1) Increased Insulin. It’s likely you’ve had your estrogen and progesterone levels tested. Perhaps your doctor even told you your lab values were in the “normal” range. The problem is these tests tell us NOTHING about the all-important ratio between estrogen and progesterone. When your body has too much estrogen in relation to progesterone, it can cause a host of issues including irritability, weight gain, breast tenderness, menstrual problems, endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS and more.
That might leave you thinking that testing your estrogen/progesterone ratio is the solution. Unfortunately, it’s not. As I said, earlier, because female hormones fluctuate, lab values only show us what is happening at the moment the hormones are tested. Instead, one of the keys to finding out if estrogen dominance is a problem is to test your insulin level. Why test insulin? Because elevated insulin levels are a major driver of hormonal imbalance. Elevated insulin is often caused by the sugar-heavy and refined-carb-heavy diets so many of us eat. These foods lead to huge spikes in insulin, which in turn leads to a lowering of progesterone in relation to estrogen and testosterone. The end result: estrogen dominance. That’s why at IWC, we will look at your insulin levels to see if this might be a contributor to your hormone imbalance.
2) Xenoestrogens. The name might look like something out of a sci-fi novel, but its definition is pretty simple. Xenoestrogens are chemical compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Expose yourself to too many xenoestrogens, and you can end up with estrogen dominance and all its symptoms. Now, you might think that’s something you only have to worry about if you, say, work in a chemical plant, but the fact is you likely use and consume products with xenoestrogens many times a day. If you eat commercially sourced meat or dairy, or drink tap water, you are consuming xenoestrogens. If you use plastic wraps or dishware, you are exposing yourself to xenoestrogens via chemical phthalates. And, if you use hair, skin or beauty products with parabens, you’re coming into contact with – you guessed it – xenoestrogens. And, because xenoestrogens aren’t actually estrogens but only mimic them in the body, your standard hormone tests might come back normal. At our clinic, we can run a xenoestrogen test to determine if these chemical compounds are behind your hormonal problems.
3) Detoxing difficulties. Did you know there’s a connection between proper liver function and hormonal balance? Research has shown that if the liver isn’t working to eliminate hormones properly, it can lead to an accumulation of estrogen in the tissues which can result in hormonal imbalance. Estrogen accumulation can lead to estrogen dominance, cysts, hormonal migraines and many other issues including cancer. Most doctors never take the liver and detoxification into consideration when treating for female hormonal issues. At IWC, we can test for elevation markers linked to improper detoxification and inflammation, combined with a urine test that determines if the body is eliminating hormones properly.
4) “Hidden” issues. As you might have already guessed, the root causes of hormonal issues aren’t always what you assume they’d be. In addition to the above three “culprits,” stress (adrenal fatigue), digestive issues and thyroid problems can also contribute to hormonal imbalance. Finding these “hidden” issues takes digging a little deeper – it’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. At our clinic, we will search for these often-overlooked reasons that could be contributing to your hormone imbalance.