By Pamela Levin, R.N.
Whether you are premenarche, cycling or peri or post menopausal, together these symptoms can develop into a health disaster. Take this one minute test to find out how many you have – and then learn how to turn them around now so you won’t be sorry later.
Turn them around while you can. Don’t become one of the hundreds of thousands of people who don’t know that these pesky symptoms can add up to a lethal outcome down the road.
Take a moment to score yourself:
_____sore, swollen breasts, breast tenderness (for women or men)
_____swollen fingers and ankles, feeling impatient or bossy,
_____aging process accelerating
_____allergies, including asthma, hives, rashes, sinus congestion
_____autoimmune disorders (including lupus erythematosis, thyroiditis)
_____blood sugar disturbances, especially low blood sugar
_____cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction
_____decreased sex drive
_____depression with anxiety or agitation
_____fat gain, especially around the abdomen, hips, and thighs
_____fibrocystic breasts(women or men)
_____inability to focus
_____increased blood clotting (increasing risk of strokes)
_____water retention, bloating
_____history of xenoestrogen exposure when you were an embryo (from your mother eating foods containing DDT or taking DES (diethylstilbestrol), a drug used to prevent miscarriage)
For women, do you or did you:
_____take birth control pills
_____take conventional ERT (estrogen replacement therapy)
_____take HRT (hormone replacement therapy)
_____undergo a tubal ligation
_____develop fibrocystic breasts
_____have irregular periods or no periods
_____pass clots during your period
_____out of control bleeding
_____early onset of menstruation
_____PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
_____premenopausal bone loss
What Your Score Means:
As a woman, your possible highest score is 46. The higher your score, the more likely you have estrogen dominance. And, before we go on with what that is and what to do about it, remember that it’s the cluster of symptoms, the combination of them, and not the existence of any one of them, that indicate a problem, and that problem is called estrogen dominance.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance is a term John Lee, M.D. created to refer to an all too common and potentially dangerous type of hormonal imbalance. In short, it is too much estrogen relative to the amount of progesterone.(See: John Lee, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You AboutMenopause, Warner Books, New York, 2004, p. 42-43.)
Why is Estrogen Dominance Dangerous?
Estrogen is a hormone that tells cells to grow. Too much means too much growth,and that’s not a good thing. Bodily environments that are too estrogen rich are giving the signal to grow, grow, grow, and that signal is picked up and used by viruses, bacteria, fungi and all manner of creatures which can make their host extremely ill. Cancer cells, too, get the grow message. Additionally, a dominance of estrogen blocks thyroid hormone, so that you can have all the symptoms of low thyroid while thyroid blood test results come back normal. (In estrogen dominance your body prevents your thyroid from allowing your metabolism to run any faster to keep you from having problems that are far worse).It’s also associated with a number of diseases, including breast cancer. Then, estrogen increases blood clotting and therefore increases stroke risk. For these and many more reasons, it is important to reverse this condition as quickly as possible.
Do Only Women Have Estrogen Dominance?
Absolutely not. It’s also very common – and dangerous -in men, and now young boys as well as young girls are experiencing it as well.
Can Post-Menopausal Women Have Estrogen Dominance?
In a word, yes, absolutely. A woman levels of estrogen can drop and she can still be estrogen dominant. That’s because her levels of estrogen may still be too high in relation to her progesterone levels. This is also true for women who are young enough to be cycling but have had hysterectomies. Typically her estrogen levels drop, but since her progesterone levels drop even further, she is estrogen dominant. And, of course, the standard practice of prescribing pharmaceutical estrogen replacement only makes that situation worse.
What About Balancing Estrogen with Progesterone Supplementation?
Suppose your own self-test (above), a laboratory saliva test, blood test or muscle test reveals that your estrogen levels in relation to progesterone are too high. Does that mean you should immediately take progesterone to balance it? In a word, no! Rather than rushing out and rubbing progesterone cream all over your body, instead ferret out its root cause and change what is causing it (see below).
What To Do
1.Eat organic food whenever possible. When you do, you benefit yourself, plus you support organic production which provides a toxic-free environment for farm workers, consumers, and wildlife. It also promotes and helps sustain biological diversity. Why? Non-organically grown fruits, vegetables or foods contain pesticides, and these are estrogen mimics (called xenoestrogens) – substances that fool the body cells into thinking they’re being ordered to ‘grow’. Remember that non-organic, non range fed steers and cows are fed estrogen to increase their weight, and feed lot chicken are fed with food containing pesticides and hormones that force them to become mature (i.e., market-ready) in six weeks instead of four months.
2.If you have period cramping symptoms associated with estrogen dominance, use in combination the nutritional supplements Calcium Lactate, Black Currant Seed Oil, Magnesium Lactate. You will likely also benefit from anti-inflammatory herbs such as Boswellia, Celery Seed, Ginger or Turmeric, all of which are helpful in the short term.
3.Clean your liver and keep it clean. To reverse estrogen dominance, it is absolutely essential to do both. The most effective supplement for this in my clinical experience has been Garlic. How much? In my office we often use Garlic 5000, a MediHerb supplement, each tablet of which contains the same amount of garlic as an entire bulb of garlic. (No, that’s not a typo – a whole bulb, not just one of the cloves.) And depending on how toxic the person’s liver is, we may use 3 a day.
4.Stop consuming foods to which you are intolerant. In my clinical experience, these are the primary cause of a liver that’s too overwhelmed to break down estrogen at a sufficient rate to prevent estrogen from building up.
5. Eliminate refined starches and sugars from your diet. because they are converted to fats which are in turn converted to estrogen.
6. Burn as many calories as you consume, which means that if you’ve consumed excessive calories, you need to increase your activity level to burn them off or reduce your consumption. People who are overweight have higher levels of estrogen than thin people.
7. Reverse dietary deficiencies such as low protein intake, low fat intake, or problems absorbing the protein or fats you eat. Each of these impairs the functioning of your gonads and also your mitochondria (the little rods in cells that are responsible for energy production).
8.Manage your stress. Whether due to physical, emotional, chemical or environmental factors, stress weakens your adrenal glands, making it difficult for them to assist with sex hormone production and also to take it over during your menopausal shift (for women) or your andropause shift (for men.)
9.Avoid purchasing carpets that outgas. Christi Graham, Founder and President of Healthy Home Plans, reports that there are as many as 120 neurotoxic chemicals in a typical sample of carpet. “Toxic chemicals can be found in the fiber bonding material, dyes, backing glues, fire retardants, latex binder, fungicides, and anti static and stain resistant treatments. A list of these include: formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, the potent carcinogen benzene and a long chain of any other tongue twisters.”
10.Avoid breathing air containing crop sprays. Leave for the day if you can, or if you can’t, close your doors and windows and turn on the air conditioner, then clean the filter afterwards. Then join your friends and neighbors to engage in political action to stop pesticide crop spraying altogether.
11. If you have taken birth control pills for a long time or your mother took DES when you were in utero, get professional guidance to support you in ridding your body cells of the estrogen.
Pamela Levin is an R.N., an award-winning nutritional journalist and author with 500+ post-graduate hours in clinical nutrition, herbology and applied kinesiology. In private practice 42 years, she has worked extensively and effectively with female hormone issues and has shared her expertise with colleagues and lay audiences in 10 countries and four continents.
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