News Flash > Fertility & Pregnancy


The Effects Of Estrogen Dominance For Women

Reported June 04, 2010

Chances are good that you have never heard of estrogen dominance, but it’s a major health hazard for women over 40. In the correct balance, estrogen provides anti-inflammatory properties and protects our health in many ways. However, an imbalance in which there is an excess of estrogen and xenoestrogens (chemicals in the environment that mimic the effects of estrogen) leads to estrogen dominance.

But this condition is not just reserved for women… Yes, men over the age of 40 can also experience estrogen dominance when their hormones are off balance, too.

However, most cases end up misdiagnosed or mistreated by the medical community due to the varying symptoms. An overabundance of estrogen is responsible for a variety of health problems in men and women such as…

* Weight gain―especially around the belly―without eating more
* Hot flashes and uncomfortable menopausal symptoms
* Unwanted facial hair
* Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse
* Bloating and water retention
* Memory loss and “senior moments”
* Depression and anxiety
* Migraines or headaches associated with the menstrual cycle
* Irregular or skipped menstrual cycles
* Trouble sleeping
* Low sex drive
* Erectile dysfunction (ED)
* Enlarged prostate and other prostate problems
* Frequent need to urinate
* Dry skin and wrinkles
* Brittle bones
* Breast tenderness

John R. Lee, M.D., believed that if estrogen levels are allowed to rise unchecked in women it could lead to endometriosis, heavy bleeding, fibroid tumors, heart disease and stroke, uterine cancer and decreased cognitive ability. In men, estrogen dominance can also lead to ED. And, according to Nick Delgado, Ph.D., a leading expert on anti-aging, a number of men with ED are “at greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, or hypertension.”

To help prevent estrogen dominance, Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP, indicates that the two primary female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, must be in balance: estrogen stimulating tissue growth and progesterone signaling the body to absorb and remove it.

What throws off this delicate balance? Aging can play a part in the imbalance because, unfortunately, as you get older, your hormone levels change and your body creates more estrogen than you need.

An overabundance of estrogen can also be brought on by environmental, dietary and lifestyle factors. Pollutants from toxins in our environment (xenoestrogens) have been proven to wreak havoc with estrogen levels. Pick states that many of these xenoestrogens are “proven carcinogens” and their main source in the environment is likely found in pesticides “stored in the fat cells of fish, poultry and other food sources.”

Another major source of xenoestrogens is in the growth hormones injected in poultry and livestock. Birth control pills, some canned foods, plastic containers (water bottles or food containers, especially those microwaved with plastic wrap) will further expose you.

But the biggest factor in the production of estrogen, according to Pick, is lifestyle―refined sugar and flour, simple carbohydrates, and too little exercise affects hormone production. And let’s not forget about the stress factor! “Stress,” she states, “plays a major role in estrogen overproduction.”

The bottom line is whether you call it estrogen dominance… or “male menopause”… or andropause… too much estrogen is a real health hazard. And as indicated in a report by Lisa Marshall, large numbers of baby boomers are being hit with symptoms of male menopause. Therefore, Dr. John Morley, lead researcher of estrogen dominance in men and head of the geriatrics division at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, predicts that, “We are going to see an explosion of interest in it.”

The question of estrogen dominance and what causes it is as complicated as each individual is unique. Therefore, you should discuss your individual complications with a physician who is open to natural alternative hormone therapy.