I test female salivary hormones in my patients if they are overly challenged by mood disturbances at different times in their menstrual cycle, are trying to conceive and are having difficulty, or are in peri-menopause or menopause and are wanting to determine what their hormone levels are. Monthly profiles can track your hormone levels; by taking eleven samples of your saliva every three days starting with your menstrual cycle, you can see a pattern of estrogen and progesterone levels which then makes it clearer for me to decide what intervention might be necessary for balancing.
I do see a pattern of estrogen dominance in some of the women that I test. Signs of estrogen dominance would include a higher estrogen to progesterone ratio- this means estrogen is high and progesterone is low in comparison. Symptoms of estrogen dominance may include irritability, PMS, fuzzy thinking, fibrocystic breast disease, weight gain, water retention, irregular and/or heavy bleeding, fibroids, endometriosis, menstrual migraines, ovarian cysts, and breast cancer. Why do we have too much estrogen and why do we not have enough progesterone to balance it all out?
We are exposed to estrogen in our environment in the form of phthalates (plastics, perfumes, nail polish), PCB’s (non organic butter, farmed salmon, even though it is was banned in 1972 it persists in our environment), pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, BPA in plastic water bottles, baby bottles and in the lining of cans, make-up, perfume, hair spray, shampoo, creams, lotions and other personal care products. Restaurants, golf courses, supermarkets and schools spray chemicals that mimic estrogen to keep their environments clean and weed/insect free. Birth control pills, fertility drugs and hormone replacement therapy contribute further to our estrogen load. This is too much estrogen coming into our bodies which then affects our estrogen levels, increasing them.
It is unrealistic to eliminate all your exogenous estrogen and so the goal is to reduce exogenous estrogens coming into your body.Here are some ways to begin. Buy organic vegetables when it comes to the following- peaches, apples, pears, strawberries, nectarines, imported grapes, cherries, lettuce, bell peppers (orange, green, red), celery, potatoes, and spinach. Buy organic dairy (at least butter), organic meat/poultry and choose wild versus farmed fish. Buy your fruit and vegetables fresh or frozen versus canned. Buy tomatoes, tomato sauce, and crushed tomatoes in glass jars versus cans.
Look for BPA free cans on the label when you are choosing canned foods. Some companies are staring to use BPA free cans. Don’t heat your foods in plastic or wrap warm foods in plastic. Buy glass storage containers to store or warm up food. Buy your home care products (cleaning supplies), insect killer, weed killer, health and body care products from your local health food store or find them online. (eg shaklee.com) Ask the staff of your health food store what their favorite product is for bath and body care and the like. (I found a great shampoo this way.)
Rome was not built in a day. Choose one thing that you can do tomorrow to start reducing the exogenous estrogens coming into your body! In the next post, I will talk about eliminating excess estrogen from your body…