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5 Causes of Estrogen Dominance

If you’ve been struggling with estrogen dominance, you’re likely familiar with the irregular periods, hair loss and bloating – but do you know what’s to blame for your hormonal havoc? We’re here to unpack five of the most common causes of estrogen dominance.

Estrogen dominance occurs when the levels of the sex hormone, estrogen, are elevated too high in relation to progesterone levels. Estrogen performs a number of functions, from initiating reproductive development, supporting egg development and ovulation to promoting bone and heart health. Sounds good, right? Well, usually it is, but when things fall out of balance, we start to see some of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Hair loss
  • Infertility
  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Irregular periods
  • Bloating
  • Lower sex drive
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Fibrocystic lumps in breasts
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings

Let's take a look at a few of the major culprits for estrogen dominance and how they affect our hormones. But first, if you need a refresher on the signs and symptoms of this distressing condition, take a look at our other article HERE.

1. Excess body fat

Excess body weight – especially that which is stored in the waist, thighs and hips – is one of the biggest triggers for estrogen dominance. This is because the fat tissue stores and absorbs higher levels of this hormone, leading to a greater circulation of estrogen in the bloodstream. To make matters worse, this fat synthesises estrogen from other hormones like progesterone, furthering the risk for hormonal havoc. This cycle of reduced progesterone and increased estrogen then, unsurprisingly, cause estrogen dominance.

2. Stress

You’re probably wondering what heath conditions and diseases stress doesn’t have a role in – and, unfortunately, the list is slim-to-none. Many of us are balancing hectic family lives with work commitments and other responsibilities, leading to a pile up of stress. Unfortunately for those of you out there dealing with hormone imbalances, stress usually plays a large role. The reason is simpler than the cure – stress triggers our adrenal glands to make extra cortisol, the “stress hormone”, and while this might give us the energy to push through a problem, when we’re under chronic stress, things turn a little pear-shaped. Some of us can end up with what’s known as adrenal fatigue, and this means that our body has chewed through our cortisol stores and then has to deplete sex hormones like progesterone to keep it coming. This lowered progesterone count can then push us into estrogen dominance.

3. Hormone replacement therapy

There are a range of medications that can wreak havoc on our hormonal balance – but hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is especially well-known for throwing estrogen and progesterone levels off kilter. This includes oral contraceptives – these often lack the adequate levels of sex hormones, leading to either supressed progesterone or elevated estrogen. The result, of course, is estrogen dominance. The other issue with some contraceptives and HRT is that the hormones are usually synthetic and, therefore, harder for our livers to metabolise. This not only leads to the above-mentioned imbalances, but also increase the risk for cancers including endometrial and breast cancer.

4. Environmental toxins

Xenoestrogens are common and near-unavoidable environmental toxins appearing in everything from food to cosmetics. Take a look at the shortlist of the many places you’ll find this stuff:

  • Some tap water sources
  • Toys – especially slime or liquid-based toys
  • Birth control medication
  • Perfume
  • Sunscreen and face-cleansing products
  • Furniture
  • Food colouring
  • Pesticides

Basically, it’s everywhere. The issue with these toxins is that they have the ability to mimic our estrogen hormones, but with far greater potency. With every exposure comes more hormonal havoc, with one of the big consequences being estrogen dominance. But that’s not the only health issue they’ve been linked to – cancer, infertility, thyroid issues and obesity are all on the map.

5. Diet

What we put on our plates has massive sway over our hormonal health – diets high in ultra-processed foods and added sugars tend to spike inflammation and wreak havoc on the balance of our sex hormones. But these aren’t the only foods that might contribute to the problem – studies show consuming excess commercially-farmed dairy products can disrupt our balance. This is because many factory-farmed cows are injected with growth hormones to speed up the development and milk-production process. These growth hormones then end up in our system and can potentially cause excess estrogen or even excess testosterone in both men and women.

Sugar is another sex hormone disruptor which can result in gut dysbiosis – this is when our gut microbiome is out of balance and lacking in those essential good bacteria. Our hormones are in close communication with our gut – after all, the gut is known as the “second brain” for a reason – and a dysfunctional gut leads to dysfunctional hormones. Consuming added sugars has been linked to a greater production of bad bacteria, with studies finding it spikes levels of Proteobacteria, which indicates dysbiosis is at play. Take a look at some of the symptoms you’re dealing with this condition:

  • Fatigue
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Genital infections
  • Aching joints
  • Skin issues like acne and eczema
  • Bloating
  • Constipation and diarrhoea

 But with Aussies are consuming around 15 teaspoons of added sugar per day, which is more than double the 6-teaspoon recommendation from the World Health Organisation, is it any wonder so many of us are struggling with an array of gut-related hormonal conditions?

If you suspect estrogen dominance is what’s got you down, we recommend swapping out high-sugar, ultra-processed foods with whole grains, legumes, organic-only dairy and eggs, whole fruit and veggies – and, of course, don’t forget fermented foods! These are your key to getting your gut balance back in your favour and supporting healthy hormone function. Kimchi, organic yoghurt or kefir, tempeh and natto are all loaded with probiotics, along with other essential vitamins and minerals that boost gut-health.

Keen for more health and nutrition tips? We’re here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and turning our health dreams into a reality. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:

  1. 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
  2. 90+ member-only recipes.
  3. Community forums to share your journey.
  4. Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
  5. Exclusive content from our panel of experts.

So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to JOIN NOW!


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