Estrogen dominance and excess levels of estrogen are bad for your health. In this article, we will learn how to lower estrogen levels. Both testosterone as well as estrogen, are two important steroid hormones that can be found in both women and men, although in different ratios.
For women, the more dominant hormones is estrogen, along with progesterone. Estrogen hormone is primarily responsible for the development of female characteristics, and progesterone plays an important role in menstruation and pregnancy.
On the other hand, for men, testosterone is the more dominant hormone. Testosterone is mainly responsible for the development of male traits and characteristics such as muscles, sexuality, fats, and bone.
Hormonal imbalance in the ratios can lead to unflattering physical attributes such as weight gain or presence of traits from one's opposite sex. The more subtle effects, at the physiological level, due to dwindling or excessive levels of any of these hormones may also lead to mood changes or decreased sex drive.
One specific hormonal imbalance that mostly happen to both men and women is increased estrogen in excess levels, which is known as estrogen dominance, and is a serious condition.
Excess Estrogen: The Causes
In females, estrogen levels increase because of the following:
- Medical Conditions: Overweight, Obesity, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure
- Certain Medications Like Estrogen Containing Drugs Such as Ampicillin, Steroids, Tetracyclines, and Phenothiazines
- Tumors: Ovaries or Adrenal Glands
On the other hand, high estrogen may occur in males due to:
- Excessive Testosterone Therapy
- Increased Body Fat Relative to Muscle Mass, Obesity
- High Base Line Estrogen Levels
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance can in both sexes be experienced differently. In females, high estrogen symptoms include:
- Swelling and increased sensitivity in the breasts
- Irregular menstrual period and worse premenstrual syndrome
- Mood Swings
- Anxiety Disorders
- Fibrocystic developments (benign tumors) in the breasts
Men also have their share of high estrogen problems, especially if you are already on TRT:
- Sexual dysfunctions including poor erection and infertility
- Gynecomastia (also called “man boobs”)
Moreover, both sexes may actually suffer from the following:
- Weight gain
- Decreased sex drive
- Emotional disturbances or moodiness, anxiety, and even depression
- Excessive Fatigue
If any of the above issues resonates with you, consider doing a blood test to check your levels of estrogen:
The Flipside: Low Estrogen
The opposite of high estrogen hormone is not any better. Lower estrogen levels can only lead to a different set of physiological disturbances for both men and women. Few bad effects of high estrogen can also be exhibited during low estrogen levels such as weight gain and decreased sex drive for both sexes.
Let us recall that estrogen does the following:
- Delays skin aging
- Maintains bone mass
- Regulates signaling related to cardiovascular functions
- Influences the brain; including memory and motor functions
- Plays a role in blood clotting, maintaining the thickness and strength of the urethral lining and the vaginal wall
- Can even influence skeletal muscle mass and muscle strength
- Has roles in the male reproductive functions and influences fertility
This probably means that if your estrogen levels are too low, you could possibly suffer from weak bones, early skin ageing, and problems with some brain functions.
The key is to keep balance in these hormones, however this can be tricky in modern times. Don't give up, we will soon present you actionable solutions. But first let us review the roles of estrogen and the positive impacts of maintaining this hormone at optimal levels.
How to Balance Levels of Estrogen
Balancing hormones is easier said than done. Feedback from cells in our body monitor estrogen levels relative to other hormones, all while considering our genetic predispositions, current health practices, diet, and even medications, if any.
We are, however, not quite helpless. We can find better ways to manage hormonal changes that take place in the human body. If you are determined to get your sex drive back as soon as possible and get rid of any extra belly fat, try out the following ways on how you can conquer estrogen dominance:
How to Lower Estrogen: The Pharmaceutical Way
Supplementation is one of the best ways in controlling estrogen levels. Supplements are helpful for those who need quick results or have genetic predispositions that can render their hormone modulation efforts futile.
There are two categories of estrogen blocking dietery supplements. Both of which are also used in addressing breast cancer in women:
- SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator): As the name suggest, SERMs are compounds that may interact or bind with estrogen receptors to either stimulate (agonist) or prevent (antagonist) the production of estrogen as a way to control its overall levels. Despite the benefits, pharmaceutical SERMs use also has its disadvantages including potential thromboembolic disorders and in worst cases, uterine cancer. However natural SERMs are completely safe.
- AI (Aromatase Inhibitors): The use of aromatase inhibitors is the most popular way to control high estrogen levels by directly inhibiting its production. However, just like SERMs, this type of therapy can have adverse effects especially when it depletes too much estrogen and brings levels too low. Also in the case of AIs, natural aromataste inhibitors such as foods and herbs are better to use.
For men, if you want to take this path, you may first consult your doctor or start checking out natural estrogen blockers which can help lower your feminine hormones and boost your manliness (testosterone). As for women, these therapies are usually administered for actual medical conditions such as osteoporosis or breast cancer, so it is better to consult with your physician first.
How to Lower Estrogen: The Natural Route
For the majority of people without any serious medical conditions, there’s nothing that a balanced diet, supplements and regular exercise can’t achieve. This is actually the primary method we recommend. It’s generally safer, for starters.
To optimize your lifestyle with estrogen dominance in mind, consider the following suggestions below.
Many natural products and foods can act as aromatase inhibitors. These include:
- Red Wine (Resveratrol) and Grape Seed Extract
- White Button Mushrooms
- Arimistane (strong inhibitor, DHEA metabolite)
It is also recommended to follow a diet rich in vegetables and high in fiber for as long as your estrogen levels are too high. Specifically consuming cruciferous vegetables such as maca, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower will help as they contain estrogen regulating compounds and minerals such as zinc that can give your testosterone an extra boost. Higher levels of testosterone can tip the hormonal ratios in your favour and also help improve symptoms of estrogen dominance.
You should also match the dietary changes with a heavy resistance training program for the ultimate fat-reducing and estrogen balancing effects. Overweight and obese women and men are at a higher risk of developing high estrogen levels as fat stores produce more estrogen which leads to more body fat and the vicious cycle continues.
In addition, also avoid high amounts of alcohol. The liver is the body's main detoxification organ and is responsible for metabolizing estrogen. Therefore, regular excess alcohol consumption will impair this process and will result in an accumulation of more estrogen in the body. Also be careful about consuming phytoestrogens such as beer and soy, as these can make your symptoms worse. Read more about phytoestrogens here.
Wrapping It Up: Consider a Lifestyle Overhaul
There is no sure win formula to battle estrogen dominance overnight. Every person, either female or male, will have their own relative normal hormonal ratios with respect to their genetic predisposition and lifestyle.
Note that people should always start focusing on healthy living. Don’t skip your veggies, especially the cruciferous ones. Cut down on processed carbs and sugars, settle for a high-fiber diet instead (with complex carbohydrates). Also, do resistance exercise while you’re at it.
If your estrogen dominance still don't seem to budge, don’t hesitate to ask for help from your physician who may recommend you a prescription or supplements if your issues are bad enough.