Estrogens (also referred to as female sex hormones) are hormones responsible for the development and maintenance of secondary sexual characteristics in females. While estrogens are produced mainly by the ovaries, they are also secreted by other parts of the body like the adrenal glands and even the male testes. There are three different types of estrogen produced by the ovaries; E1 (estrone), E2 (estradiol) and E3 (estriol).
Estrogen is a very important hormone for women. It promotes maturation of follicles, development of endometrium for implantation of the fertilized egg, production of fertile mucus, softens the cervix, lubricates the vagina during intercourse and helps sperm to swim in the female reproductive system. It is the key hormone for the development of female sexual organs and it’s important for overall health of your breasts, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and vagina. And when you reach your menopausal years, you can thank estrogen deficiency for hot-flushes, dry vagina and the elevated risk of osteoporosis.
Estrogen dominance, essentially, is having too much estrogen in your body. So how come something that’s so good and important for female health can be also causing a host of conditions which can predispose to infertility and cancer?
Balance and moderation is the key to any successful endeavor. Too much exercise can actually break down your muscle tissue and cause you to gain weight. Too much vitamin C can give you diarrhea and too much estrogen can cause a hormonal imbalance.
The fourth type of estrogen we recognize belongs to the group of so-called xeno-estrogens. Xeno in Greek means ‘foreign’ i.e. not made by the body. In this context, it refers to estrogens which we get exposed to through the food we eat, drinks we drink, creams, lotions and potions we put on our skin and the chemicals we inhale – some from the environment and some from exposure to commercial perfumes and cleaning solutions. Xeno-estrogens look similar to body-made estrogen and can dock on your estrogen receptors (key-lock system) and activate the same reaction in a cell that real estrogen would. As all hormones depend on each other and secretion of one prompts the secretion of other hormones, soon you end up with the uncoordinated release of hormones which start creating havoc in the body.
Individuals with estrogen dominance experience side effects as a result of a hormonal imbalance in their body. If you have high estrogen levels, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
While estrogen dominance can occur naturally, it is often caused by external factors, like the food we eat, the water we drink, or the products we use.