Estrogen is a BIG word in women’s health.
We tend to be afraid of estrogen because of the elevated risk of cancer that could happen downstream.
Estrogen is a hormone that is produced by both men and women. Estrogen (and progesterone) are produced in the ovaries.
Take note of the following with estrogen:
- Know your ratios of estrogen and progesterone
- “Estrogen dominance” needs rebranding, it’s really when progesterone is declining or lower in comparison to estrogen.
- If we don’t ovulate, then we don’t produce progesterone, therefore estrogen will be higher than progesterone. There are several conditions associated with anovulation. (PCOS is one)
- Perimenopausal women will have times that it will be elevated in comparison to progesterone but this is TEMPORARY. Both progesterone and estrogen are in decline at this time.
Now let’s discuss when estrogen is truly in excess. Whether your liver is detoxing poorly, slow bile flow, or you are getting it from your environment, we should monitor the following:
- We need to know which metabolites or pathway you are breaking down your estrogen – (there are 3), you want majority (70%) of your estrogen breaking down into 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OH for short).
- Several conditions are associated with higher estrogen: PMS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breasts, and mood. Women can experience an increase in fat around the abdomen.
How is estrogen detoxified? 🧐
Your liver metabolizes estrogen by converting it into a safer compound that can be excreted by the body. One of the ways estrogen is excreted is through pooping. Which is why we make a BIG DEAL about having regular bowel movements and focusing on gut health (so important!).
There are 3 pathways and we want to make sure you are detoxing into a safer compound. Again you want majority through the 2-OH pathway.
If you want to maintain healthy estrogen levels, you gotta manage two things:
1. Estrogen input
2. Estrogen output
- Many chemicals found in foods, household products, or beauty items
- Hormonal birth control
- Excess alcohol
- High cortisol
- Not replacing your minerals or only drinking water
Estrogen Output: (Detox and Drainage)
- Liver metabolizes excess estrogen hopefully through the safe pathway
- The packaged estrogen is then dropped into the gallbladder and the formed bile delivers it to the intestines for disposal. 💩
How to improve healthy estrogen detox:
- Improve gut health (again soooo important!) 🚽
- Support your liver: supportive teas, castor oil packs and reducing or eliminating alcohol (no one ever likes this one)
- Gallbladder support (can this be a thing?)
- Increase intake of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale etc.)
- Fiber can be in food form or supplement (acacia, physlium)
- Green teas
- Olive oil
Know where you are getting it from your environment:
- Hormonal birth control (educate yourself)
- Phthalates are a form of estrogen found in plastic products (BPA).
- If you haven’t already, start examining your cleaning products, household items and beauty products. Start replacing these with “cleaner” options.
👉 If you are ovulating and <40 yrs of age, you can support healthy progesterone. For those of you who are perimenopausal, you can help replace it (but that’s a different story). Unfortunately, once it declines it’s not coming back. Period.
👉 Remember with estrogen, you want to “use it and then dump it” correctly through safe metabolic pathways.
👉 Again, we emphasis this ALL. THE. TIME.
Starting with foundational health such as eating, sleeping, managing stress and smart movement is crucial to healthy hormones. You want your body to use estrogen and then dump it. All the fancy supplements in the world will not work if you are not focusing on your FPH (FOUR PILLARS of HEALTH) especially gut health. You will forever chase hormonal health.
Take some time to audit these different areas of your life. Be patient and know that foundational health can really help move the needle.
Want to dig a little deeper? Want to understand how you are metabolizing estrogen? 🤓
We use the DUTCH test (‘dried urine total complete hormones’) in our practice AND on ourselves. It tells you exactly what is going on with all your hormones and how you are metabolizing them.