Estrogen is your quintessential female hormone. It has a lot of responsibility keeping your bones strong, skin and hair healthy, your moods happy and your reproductive organs toned and fertile. But when estrogen levels become too high, it causes all kinds of havoc within your body.
Estrogen excess is one of the most common hormonal imbalances seen in menstruating women. Interestingly, estrogen excess isn’t caused by your ovaries producing too much estrogen. Rather, it’s caused by factors external to your reproductive system that make or mimic estrogen and an under-performing detox process resulting in estrogen overload. And when estrogen is in excess, it can make life a REAL struggle!
Estrogen affects everything from your moods, to your energy levels, your digestive system, and yes of course, your period. Below are 8 signs that you may be suffering from estrogen excess:
- Weight gain around your booty, hips and thighs
- Breast tenderness
- Bloating and/or fluid retention
- Heavy/clotted periods
- Moodiness including depression and anxiety
- Hormonal migraines
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Low or non-existent libido
Alright, so there are 9 listed, but if you are experiencing and of the above signs, keep reading to find out how you can fix it.
What causes estrogen excess?
If your ovaries aren’t making any extra estrogen, where is it all coming from?
- Poor Detoxification – your liver and gut play an essential role in excreting estrogen. For most women struggling with estrogen excess, improving liver detoxification and gut health can be the game CHANGER! Detoxification through the liver requires nutrients like B vitamins, zinc and protein. This process is hindered by alcohol and xenooestrogens (we will talk about these nasties in a minute).
After the liver, the detoxified estrogens enter the gut where they ideally end up in the toilet. But certain types of ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut will actually ‘unpack’ the detoxified estrogen, allowing it to be absorbed back into the body. This is the kind of recycling we don’t want to do.
- Internal factors – when your body is inflamed from either stress, poor diet or existing illnesses like autoimmune conditions, low thyroid function, allergies etc., certain enzymes within your body will start producing estrogen!
Fat cells generate their own estrogen, so the more fat cells you have the more estrogen you are going to make. Estrogen excess causes weight gain, and weight gain creates more estrogen – it’s a vicious cycle.
- External factors – xenoestrogens, which are chemicals found in plastics, beauty products, skin care products (yep, we lather ourselves in these nasties everyday), cleaning products and agriculture sprays mimic the actions of estrogen within the body. Another common external factor is the pill, delivering four times the amount of estrogen into our bodies on the daily.
How to fix it!
Reducing excess estrogen can be achieved through some simple diet and lifestyle tweaks that you can start implementing today!
Exercise – You need to move your booty if you want to lose that booty. Aim for 20 min of HIIT (high intensity interval training) 3 times per week. This will ramp up your metabolism, helping detox those estrogens and reduce estrogen-producing fat cells.
Liver Detox – You don’t have to undertake a full-on detox (unless you want to!). Instead, include these in your daily diet: calcium-d-glucarate or DIM (diindolylmethane), broccoli sprout powder, or just eat more broccoli and turmeric.
Keep alcohol intake to a minimum – The more alcohol you consume, the higher the level of estrogen in your body. Even the consumption of 1-2 drinks per day has shown to have a negative impact on healthy estrogen levels.
Reduce inflammation within your body by reducing your intake of inflammatory foods like dairy, sugar and fried foods while increasing your intake of salmon, sardines, turmeric and garlic.
Minimise your exposure to xenoestrogens by opting for natural beauty and cleaning products, and by avoiding plastics – drink out of glass or steel drink bottles, try and store food in glass rather than plastic, and never heat food up in plastic containers.
Supporting liver detox and reducing your exposure to non-ovarian estrogen goes a long way in helping you achieve hormone balance.
Balance your hormones, balance your life.