Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My Balancing Journey - Part 6 - Estrogen Dominance Overview

Here are some of the symptoms of estrogen dominance - Breast cancer, Breast tenderness, Cold hands and feet as a symptom of thyroid dysfunction, Decreased sex drive, Depression with anxiety or agitation, Dry eyes, Early onset of menstruation, Endometrial (uterine) cancer, Fat gain - especially around the abdomen, hips and thighs, Fatigue, Fibrocystic breasts, Foggy thinking, Gallbladder disease, Hair Loss, Headaches, Hypoglycemia, Increased blood clotting (increasing risk of strokes), Infertility, Irregular menstrual periods, Irritability, Insomnia, Magnesium deficiency, Memory loss, Mood swings, Osteoporosis, Polycystic ovaries, Premenopausal bone loss, PMS, Sluggish metabolism, Thyroid dysfunction mimicking hypothyroidism, Uterine cancer, Uterine fibroids, Water retention - bloating.

That's not a complete list, and having a symptom on the list doesn't necessarily mean you are estrogen dominant, but if several of those symptoms sound way too familiar, I'd go take this simple test! :-)

If your test results sound like you might be estrogen dominant, my biggest recommendation is to invest some time reading Dr. John Lee MD's books and/or his website. The book that I read from and found helpful was What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About PREmenopause. Why that one? Because at 32, I was so estrogen dominant that I was going into premenopause! I found the book quickly at my library. It's like a fire hydrant of information, but you can digest what seems most important for you. There are bucketloads of information on the website as well.

If you are estrogen dominant, the thing I don't recommend is running out and getting a prescription for progestin. Prescription hormones are slightly different than what your body produces on its own. They have to be, because you can't get a patent (read: more money) for something that is exactly like it is found in nature. However, there are companies who make progesterone that is bio-identical - its chemical makeup is identical to what is found in your body naturally. I don't know all the benefits of having something identical to what your body makes, but it seems logical to me that using something that matches exactly would be better (and more effective) than using something that has been "tweaked" for the sake of a patent. I haven't done much research on it, but after a quick look around, I see that HRT has been linked in multiple studies to increased risk of breast cancer. I'm not sure if that's just estrogen HRT or if that includes the use of prescription progestin as well. I'd really encourage you to research the subject. Especially considering what the prescription Premarin comes from - Pregant Mare's Urine. :-)

Here are some articles from Dr Lee's site that I think would be helpful and informative:

(prescription) HRT articles homepage

Main link page for articles about using natural hormones
A great FAQ page about natural (bio-identical) hormones
an interesting looking article by Dr. Lee about natural hormone therapy

I think it's important to know that Dr Lee did not have his own prog. cream company, nor did he make money from any prog. cream company. From all I've been able to find, he was simply someone committed to honest research and truly healthful solutions. There is an extensive list of companies that make quality bio-identical progesterone cream here I think these are all companies who make creams without parabens and without mineral oils, both of which are ingredients which have an estrogenic effect (something I surely didn't want when already estrogen dominant!).

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