Why is estrogen dominance a menopause health problem? Let’s talk about it.
Estrogen dominance means that estrogen is out of balance with progesterone.
When you’re reproductively active and ovulating regularly, you make 10 to 50 times more progesterone than estrogen. You need that much progesterone to support your adrenal glands and counterbalance the growth promoting effects of estrogen. When you go through perimenopause or you have PCOS and you’re no longer ovulating regularly so you’re not making enough progesterone, you slip into estrogen dominance. If you’ve had it in your early reproductive years you’re more likely to have it going through menopause. That’s because you naturally have more estrogen receptors and your body is very sensitive to the effects of estrogen.
You can also develop estrogen dominance in menopause, if you’re given hormone replacement therapy, and you’re not given enough progesterone or any progesterone, which is very common when a woman’s had a hysterectomy to only be offered estrogen and no progesterone. What does estrogen dominance look like?
Well, we can suffer from these issues:
Estrogen dominance causes bloating. Estrogen attracts water into cells which makes your tissues nice and juicy. But too much estrogen out of balance with progesterone can cause you to retain fluid in your tissues. This can cause bloating, it can actually cause water retention, where you have some edema which is swelling in your extremities.
Estrogen dominant weight gain is mainly in your breasts, hips, buttocks and thighs. This is a different weight gain than what you see with cortisol or testosterone which tends to be around your middle. When you’re menopausal you can have both a thicker waist and fuller breasts, hips and thighs.
Estrogen dominance stimulates fibrocystic breast condition when you’re younger. When you’re older, your fibrocystic breasts make it very difficult to read imaging studies, particularly mammograms, to see if there’s any signs of cancer in your breasts. It can cause painful breasts.
Estrogen dominance affects your uterus and can cause excessive bleeding in menopause. Your uterine lining can become too thick without adequate progesterone to counterbalance estrogen. It’s called endometrial hyperplasia, and can be a precancerous condition. Estrogen dominance can cause fibroids to form or overgrow. If you have adenomyosis, which is a kind of cystic condition of the endometrial lining, estrogen dominance can actually aggravate it causing uncontrollable bleeding.
This can cause mood swings. Progesterone is your calming hormone helping you make GABA0. Estrogen is your creative hormone but it can also make you feel irritable when you have too much on board compared to progesterone. You can become irritable when you have too little estrogen as well. That’s how sensitive your neurotransmitters are to the perfect amount of estrogen for your body.
If you have any questions regarding estrogen dominance and menopause, please join me in our Hormone Support Group, which you can access by signing up for my free Hormone Reboot Training.
It’s important that you address this by being sure that you’re getting an adequate amount of progesterone or taking supplementation that helps to reverse estrogen dominance, like DIM, flax ligands, and fish oils. My patients who support their hypothalamus with Genesis Gold® are less likely to have issues and have better estradiol metabolism than those who do not support their hypothalamus.