Significance of High Estrogen

First of all, I need to tell you there actually is no hormone called “estrogen”. We use this term to define three separate hormones with similar functions: estrone, estradiol and estriol. For simplicity though, I’ll use the term “estrogen”.

Estrogen and Progesterone are like dance partners and they need to be balanced for you to feel your best. When Estrogen is higher than Progesterone we call that “Estrogen Dominance”.

In menopause, too much estrogen is from a few possibilities:

  • Too high dose in hormone replacement
  • Not enough progesterone in your hormone replacement regimen
  • Inability to properly dispose of estrogen
  • Xenoestrogens (toxins that mimic estrogen)
  • Conversion of testosterone to estrogen
  • Estrogen-secreting tumors (unlikely)

1. Too much estrogen or not enough progesterone

This would be if you are taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). At Vitality Renewal we monitor hormone levels in order to catch this, and make adjustments if necessary. It’s not difficult, but unfortunately regularly-trained Ob/Gyns don’t usually check this. That’s one of the reasons I left traditional Ob/Gyn!

2. Inability to dispose of estrogen

In this case you may be on the right amount but you can’t dispose of estrogen properly, so it accumulates and ends up being too much. The key to healthy hormone metabolism is to use the hormones and then dispose of them. We certainly don’t want them hanging around indefinitely!

Believe it or not this is most often related to gut health problems. Dysbiosis, or an abundance of unfriendly bacteria (aka a rowdy crowd) in your gut, can cause the estrogen that is supposed to be disposed of to get reabsorbed. Because you can’t get rid of the estrogen, it builds up and leads to too much over time…

The treatment is to fix the gut! Decreasing processed foods and sugar will stop feeding the bad bacteria and is a great start.

3. Exposure to things that MIMIC estrogen–Xenoestrogens

Plastics and many chemicals have a similar molecular shape to estrogen. In biochemistry shape determines function. So a similar shape will allow these molecules to attach to the estrogen receptor and trigger an estrogen response. This is pretty bad news, because the body cannot regulate this and shut off the estrogen. This leads to a massive increase in estrogen.

The treatment is to detoxify. Stop the exposure and help your body get rid of the fake, ugly, xenoestrogens.

4. Weight struggles that lead to the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in fat tissue

Testosterone can be converted to estrogen by an enzyme called aromatase. This enzyme is very prevalent in adipose (aka fat) tissue. This is likely a big part of the reason that obesity is considered a risk factor for estrogen-related cancers like breast, ovarian and endometrial (uterine) cancer.

The treatment is to lose weight. Forgive me if this sounds too simple. It’s not. While dietary changes are certainly indicated for many people who struggle with weight, some people can’t seem to lose weight even on an appropriate nutrition plan. This is often from too much inflammation. Taking a deep dive into what is causing the inflammation may be necessary.

5. Estrogen secreting tumor

This is very rare, but it needs to be considered. This is where a gynecologic evaluation would be beneficial. It is the least likely, but most serious of the possibilities. Work on the other things but don’t ignore this one…

If You Need Help We’re Here for You!

While estrogen is important to healthy aging, you don’t want too much. If you would like to work with hormone experts, just reach out to my team and they will set you up with a call to see if we are a good fit to work together.