Estrogen dominance is a common pattern in women, where estrogen levels are high in comparison to progesterone levels.
(see my previous post if you’ve never heard of it!)
Our hormones respond to so many aspects of our physiology that it can take some detective work to figure out the root cause of estrogen dominance.
Here are 8 potential hidden causes:
1️⃣ Body Fat
Our fat cells contain an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. That means the more fat cells in the body, the more estrogen produced.
2️⃣ Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance (when cells do not properly respond to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar) increases aromatase activity, leading to increased estrogen levels.
3️⃣ Liver Problems
The liver is the main site of estrogen metabolism. If the liver is not functioning well, estrogen will be metabolized (and therefore eliminated from the body) more slowly.
4️⃣ Poor Gut Health
There’s an enzyme in the gut called beta-glucuronidase that causes estrogen to recirculate into the body. Overgrowth of certain unfriendly gut bacteria boost levels of this enzyme, contributing to estrogen dominance.
5️⃣ Low Thyroid Function
Estrogen and thyroid hormones have an intimate relationship. High estrogen blocks the conversion of T4 to T3, and low thyroid function slows elimination of estrogen from the body. This can create a vicious cycle and worsen estrogen dominance!
Alcohol increases activity of the aromatase enzyme in the liver, contributing to higher estrogen levels.
Here’s a big one. Did you know that progesterone and the stress hormone cortisol are made from the same precursor hormone? That means that with more stress, we produce more cortisol and less progesterone—leaving estrogen unchecked 😮
Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. They can be found in plastic water bottles, grocery store receipts, cleaning products, shampoos, and lotions to name a few.
Estrogen dominance is not straightforward, but we can help you make sense of it and feel better. Are you looking to better understand YOUR hormones? Book a consult so we can help.