It is this cyclical fluctuation that allows a woman to become pregnant monthly. Unfortunately, this ideal hormone fluctuation doesn’t always happen as planned and estrogen and progesterone levels may become unbalanced. This can happen for many reasons, including:
- Periods of high or prolonged stress
- Unhealthy dietary choices, including eating too many simple carbohydrates and fats (i.e., sweets, soda, candy, pastries, cookies, ice cream), and eating unhealthy fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, fried foods and trans fats)
- Extreme weight loss or weight gain
- Hormone therapies (birth control or hormone replacement therapy)
- Environmental toxic exposure
Often times, this causes a shift in hormone production that leads to an overabundance of estrogen relative to progesterone (i.e., estrogen is high, progesterone is low).
The net effect is that the balance between estrogen and progesterone is thrown off. In this instance, estrogen levels remain high over a longer period of time during menses and progesterone levels remain too low. These two hormones are designed to balance and offset one another. When there is excessive estrogen relative to progesterone over an extended period of time, estrogen dominance ensues.
Estrogen Dominance can also occur during perimenopause, which is the transition from the menstrual years into menopause. This can be a particularly challenging time for a woman, as the hormone changes that occur during perimenopause can often lead to a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. The next post will outline how these hormone imbalances, and particularly estrogen dominance, can occur during perimenopause.