5 Hidden But Common Causes of Estrogen Dominance Revealed
Obesity, acne, hair loss, chronic fatigue, depression, cancer and fertility issues are just a few of the modern-day plagues that baffle the medical community. These conditions are often thought of as things that can only be mitigated through willpower, prescription medication, and/or invasive medical procedures – but that ideology is just plain wrong. At the root of all of these problems is more often than not, a hormonal imbalance. The most common imbalance is estrogen dominance, a condition that is rarely diagnoses and massively undertreated, where estrogen levels are too high in relation to the other reproductive hormones.
If you’re willing to take you health into your own hands and do your own research, you will find vital information on how to both prevent and reverse this condition. Unfortunately, however, there are five major triggers of estrogen dominance that are often overlooked and failing to address these triggers can prevent full-recovery. If you’re ready to stop suffering unnecessarily and to reclaim the good health that is your birthright, read-on.
Hidden Cause #1: Excess Body Fat
There is a direct correlation between how much body fat you have and how high your estrogen levels are. The reason for this, is that fat cells store large amounts of an enzyme (aromatase) that catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into estrogen.[i] [ii] The more fat cells that you have, the more estrogen that is created. While estrogen is required by the body in small amounts, too much of it can cause toxic side-effects including fibroid tumors and cancerous tumours. Unfortunately, high estrogen also cues your body to make more fat cells, which increases weight gain and estrogen dominance, creating a vicious cycle that is hard to break.
The vicious cycle is further perpetuated because of a two-fold effect that estrogen has on testosterone. High estrogen levels causes an increase in the production of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), which attaches to the same cellular receptor sites as testosterone and makes testosterone unable to do its job. Estrogen dominance also causes the liver to produce more of a certain type of protein that binds to testosterone, limiting its ability to circulate throughout the body. The resulting decrease of free testosterone reduces muscle mass, increases fatigue, and lowers stamina and energy (interfering with exercise efforts). These factors combined, increase body fat accumulation, cause estrogen levels to rise even further, and worsen estrogen dominance symptoms.
Hidden Cause #2: Alcohol
If you want to prevent or reverse estrogen dominance you should think twice before you have that daily glass of wine at dinner. Even in moderation, regular alcohol consumption can tip the scales in favor of estrogen dominance. In fact, several scientific studies have found a link between alcohol consumption and high levels of the potent estrogen—estradiol.[iii][iv] [v] The association occurs because your liver is responsible for breaking down and clearing toxins and other substances your body doesn’t need from the bloodstream, including alcohol and estrogen. When you drink alcohol, your liver becomes preoccupied with eliminating the alcohol toxins, which in-turn reduces its ability to clear estrogens from your system. While the occasional indulgence wont harm you, if you drink habitually, it can both trigger and increase estrogen dominance.
Hidden Cause #3: Caffeine
Caffeine can also cause estrogen dominance in an indirect, yet significant way. When you consume caffeine, it stimulates your adrenal glands causing them to release cortisol and other stress hormones to prepare your body to fight the perceived threat. If you consume caffeine regularly, it can exhaust your adrenal glands, and cause them to stop releasing adequate levels of essential hormones. Insulin is one of those hormones, and the impaired insulin causes rampant blood sugar fluctuations, which in-turn, leads to chronic inflammation. To make matters worse, your thyroid gland, which produces many essential hormones and relies on your adrenal glands for proper functioning, also begins to weaken. This further increases inflammation and results in a reduction of the sex hormones — testosterone and progesterone, both of which are required in order to keep estrogen in check. The inflammation, weakened thyroid function, and reduction of essential hormones caused by caffeine, can all markedly intensify estrogen dominance and its symptoms.
Hidden Cause #4: Birth Control
Birth control pills are the perfect recipe for hormonal disaster and they contribute to estrogen dominance in a variety of ways. Firstly, they flood your body with a daily source of synthetic estrogen, that is both foreign and unnatural. Your body metabolizes these synthetic estrogens into harmful versions of estrogen which increase estrogen dominance symptoms and the risk for hormonal cancers. Birth control pills also suppress the production of natural progesterone, and progesterone is needed in order to keep estrogen levels in-check. Even if your overall estrogen levels are low, you can still suffer with estrogen dominance, because your estrogen becomes the dominant hormone when progesterone is reduced. *Worth noting, although some oral contraceptives contain progestin, it is a synthetic progesterone, which causes more harm than good, and it has been linked to breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Birth control pills also increase the production of SHBG, which binds-to and lowers circulating testosterone levels. The resulting testosterone deficiency makes estrogen dominance even worse. Most people don’t realize this, but the unwanted side-effects associated with birth control pills are caused primarily by the fact that they lower progesterone and testosterone levels. Not surprisingly, the side-effects which may include depression, mood swings, headaches, acne, weight gain, breast tenderness, and loss of libido (to name a few), are identical to the symptoms of estrogen dominance.
Hidden Cause #5: Animal Products
Animals are living creatures that produce large amounts of estrogen by their very nature and omnivores are exposed to between 10,000 and 1,000,000 times more estrogen molecules than vegans. One of the reasons why animal products are so damaging is that they contain large amounts of estradiol, which is chemically identical to the estradiol found in the human body. When you consume meat, dairy, poultry and eggs, the estrogens are absorbed directly into your body, tipping the scales in favor of estrogen dominance.
To make matters worse, conventionally raised animals are often injected with synthetic estrogen to fatten them-up, make them grow quicker, and/or to increase their milk production. This makes them more profitable to the farmer at the expense of the consumer’s health. Equally as concerning is the fact that the fats found naturally in animal products can increase the conversion of the healthful types of estrogen (such as estrone) into the more harmful forms of estrogen that are responsible for estrogen dominance and hormonal cancers.