Dr. Stengler’s News and Breakthroughs
Women: Do you have Estrogen Dominance?
Your gynecologist or family doctor may never tell you that you have estrogen dominance…but if you have these signs and symptoms you should be concerned:
Increased blood clotting
Irregular menses (timing of the cycle is off, light or heavy bleeding)
Weight gain (especially mid-section of the body (waist, hips, and thighs)
What Is Estrogen Dominance?
The concept behind estrogen dominance is that there is an excess of estrogen relative to its balancing hormone partner, progesterone. The term estrogen dominance was coined in 1996 by gynecologist John R. Lee in his book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause.
Estrogen dominance in women occurs from one of three main causes. First, estrogen levels are too high in the body relative to its’ counterbalancing hormone partner progesterone. This may occur due to environmental estrogens such as synthetic hormones (birth control pills, xenoestrogens from pesticides, plastics, etc.), from fat tissue producing excess estrogen, and poor detoxification and elimination of estrogen in the body. Second, progesterone production is low (from low ovary production), while estrogen is normal. And third, estrogen levels are too high, and progesterone levels are too low.
Conditions Related to Estrogen Dominance
Breast tenderness and fibrocystic breasts or increased risk of breast cancer
Endometrial thickening or endometrial cancer
Fibrocystic breasts/Breast Cancer
Thyroid suppression (hypothyroidism)
Be Wary of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals
Hormone disrupting chemicals from the environment are known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Examples include pesticides, fungicides, plastics, plasticizers, industrial solvents, heavy metals, and pharmaceuticals. The majority of EDC’s are human-made but some occur naturally in the diet. The exposure to EDCs begins in the womb as they transfer across the placenta to the developing baby. As of 2017, the Endocrine Disruption Exchange database listed 1,491 EDCs. These EDCs create hormone imbalance, such as estrogen dominance, by interfering with the body’s hormone production, release, transport, metabolism, binding, action, or elimination.
Foods That Eliminate Estrogen
There is good evidence that phytoestrogens from plants can also bind to receptors and have an anti-estrogenic effect. This is why extensive population studies show that people who consume high amounts of phytoestrogens have lower hormone-related cancers. Research has shown that phytoestrogen consumption is related to lower risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, brain function disorders, and various cancers. (breast, prostate, bowel, and others).
The most well-studied foods containing phytoestrogens are soy (fermented type) and flaxseeds. However, many common foods contain phytoestrogens such as carrots, celery, apples, and legumes.
Ground flax-seeds are not only a good source of fiber, but they have been shown to increase sex-hormone binding globulin, which binds estrogen. As well, lignans are compounds in flax-seeds that interfere with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen. One to two tablespoons of ground flax-seeds daily, along with 10 ounces of water, promote estrogen detoxification.
One of the best category of foods to improve estrogen detoxification are cruciferous vegetables. This includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, bok choy, Swiss chard, and others. Cruciferous vegetables contain several compounds that support estrogen detoxification, including indole-3- carbinole and its metabolite diindolylmethane (DIM). Strive to consume several servings of cruciferous vegetables weekly.
Water needs to be purified since it often contains pesticides and hormone residues fed to animals for fattening purposes. As well, hormone by-products from birth control medications and prescription hormones used by humans end up in the water supply as they are excreted during urination. Plasticizers such as BPA and BPB are commonly in water, especially bottled waters. It is best to consume drinking water that has been purified at home. Also, avoid plastic water bottles and containers and instead use glass or stainless steel products.
Restrict alcohol as it disrupts the body’s detoxification of estrogen and increases estradiol levels. Alcohol also raises the risk for different types of cancer, including breast cancer in women.
A hormone-balancing diet is a modified Mediterranean Diet that focuses on organic foods, reduced grain and dairy products, and purified water.
Coming soon in Dr. Stengler’s News and Breakthroughs: Part Two of Do you have Estrogen Dominance? Where I discuss life-changing nutritional supplements that eliminate estrogen dominance
Alcohol and Cancer. Cdc.gov. 2020 [accessed 2020 Jan 29]. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/alcohol/index.htm
Lee D. Evidence of the Possible Harm of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Humans: Ongoing Debates and Key Issues. Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2018;33(1):44.
Lee J. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. New York: Warner Books; 1996 p. 41.
Rietjens I, Louisse J, Beekmann K. 2017. The potential health effects of dietary phytoestrogens. British Journal of Pharmacology 174:1263-1280.