Unfortunately for women, both estrogen dominance and adrenal fatigue can be common, particularly when near, during, or after menopause.
Estrogen dominance in menopause is not uncommon because our hormones do decline. However estrogen is counter balanced by progesterone and progesterone reduces by 75% from age 35-50, while estrogen only declines by 35%. So you have a possible 40% discrepancy that can naturally provoke the occurrence of estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance is not a good thing because estrogen is a pro-growth hormone, meaning it can stimulate unruly growth in our body’s cells, leading to all sorts of problems.
We also have the issue of adrenals. Again when we are nearing, during, or after menopause, the adrenal glands are meant to take over hormone production once the ovaries are finished their work.
BUT, many women are stressed to the hilt and depleted when it comes to adrenal health. Stress decreases progesterone production because increased cortisol demands more progesterone stores then less porgesterone is left to counter balance estrogen and this can make the estrogen dominance worse, it can increase menopausal symptoms, depending what stage you’re at. And the decreased progesterone production can cause insomnia, anxiety, blood sugar imbalances, and overall worsen the state of your adrenal health too. Can you see the repetitive cycle you can find yourself stuck in?
Perhaps you’re nodding your head.
So if you find yourself in this situation what comes first. Should I address the estrogen dominance or the adrenal health?
Try treating the estrogen dominance first because it will help lighten the load off your adrenals by default, and that means an improvement for you on both levels 🙂
So here are some tips on how to do it.
10 Dietary & Lifestyle Tips For Dealing With Estrogen Dominance
- Decrease sugar, processed food, and junk – might seem like the obvious but you really want to avoid putting the extra dietary stress on your body. The food we eat has a very big impact on inflammation, hormones, and our immune response. So cutting out the worst enemies is really very important.
- Take a magnesium and vitamin B6 supplement – both of these nutrients are necessary for the neutralization of estrogen in the liver (the liver deals with excess estrogen). You can take a B complex because that won’t do any harm in helping to support the stress levels and the body’s overall increased energy needs.
- Decrease caffeine – caffeine is linked to higher estrogen production so have no more than 2 cups of coffee a day. Check out this herbal coffee substitute. And check out these tips on quitting coffee.
- Stress less – stress is one of the major contributors to adrenal fatigue and as already pointed out, stress causes reduced production of progesterone. You need the balance between estrogen and progesterone so you don’t want to tilt the balance anymore. Find ways to deal with stress more effectively.
- Avoid alcohol – alcohol increases weight, inflammation, and makes hormonal imbalances worse.
- Eat a high fiber diet – the best place to get healthy fiber is to eat lots of veggies. T
- Regular exercise – even if that is just 10-15 minutes a day make sure you do something every day because it helps in more ways than one.
- Take vitamin C powder – 1000 mg a day, as it supports all types of stress and the adrenals use vitamin C up fast!
- Take a milk thistle supplement – estrogen is metabolized by the liver so milk thistle (Silybum marianum) known as silymarin helps detoxify and clear the liver faster, aiding the removal of excess estrogen.
- Weight loss – during menopause, the amount of estrogen produced from the ovaries decreases, but another hormone the ovaries produce called androstenedione also reduces and unfortunately fat cells can convert androstenedione into estrogen.
These are just some of the steps you can take to get moving in the right direction.
Many people will find they need to use progesterone cream at a dosage recommended by your doctor, which should be based on hormone testing. But if you can do all of the above before venturing into progesterone replacement, you will support your body more and reduce the chances of adrenal crashes, which can sometimes happen when you bring in hormone replacement too fast.
Hope you find this helpful 🙂
Nutritionist & Health Counselor
Sharan F. Creative Menopause. Wisdom Press. 1994.
Northrup C. Womens Bodies, Womens Wisdom.