Estrogenic dominance and hormonal detoxification
When it comes to hormonal disorders in women, the list is long.
But estrogenic dominance is undoubtedly one of the most frequent hormonal disorders at present, according to all the specialists we met!
It is estimated that nearly 70% of women go through a phase of estrogen dominance (excess of estrogen over progesterone).
This hormonal imbalance, which diminishes the quality of life of women, is not easy to identify as it includes so many symptoms that could be attributed to other hormonal imbalances (weight gain, decreased libido, breast pain, more pronounced pre-menstrual syndromes, etc., to name but a few).
The causes are often related to our lifestyles and our environment.
Miyé has studied the issue in order to help you better understand estrogen dominance, how it works, its causes and the solutions – such as hormonal detoxification – that you can put in place to improve your hormonal balance.
Understanding Estrogenic Dominance
The word “estrogen” comes from the Latin “estrus” meaning “phenomena related to ovulation” and the suffix “-gen” meaning “to generate”.
Estrogen is a natural “feminizing” hormone, mainly produced by the ovary but also in small quantities by the adrenal glands, the mammary glands, the fatty tissues (or the testicles in men).
Estrogens (and in particular estradiol) produced by the ovaries ensure the formation, maintenance and functioning of the genital organs and breasts in women. They also act on the brain (effect on mood) and on the heart (protection of the cardiovascular system).
Together with progesterone, estrogens regulate the female menstrual cycle; they modify the cervical mucus, are linked to libido and vaginal lubrication.
On the other hand, a woman may at certain times in her life have too much estrogen in relation to the other hormones, which is called estrogen dominance.
Estrogenic dominance, a common hormonal disorder
Contrary to what one might think, estrogenic dominance is not necessarily synonymous with too much estrogen but rather with an overabundance of estrogen in relation to other hormones, such as progesterone (or testosterone in men). A progesterone deficiency leads to estrogen dominance.
With a loss of progesterone associated with a poor elimination of estrogen, the estrogen/progesterone ratio is no longer balanced, which is called estrogen dominance.
Men are not spared by this phenomenon either, which manifests itself in a decrease in spermatozoa, feminization and even (increasingly) in breast cancer, which affects 1% of men!
More and more women (and you will have understood, men as well), suffer from this hormonal disorder which is so complex to identify because of the symptoms that could be attributed to other hormonal disorders.
Manifestations of estrogen dominance
The main manifestations of this hormonal disorder in women can be seen in :
- Increased premenstrual symptoms,
- Weight gain and increase in fat cells (especially on the stomach and thighs)
- Mood swings, irritability, even depressive tendencies,
- A decrease in libido,
- A decrease in fertility,
- Breast pain
- Hormonal acne in adults,
- Water retention,
- Hair loss,
- Cold hands and feet syndromes,
- Thyroid problems,
- Breast cancer and hormone-dependent cancers
Too much estrogen can lead to :
Excess estrogen, compared to progesterone, can result in chest pain, painful periods, hair loss and/or hormonal acne. All these symptoms are signs of hormonal imbalance.
The main causes of estrogen dominance
Various factors, often combined, can cause this hormonal imbalance.
Psychological, physical and environmental factors, such as an inappropriate diet, chronic stress, excessive exposure to endocrine disruptors or even contraception (or its cessation) can be the source of estrogen dominance.
An unbalanced or inappropriate diet can be the cause of estrogen dominance.
Protein and fatty acid deficiencies lead to a lack of “resources” to produce sufficient hormones, especially progesterone.
It should be noted that B vitamins, magnesium and trace elements are also necessary for the production of these resources.
Another cause of hormonal disruption related to diet can be caused by irregular mealtimes, skipped meals, snacking, etc., all of which are sources of stress for the body and lead to a hormonal response and an overload of the liver. As the liver is the “organ of hormones”, its balance is particularly important.
A diet that is not adapted, too rich, too fatty,… can also unbalance the intestinal flora and the transit, which can also be an obstacle to a good estrogenic balance.
Finally, excess weight should be monitored, as estrogens certainly play a role in weight gain, but fat cells also produce estrogens, which can quickly lead to a real vicious circle.
Endocrine disruptors, mostly Xenoestrogens that mimic our estrogens, are omnipresent in our daily environment. They are found in most plastic-based products, in furniture, textiles, cosmetics, household products… They are also found in certain foods such as dairy products or red meat.
Endocrine disruptors can act on our hormones by fooling our body in two different ways: by mimicking our hormones (Hormon like effect) and/or by blocking our hormone receptor.
So, our body does not receive the right information: in some cases it will release hormones when it is not necessary or conversely, in case of deficiency of a hormone it will not necessarily take it into consideration.
Chronic stress, whether emotional, physical or even chemical, leads to a strong increase in the activity of the adrenal glands, which then secrete large quantities of cortisol, the stress hormone.
To satisfy the demand, the body uses progesterone (which is thus strongly mobilized) to manufacture even more cortisol. Cortisol then becomes the priority and all other hormones, sexual, menstrual, digestive, immune, will take a back seat. In the long term, this additional need for cortisol leads to an overwork of the adrenal glands.
Coping with estrogen dominance through hormonal detoxification
One might think that stopping the pill, eating better, being more zen or eliminating xenoestrogens from our environment as much as possible would be good solutions against estrogen dominance. But it is not so simple because the causes of this dominance are often elements that we do not really control and that are part of our daily life… Moreover, the process of eliminating these daily sources is very long..
And yet the problems linked to estrogen dominance are present in our daily lives and the discomfort they cause is also present!
Hormonal detoxification consists in naturally eliminating from our body the elements that disturb our hormones.
It includes 2 main phases:
1. to help the body to eliminate what is harmful to it
2. To provide it with what it needs to function properly
Emunctories, the number one ally of hormonal detoxification
Through our food, the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the products we use….our body absorbs good elements on a daily basis… but also not so good ones! All these elements accumulate in our body. At the same time, we produce organic waste during digestion or cell division, for example.
This overflow of harmful elements and organic waste is eliminated naturally by what we call the emunctories, organs specialized in the elimination of toxins, true “exit doors” of the body.
Hormonal detoxification will consist, among other things, in stimulating and helping these emunctories to better fulfill their role, by reducing their workload.
Organ of hormones (and emotions in Chinese medicine…), it neutralizes the used estrogens to evacuate them. When the liver does not function properly, estrogens are not totally degraded and are therefore not eliminated in an optimal way. It should be noted that it is through the gallbladder, via the bile, that the waste products of the liver are eliminated, hence the importance of its proper functioning.
The role of the kidneys is multiple: they filter the blood, ensure the water balance of the body (water regulation), secrete the hormones responsible for blood pressure and the manufacture of red blood cells but also transform vitamin D into a hormone usable by the body.
The intestine (and the intestinal mucosa)
It is the intestine that brings the degraded hormones to the exit. When the transit is slowed down, the stools stay in contact with the intestinal mucosa for a longer period of time. This mucosa has the capacity to absorb the last useful nutrients that arrive at the end of digestion. It is also at this moment that the used estrogens can pass back into the blood. They are therefore not evacuated and a vicious circle is created.
They bring the necessary oxygen to the blood, evacuate gaseous waste and fatty acids.
The skin reacts strongly to the different hormones of the female cycleIt produces sweat, sebum and rejects toxins and acids. But when the other emunctories are saturated, it takes over and it is at this moment that skin problems such as acne or eczema can appear.
Women are fortunate to have an additional, so-called secondary, emunctory; the uterus, which is used to evacuate menstrual waste every month of a woman’s life, from puberty to menopause. If menstruation is the main drainage route, vaginal secretions called “white discharge” are also an effective source of evacuation.
In order for the uterus to properly fulfill its role as an emunctory, it is important to ensure that the vaginal flora is healthy. Remember that the latter is directly linked to the quality of the intestinal flora.
Hormonal detoxification, concretely
As you can see, to counteract estrogen dominance, hormonal detoxification can be an effective natural solution.
To achieve this, it is necessary to act on several fronts at the same time: eliminate the sources of the disorders as best as possible, help our body (via the emunctories in particular) to eliminate the harmful elements, and provide our body with what it needs.
Here are a few tips to help you set up a hormonal detoxification:
Adapting your diet
Food is often involved in estrogen dominance. You must learn to identify and distinguish between foods that will be harmful to you and those that will help you.
You should avoid or limit as much as possible:
– Processed foods such as caffeine, fat, sugar,
– Industrial foods such as ready-made meals, industrial cakes,
– Dairy products or unfermented soy products,
– Processed meats, red meat, cold cuts.
– Alcohol and tobacco
On the other hand, try to eat more foods that contain :
- Fiber , which makes it easier to eliminate the estrogens found in the bile: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc
- Polyphenols, plant derivatives that help reduce estrogen levels in the blood: flaxseed, chia seeds, sesame seeds, other unrefined whole grains such as wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn, etc
- Sulfur that helps detoxify the liver and dissolve estrogen: onions, garlic, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, crucifers, citrus fruits..
You can also eat more mushrooms, black grapes, pomegranates, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, turnips, broccoli,…) and drink more green tea, all of which are known to either lower estrogen or slow down its production.
Finally, certain vitamins and minerals can help dissolve and eliminate estrogen in your body. these include: Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, probiotics, zinc and magnesium (the famous “cofactors” of hormonal balance)
Avoiding endocrine disruptors
Obviously, currently the task is more and more difficult … we even talk about the headache of endocrine disruptors since these famous xenoestrogens are more and more present in our environment and that the legislation concerning them remains very limited.
To get rid of endocrine disruptors, we must learn to read labels and find healthier alternatives to certain everyday products, to opt for organic products when possible and also to use our common sense.
Here are some ways to limit endocrine disruptors:
- Cleaning products and detergents can be effectively replaced by Marseille soap, black soap, baking soda or white vinegar.
- Feminine hygiene products can be replaced by menstrual panties.
- Food products can now be bought without packaging or with safe packaging or in bulk.
- Furniture that you buy new should be aired before being installed and clothes washed and selected according to their materials, avoiding those that require too much primer.
Learn to relax
Stress is very deleterious for our hormonal balance. Everyone has their own method to succeed in calming down, to go into slow life mode … yoga for some, pilates for others, sophrology sessions, beauty treatments, time with friends, shopping, walks in the forest, cuddles with the kids … many solutions but this remains something very personal in the end because what will work for one will not necessarily work for others
One thing to remember though, the link between stress and sleep is important and if sleep is not of good quality, then stress naturally increases. Here are some tips to help you improve your sleep:
– Calm down: avoid drinking coffee (and any other excitant) after lunchtime.
– Choose a book with blue light: turn off your screens several hours before bedtime.
– No more evening jogging: avoid physical activity 1 hour before bedtime.
– Breathe: do abdominal breathing exercises at bedtime.
– Meditate: many applications with free guided meditations can accompany you.
75% of our hormonal balance depends on our lifestyle!
Estrogen dominance, like so many other hormonal disorders, diminishes women’s quality of life on a daily basis and the solutions, if they exist, are not always easy to implement. This is why Miyé has developed a range of natural and organic products for women to help them cope with the main symptoms of hormonal imbalance.