 and 50 years of age.
Estrogen Excess/ Progesterone Deficiency Symptoms:
- Low libido
- Mood swings and fatigue
- Breast tenderness
- Water retention
- Foggy thinking
- Anxiety / Irritability
- Weight gain in hips and/or breasts
- Premenstrual headaches / migraines
- Cold body temperature
Estrogen Dominance Conditions:
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Painful and heavy periods
- Irregular periods
- Uterine fibroids / polyps
- Ovarian cysts
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – water retention, breast tenderness, emotional instability, depression, fatigue, premenstrual headaches, acne, bloating, constipation or loose stools
- Breast / Uterine/ Ovarian cancer
Estrogen dominance is also commonly seen in MEN, with the following presenting symptoms:
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced muscle mass
- Enlarged prostate (BPH)
- Less body hair
- Prostate / testicular cancer
Is there a way to test for Estrogen Dominance?
The short answer is there is no standard diagnostic testing for estrogen dominance.
The term ‘dominance’ may indicate that high estrogen levels should be detected on routine blood work. However, that is rarely the case, and most often estrogen comes back ‘within normal range’ because estrogen dominance is a functional hormonal imbalance and is not an ‘excess’ condition.
Conventional blood tests report on the total amount of hormones in your body, the bound and the free. However, it is the free hormones that are active and will do the job. Saliva tests only measure the amount of free hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, which can provide some insight on estrogen dominance.
DUTCH (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) is a urine test that has been gaining popularity lately. It gives a lot more information about hormone metabolites and their function than other types of hormone tests. Therefore, it is able to measure all three types of estrogens – Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), and Estriol (E3). Estradiol is the most dominant hormone of the three and is the only one typically tested through blood and saliva.
If you suspect you may have estrogen dominance, you should speak to your Naturopathic Doctor, who will conduct a proper assessment and help you address the root cause.
Are you interested in learning about the common causes of estrogen dominance and holistic strategies to balance hormones and prevent chronic disease? Stay tuned.