Do You Gain Most of Your Weight From the Waist Down?
Do you gain most of your weight from the waist down?
This could be an indication of a common, yet severely underdiagnosed hormonal imbalance: estrogen dominance. This happens when there is excess estrogen in the body in relation to progesterone.
In women, estrogen is a vital hormone for puberty, menstruation, and childbearing. Estrogen is also present in small amounts in men and is crucial for libido and the production of sperm. For a variety of different reasons (that we will discuss below), your body can make too much estrogen and wreak havoc on your body.
Common Signs of Estrogen Dominance in Women:
- Bloating, puffiness, or water retention
- Breast tenderness
- Painful periods or endometriosis
- Mood swings, PMS, irritability
- Depression or cry easily
- Anxiety or mini-breakdowns
- Hard time falling asleep/staying asleep
- Brain fog
Common Signs of Estrogen Dominance in Men:
- Gynecomastia (breast growth)
- Erectile dysfunction
If you find yourself nodding your head to these symptoms, you might be estrogen dominant. There are many contributing reasons why you may have unbalanced hormones. I share some of the most common ones below.
Possible Causes of Estrogen Dominance:
- Hormonal birth control
- High sugar, low fiber diet
- Toxic personal care products
- Uncontrolled stress
- An unhealthy gut
- The use of plastic
So what can you do? Maybe you have already suspected a hormonal balance in yourself and discussed it with your doctor. Perhaps they brushed off your symptoms and told you that your hormones look just fine on paper. We see this all the time in our practice, and the good news is you aren’t doomed to feel crummy forever- there are many natural and effective things you can start doing today to balance your hormones at home!
8 Simple and Effective Ways to Balance Your Estrogen:
- Ensure you have a daily bowel movement: Excess estrogen should be eliminated daily through a normal bowel movement, if this doesn’t happen, estrogen can be reabsorbed back into the body’s circulation. If you need help in this area, read on!
- Increase fiber in the diet by consuming plenty of fruits and veggies: Fruits and veggies are loaded with fiber and will help ensure that you have normal bowel movements and don’t get constipated or have diarrhea.Try to buy locally grown, organic fruits and veggies, if possible. Spend some time at the beginning of the week cutting up fruits and vegetables and storing them in glass containers in the fridge so that you can easily snack on them during the week.
- Increase cruciferous vegetable intake: Cruciferous vegetables have phytochemicals that help to block estrogen production. Examples are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, arugula, etc…If you feel overwhelmed by eating these then pick a new one each week to introduce into your diet. Go on Pinterest and find some recipes that sound appealing to you!
- Avoid toxic personal care products and cleaning products: Many modern beauty and cleaning products contain xenoestrogen, a product that mimics estrogen in the body. I recommend using hydrogen peroxide for cleaning hard surfaces in your homes and vinegar for cleaning glass, both are antibacterial and antiviral. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to make these cleaning agents smell pleasant. Stick to clean beauty products. I recommend the Think Dirty app to help you “track dirty ingredients and shop for cleaner options”.
- Reduce alcohol intake: Alcohol can raise your estrogen levels and disrupt your blood sugar function. If you are at a social event where you want to drink something other than water, I recommend enjoying sparkling water with fresh lemon or lime and mint leaves for garnish.
- Limit meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals: Meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals contain much more estrogen than their grass-fed, free-range, and organic counterparts. Since you will be increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you consume, you will naturally have less space for these foods in your diet and will slowly be able to start reducing or eliminating them altogether.
- Lose weight: Start by making it a goal to lose just 5 pounds. You can do this by setting out your workout clothes the night before so you can wake up and go for a walk in the morning (and start your day with sunshine: win/win!). Try Intermittent Fasting, if that resonates with you. Even fasting just 12 hours a day can be beneficial, eventually working your way up to 16 hours per day. Make small, sustainable changes so that you can get the results you’ve always dreamed of having.
- Go for daily walks: Are you noticing a pattern? All of these tips are beautifully intertwined and each plays an important part in balancing your hormones. Make sure that you leave your phone behind when you go out for a walk. Feel the sunshine and breeze on your face and take in the beauty around you. If you feel like you can’t stop incessantly thinking or worrying, try to meditate before you leave so that you can fully enjoy your time in nature.
Think you might be estrogen dominant? Schedule a Metabolic Discovery Call with me so I can learn about what symptoms you’re having and together we can co-create a plan for success!
Author: Dipa Chauhan
Dipa Chauhan is a certified R Ph, CFMP, FLT Therapist, Functional and Lifestyle Medicine Provider.
Dipa’s love for cooking and helping people led to the creation of the "Doctor's Orders: Your Essential Cookbook To A Plant Strong Anti-Inflammatory Diet". Here you can find over 250 healthy and easy recipes, weekly shopping lists and menus. Through this website Dipa has benefited thousands of people all around the world.
Dipa enjoys spending time with her family, especially her son Devin. Dipa also enjoys exercising, walking and other outdoor activities.
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Dipa Chauhan is a board certified registered pharmacist and a certified functional medicine provider.
She has over 6 years of pharmacy experience ranging from retail pharmacy, mail order pharmacy and clinical hospital pharmacy.
She completed a hospital pharmacy residency with rotations in ICU, nephrology, general medicine, pediatrics, drug distribution, cardiology and drug information.
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