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Estrogen Dominance

two women sitting on a beach, estrogen dominance affects many women

Dr. Ray Peat, a pioneer in the field of natural hormone therapy, coined the term “Estrogen Dominance” to describe what happens when the normal ratio or balance of estrogen to progesterone is changed by excess estrogen or inadequate progesterone. Estrogen can be potentially dangerous when not counterbalanced by adequate progesterone. Syndromes such as Lupus (SLE), Fibromyalgia, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (ovarian cysts) can actually be symptoms of the greater picture of estrogen dominance.

While hot flashes and night sweats are classically a sign of decreased estrogen levels in the body, the answer may not be as simple as taking synthetic or even natural estrogen. It is possible that your estrogen levels are low but rarely does a case exist where the levels of progesterone are not also just as low or lower. How does this happen? Women are easily susceptible to becoming Estrogen Dominant in our culture today. Our animals are fed growth hormones and estrogenic hormones to cause rapid growth so they can be marketed sooner, and then we eat those hormones. Sugar and chemical ingestion in processed foods create chemicals called “xeno-estrogens” in our bodies, stimulating a vicious cycle in which fat cells are enlarged due to these estrogens, and then fat cells themselves make more estrogen in the body. Young girls and even young boys are developing breasts at an alarmingly young age, and adolescent girls are starting their menses as early as age 7 or 8!

For adult women, Estrogen Dominance leads to weight gain, especially the breasts, waist, and mid-section of the body. High cholesterol, joint pain, mood swings, PMS, irregular bleeding, cramps, endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, sweet cravings and more all are often a result of too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. Please review the lists of symptoms for hormonal imbalance; most of those problems are a result of too much estrogen, as well as overly saturated estrogen binding sites.

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The Most Significant Findings in Women’s Health in 50 Years

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the stunning news that hit the media hard recently about “The End of the Age of Estrogen” (Newsweek’s lead article, July 22, 2002). After women have been told for decades that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) would preserve their youth, protect their bones and prevent heart attacks, the conclusive evidence is now in: hormone replacement therapy (HRT) doesn’t help. In fact, it is just the opposite: it is now proven that HRT can elevate your risk for cancer and an early death. (Source: Nutrition News and Views, Sept/Oct 1998, Vol. 2, No. 4)

HRT Study

This headline appeared in a July 9, 2002, ABC NEWS.com article:

More than 16,000 women participating in a major clinical trial will be ordered to stop taking hormone medication this week after tests revealed that the 6 million other American women taking the drugs might be at risk

The study, instigated by researchers for the Women’s Health Initiative, or WHI, was designed to identify the potential risks and benefits of hormone treatments. They were hoping the treatments might help prevent heart disease, bone fractures, and breast and colon cancer in postmenopausal women. The proposed eight-year study was halted abruptly after five years, when results indicated the women were actually increasing their risks of these serious conditions by taking the medication. At that point, women were urged to stop taking the synthetic hormones immediately and results were made known to the public.

The medication studied was the hormone replacement combination of estrogen and progestin, commonly sold in the U.S. under the name Prempro. This combination was extremely effective at relieving acute symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, especially hot flashes and night sweats. However, the study definitively proved that long-term use did more harm than good.

If you are currently taking Prempro, or other synthetic estrogenic hormones, there is cause to be concerned about their long-term effect on your health. However, ceasing these medications or replacing them with over-the-counter natural hormones without professional help is not a good option. Holistic doctors have treated Estrogen Dominance for years, and they’ve been aware of its possible health risk long before the results of this study were revealed. Dr. Weine is experienced in helping women switch from synthetic to natural hormones. Working with the physician who prescribed the synthetics, and gradually moving into natural correction is the best solution. By scheduling a saliva test with Dr. Weine, you can immediately begin your path back to endocrine balance.

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