Related Topics: Conditions, Features, General, Hormones, Menopause

What is Oestrogen Dominance?

Oestrogen dominance can occur at any age but it is more likely to occur in the years preceding and during the menopause.

Dame Dr Shirley Bond

The term oestrogen dominance is a term first used by the late Dr John Lee to refer to a state where oestrogen is not being balanced by progesterone in a woman’s body. This is a particular problem approaching and at the menopause, although it can occur at much younger ages.

Oestrogen is one of the two primary female hormones, the other being progesterone, and it is the increase in the levels of oestrogen at puberty that leads to the characteristic changes that take place in the body at that time

When we refer to oestrogen we are really referring to a group of the three most important and active hormones which are: oestradiol, oestrone and oestriol. The relative amounts of these three oestrogens to each other vary at different times in a woman’s life and all three are secreted in the ovaries, adrenal glands, placenta and fatty tissue.

During the reproductive years of a woman’s life oestradiol, the strong oestrogen, is being secreted in large quantities by the ovaries.

Pregnancy changes the dominant oestrogen to oestriol which is produced by the placenta.

During the Post-menopausal years the level of oestradiol decreases but the levels of oestrone and oestriol increase. At this time the oestrogen is produced by conversion of androstenedione in fatty tissue.

Whatever a woman’s age may be, these oestrogens need to be balanced by progesterone to prevent the benefits of oestrogen being outweighed by its potential problems.

At the time of the pre-menopause and menopause when it is known that oestrogen levels are falling it can be difficult to understand that a situation of oestrogen dominance could be responsible for the problems that arise. What is forgotten is that as the menopause approaches, ovulation becomes less frequent and less efficient and at the menopause it stops altogether. As a result of this, the ovary does not produce progesterone and the oestrogen is not balanced in the body.

The actual levels of oestrogen and progesterone are not important in themselves; it is the ratio of the levels of oestrogen and progesterone to each other that matter. This means you can have oestrogen dominance with both high levels of oestrogen and with low levels. It all depends on the progesterone level as this is the key factor.

Identifying Oestrogen Dominance
It is possible to diagnose oestrogen dominance for yourself. You can see from the list below that most of the effects balance each other out. If you cover up the list of progesterone effects you can see what the effects of unbalanced oestrogen are. If you are experiencing any, or all of these, then you may well have oestrogen dominance.

Effects of Oestrogen
Creates proliferation of the endometrium
Stimulates breast tissue – tenderness
Increases body fat
Fluid retention
Depression
Suppresses action of thyroid
Increases blood clotting
Decreases libido
Interferes with blood sugar levels
Reduces zinc and retention of copper
Reduces cell oxygen
Increases risk of endometrial cancer
Increases risk of breast cancer
Slows bone breakdown

Effects of Progesterone
Stabilises the endometrium
Protects the breast
Helps break down fat
Natural diuretic
Anti-depressant
Facilitates thyroid function
Normalises clotting mechanism
Increases libido
Stabilises blood sugar
Normalises zinc and copper
Restores cell oxygen
Protects the endometrium
Protects the breast
Builds up bone

Oestrogen dominance can occur at any age but it is more likely to occur in the years preceding and during the menopause. Altering your life style, eating a good wholefood diet, as well as taking herbs and nutritional supplements to restore the normal oestrogen progesterone ratio can sometimes alleviate it. If these methods do not work it may be useful to supplement with progesterone.

An experienced practitioner can often diagnose oestrogen dominance by listening to your symptoms and it can also be confirmed by doing a Saliva Hormone Test.

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Please feel free to discuss this article in the comments section below, but note that the author cannot respond to queries made there.
 
Comments 45
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Diane | 10:43 am, July 14th, 2010

I was prescribed Oestrodiol and Pro-Gest, but I find the Oestrodiol too strong and I’m suffering from oestrogen dominance now. The clinic won’t take back the three pots that I purchased (£60) each and the doctor doesn’t believe my symptoms. The fact that I also suffered from fibroids is also making me wary of estrogen supplement. Have stopped thhe estrogen and taking Pro-Gest twice daily which seems to be working well. I feel like I’ve been taken for a bit of a ride (an expensive one at that). I could have just self diagnosed and bought the Pro-Gest from the internet and saved myself about £700.

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Gabriella | 7:19 am, March 4th, 2011

I am menstruating for more than two weeks than I have to ask pills from the clinic to stop it. what can be the cause of this?

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Diane Richard | 10:18 am, March 4th, 2011

Hi Gabriella – I had that problem with fibroids, which resulted in anaemia from heavy blood loss. So you’ll need to get it checked out because there’s only so long you can live with that.

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Serena Maile | 3:22 pm, January 6th, 2012

I would like to do a saliva hormone test but where do I buy one from? will it tell me whether I am oestrogen dominant.

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wellsprings | 4:42 pm, January 6th, 2012

Serena – saliva tests are available online from various companies but it is only a picture of your hormones at that moment, although that can be very useful.

To assess your oestrogen dominance you can do as Dr John Lee originally suggested and compare your symptoms to assess yourself. This article by Dr Shirley Bond will help you identify them:
http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2010/03/15/what-is-oestrogen-dominance/

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Bonnie Mpinda | 10:07 am, February 11th, 2012

I had hysteroctomy whn I was 33yrs old.I once used HRT drug prescribed by my GP. I had unbelievably huge weight gain water retention etc and I stopped using it.

I worked so hard toloose that weight but later now I am starting to suffer from ostoporosis I have stopped exercising n walking my right hip is killing me.

I bought two jars of Progestorone from Wellspring and did well with water retention and other symptoms but not asteoporosis.
I then read the wellspring advices and decided to buy the 20;1 progestorone to Oestrogen jar.I used that for 6 weeks and have gained up to 4kgs my legs always so swollen and my bones aching like hell,my hip is killing me.
What advice can you give me.I dont want to be on the drugs.

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AnnA Rushton | 10:26 am, February 11th, 2012

Bonnie – Serenity helped your symptoms and with osteoporosis there is normally improvement but it is best observed over a longer term such as a year when your scans should show you the benefit. Additional oestrogen is not helping with your water retention or osteoporosis and it is just the bioidentical natural progesterone that you need.

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March Is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month « Ovarian Cancer | 11:56 am, March 2nd, 2012

[...] them would certainly be a good start.  This article by Dame Dr Shirley Bond outlines them here and a diet that reduces other risk factors such as animal fats and refined sugar and replaces them [...]

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Ann Worthy | 1:37 pm, March 5th, 2012

I am concerned about which hormone I should be taking. I don’t have any ovaries and have stopped taking HRT as advised by my GP. Do I take Serenity oestrogen or a supplement of progesterone? Help!

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wellsprings | 2:53 pm, March 5th, 2012

Ann – most women find Serenity to be the best place to start rebalancing your hormones. Generally most women find that progesterone alone is sufficient to control their symptoms and only switch to 20-1 with its added natural oestrogens if they have a specific need for oestrogen related symptoms or their flushes are not sufficiently controlled by Serenity alone.

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Pauline | 10:49 am, March 16th, 2012

I have been on HRT premique combined for far too long and am coming off it slowly by taking every other day. When can I start taking the serenity cream as I take less and less HRT tablets. As the HRT tablets are both prgesterone and oestrgens will the serenity cream be enough or should I try the 20-1 cream instead. Thank you

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wellsprings | 11:13 am, March 16th, 2012

Pauline – your HRT contains progestin, not progesterone, and that is what needs to be stopped before you can switch to Serenity. This article by Dr Tony Coope will give the information you need here:
http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2011/01/06/how-to-come-off-hrt/

Women normally decide on which cream is most beneficial on the basis of their menopausal symptoms and their severity. Serenity is usually sufficient to control their symptoms and only switch to 20-1 with its added natural oestrogens if there is a specific need for oestrogen related symptoms or their flushes are not sufficiently controlled by Serenity alone.

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marty c | 8:07 pm, June 5th, 2012

I TRIED SERENITY FOR A FEW MONTHS WITH NO NOTICABLE BENEFITS. I THEN SWITCHED TO
20-1 CREAM, WHICH I HAVE USED FOR ABOUT 9 WEEKS AND I CAN HONESTLY SAY MY HOT FLUSHES ARE VERY RARE IF ANY AT ALL. I AM JUST ABOUT TO ORDER MY 2ND POT OF 20-1 AND HOPE IT CONTINUES TO GIVE ME RELIEF FOR MY HOT FLUSHES , I AM SO GLAD I FOUND THIS PRODUCT, AND I AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO WELLSPRINGS FOR ALL THEIR HELPFUL ADVICE, START WITH THE SERENITY AND SEE HOW YOU GO KEEP A DIARY, THEN IF YOUR SYMPTOMS CONTINUE SIMPLY CONTACT WELLSPRINGS AND THEY WILL ADVISE YOU TRY 20-1 I AM SO GLAD THAT I DID

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Ann Worthy | 8:56 am, June 13th, 2012

I had a hysterectomy 16 years ago also my ovaries were removed. Ever since I have been on HRT until February this year when my GP advised me to stop which I did. I have been using Serenity but have 2 questions. Why is it necessary to stop for 6 days? I have seen that another cream is available 20-1 could I use this containing oestrogen (is this hormone good for me after an hysterectomy) and progesterone, or should I just take Serenity progesterone having had a hysterectomy and removal of ovaries? I have asked a similar question before but wanted to make sure.

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AnnA Rushton | 9:54 am, June 13th, 2012

Ann – we recommend a 6 day break each month to allow the body to fully absorb the progesterone and to avoid the receptor sites becoming saturated. In women with extreme symptoms it is possible to go for 3 months with no break, but no longer than that as we do not believe that gives the body the opportunity to fully rebalance. Whether you need additional oestrogen is down to your symptoms as it is generally sufficient to rebalance most women’s hormonal symptoms with progesterone alone. Additional oestrogen may be needed for hot flashes that are excessive and do not respond fully to progesterone or where there are other conditions such as vaginal dryness and there is no family history where oestrogen is contraindicated.

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Ann Worthy | 11:42 am, June 13th, 2012

Thank you for your reply. However, there was no mention of my hysterectomy/ removal of overies in relation to the hormones. Progesterone or oestrogen, which or both?

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wellsprings | 12:18 pm, June 13th, 2012

Ann – we find that Serenity is sufficient to control most menopausal symptoms, whether you have had a hysterectomy or not.

20-1 is for when those symptoms are not fully controlled or there is a need for specific oestrogen related symptoms such as vaginal dryness.

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HRT and Me: How I Got On With Prempak-C | 12:48 pm, August 24th, 2012

[...] In fact, this was not the first time I’d spoken to a GP about trying bio-identical hormones. About a year earlier I had seen a female GP and asked her to prescribe natural progesterone for me as I thought I was displaying all the symptoms of oestrogen dominance. [...]

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Anne | 1:17 am, December 31st, 2012

i find this article very interesting
i had breast cancer which was estrogen
receptive would i benifit from serenity cream im on one fermara tablet a day after treatment my age is 61 hada hysterectomy but still have neck of uterus thank you appreciate reply

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JoAnn Kohler | 6:27 pm, February 12th, 2013

I have a comment on progesterone. I am on bioidentical hormones and take it 11 days of each month. When I take it, there is not doubt I sleep better and am in better moods. However, the down side is, my hair fall out becomes increasingly worse. Don’t know what that is, but I feel everyonw should know of this side effect.

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AnnA Rushton | 12:41 pm, February 22nd, 2013

JoaAnn – Presumably you are on a 22 day menstrual cycle to be only using progesterone for 11 days a month? Normally it is 14 days which will give you better hormone levels. On your hair loss, what can happen is that when  progesterone levels fall as a result of lack of ovulation the body responds by increasing its production of the adrenal cortical steroid, androstenedione, an alternative precursor for the production of other adrenal cortical hormones. Androstenedione conveys some androgenic (male-like_ properties – in this case male pattern hair loss.  If this is what is causing your hair loss, then when progesterone levels are raised by supplementation the androstenedione level will gradual fall, and normal hair growth will eventually resume.   Since hair growth is slow, it may take 4-6 months for the effects to become apparent. This article may be helpful:

http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2011/12/12/reversing-female-hair-loss/

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AnnA Rushton | 1:07 pm, February 22nd, 2013

Yes Anne you certainly would benefit and this article will give you more information:
http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2011/05/18/natural-progesterone-as-a-preventive-for-breast-cancer-by-dr-david-zava/

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AnnA Rushton | 11:17 am, March 2nd, 2013

Joann – we are sorry to hear this, but hair loss is not related to progesterone but to many other factors so please consult your doctor. We do know that progesterone can increase hair thickness and appearance but is a slow process.

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AudraC | 11:02 pm, March 31st, 2013

For some months now I have been struggling with fatigue, mood swings and weight gain. The fatigue is the worst and I feel that tired I am unable to cope with work and everything else that has to be done during the course of a day. These symptoms normally happen during the first 2 weeks of my cycle and ease off until just before my period when they start again with a passion. I can also become very constipated around the middle of the menstrual month and have tender breasts as well. My periods are regular and are different every month in that sometimes they are heavy and long and other months they are light and short. I am 44 years old. Is this oestrogen dominance or could it be something else. If either what is the best course of action for me as this has become life stopping every month.

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AnnA Rushton | 10:07 am, April 1st, 2013

Yes Audrey your symptoms of breast tenderness and heavy bleeding are those of oestrogen dominance and can be helped by supplementing with a bioidentical natural progesterone cream such as Serenity.

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KERRY | 12:12 pm, April 1st, 2013

hi could any one advise?, last year i had numerous investigations as my TSH was rising, my oestrogen levels were high and cortisol high. my consultant was unhelpfull and put every thing down to my weight, i started taking nutri-thyroid and nutri-adrenal to help and DIM for the oestrogen dominance as i could not loose weight, i have since lost three stone through intermittent fasting which is great however i have noticed i am shedding hair more than normal. does any one know why this is happening ??? help!!!!

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AnnA Rushton | 4:40 pm, April 1st, 2013

Kerry – What can happen is that when  progesterone levels fall as a result of lack of ovulation the body responds by increasing its production of the adrenal cortical steroid, androstenedione, an alternative precursor for the production of other adrenal cortical hormones. Androstenedione conveys some androgenic (male-like_ properties – in this case male pattern hair loss.  If this is what is causing your hair loss, then when progesterone levels are raised by supplementation the androstenedione level will gradual fall, and normal hair growth will eventually resume.   Since hair growth is slow, it may take 4-6 months for the effects to become apparent. These articles might help:

http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2011/12/12/reversing-female-hair-loss/
http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2012/08/20/help-for-menopausal-hair-loss/

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KERRY | 5:25 pm, April 1st, 2013

hi thanks for reply, i am still ovulating and have regular periods, do you think the DIM could be causing this, or my other supplements??

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AnnA Rushton | 12:49 pm, April 2nd, 2013

DIM does affect both oestrogen metabolism and thyroid production Kerry so there may be a link, but it is not something we have any information on.

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Ann Hayes | 6:28 pm, April 18th, 2013

Am I ok to use serenity after hysterectomy, I still have my ovaries I take levothyroxine and take amlodipine for high blood pressure.
I do at times suffer bouts of depression and just recently started having hot flushes which do make me feel sick and a little panicky.

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dr coope | 10:27 am, April 19th, 2013

Entirely safe and very helpful after hyserectomy Gabrielle as Serenity helps with thyroid, hypertension and elevates mood. There is no contraindication with your medication and you find these articles helpful:

http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2012/05/01/how-bioidentical-natural-progesterone-helps-with-low-thyroid/

 http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2012/01/26/progesterone-and-protection-from-menopausal-heart-problems/
 

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madeleine | 2:54 pm, April 27th, 2013

Had tah bso for uterine cancer no hrt am 58 and have very low energy and immjne system is low with aches and pains in lower back and joints finding it a strugglevto work especially through lack of sleep often waking at 3 am . Would i need natural progesterone

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AnnA Rushton | 6:48 am, April 28th, 2013

Certainly progesterone will help rebalance your hormones, and is protective of cancer and benefits the autoimmune system Madeleine and will also help you with sleep issues. This article will be helpful for that:
http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2010/10/20/menopause-and-insomnia-by-patrick-holford/

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AudraC | 10:07 am, May 15th, 2013

Hi. I tried the progesterone cream and found that my symptoms were completely exacerbated. The tiredness was the worse. I lessened the dose and that did kind of help in that even though I felt completely exhausted my mood was still good. I also put on nearly 4kg in the space of the 14 days I was taking it. My once healthy libido came to a standstill. In fact the only thing that was cured was the unexplained appearance of spots on my back disappeared as did the constipation. My period came on time and was a lot a lighter and only lasted 2 days. I am now nearing the 14th day of this menstrual month and dont know what to do for the best. Do you have any suggestions.

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AnnA Rushton | 11:16 am, May 15th, 2013

Audra – What was probably occurring is that at the onset of using Natural Progesterone Cream a few women may experience an increase in oestrogen dominance symptoms. 

This is temporary and due to the Natural Progesterone waking up and making the oestrogen receptor sites more sensitive. If experienced, reduce Serenity to a tiny dot then build up gradually in the following weeks or until the symptoms subside, you may then resume normal application.  
 
This article by Dr Tony Coope will help make more sense of it, and he does suggest that the dosage can be reduced for a while to alleviate some of the symptoms, but it is vital to continue with the progesterone and return to a normal dose as the ‘flare up’ resolves.
 
http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2011/08/18/why-hormones-can-sometimes-make-symptoms-worse-initially/

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Kay Kay | 4:44 am, July 23rd, 2013

I had a hysterectomy at age 28 I’m 38 now. For the last 10 yrs I have taken 0.4 ml of estradiol which is bout 4 mg. I’m not on testosterone or pregestrone. But recently I have started experiencing numbness in had arm and feet and legs, and even more brain fog, aches . So far all my test are normal. This came on all of a sudden. Could I need to change or increase something after 10 yrs. seem like the serenity has more benefits. I was wondering would it be safe to stay on my low dose of esteogen and add the serenity. I don’t want vaginal dryness or hot flashes it mostly only helps with that.

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AnnA Rushton | 11:27 am, July 23rd, 2013

Many women do combine SErenity with oestrogen patches but given your symptoms you may wish to consult a doctor for an informed opinion. Dr Bond regrets she cannot answer medical questions on this site but if you wish to consult her please visit this link for more information on her practice:
http://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2010/02/05/dr-shirley-bond/

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Sarah | 11:34 am, August 3rd, 2013

Hi I have been using serenity cream since march and my flushes have stopped my mood is stabilised and I am calmer .i thought that as I no longer have symptoms I would stop the cream for a while .. Since stopping I have had one small show but a few days I came on and ended up in A & E last night with heavy baginal bleeding .. I was wondering if this is because I stopped the cream and my body is getting rid of excess blood .. If so .. That’s good isn’t it?

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arcloth | 4:30 am, September 11th, 2013

hi ladies could all the women out there please get back to me with a honest answer if your 18st or over and have used this item and it works pls pls I have spent that much money on rubbish remedies is there anybody who lives on 700 calories a day go from 11st to 18st in 12months its heart breaking and so frustrating when you can not get up and do things its so depressing

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nikki | 7:31 pm, January 25th, 2014

Hi I have been using 20-1 cream for a month . I am delighted that my hot flushes that were coming every hr day and night are gone . Wasnt sleeping . I have the merina coil but coming up to tbe 5 ys now. Doc said I needed oestrogen only hrt cuz of coil . But I didnt want to take it due to risks. I have breast tenderness , mood is low and very tired could sleep round the clock now . But as the cream has taken those horrendous flashes away and I can sleep at night . I dont want to stop . Any advice please :)

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AnnA Rushton | 10:50 am, January 28th, 2014

As your symptoms are coming under control and there are no side effects from 20-1 you can certainly continue to use it Nikki.

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