10 causes of estrogen dominance

menopause, hormones, guelph, estrogen, progesterone, fertility, infertility

Do you suffer from any of these symptoms?  If so, you may be experiencing estrogen dominance.

  •  PMS
  •  Fibrocystic breasts
  • Breast tenderness
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Recurring yeast infections
  • Endometriosis
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Reduced sex drive/ low libido
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bloating, water retention
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia

What are ten common causes of estrogen dominance?

1. Personal care products - Personal care products like deodorant, shampoos, lotions, makeup, even tampons and menstrual pads, all contain parabens, phenoxyethanol, phthalates and other compounds that all have estrogenic activity.  These products are especially harmful because they are absorbed by the skin, directly into your body’s tissues, bypassing your organ of detoxification, the liver.  Be cautious of deodorants and other personal care products that contain “fragrance,” as this can be anything and it tends to be a ‘sneaky’ way for companies to hide phthalates or other hormone-disrupting chemicals.  Look for clean products with ingredient lists that you can understand.  Usually, if you have to ‘google’ an ingredient, it’s best to avoid it.

2. Fragrance - The Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 requires companies to list the ingredients on their cosmetic product labels. One exception……fragrance.  That means that if there is something a company does not want to disclose, they can simply throw it in, under the name ‘fragrance.’ YIKES!  Harmful ‘fragrance’ is not limited to perfume and cosmetics.  Products like air fresheners, fabric softeners, scented laundry detergents, etc. are FULL of fragrance.  Hidden behind the pleasant aromas are chemicals linked to hormone disruption and reproductive problems.  If you are dead set on using fragrance, add some organic essential oil drops to your personal products and cleaning products.

3. Food -  One of the biggest sources of excess estrogen is the modern diet. The food industry wants to be able to sell more meat, more milk and more eggs.  So commercially raised animals are injected with growth hormones to make them grow bigger and increase milk and egg production. These hormones are consumed when eating commercial animal products, leaving them to enter your tissues and disrupt your own natural hormone balance.  In addition to these growth hormones, the industry uses pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.  These are all known endocrine disruptors which interfere with your natural hormone activity, metabolism and detoxification.

4. Water - Our water has become heavily polluted with hormone-disrupting compounds including pesticides, fertilizers, synthetic estrogens from prescription medications, like the commonly used birth control pill, and an unknown number of industrial chemicals from chemical plant waste and the dumping of plastics and chemicals in our landfills.  Our bodies need a lot of water (8-10 glasses a day, AT LEAST) so we need to make sure that it is CLEAN.  Consider putting in a whole house water filter or, at least, a filtered water tap at your sink.  Remember you’re not just drinking it….you’re bathing in it too!

5. BPA (bisphenol-A) - BPA containing plastics can be found in so many products; water bottles, plastic food wrap, food storage containers, cosmetic containers, children’s toys, even thermal receipt paper.  Exposing these plastics to microwaving, dishwashing, and sunlight increases the estrogenic activity of plastic even more, causing major health problems. As a note, beware of “BPA-free claims”.  These products are not safe as they contain chemicals and hazardous effects are not yet fully understood.  Try switching out all plastic containers for glass or stainless steel and ask retailers to email receipts when they can.

6. Excess body fat -  Body fat excels at storing AND making excess estrogen.  Excess body fat around the hips, thighs and waist is a leading cause of estrogen dominance, in both men and women.  It is imperative to lose excess body fat.  However, in addition to losing weight, make sure that your bowels are moving!  The only way to truly ‘flush’ estrogen is through urine and stool.

7. Poor gut health - It is incredibly important to maintain a healthy gut microbiome and move your bowels daily.  When your gut flora is imbalanced, your gut is unable to metabolize/break down excess estrogen and if you are not having a daily bowel movement, your body is unable to remove the excess estrogen.  Talk to your naturopathic doctor if you think that you are suffering from sub-optimal gut health.

8. Chronic Stress -  Chronic stress puts the body into constant ‘fight or flight’ mode.  Your body is unable to determine if your stress is simply from having a bad day or because you’re running from a bear.   To your body, stress is stress and stress is extremely detrimental to your hormone health.  When stressed, your body prioritizes and chooses to make cortisol instead of progesterone.  Low levels of progesterone lead to estrogen dominance.

9. Birth control and synthetic hormone replacement therapy - The synthetic hormones used in synthetic hormone replacement therapy and the birth control pill are not easily metabolized by the liver, leading to cellular damage and an increased risk for breast and endometrial cancer.  The birth control pill contains significant amounts of synthetic estrogen and progesterone; taken on a daily basis.  This can be extremely harmful in the long run.  Talk to your naturopathic doctor about the fertility awareness method of birth control and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT); safe and natural hormone therapies.

10. Low progesterone -  Low levels of progesterone lead to estrogen dominance.  The potential causes of low progesterone include HPA-axis dysregulation, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), insulin resistance/diabetes, thyroid disease (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism), menopause, birth control pill use and obesity.


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