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Eat Yourself Healthy – Sally Joseph

How Excess Oestrogen Can Wreak Havoc On Your Health

How Excess Oestrogen Can Wreak Havoc On Your Health


Imbalances in our sex hormones  – oestrogen and progesterone can wreak havoc on our health, causing everything from PMS  – premenstrual syndrome, hormonal acne, fatigue, weight gain, fibroids and conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome – just to name a few.  Like most things in life, the key to healthy hormones, lies in getting the balance right.

The role of oestrogen in our health

Our body needs oestrogen, but only in it’s natural form. In females, oestrogen plays an important role in the regulation of menstruation, maintaining pregnancy, as well the clotting potential of the blood, bone strength, blood vessel maintenance, metabolic rate, bowel function, muscle mass, fat storage and regulation of our fluid balance.  But it’s not just women who produce oestrogen, men also need a certain amount for sperm maturation and libido.

But like all hormones, oestrogens don’t act alone –  belonging to a dynamic and delicate cascade of  hormones – that need to function in harmony with one another, or confusion erupts,  impacting on the function of every other hormone producing gland.   The recent explosion of synthetic hormone exposure  into so many areas of our lives, has lead to a condition known as ‘oestrogen dominance’.

Causes of oestrogen dominance?

Oestrogen dominance is becoming an increasingly common problem as we are  being exposed to alarmingly high levels of synthetic oestrogens on a daily basis – often without realising.  Causes of oestrogen dominance can include:

Low Fibre Diet – A diet low in dietary fibre decreases the clearance of oestrogens from the bowel

Nutrient deficiencies –  such as vitamin D and B6, can contribute to excess oestrogen.

Processed or trans fats  – such as vegetables oils, lead to excess oestrogen production.

Obesity – people who are overweight or obese, produce excess levels of oestrogens in their fat cells.

Poor Liver function – excess toxicity and an overburdened liver, impacts on its ability to metabolise and clear excess oestrogen.

Exposure to xeno-oestrogens –  foreign oestrogens found in medications such as the oral contraceptive pill and HRT  – ( you can read more about the effects of the pill on your health here ,)  personal care product including moisturisers and body wash, plastic water bottles, chemical pesticides spraye don grains, fruits and vegetables, even red meat reared in feedlots has been fed synthetic oestrogen hormones.

Soy – The massive increase in the consumption of processed foods has lead to an excessive consumption of processed and GM (genetically modified) soy. Molecules in soy called isoflavones, and in particular genestein, act in a similar way, (though less powerful) to oestrogens produced by our body. You can read more about the negative effects of soy here

Excessive exposure to foreign or xeno oestrogens, ultimately disrupts the body’s balance of  natural oestrogens and progesterone, and can present in the form of:

Signs And Symptoms Of Oestrogen Dominance

  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Fluid retention
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual cramping
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Hair loss
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Adrenal exhaustion/fatigue
  • Heavy, prolonged periods with clotting
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Decreased libido
  • Insomnia and restless sleep
  • Dry eyes
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Oestrogen related cancers  – breast, ovarian, uterine and prostate

10 Ways To Combat Oestrogen Dominance

Finding and maintaining a healthy balance between oestrogen and progesterone, boils down to removing the triggers and causes of hormonal imbalances.

  1. Avoid taking the oral contraceptive pill and HRT  – these contain synthetic forms of oestrogen.
  2. Avoid eating food heated in plastic or drinking from plastic bottles  – as these can contain the xeno-oestrogen –  BPA (Bisphenol A)
  3. Avoid all soy products – processed soy found in many processed foods and soy milk are a form of xeno-oestrogen
  4. Choose chemical free beauty and personal care products – xeno-oestrogens in the form of sulphates, parabens and phthalates found in cosmetics, liquid hand soap, body wash, shampoo and moisturisers, have a hormone blocking effect.
  5. Cut out Sugar – excess sugar intake causes an over production in the hormone insulin, which in turn increases the production of oestrogen.   Learn how you can quit sugar for life in my e-book –  Eat Yourself Healthy In 28 Days
  6. Balance your hormones naturally  – using Herbs such as vitexdong quai and peony (but these are best individually prescribed by a trained practitioner) and Indole-3-carbinol – a natural plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, works to support one of the detoxification pathways to clear oestrogen and supplementing with a quality Probiotic – to maintain healthy gut flora colonies
  7. Support healthy liver function – The first place I start in treating oestrogen dominance is with an effective liver cleanse program
  8. Manage stress –  excess stress levels cause an imbalance in the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn impacts on our sex hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone.  Restful sleep, meditation, yoga and exercise, as well as supplementing with a daily quality multi vitamin will all help to support healthy nervous system function and combat the effects of stress
  9. Eat organic  – in particular fruit and vegetables as these are sprayed with chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides  – known endocrine disruptors.  Read more about which particular foods you should eat organic here.  Avoid hormone and anti biotic containing foods – including farmed fish, read meat reared in feedlots and non-organic chicken
  10. Eat more healthy fats – from olive oil  (used fresh) , virgin coconut oil and essential fatty acids from fish oil.

So the key to happier, healthier hormones, is to become aware of these hormonal disruptors and minimise your exposure to synthetic oestrogens as much as possible.

For a full run-down on how to balance your hormones naturally through a healthy diet , check out my e-book Eat Yourself Healthy In 28 Days

Why not follow me on Instagram and Facebook for regular tips and inspiration on how to Eat Yourself Healthy

© All Rights Reserved Sally Joseph 2014

For more health tips and delicious recipes, checkout my e-book, Eat Yourself Healthy.
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  1. Thank you Sally!

  2. HI Nicole, hormone free forms of contraception include using a diaphragm or condoms, but if neither of these are suitable, then you may like to consult a nutritionist or naturopath that is proficient in educating on methods to avoid conception by working with your natural cycle. Sally

  3. HI Natasha

    the best source of fibre basically comes from green leafy vegetables so ensure you get plenty of these in and then you can top up with gluten and grain free foods like chia seeds and quinoa – its a seed not a grain. CHeers Sally

  4. What would you recommend as an alternative to the oral contraceptive pill?

  5. Hi Sally

    Thank you for this article.

    It has provided a comprehensive background on hormonal imbalance and explains why my hormones can fall out of whack when I slip up with my diet for a short period of time.

    I pretty much follow most of your recommendations above, but, in respect of the high fibre diet point, how would you recommend introducing more fibre in line with your e-book guidelines? I don’t eat products containing gluten and therefore any fibre in this food group is now lacking in my diet. Some helpful recommendations for foods/supplements with high fibre content to assist with my digestion would be greatly appreciated!


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