Estrogen: Surplus or Deficit

Estrogen is one of several female hormones that are part of the customary female hormone cycle. Estrogen receptors are found throughout the body. You may have heard of the term estrogen dominance or saturation. This is when you have more estrogen than your body needs in comparison to progesterone (estrogen is normally balanced by progesterone).

When you hear ‘estrogen’, it is the general term used for several types of estrogen made by the ovaries, adrenal glands, liver, and breasts, and to a lesser degree, testicles. Estrogens are steroid, which means that they have a particular chemical shape. Steroids, including estrogen and progesterone, can be made from cholesterol. Cholesterol is the building block for other steroid hormones including pain-relieving properties of cortisone. Cholesterol is improperly blamed for many health issues when, in fact, it is fulfilling its job description. The elevation of LDL cholesterol is from the state of inflammation the body is in, and the LDL cholesterol is putting out the fire.

Three main estrogens I would like to discuss:

1. Estrone or E1. Five to ten percent of estrogen is made of this type. It is considered a very strong estrogen because of its ability to cause cell proliferation.

2. Estradiol or E2. Five to ten percent of estrogen is made of this type. It is considered the strongest estrogen because of its ability to cause cell proliferation.

3. Estriol or E3. Considered a weak estrogen because it does not cause cell proliferation. However, estriol appears to balance the cell proliferation effects of estrone and estradiol, conferring protection against their cancer causing abilities.

Known Functions of Estrogen:

– Confers female secondary sex characteristics

– Promotes cell proliferation, especially of the uterine lining and breast tissue

– Slows bone loss

– Appears to stimulate and protect brain cells

– Appears to raise HDL levels

– Increases body fat

– Creates progesterone receptors

Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency:

– Hot flashes

– Night sweats

– Insomnia

– Mood swings

– Mental fogginess, poor memory

– Vaginal dryness, dry skin, and eyes

– Bladder infections

– Incontinence, urethral irritations, urinary frequency

– Headaches, migraines

– Decreased sexual response

Symptoms of Excess Estrogen:

– Heavy bleeding

– Clotting and/or cramping

– Water retention and/or bloating

– Breast tenderness, lumpiness, cystic breasts and enlarged breast

– Weight gain

– Post menstrual headaches and migraines; one of the most common body signals I see in estrogen dominant females of undetermined origin.

– Depression, irritability, anxiety, anger

– Decreased sexual response

– When in excess, estrogen creates the environment for berry colored moles

Metabolic Problems that Develop with Excess Estrogen:

– Loss of zinc, retention of copper (demonstrated on Hair Analysis)

– Cold hands and feet, interferes with thyroid hormones

– Impairs blood sugar control

– Over time, increases the risk of autoimmune disorders

A couple of concluding thoughts: Estrogen only functions correctly when it is in the right proportion with progesterone, it’s primary partner and synergist. In a woman’s cycle, these proportions change; in menopausal women, the proportion of progesterone to estradiol falls ideally around 30:1.

Here is a topic that is not often discussed or understood. We have an overabundance of xenohormones which are a source of synthetic estrogens. The body is already dealing with a plethora of estrogen excess or estrogen saturation that is not being balanced with progesterone.

The Problem with Xenohormones

Xenohormones are man-made substances that are foreign to the body and have hormone-like properties. Most xenohormones have an estrogen-like effect and are sometimes called xenoestrogens. This, in combination with a sluggish, physically congested liver, is one of the primary reasons why women in our society have so many menstrual and fibroid issues. Xenohormones can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation, and direct skin contact.

Common Sources of Xenohormones

– Synthetic estrogens and progestins, as are found in oral contraceptives and conventional hormone replacement therapies

– All American-grown, non-organic livestock, which are fed estrogenic drugs to gain weight

– Petrochemically derived pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides

– Solvents and adhesives (as in fingernail polish and polish remover, glue, cleaning supplies, or industrial situation)

– Car exhaust

– Emulsifiers found in soaps and cosmetics

– Almost all plastics, given off especially when plastics are hot or are heated, (affecting meat and vegetables when wrapping with a hot wire at a meat department)

– Industrial wastes such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) and dioxins

Disorders Related to Xenohormone Exposure

– Increase in reproductive site cancers in women and men (breast, uterine, ovarian, prostate, and testicular)

– Decreased fertility in both sexes

– Decreased sperm count in males, both human and animal

– Low testosterone levels and abnormally small penis size

– Increased incidence of undescended testicles

– Increased PMS challenges in women

– Estrogen dominance epidemic

Steps to Avoid Xenohormone Exposure

– Avoid all synthetic and horse hormones (oral contraceptives and conventional HRT).

– Eat organic meat and dairy, and avoid the fat on non-organic meat and dairy, which is where the xenohormones concentrate

– Decrease or stop all conventional pesticides, lawn and garden chemicals, etc. Don’t contract with conventional lawn services that use sprays that are extremely toxic and full of xenohormones that add to our estrogen-saturated environment

– Wear protective gloves and clothing when in contact with any glues, solvents, cleaning solutions that contain xenohormones

– Avoid particleboard, synthetic fiber carpets, and fake woods as much as possible. The chemicals you smell are xenohormones. Think about that when you are around a campfire or use a wood burner at home. I have patients that are sick all winter when they use a wood-burning stove

– You need to ventilate properly when in contact with any of these materials. Think ahead. For example, if you do install synthetic fiber carpets, do so when the windows can be opened-it takes months to air out the noxious chemical. I hope this helps you.

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