Why You Need to Care About Estrogen Dominance
I’m going to take a wild stab and guess that if you’re not estrogen dominant then someone you love probably is, that’s how prevelant estrogen dominance is in our society today. Let’s say you’ve determined that you have several of the symptoms I listed in “What it Means to be Estrogen Dominant“, some of which are pesky little nuisances in your life like decreased sex drive, headaches, fatigue, irritability but hey – you’re a woman, that’s normal right? Some of the symptoms you might not even be aware of, like magnesium and zinc deficiency or bone loss.
If you go to your family doctor for most of these symptoms you will most likely be given a prescription. You are very likely to walk out of her office with a prescription whether it be for antidepressants, headache pain relief, birth control pills (Oh God, not more Estrogen!!), or Chlomid for infertility. If you’re lucky you might get a lab requisition for some tests like checking your thyroid level. Sadly the level your doctor will probably consider to be normal is inaccurate and based on old information. Many doctors are still using TSH ranges of 0.5 to 5.0 or 6.0 and are not following the latest recommendations by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists which are actually 0.3 – 3.0 (and some doctors believe a TSH level over 2.0 puts you in the category of hypothyroidism). Thats a discussion for another day.
I will admit that thinking about the not-so-pesky but more life threatening symptoms of estrogen dominance frightens me a bit. I’ve been estrogen dominant my entire adult life so I have had unopposed estrogen roaming freely throughout my body. I’m not telling you this to frighten you but if you’re estrogen dominant you need to know this stuff even though it’s scary. I am telling you this because it fits with my view to Educate, Advocate and Empower yourself when it comes to your own health. Here are the scary symptoms that are part of the reason I keep watch on my hormone levels through saliva and blood testing:
- Endometrial (uterine) cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Autoimmune Disorders such a lupus, thyroiditis, and possibly Sjoegren’s disease
- Cervical Dysplacia (precancerous changes to the cervix which if left undetected & untreated can eventually cause cervical cancer – Get your PAP done!)
Back in 1981 a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that infertile women with progesterone deficiency had a premenopausal breast cancer risk that was 540% greater than that of women whose infertility was due to non-hormonal causes. And, the women with a progesterone deficiency had a 1,000% greater chance of death from all types of cancer. This study followed 1,083 women that had a history of infertility ranging from 13 – 33 years.
So you know how when faced with scary statistics like that, you try to figure out a way that this data doesn’t fit for you? That’s exactly what I started to think…oh I wasn’t infertile for 13 – 33 years, phewph. But really the truth is, I don’t know what this means for me – I lived with progesterone deficiency from adolescence to my late thirties. I moved during that time and had a minumum of 6 different doctors – 3 were ob/gyn’s so it’s not like I only encountered one misinformed doctor. Yet with all these doctor’s knowing my menstrual history none of them discussed this increased risk with me.
It begs the question – why isn’t anyone getting to the root of our “pesky” symptoms in light of the bigger possibilities? I have lived with unopposed estrogen roaming freely with little to no progesterone for my entire adult life. Do I worry about my risk for breast cancer and other forms of cancer? Hell, yes I do. I feel fortunate that I have taken the matter into my own hands and balanced my hormones by adding progesterone – but does anyone know what my cancer outlook is now? I hope I’ve reduced it and I hope the risk continues to shrink over time. But more than that, I would like to see more research put into this key area of women’s health.