Causes of Estrogen Dominance
Beginning in perimenopause and continuing throughout menopause, the production of progesterone tends to decline more rapidly than that of estrogen. If the progesterone to estrogen ratio is unbalanced, favoring excess estrogen, a woman may become susceptible to an increased risk of fibrocystic breast disease and other health problems (Kubista 1990; Lee 1996).
Factors contributing to estrogen dominance include:
- Exposure to estrogen-mimicking chemicals found in herbicides, pesticides, petrochemicals (e.g., BPA, bisphenol A) and PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyl’s) used in some cosmetics, glue, plastic, and other modern materials (Tapiero 2002)
- Obesity as well as increased intake of excess calories from simple sugars, fiber-deficient refined grains, and trans¬-fat from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
Many practitioners report that estrogen dominance is often associated with symptoms such as food cravings, bloating, weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, depression, cyclical migraine headaches, decreased sexual desire, menstrual cramps, short cycles, heavy menstrual bleeding, hair loss, fibroids, and endometriosis.
Is Cancer Risk a Reason to Deprive Aging Women of Natural Hormones?
Concern about cancer is an important reason why more aging women do not restore their hormones to youthful levels. Hormones like estrogen and testosterone affect cell growth and proliferation. Does that mean aging women should simply accept hormone deficiency as a part of "normal" aging?
If estrogen caused breast cancer, then we would expect to see very high rates in young women of childbearing age, with a dramatic decline after menopause. This has not been observed. To demonstrate the risk of developing breast cancer as women age, we have reprinted the following statistics (Simone 2005):
The genes that help regulate healthy cell growth can mutate. In fact, mutations in cells’ regulatory genes are an underlying cause of cancer (Haber 2000). Breast cells with mutated genes may be more vulnerable to estrogen’s growth stimulating effects.