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Symptoms of too much estrogen often arrive along with the approach to menopause. Here are the causes of estrogen dominance along with some natural remedies.
What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a group of hormones, (estradiol, estrone and estriol) produced by human women's ovaries. Your adrenal glands and fat cells also produce estrogen, but before menopause, your ovaries are the primary site of estrogen production. You may also be getting estrogen from drugs (birth control pills) and food (beef and other meats and dairy products contain a form of estrogens from the way they are raised, unless you are buying organic). Estrogens that come from food or the environment are called xenoestrogens.
Causes of too much estrogen
About one year before you stop having periods, estrogen actually increases, and progesterone (another female hormone) decreases. This rising estrogen in combination with declining progesterone is one cause of what is known as estrogen dominance. These changes in hormone levels can create many symptoms, from headaches and mood swings to insomnia and bloating. Some women get hot flashes well before they hit menopause, but many do not. Hot flashes are associated with declining estrogen, although no one really knows what causes them.
Other causes of too much estrogen are from xenoestrogens. These estrogens are from your food or the environment and they will disrupt your hormones. Your body does not recognize them the same way it recognizes the estrogen your body makes, and so they can cause a multitude of problems.
Not only are they in your food, but also your cosmetics and other personal care products, as well as the air you breathe and the water you drink. See this article for more about hormone disruptors and the environment.
Symptoms of too much estrogen
Menopause estrogen dominance symptoms include bloating, swollen and tender breasts, headaches, weight gain around abdomen and hips, mood swings, and irregular or abnormal periods.
Symptoms of too much estrogen can often be confusing, especially when it comes to hormone balance. When I became perimenopausal, I had migraine-like headaches, mood swings, insomnia and bloating. Since overweight women tend to have higher estrogen levels, I assumed that was the case for me. I began using bioidentical progesterone cream, and my moods quickly stabilized, my headaches went away (for awhile), and my sleep improved tremendously. My bloating remained, however.
It wasn't until years later that I realized I had developed some food sensitivities, mostly to wheat products. That is when my bloating came under my control. It had nothing to do with having too much estrogen.
Also, my headaches went away initially with the addition of progesterone, but after awhile they returned. I reduced my coffee intake by half, and the headaches disappeared.
I say all this to help you realize that symptoms are indicators of what might be the problem. They are not a guarantee of any particular problem. The more you learn to pay attention to your body and how you treat it, the better you will get at using symptoms as a clue to what needs to be changed.
Ways to reduce or balance too much estrogen
Buy organic produce, and hormone-free eggs, dairy, beef and poultry. These foods do not contain xenoestrogens. Minimize your use of plastic, especially heated plastic. Use glass containers for food storage.
Your liver has to process all these chemicals. Support your liver with herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion, burdock, oregon grape root, and yellow dock. To find out more about these herbs and how to take them, see herbs for menopause and digestion