More About Menopause - The Importance of Addressing Oestrogen Dominance

Updated: Dec 9, 2018

I mentioned the problems related to oestrogen dominance in my previous post about Menopause. To sum it up, it says that women who have high levels of oestrogen close to menopause can have an increased risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers, as well as of cervical dysplasia. They are also more likely to have intense and unpleasant menopausal symptoms. So addressing oestrogen dominance and aiming for a good hormonal balance in our body are extremely important objectives.

Symptoms of oestrogen dominance include:

  • Breast swelling and tenderness

  • Irregular/abnormal menstrual periods

  • Anxiety, mood swings, irritability, depression

  • Fatigue

  • Slow metabolism

  • Water retention (bloating)

  • Headaches

  • Brain fog, memory loss

  • Decreased sex drive

  • Weight/fat gain (around the abdomen and hips)

  • Sleeping problems

  • Thickening of endometrial lining, clotted menses

  • Increased risk of uterine fibroids

  • Increased incidence of ovarian cysts

  • PMS

When is oestrogen a real problem?

It is very important to know which type of oestrogen metabolites women have. To make this clearer, we have to look at how oestrogen is metabolised in the body by the liver.

There are three different pathways of oestrogen metabolism. To make it simple, regarding disease risk, we can say that oestrogen will be converted into good or bad metabolites. If your body converts most oestrogen using the 2-hydroxy pathway you have a lower risk for cancer and other health problems related to oestrogen dominance. However, if most of the conversion happens through the 16-hydroxy and the 4-hydroxy pathways you will have a higher risk for disease.

Nutritional status, liver health, chronic stress, diet, and sleep all determine which metabolic pathways are used.

Let’s now look at the mechanisms that lead to oestrogen dominance

1) Stress and high cortisol

Chronic stress has a huge impact on our health in many different ways. It can cause a production of excess cortisol, insulin, and noradrenaline, which creates hormonal imbalance and leads to a series of health problems.

The adrenal glands contribute to female hormone production during the pre-menopause as well as after menopause.

Cortisol, one of our stress hormones, is primarily produced from progesterone. When the body is under constant stress, it will need more cortisol which means that more progesterone will be converted to cortisol. After a while this leads to low progesterone levels and to a relative oestrogen dominance. In addition, excess levels of cortisol can block progesterone receptors, contributing to even lower progesterone levels and more oestrogen dominance.

2) Xenoestrogens

Xenoestrogens are a type of xenohrmone that imitates oestrogen. The amount of xenoestrogens we are exposed to has increased enormously in the last years. These chemicals mimic oestrogen and act on oestrogen hormone receptor sites in the body. When xenoestrogens enter the body they increase the total amount of estrogen resulting in increased oestrogen dominance. They are not biodegradable but stored in our fat cells. Xenoestrogens are found in foods, like commercially raised meat, dairy products and commercially produced grains, vegetables and fruits, and different food additives. They are also in our drinking water and in many products like sunscreen and other cosmetic products, plastic water bottles and plastic dishes. Non-stick coated cookware can release xenoestrogens into our food as well.

3) Compromised Liver Health

One function of the liver is to filter excess oestrogen. Taking care of our liver is therefore extremely important because impaired liver function can result in oestrogen not being broken down adequately. Excess alcohol, stress and emotional problems as well as environmental toxins can limit the liver’s ability to cleanse excess oestrogen.

4) Body Fat

As we all know, having an ideal weight and body composition has many health benefits. It is also important in maintaining a hormonal balance because excess body fat stores and produces more oestrogen, thus contributing to oestrogen dominance.

The worst type of body fat is that around our waist. Regardless of height, as a woman, your waist measurement shouldn’t be greater than 80 cm!

What to do to reduce oestrogen dominance?

Following an ideal diet, exercising correctly, avoiding environmental toxins, reducing stress and good sleep are all important factors.

In my own practice I combine diet and lifestyle advice with bioresonance therapy, and when necessary, supplements to help women achieve appropriate levels of oestrogen as they head towards menopause.