Battling Estrogen Dominance

First off, let me start by saying that I am not a medical professional whatsoever. I’m an everyday woman who was tired of feeling horrible and decided to take charge of her health. This blog post is not intended for diagnosis or treatment. It’s simply what steps I’ve taken to balance my hormones.

What exactly is Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen dominance is the metabolic state where the level of {bad} estrogen outweighs the level of progesterone in the body. It can also be caused by a decrease in progesterone without a subsequent decrease of estrogen.

What are the symptoms of estrogen dominance?

  • hair loss and thinning of hair & eyebrows.
  • depression & anxiety.
  • mood swings & irritability.
  • trouble falling sleeping and frequent waking.
  • increased PMS.
  • having bleeding
  • painful periods
  • breast tenderness &/or fibrocystic breasts
  • PCOS- polycystic ovarian syndrome & ovarian cysts.
  • endometriosis & fibroids.

What causes Estrogen Dominance/Low Progesterone?

  • Foods (High in toxins and soy)
  • Water (unfiltered filled with left over medications)
  • Personal Care Products
  • Poor Gut & Digestion
  • BPA & other plastics
  • Excess Body Fat
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Hormonal Birth-control/Hormonal replacement theory
  • Chronic Stress

How did I know that something was wrong?

HEAVY BLEEDING & PAINFUL CYCLES. In Fall 2017, I began to bleed heavily during my monthly cycles. It was as if someone had turned on a water hose in my underpants. I would soak both a pad and a tampon overnight, staining the bed-sheets. It was embarrassing because this had never happened before. For the first time in my life, I suffered from horrible cramps. One night, a small cyst on my left ovary ruptured leaving me in horrible pain for weeks.

POOR DIGESTION & WEIGHT GAIN. I gained 13 pounds in just a few short weeks, although my diet had not changed. I was tired and emotional all of the time, suffering from uncomfortable bloating and constipation.

HORRIBLE PMS. Then the painful breast tenderness/fullness began to trouble me throughout the month. Zits and pimples appeared on my face and chest. I’d only experienced pimples and breast tenderness when I was pregnant with Jocelyn in 2010. All of this combined let me know that something was horribly wrong.

My former OBGYN said my symptoms were due to advancing age when I called her office. I didn’t buy it and I kept calling. After three months of this, she recommend that I go back on hormonal birth control pills. But the long term use of hormonal birth control had contributed to my hormonal imbalance. It didn’t solve the underlying problem. So I decided to try natural remedies instead. It took time, but it worked! My hormones balanced!

Still, the damage was done. In April 2018, I became pregnant with fraternal twins shortly after balancing my hormones. Sadly, that pregnancy ended at 9 weeks when I suffered a missed miscarriage. It would take another six months for a Pelvic Specialist to discover (AND REMOVE, THANK GOD!) the three small uterine fibroids, caused by the pervious hormonal imbalance. After the miscarriage, I had to re-balance my post pregnancy hormones all over again. However, the results were faster because I changed my entire lifestyle, as you’ll see. I want you to know all of this so you won’t beat around the bush. Do what it takes to properly balance your hormones as soon as possible. Life has been an emotional roller coaster ride, but with lots of help, I’m finally back to myself!

Here are the twelve steps I’ve taken to naturally balance my hormones.P

  • Skip the caffeine and sugary drinks! Your liver is the organ that breaks down unneeded estrogen. When your liver is burdened down it cannot detox your body effectively. Water, not sugary drinks and caffeine, is needed to get your liver going. I make it a point skip soft drinks and caffeine. It’s hard, but I now drink 8 glasses of water everyday! When I need tea: Dandelion, Lemon Ginger, Turmeric, and Red Raspberry, all help me to detox and balance my hormones.
  • Increase your fiber with healthy foods. Fiber is needed to help with the proper digestion of your food, and to remove estrogen. When the liver detoxes excess estrogen you excrete it out with bowel movements. When you suffer from constipation, or have an incomplete bowel movement, the excess estrogen is left inside your gut to recirculate. It builds over time allowing estrogen to dominate your system. So to ensure that I’m getting enough fiber (25 grams a day)- I now eat an organic salad and an apple everything single day for lunch. I used the Whole 30 Diet to get me started and began taking a daily probiotic to aid with digestion. It has been life changing! As a result, I have a cleansing bowel movement every day. All bloating and constipation have stopped!
  • Add lots of Cruciferous Vegetables. Cruciferous foods, such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, asparagus, bok choy and collard greens, all have a compound called indole-3-carbinol that helps promote the production of less potent forms of estrogen. Resist the urge to take this in pill form. Food is medicine. As a family, we have one to two servings of cruciferous organic vegetables each day. Starting off the day with a kale green smoothie is good too!
  • Exercise 30 minutes 4-5 days a week. Another way that your body removes excess hormones is via your sweat glands. Additionally, exercise gets your digestive system moving to prevent constipation. It also helps your body to regulate your hormones. Going to the gym is not just for looking good, it’s for hormonal balance! What do I do at the gym? On two days, I power walk on the treadmill until I have sweat pouring from my face. On another day, I take an hour long fitness class that combines light weights and cardio. I also have a day for Pilates. Finally, I sit in the sauna for 10 minutes after each workout so that I sweat even more. None of my exercises are extreme, causing stress to my body. Rather, I feel satisfied after each workout.
  • Drink Filtered Water. Our public water supply is filled with hormones, pesticides, fertilizers, minerals, etc. I saw proof of this when we used tap water in our steamer and Keruig machine. Both machines became clogged in a matter of weeks. Since then, we’ve purchased a filtered water system for our home. No more clogged steamer, no more clogged Keruig machine, and no excess hormones for me!
  • Ditch the Plastics. Have you ever left your plastic water bottle in the hot car? When you take your next sip it leaves a funny taste in your mouth. Well, that funny taste is the BPA, an industrial chemical, leaching into your bottled water. Countless articles, medical journals, and new shows have pointed out the dangers of BPA. They lead to hormone imbalance. Our diet — particularly packaged and canned foods — is by far the biggest source of BPA. So we’ve replaced our plastic containers with BPA free containers. We ditched the bottled water and only use reusable stainless steel or glass bottles. It saves us money, tastes so much better, and it’s BPA free!
  • No Soy/Canola Oil! Meat replacement products and energy bars with “soy protein isolate” or “textured vegetable protein” contain higher levels of phytoestrogens than natural or fermented soy foods like tempeh or miso. So it’s no soy for me. This has been so hard because soy is in everything!! Just look at the ingredients of salad dressing and you’ll see soybean oil as a main ingredient. We ditched the canola/vegetable oil and use only Olive Oil and Coconut Oil for cooking. When shopping, if it has “soy” anywhere in it’s ingredients I leave it on the shelf! As a result, I’ve learned how to cook more of my own meals and deserts.
  • Minimize Gluten & Dairy! Even organic dairy products are a source of estrogen, which comes from a cows’ own estrogen production. Dairy cows are often pregnant when they’re milked, and this leads to higher levels of estrogen in the milk and subsequent dairy products. I took the 23&Me saliva test which revealed that I’m lactose sensitive and gluten sensitive. (Not intolerant like Celiac disease.) It means I lack the digestive enzymes needed to fully digest gluten & dairy. They both create a sluggish digestive system for me, eventually leading to constipation. This a no-no when balancing your hormones! So I minimize diary and gluten. It’s been a struggle because I looovvveee creamy sauces, pizza, and waffles. I can’t have delicious nachos with queso anymore. It’s so sad, but its much better than feeling like crap. Over time, I’ve learned what works for me: Almond Milk instead of cows Milk, Sorbet instead of ice cream, Popsicles instead of sundaes. A taco salad with just a dust of cheese satisfies my nacho need. I now know who has the best Gluten free waffles, pizza, cakes, etc. Most of all, I feel sooo much better! Once a week, I allow myself a cheat snack, but then it’s back to my routine! I eat to live, not live to eat.
  • Avoid Parabens. Parabens are a preservative in many personal care products like shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. Parabens are another estrogenic chemical. You will see parabens near the end of the ingredients list usually as “methylparaben” or “propylparaben.” Therefore, I threw out everything that had parabens and found lotions and soaps that do no have parabens.
  • Adequate Rest & Sleep. Like most adults, I’ve sent many years burning the candle at both ends. There is just so much to get done! And it all stressed me out. The Bible is right when it says that “each day will have it’s own anxiety.” So I’ve stopped running from one event to the next. I’ve learned to say “no” to friends, family, and coworkers when I can’t accomplish a task. I’ve learned to take a day off work – which is so hard for me! It’s easier to just go to work sick than to prepare for a substitute teacher. But a day off is necessary to feel better. Recently, I decluttered my house so there’s less to clean and less to put away. Most importantly, I adhere to my bedtime.
  • No Hormonal Contraceptives. Each family must decide what is best for them. For us, knowing that I have a family history of fibroids (Mom & Grandma) and breast cancer (my Aunt Barbara died in 2016), we have decided to forgo the use of hormonal contraceptives at this time. My pelvic specialist explained: “Uterine fibroids are genetic. They have both estrogen and progesterone receptors. While birth control can prevent heavy periods, they also contribute to the growth of fibroids. You were right to get a second opinion and not follow my former OBGYN’s recommendation to go back on hormonal birth control.” I take comfort in these words. It is the reason my fibroids remained small and I didn’t have to have major abdominal surgery to remove them. Instead I had a Hysteroscopy, an outpatient procedure, where the fibroids are removed vaginally.
  • Vitamins/Herbs & Supplements. Please test your hormones before taking supplements. They are very potent and not to be taken lightly. That being said, here is what has helped me. B-Complex (for energy and liver detox), Prenatal Vitamin + DHA (to cover my basic daily vitamins), Omega 3 (building block of hormones/ reduce inflammation), Calcium & Magnesium (liver detox, improve mood, and balance hormones), and my Probiotic (digestion). I take these each day. Click on the links to learn more about each one! I’ve also learned about other herbs that help: like DIM, Maca, and Vitex. I took Vitex for only 3 months because it’s not an herb to take long term. It helped with the imbalance, and then I weaned myself off it. I do not take it now, but it may help you. Again, please be very careful with these. They’re powerful as mentioned in this YouTube video.

In conclusion, Estrogen Dominance affects a large percentage of women. (Click to see the video I found about it.) Sadly, many ladies feel that horrible PMS is just apart of womanhood. But it’s not. Don’t live like this! If left unchecked for a long period of time, more serious health problems could develop if you’re genetically predisposed like myself. (ie: uterine fibroids) Fight for your health, fight for your fertility. A hormonal imbalance usually doesn’t develop overnight, and neither will it be fixed overnight. Once I began to employ ALL the steps listed above, not just the easy ones, it still took a few months to improve-but now I am 100% better. I lost the 13 pounds. I have no more heavy periods, breast tenderness, bloating, constipation, clots, cramps, PMS, and thanks to surgery-no more uterine fibroids! I still have more to learn and I know this is not a one time fix. I’ll have to keep balancing my hormones because they’re constantly fluctuating. But If I did it then you can do it too. Make the needed lifestyle changes. Be in it for the long run-because you’re worth it!

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