Do You Have a Hormone Imbalance?

The key to breast cancer prevention is to become aware of the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance—estrogen dominance, in particular.

General symptoms of hormone imbalance are familiar to women as premenstrual syndrome or PMS, or menopause symptoms of hot flashes and/or night sweats, foggy thinking, low libido, depression, fatigue, and/or weight gain in the hips or waist. As uncomfortable as these hormone fluctuation symptoms may be, symptoms of estrogen dominance are less familiar but vital to breast cancer prevention.

What does hormone imbalance mean?

The healthy, hormonally balanced body continually manufactures all the hormones it needs to keep everything functioning. It becomes unbalanced when subjected to inadequate supplies of nutrients, inordinate stress and toxic influences. Balance is the most central aspect in a woman’s health.

Go through the list (right sidebar) to determine whether you have any of the general symptoms of imbalance listed. Two or more troublesome or persistent symptoms signal hormone imbalance or estrogen dominance. You can also [LINK symptoms-checklist.pdf]print the list to take with you to your health care provider.

Are You Estrogen Dominant?

“Estrogen dominance” is a term coined by Dr. John Lee, author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause, to describe a systemic imbalance of hormones brought about by the presence of too much estrogen that is not balanced by adequate levels of progesterone—in short: too much estrogen—too little progesterone.

Estrogen dominance is found primarily in women living in industrialized countries who:

  • are using synthetic hormone replacement treatments (HRT)
  • are in premenopause but who are not ovulating and therefore not making sufficient progesterone
  • are exposed to environmental toxins (‘xenoestrogens’) that disrupt hormone balance
  • are taking birth control pills, especially those high in synthetic estrogens
  • have had partial or full hysterectomies which can lead to ovarian dysfunction
  • whose ovaries are not producing progesterone because they are not ovulating
  • are overweight and especially prone to imbalances of estrogen since excess fat cells make excess estrogens

Do these symptoms of estrogen dominance sound familiar?

  • Breast tenderness
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Weight gain especially in the abdomen, hips, and thighs
  • Decreased libido
  • Mood swings, PMS, depression
  • Irregular cycles, heavy bleeding/painful periods
  • Thyroid dysfunction mimicking hypothyroidism
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Gallbladder disease

Is your lifestyle putting you at risk for estrogen dominance?

  • Stress
  • Xenohormones in the environment
  • Use of synthetic HRT and birth control pills
  • Diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and fat
  • Lack of exercise