July 13, 2010
Normally I would not talk about my health issues except to close friends, but what I am learning is important to many people who may be being mis-diagnosed and feeling worse every day. In keeping with my mission to share how I am getting better so others may also benefit, I am willing to disclose personal information. Everyone is different and needs customized treatment for health problems, but being informed and not giving up is basic to recovery. One growing health problem is estrogen dominance, which creates many systemic health problems.
Estrogen dominance is apparently not well understood by many in the health professions. I, like many other women, had a hysterectomy due to fibroid tumors. Today, such surgery can be unnecessary if estrogen dominance is the cause.
It’s only recently that I have learned about this condition which I’ve had since my teens. Every OB-GYN I ever saw couldn’t tell me what was causing such unpleasant symptoms that only got worse with age. Getting rid of my uterus didn’t solve the problems, either, but now things are different – and better, too.
Generally speaking, we have no one cause for estrogen dominance. It can be a result of:
- Stressful living – the worse the stress the more the adrenals are taxed which causes other endocrine system problems,
- Hormonal imbalance (see above for a major contributing cause),
- Hormone therapy,
- Glandular dysfunction,
- Environmental estrogens (xenoestrogens).
Dr. John R. Lee. M.D. (RIP) has done outstanding work on the subject of estrogen dominance and the troubles it causes. He is a recognized expert for his excellent research and treatment plans. Dr. Lee’s books are available from his web site, along with updated information on research into this problem. It is maintained by his wife and others who worked along with him for many years.
How do you know if you have an estrogen dominance problem? I am going to give you only the most severe signs of estrogen dominance. For the less severe visit Energetic Nutrition to determine if this could be a problem for you or someone you know.
Severe symptoms of estrogen dominance:
- Uterine fibroid tumors
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Breast tumors
- Infertility (men and women)
- Accelerated aging
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Autoimmune disorders
- Fibromyalgia (now being thought to be an autoimmune problem)
- Men with estrogen dominance grow breasts larger than normal and babies exposed in the womb may have abnormalities attributable to xenoestrogen exposure.
What to do about estrogen dominance
Next to reducing as much stress as possible in life, taking control of estrogen exposure from the environment is critical, as estrogen dominance is an ever-growing health problem. Xenoestrogens (xeno = foreign) are found in many plastics, pesticides, fuels and drugs, not to mention food and water. They are difficult for the liver to detoxify. Anyone with an estrogen dominance problem should do everything possible to reduce exposure to xenoestrogens – in fact everyone should reduce exposure so as not to develop estrogen dominance at all.
A partial list of typical sources of xenoestrogens are:
- Commercially raised animals which have been fed chemicals to speed up weight gain and move them to market faster
- Canned food and beverages which now come with plastic lining that gives off xenoestrogens
- Plastics, plastic wrap, styrofoam cups, plastic water bottles which give off xenoestrogens when heated
- Paint, lacquers and other solvents
- Personal care products such as soaps and shampoos
- Birth control pills and spermicides
- Tap water (estrogens in urine go through waste treatment plants and are returned to water supply)
- Car exhaust and fumes given off by new carpets and furniture
- Air fresheners and perfumes
A simple way to reduce estrogen dominance in the body
Of course, a key way to reduce estrogen dominance is to limit exposure to xenoestrogens as much as possible. This is why natural health doctors advise buying organic meats and vegetables, drinking out of glass or stainless steel rather than plastic, using reverse osmosis water systems or distilled water for drinking and cooking, etc. For the most informative site I’ve found on health topics visit Dr. Mercola’s web page by clicking it in my blogroll.
The generally prescribed way to reduce estrogen dominance, which you may still have even if you have had a hysterectomy, is to use progesterone to create an appropriate balance between the two hormones. However, my natural health doctor who cannot prescribe hormones gave me another way. It is very simple.
Estrogens are made by endocrine glands and also taken into the body via xenoestrogen exposure. They circulate in the blood and are filtered by the liver which puts them into the small intestine where they are absorbed once more into the body unless you have a way to bind them so they can be passed out of the body through elimination. My doctor recommended that I use Benefiber® at every meal. This soluble fiber seizes the estrogens dumped into the small intestine by the liver and any that might be in the food. It prevents their re-absorption into the bloodstream.
Since thin or thinning hair is a symptom of estrogen dominance in women, I know that the Benefiber® is working because my hair is starting to come back and I have only been doing this for a couple of months. Other moderate symptoms are abating and I am beginning to allow myself to hope that my fibromyalgia will improve. Granted, leaving gluten out of my diet and taking large amounts of B vitamins as prescribed by my natural health doctor are also helping my hair growth.
If you think any health problems you have could be related to estrogen dominance, in addition to the sites I’ve linked to above, go to the Women to Women web site and read more.
I am sold on getting help from natural health doctors because I want a holistic approach to health and have found that my NHD has helped me more than anybody else I’ve seen. Most of the fees and supplements will not be covered by insurance, but feeling better is more important to me than having office visits and prescription drugs paid for by insurance. It’s a matter of priorities in the budget and I am committed to not having some things that I want in favor of improving health which I need.
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