The hormone oestrogen sometimes gets a bad rep, but it plays an important role in the body. It helps thicken the endometrial lining, preparing the body for the implantation of an embryo, supports bone and vaginal health, and is essential for ovulation and fertility.
However, if there is too much oestrogen in your body, or you have an imbalance between oestrogen and other hormones, such as progesterone, then your oestrogen may be out of balance. This is known as oestrogen dominance.
Having excess oestrogen in the body can cause fatigue and disrupt ovulation. It is associated with hormonal conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis. Oestrogen dominance can also affect egg quality and negatively impact your fertility.
Signs and symptoms to look out for with oestrogen imbalance include;
Heavy or painful periods
Sore or tender breasts prior to menstruation
Low mood or irritability
There are a number of factors that may contribute to an oestrogen imbalance, such as:
Stress – high stress can reduce progesterone levels, leading to increased oestrogen.
Being overweight – fat tissue is metabolically active, it increases levels of the enzyme aromatase which converts testosterone to oestrogen.
Sugar and refined carbohydrates – these reduce the amount of sex hormone binding globulin in the blood which is important for controlling oestrogen levels.
A diet high in non-organic meat – as these animals may be exposed to high levels of synthetic hormones.
Excess alcohol – known to increase blood levels of oestrogen.
Vitamin deficiencies – Vitamins B12, B6, E and folate are needed to aid oestrogen detoxification.
Lack of fibre – fibre is needed to bind oestrogen and move it through the bowel.
Environmental toxins – heavy metals and dioxins can impact detoxification and increase oestrogen.
The good news is that diet and lifestyle can help to reduce oestrogen dominance. Here are some foods to include in your diet:
Quality protein - eggs, lentils, beans, fish, chicken, small amount of dairy.
Eat foods rich in B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin E - nuts & seeds, wholegrains, sweet potato, broccoli, beans, eggs.
Eat plenty of fibre to help clear out used hormones.
Cruciferous vegetables i.e. broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale.
Keep well hydrated - drink plenty of water.
Practice stress management techniques - anything you can do to manage your stress will be helpful, this could be deep breathing, going for a walk, practicing meditation or mindfulness, or simply chatting to friends and family.
If you would like some help balancing your hormones to support your fertility book your free fertility review to find out how I can help you.
Disclaimer: Nutritional Therapy is not a replacement for medical advice, practitioners always refer any client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms to their medical professional. The information provided here is general and is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any diseases or conditions.