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Estrogen Dominance : The Pre-menopausal Problem

Written by pharmacist  |  04. August 2004

To all our LongIsland.com readers:
Thank you for your most valuable input. We have been able to assist many in finding physicians, in Long Island, that prescribe bioidentical hormonal replacement therapy. Your response and inquiries have lead to some successful conclusions for some with the "hormonal replacement dilemma".

The standard medical approach is that menopause is an estrogen deficiency resulting from ovarian failure. Due to this mindset, women believe that at the slightest symptoms, they should run out and get estrogen replacement . While estrogen levels will lessen during menopause, the reality is, estrogen levels do not fall significantly until after a woman's last period. In reality is that, more women suffer from the effects of "estrogen dominance" during this transition -- that is, they have too much estrogen as compared to progesterone. And some women can suffer from the symptoms of estrogen dominance for 10 to 15 years, beginning as early as age 35.

Many of our patients in their thirties and early forties find that they experience moderate to severe symptoms of estrogen dominance as they approach perimenopause. Many of them realize their hormones are imbalance, but are frustrated and what help. We direct them to physicians that are able to diagnose these symptoms with appropriate lab tests and physical examination. These symptoms are intensified by stress of all kinds.

Decreased sex drive Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods Bloating (water retention) Breast swelling and tenderness Fibrocystic breasts Headaches (especially premenstrually) Mood swings (most often irritability and depression) Weight and/or fat gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips) Cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction) PMS Thyroid dysfunction Sluggish metabolism Foggy thinking, memory loss Fatigue Trouble sleeping / insomnia Hair loss

Estrogen dominance has also been linked to allergies, autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, uterine cancer, infertility, ovarian cysts, and increased blood clotting, and is also associated with acceleration of the aging process.

What brings on Estrogen Dominance?
In a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen is the principal hormone for the first two weeks leading up to ovulation. Estrogen is then balanced by progesterone during the last two weeks of the cycle. As a woman enters perimenopause and begins to experience cycles where no ovulation occurs, estrogen can often go unopposed, causing symptoms. Skipping ovulation is, however, only one potential factor in estrogen dominance. In industrialized countries such as the United States, there can be many other causes, including:
Excess body fat (greater than 28%) Too much stress, resulting in excess amounts of cortisol, insulin, and norepinephrine, which can lead to adrenal exhaustion, and can also adversely affect overall hormonal balance A low-fiber diet with excess refined carbohydrates (SUGAR) and deficient in nutrients and high quality fats Impaired liver function Environmental agents

The Answer for Estrogen Dominance Increase nutrients in the diet. Take a high potency multivitamin/mineral combination to help metabolize estrogen more efficiently. Follow a hormone-balancing diet. Eat a diet consisting of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, adequate protein, and moderate amounts of healthy fat. Remember to get enough fiber. Estrogen is excreted by the bowel; if stool remains in the bowel, estrogen is reabsorbed. The use of transdermal bioidentical progesterone cream.
Many of the symptoms of estrogen dominance can be relieved with natural, bioidentical progesterone topical cream, applied daily for two to three weeks prior to onset of period. Need more assistance?

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