Achieving hormonal balance — especially for women — isn’t easy. Day by day, the hormones in our bodies — estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone — are in a constant state of flux. The rise and fall of our hormone levels can have an effect on our mood.
At the same time, these three hormones work hand in hand to keep our body running at optimum levels. However, unhealthy lifestyle habits, as well as environmental exposures, can cause a disturbance in our body’s hormonal balance. This in turn, can leave us feeling less than our best.
Do you experience any of the following?
- frequent headaches
- mood swings and anxiety
- weight gain and bloating
- irregular periods
- difficulty sleeping
- unexplained fatigue
- severe PMS symptoms
If you answered yes to most of these, then you might be suffering from the most common type of hormonal imbalance: estrogen dominance. As the term suggests, estrogen dominance essentially means your body produces too much estrogen. Perhaps you’ve already been diagnosed with it. In any case, estrogen dominance and its symptoms can be managed, with a few tweaks to your lifestyle as well as some interventions.
1. Keep xenoestrogens out
You may not have heard of xenoestrogens before, but the surprising thing is, you could possibly be exposed to them daily. So what are xenoestrogens, and why should you avoid them?
Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemical compounds that imitate estrogen. The reason they are dangerous is that their presence can harm the delicate balance in your endocrine system. What you may not be aware of is that many household products, as well as cosmetics you use on a daily basis, contain them. For instance, your favorite scented cleaning and laundry products (such as fabric softeners and dryer sheets) could potentially be harming you more than they are helping you.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself from being exposed to these volatile compounds. As much as possible, go natural: look for organic or plant-derived ingredients in the household and beauty products you buy. The Internet provides plenty of resources for safer, more natural, and do-it-yourself cleaning and laundry products.
2. Mind your diet
It’s important to keep your liver in tip-top shape as it aids your body in getting rid of toxins (including too much estrogen). Switch to a liver-friendly diet by incorporating leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, healthy oils, and herbs such as milk thistle, cilantro, and turmeric into your diet today. Also, make it a habit to drink a warm cup of antioxidant-rich green tea to help your body fight off the harmful effects of stress.
When you’re going grocery shopping, look for foods containing the USDA Organic label. Organic food products have been certified to be free of antibiotics and hormones that may cause hormonal imbalance.
3. Herbal supplementation
An easy way to keep your hormones at healthy levels is by adding herbs to your daily routine. Keep in mind that women will respond differently to herbal supplementation; what works for one might not work so well with another. That said, it’s best to seek the advice of a healthcare professional with regards herbal supplementation.
Take note: Before getting started on a new herbal supplement, make sure to consult a healthcare practitioner first. Herbs may be effective in helping you achieve optimal health; however, as with all medications, they must be taken under the guidance of an expert.
4. Get rid of unsafe plastic
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to use plastic. However, the reality is that plastic is cheap and convenient. However, some plastics are harmful to your health, which is why you should avoid using them, especially around things you ingest.
One example of these is BPA, or Bisphenol-A. Used to make anything from food containers to water bottles, BPA has been discovered to be a xenoestrogen—a possible hormone imbalance-inducing compound.
Whenever possible, avoid using plastics to store items you eat and drink, as they have a possibility of leaching onto your food. A healthier storage alternative are glass and stainless steel. They’re better for the environment, plus they don’t easily attract stains and smells, unlike plastic.
For cooking, keep yourself from unintentional xenoestrogen exposure by using cast iron, stainless steel, or copper cookware.
5. Get a water filter and use it
It seems like these days, nothing we eat or drink is safe anymore. And tap water is no exception. A 2009 Environmental Working Group study found that, across the United States, tap water contains 316 chemicals—including xenoestrogens. Even the World Health Organization says that “purified” water is not as “pure” as it purports to be. Distilled and reverse-osmosis water aren’t any better either, as the processes they go through also remove the healthful minerals present in the water. And don’t even think of reaching out for that bottled water: research has shown that one bottle of water contains multiple chemicals that disrupt hormone balance in the endocrine system.
Your best bet for safe hydration is a high-quality water filter, which works by removing harmful contaminants found in tap water but still keeping the healthful minerals. There are plenty of faucet and countertop filters in the market that are not only relatively cheap but easy to operate as well.
It needs no explanation why you need to exercise: simply put, it’s good for your overall health. According to studies, engaging in aerobic exercise regularly does wonders to your health by reducing your body’s estrogen levels. The result is that you are less likely to suffer from estrogen imbalances—plus you build lean muscle mass too. It’s a win-win: you not only feel good inside, you’ll look better outside too.
7. Remember to relax
If there’s anything more dangerous to your health than smoking or eating unhealthy food, it’s being stressed. When you’re stressed, your body releases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Overtime, constant exposure to stress leads to a steady stream of these hormones flooding your system, disrupting overall balance in your body. Not only that, the harmful effects of stress can even manifest externally—in the form of fatigue, stomach upset, shallow sleep, low libido, and muscle tension, to name a few.
What you need to know is that, most of the time, stress is self-inflicted. Be intentional in trying to lead a stress-free life: sing, play music, draw, and dance to release stress. Mindfulness exercises such as yoga and meditation are also a good way to combat stress.
To sum up, having estrogen dominance should not feel like a life sentence. By trying any or all of the above-mentioned methods, you can protect yourself against the harmful effects of xenoestrogen exposure and help your body regain its natural hormonal balance.
Worried that you’re experiencing some of the symptoms of estrogen dominance? Make sure to schedule a free phone consultation, especially if you haven’t had your hormone levels checked lately.
Getting professional help
Try each of these steps first because they may be all that you need at this point. If you still feel you could benefit from a better hormonal balance, talk to us! Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is a method of hormone replacement that is as close to natural as it can be. Unlike replacing hormones with synthetic substitutes, BHRT used hormones identical to those your body already makes. It’s a natural continuation of the 7 steps outlined in this article. Click here to schedule a free consultation with our doctor and see what your options are.