Estrogen Dominance Protocol
What is Estrogen Dominance and Who May be Affected?
Estrogen dominance is the excess estrogen that is present throughout follicular (the first 14 days of menstrual cycle, including menses) and luteal phases (the second 10-14 day of a cycle within the 28-day cycle). It is accompanied by progesterone deficiency during the second part of the menstrual cycle. Hormone estrogen works hard on growing the inner lining of the uterus, preparing it to accept a fertilized ovum. Hormone progesterone works hard on differentiating the cells within the grown uterine lining, as well as growing a perfect blood vessel network that will provide the implanted egg with oxygen and nutrients. Unfortunately, when there is too much estrogen, the uterine lining grows uncontrollably and causes heavy bleeding when the fertilization and the implantation of the egg did not happen and the menses start.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance:
Usually, these symptoms appear 10-14 days before the start of the menses. Some women blame it on PMS (premenstrual syndrome), others on their bad luck. I was blaming my symptoms on both.
- Tenderness and swelling in the breast
- Bloating due to water retention
- Irritability, depressive moods
- A desire to hide under the rock and not to be bothered by anyone
- Weight gain due to water retention
- Tiredness with the lack of motivation to do anything
- Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
- Carb cravings and cravings for sweet and salty foods at the same time (Have you seen yourself reaching for pickles or potato chips and popcorn after you managed to eat a bag of M&Ms?)
- Irregular or heavy periods
- Brain fog and forgetfulness
- Moderate-severe cramps with the start of the period
- Strands of hair on the chin or above the lips can be a sign of high estrogen and/or high testosterone in women.
- Endometriosis and implantation defects preventing a successful pregnancy
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
- Stress and imbalance in HPAG-axis (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal-Gonadal Axis)
- Impaired Methylation (MTHFR, COMT, etc. mutations)
- Low-fiber high-carbohydrate diets
- Impaired thyroid function (hypothyroidism)
- Toxic exposures to pesticides and fungicides
- “Xenoestrogens” – chemicals that mimic estrogen when ingested or touched. These compounds act like fake estrogens in the body and get attached to estrogen receptors, blocking real estrogens from attaching to their receptors, thus, increasing the circulation of estrogens in the body. My least favorite xenoestrogen is BPA that is present in abundance in cashier receipts and is absorbed via the skin into blood.
- Impaired microbiome that cannot detoxify the estrogens and excrete them in the stool.
How to Improve Estrogen Detoxification and Reduce Estrogen Dominance Naturally
- Increase fiber in your diet to maintain regular bowel movements at least once a day. Estrogen is excreted in the stool; if you suffer from constipation, the estrogen (and other toxins) get reabsorbed from the stool in your gut and are brought back into circulation in your body. We do not want that to happen!
- Eat a balanced diet that is high in low-glycemic vegetables, some fruit (the best is organic berries), moderate amounts of proteins including low-mercury fish (Alaskan salmon, sardines, etc.), some grass-fed and finished beef/pork, and healthy fats (coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocados, some nuts and seeds).
- Eat 1-2 tbsp of ground flaxseed and chia seeds to promote estrogen binding and excretion.
- Meditate for at least 10 mins every day to decrease stress.
- Detoxify your liver with supplements and amino acids that support Phase 1 and Phase 2 of liver detoxification.
- Avoid any xenoestrogens that mimic natural estrogens. These include birth control synthetic estrogens, chemical detergents, cleaning products, makeup and creams with the ingredients you cannot read or pronounce. If you cannot eat it, do not apply it on your body.
- Eat more cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, spinach, kale, bok choy (cruciferous veggies). If you have underlying digestive issues and you are sensitive to broccoli and cauliflower, you may still do great with bok choy, spinach, and kale. These veggies are great sauteed, baked or broiled.
- Decrease stress and try green matcha tea or latte instead of your morning espresso.
- Avoid alcohol as much as possible. I advise my patients struggling with PMS to limit drinking to 1 drink/week or even less.