What is Oestrogen Dominance and what does it have to do with PCOS?

osetrogen dominance

Periods so heavy you reckon Niagara Falls is in for some competition; boobs so tender, you curse every time your partner even THINKS of touching them; and premenstrual mood-swings so cray, even fire-breathing dragons shake in their booties.

Before you think there’s no hope and succumb to the sorrow of what may be oestrogen dominance, let’s have a chat.

First things first: What is Oestrogen Dominance?

This is a situation either where there’s too much oestrogen or where there are normal levels of oestrogen but low levels of progesterone, effectively leading to oestrogen dominance.

And just as there’s not only one shade of red, the same is true of oestrogen:

There are many Types of Oestrogen. There’s estradiol (made from the ovaries), estrone (made from adipose tissue), oestrogen metabolites (made from gut bugs) and then let’s not forgot those xenoestrogens, or endocrine disrupting chemicals, (from environmental toxins).

But what could cause an Oestrogen Dominance?

Dr Lara Briden highlights various aspects in her hormone blog, including:

Defective Detoxification

Detox seems to be getting a bad rap recently. And there are many who bang on about how we have a liver and kidneys, therefore no more is required when it comes to detoxification. I hands down agree – we DO have a liver and kidneys and when they’re working WELL, they DO do a marvellous job of detoxification (although they’re not the only organs involved) but they’re not always in tip top form so, if indicated, sensible support (under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner), might be warranted.

Let’s have a look at what this process actually involves, especially when it comes to oestrogen detoxification.

Firstly, all oestrogen needs to be conjugated. Nutrients including B-vitamins, glycine (an amino acid) and selenium are necessary for liver conjugation. So, inadequate amounts of these nutrients, xenoetrogens and adding alcohol to the mix, may impair this process.

Once conjugation happens, oestrogen then enters the bowel. If all goes well, the kids will be dropped off at the pool at some point and oestrogen will exit the building. BUT when we’re dealing with digestive issues and dysbiosis, then Houston, we’ve got a problem! Because this can then cause oestrogen to be “reactivated” (by de-conjugation), allowing it to re-enter the body, thereby contributing to excess.

The Pill

We’re talking about ethinylestradiol here – a synthetic form of oestrogen – the xenoestrogen found in the hormonal birth control pill. It’s not only much stronger than naturally occurring estradiol, thereby further contributing to oestrogen dominance, but it also has to be detoxified in the same process outlined above.

Obesity (Or Babes who’re all about that Base)

So we said in the beginning that there’s different types of oestrogen? Adipose tissue makes estrone. An excess of estrone may impair ovulation, contribute to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and may lead to too little estradiol.

Hypersensitivity of Receptors

The amount of oestrogen is only part of the picture – we also have to factor in oestrogen receptors which are scattered all over the body from the brain to the bowel. Buffering them with phytoestrogens from veg (those 10 a day, yo!) is helpful, especially when things such as inflammation may make them more sensitive.

So What’s a Babe to do to Reduce Oestrogen Exposure?

Consider other contraceptives

It’s not all about The Pill when you don’t want to make sproglets. Condoms? Cervical Caps?

Show your liver some loving

Simply say adios to alcohol and rather eat a variety of veg.

Address inflammation

Include wild caught oily fish, turmeric milk & bone broths and avoid highly processed inflammatory foods (high in sugar, processed vegetable oils & a whole heap of latin-sounding additives & preservatives).

Zap xenoestrogens from your life

As far as possibles, avoid plastics, pesticides & certain cosmetics.

Select the right supplements

We’re talking DIM & Calcium d-glucarate. But remember, these are only to be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

// And finally, hola! If it’s all a bit much and you feel like your life & your body are falling to shit, I’ve got your back. My door’s open: let’s chat.

pcos nutritionist lara rickard
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