Lifestyle Changes to Decrease Estrogen Excess

Excess estrogen or ‘estrogen dominance’ refers to a state of hormone imbalance that may be due to stress, toxins, or poor detoxification. Excess estrogen causes uncomfortable symptoms in women including:

  • uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, breast cancer, PCOS, endometriosis (all estrogen-dominant conditions)
  • fatigue
  • bloating and fluid retention
  • gallstones
  • decreased sex drive
  • PMS
  • long, short, heavy or irregular periods
  • hot flashes and night sweats
  • weight gain
  • acne
  • depression &/or irritability

    Most commonly the body doesn’t deliberately produce too much estrogen; rather there’s an imbalance in our internal or external environment that leads to estrogen dominance. Many chemicals in our environment mimic estrogens in our bodies (xenoestrogens). Stress can act as an internal toxin and alters your body’s production of hormones. Finally, poor detoxification (liver, bowels, kidneys) can lead to a build up of estrogens.

    So what are your options?

    1. Eat organic, download the Environmental Working Group’s ‘dirty dozen’ and ‘clean fifteen’ lists: pesticides are hormone disruptors, estrogenic, neurotoxic, and reproduction-impairing (60% of pesticides currently used are hormone disruptors)

    2. Drink water from glass or steel bottles: bottled water is less regulated than tap water; plastic bottles leach Bisphenol-A (BPA) which is a hormone disruptor; water filtered at home is a good place to start

    3. Do laundry differently: laundry soaps contain hormone disrupting chemicals including phthalates, artificial dyes, perfumes and petroleum-based chemicals; fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain chloroform, benzyl acetate, and toluene; Try Biovert, Ecover, Soap Factory Laundry Miracle, Nature Clean, Seventh Generation and a reusable dryer cloth such as Static Eliminator.

    4. Yoga, enjoyable activity or exercise, breathing, meditation, talking, laughing, journaling, and a healthy sex life can all reduce your stress levels.

    5. Support your detoxification by: drinking hot water with a slice of lemon in the morning, adding ground flax seeds to your diet, eating dandelion greens, onions, garlic, broccoli, watercress, and artichoke, drinking plenty of water, and eating a whole foods diet.

    Supporting health with simple lifestyle changes greatly impacts your hormone balance. Balancing estrogen levels starts with daily choices to minimize exposure.

    -by Dr. Jennifer Schmidt-White

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