About 85 percent of women over 35 have elevated estrogen levels, and that puts them at risk for a sluggish thyroid.
Excess estrogen, a condition known as “estrogen dominance,” increases levels of thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG), a compound that decreases the amount of free thyroid hormone available to the body, causing vague symptoms such as confusion. mental, exhaustion and more.
According to various medical sources, most patients are never diagnosed because many physicians are unfamiliar with the condition.
Estrogen dominance is a particular problem for women over 40. During perimenopause, estrogen levels begin to drop, but progesterone, the partner for estrogen, drops even lower. In fact, research shows that progesterone production drops by 75 percent during our fifth decade of life; by comparison, estrogen levels drop only 35 percent.
This relative excess of estrogen makes women more likely to gain weight. What’s more, when women seek help for their symptoms, doctors often prescribe antidepressants or hormone replacement therapy, but these treatments can be costly and ineffective as they don’t actually attack the root of the problem.
Other factors that increase risk include the use of certain medications, stress, which affects the function of the adrenal glands, further suppresses progesterone production, and exposure to toxins such as bisphenol-A (BPA), which mimics the effects estrogen.
Doctors may order hormonal tests to measure estrogen and progesterone levels, however it is possible to diagnose it based solely on symptoms.
Is Estrogen Dominance Draining Your Thyroid?
If you have fatigue and two or more of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism caused by too much estrogen:
- Sensitivity to cold.
- Dry Skin.
- Weight gain.
- Brain fog.
- Swollen face.
- High cholesterol.
- Tender breasts.
- Bad mood.
- Heavy periods.
Traditionally, hypothyroidism is treated with the daily use of thyroid hormone. Your doctor can determine which is best for you, but these natural strategies can also help balance hormone levels.
The natural fiber found in whole, plant-based foods binds excess estrogen so it can be flushed out of the system, and it’s also loaded with compounds that optimize estrogen levels.
That’s the magic of whole foods. Simply taking a fiber supplement will not give the same result as eating whole fresh vegetables.
Some doctors recommend eating at least 35 and up to 50 grams of fiber per day from beans (15 grams per cup), seeds (10 grams per cup), berries (8 grams per cup), green leafy vegetables (5 grams per cup), tubers (4 grams per cup) and cruciferous vegetables (3 grams per cup).
Cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale, are especially helpful in supporting estrogen elimination because they are loaded with sulfur compounds that stimulate liver function to aid in the deactivation and elimination of estrogens.
Don’t try to add all that extra fiber at once or it will give you a stomachache. Instead, try increasing your fiber intake by 5 grams every three days until you’ve reached the recommended amount.
One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to balance estrogen and progesterone levels is to reduce stress. High levels of the stress hormone “cortisol” block progesterone, which contributes to estrogen dominance. Aim for a relaxed 20-minute walk every day – Japanese research suggests that doing so can lower cortisol levels by 40 percent for five hours to help the body balance estrogen and progesterone.
Reduce stress levels with creative activities.
Activities such as painting, drawing mandalas, knitting, cooking, playing the piano or reading and writing can be of great help to reduce stress levels, as well as being a hobby that gives us a lot of satisfaction.