woman sitting on bed despair

Heavy periods, breast tenderness and moodiness with cycles are so common in our 30 and 40s that we often brush it off as a necessary inconvenience. Yet these symptoms impact the quality of our everyday lives. What’s worse, these symptoms may indicate an increased risk of cancer and chronic disease.

The good news: Despite sometimes producing powerful symptoms, estrogen dominance symptoms can calm down quickly with natural therapies and lifestyle changes.

Estrogen dominance is a pattern of hormone imbalance that we commonly see in women age 30+. High activity of certain “strong” estrogens in the body is behind this pattern. This can be due to greater exposure to these estrogens and/or due to the lack of the opposing hormone, progesterone. Estrogen is like the accelerator in your car; Progesterone is like the brake. We need both functioning in balance for healthy periods, good mood and cancer prevention.

So how does Estrogen Dominance develop in the first place??

There are many factors contributing to the increased estrogen activity in the body. Poor liver health, imbalanced gut microbiome, hormone disrupting chemicals and insulin issues are some of the most important factors increasing ”strong” estrogen activity. To make matters worse, stress, blood glucose issues and disruptions to our day and night cycles can lead to declining progesterone activity making estrogen activity stronger. Today, I’ll highlight 3 common but often hidden causes of estrogen dominance – and what to do about them.

Poor Liver & Gut Health

In addition to digestion, your liver and gut work together to break down chemicals, metabolic byproducts and hormones so it can be safely and efficiently removed or “detoxified” from the body. Unfortunately, over time, modern life can overwhelm these systems: antibiotics, pain medications, synthetic chemicals, processed foods like sugar and refined oils, excess alcohol, nutritional deficiencies can all contribute to excess toxic burden, increased estrogen activity and inflammation in the body.

Too Much “Alien Estrogens”

Certain synthetic chemicals can have an estrogen-like effect on your body. These substances are called “xenoestrogens” (“xeno-” meaning strange or alien). These hormone disrupting chemicals are ubiquitous in our modern lives and associated with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412018313291 and breast cancer https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33804363/. BPA and phthalates are some common examples of xenoestrogens found in plastics, fragrances, beauty products and some medications https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2873014/

Although hormone imbalances may be more obvious in women with cycle changes, these hormone disruptors are likely affecting all of us, including men. From 1940 to 1990, sperm concentration & volume decreased by 50% https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1393072/ . Decreasing semen quality has been linked to increasing exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/ppmc/articles/PMC1240129/ Unfortunately more recent studies suggest further decline in sperm counts https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28981654/

Even though these chemicals have been repeatedly linked to harm, they are still ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Marketing can also confuse and keep hormone disrupting chemicals hidden in products. Reducing exposure is a gradual process: I recommend replacing a beauty product, detergent or food container one at a time. This is a process that will benefit your health and the health of your entire family, including the next generation. You’re invited to follow me on my journey https://www.facebook.com/detoxify.withus/ as I share tips on how to detox your home and body from these harmful chemicals.

Undetected High Insulin

Sugar, refined flours and stress all promote high blood glucose. As a response, our body produces high levels of insulin in an attempt to rebalance the blood glucose levels. Over time, unfortunately, high insulin levels also result in fat accumulation such as seen in fatty liver. This can further reduce the detoxifying function of the liver while also contributing to higher levels of estrogen produced in the fat tissue. High insulin is also a common cause of difficulty losing weight despite “normal” lab values of blood glucose.

Avoiding foods that trigger insulin (like sugar and flours) and emphasizing protein, fat and fiber can improve blood glucose and reduce insulin. Fasting strategies can be helpful too but I recommend discussing with your practitioner how to best fast with your hormone cycle.

There are many factors of our busy, modern lives that have a detrimental effect on hormone imbalance. This is especially obvious in women with estrogen dominance. Your cycle symptoms are the indicator for the whole family to improve liver/gut health, avoid xenoestrogens and reduce high insulin.

Unsure where to start? If one of the three causes above resonated with you, start there.

If you would like to dive deeper into nutrition for liver and gut health as well as detoxifying xenoestrogens, join us for our next Metabolic Detox in April. During our 10 Day event, we virtually take you step by step through an insulin-lowering diet with nutrients that promote liver/gut health and elimination of stored toxic chemicals. In previous events, 100% of participants reported feeling more confident in incorporating healthy habits in their everyday lives after the experience.

Register for the FREE info session on Monday, March 7, 2022


As symptoms improve, I’ve had the honour of witnessing women reestablishing a new relationship with their cycle: instead of something that antagonizes them, their cycles empower them with the ability to see and respond to the subtle shifts in their bodies from month to month.

Metabolic detox is one of my favourite ways to kick start hormone balance and learn to address the multiple causes of imbalance for life.

Join us here