What is Estrogen Dominance?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2019
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The term “estrogen dominance” refers to a situation in which someone does not have enough progesterone to balance out estrogen levels. The concept of estrogen dominance and theories about its effects on the human body were developed by Doctor John Lee, who argued that treatment should revolve around reducing estrogen levels, and increasing progesterone levels if necessary. Discussions of this condition are more common among practitioners of alternative medicine, although some studies on the balance between estrogen and progesterone seem to suggest that there may be some credence to theories about estrogen dominance.

Hormones are extremely complex, and they work in concert with each other, not in isolation. Estrogen and progesterone are very closely related, and they are involved in a number of functions surrounding the reproductive system. These hormones are more common in women, but they are also present in men, and imbalances in these hormones can lead to a variety of medical issues. In fact, menopause is believed to be the product of radically decreased estrogen production in women as the reproductive system shuts itself down.


According to the theory of estrogen dominance, people can have high, average, or low levels of estrogen, and a lack of progesterone to balance out the estrogen. High estrogen levels can occur due to changes in the body, or as a result of environmental factors such as the consumption of estrogenically modified crops. Prolonged estrogen dominance is said to be responsible for a number of reproductive health issues, including infertility, irregular menstruation, and cancers, along with changes in the breast tissue, headaches, bloating, and dysfunction of the thyroid.

In fact, as the medical community learned after years of estrogen supplements with little or no progesterone to treat menopause, unusually high levels of estrogen in the body can indeed cause a variety of health problems. Women who took estrogen therapy later learned that they were at increased risk of developing gynecological cancers, and doctors later adjusted the standard of care for patients in menopause to address this issue, supplementing hormone treatments with progesterone to achieve a more natural balance.

Hormone imbalances should be addressed by endocrinologists, doctors who specialize in hormones and the endocrine system. Since women tend to suffer from estrogen dominance more than men, it may also help to consult a gynecologist who can provide additional information and treatment recommendations. Reputable holistic practitioners who treat patients with estrogen dominance should be able to provide recommendations for complementary providers.



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