We are talking about one of my favorite topics, estrogen dominance. I have a guest today who wrote a book on it. This is not for only perimenopausal women, this is for all women. We really do need to understand how our hormones shift and get affected by everything in our lives, all throughout our reproductive years, and what we need to do to keep them in balance.
Conventional gynecologists will tell you estrogen dominance doesn’t exist. Because it’s not a disease, right? It’s not something that you can treat with medicine. It’s a newer concept and we have never studied women appropriately to really understand their endocrine system and how they function as physicians as a medical system.
What we understand about reproduction is the bare minimum of what’s needed to create a human life. We haven’t taken the time to understand the nuances or the impact of the quality of life for women when their hormones are not completely balanced. We definitely haven’t spent the time to understand why they’re imbalanced. I guess I say we lumping myself with conventional physicians. But the truth is, there are many physicians, research institutions, and companies that have studied this. It’s been going on for over 20 years in the world of functional, integrative, and anti-aging medicine. It’s just not commonplace for conventional or Western medicine.
This stuff is not new, whoo hoo, or crazy talk. This is very well established and deeply researched based on information that’s come out over the past 20 years on studying women from the Non-Big Pharma societies. I didn’t understand this as a conventional gynecologist, many of my colleagues don’t, because we’re just not aware of this information. It’s just not presented to us. Conventional medicine is very much disease-oriented. We are focused on finding the disease and treating it with medication and surgery. Hormone imbalance is about function and optimization and wellness and prevention. It’s an entirely different world and mindset.
I’m not saying be mad at your conventional doctor. What I’m saying is give them some grace if they haven’t heard of estrogen dominance or some of the things that we talked about on this podcast. That’s the whole reason I do the podcast right is for you to know what I didn’t know as an actual physician. So don’t be mad at them. Just know that they might not know what you’re talking about. And that’s okay because you can find a practitioner out there who does know this stuff and who has been trained in this to help you.
You can come to me and I can help you. I work one-on-one with women all the time. We do virtual visits. I might not have my makeup, or my lighting on, but I will definitely be happy to work with you if you feel like you need one-on-one help. My guest today does a lot of the same work and we practice very much alike. I love how she deals with hormone imbalances as well. She also works one-on-one with women so you can check her out.
Every woman needs to understand how their hormones are impacted by their diet, their lifestyle choices, their environment, everything that you decide to do, and your mindset. Your hormones are impacted every single day.
On this podcast, we are going to talk about…
What made Kate write Estrogen is a B*tch
Breaking down estrogen dominance
Why our livers are so congested and not metabolizing estrogen the way that they should
The importance of good gut health for your hormones
Why we need a balance of estrogen and progesterone
Kate’s favorite way to test hormones
Why you experience constipation with estrogen dominance
What else we need to know when it comes to estrogen dominance
How you won’t see the change overnight, but the changes you do make will make an impact on your health
How to get back in tune with your body
How this can happen to anybody
About Kate Vazquez
Kate Vazquez is a functional medicine physician assistant. She’s founded Radiant Health. She’s an award-winning author of the book, Estrogen Is A B*tch. She loves empowering high-performance women to reclaim their health and vitality so they can become the confident leader they aspire to be. She created an awesome online course that you guys can do. It’s called the Estrogen Reset. With her best-selling book, Estrogen Is A BItch she brings awareness to estrogen dominance. She teaches women how to naturally balance hormones and use their cycle as their superpower. She teaches you how to reconnect to yourself within and how to tap into your feminine energy at the highest level so you can create a life by design that you actually love living.
Welcome, Kate to the Gutsy Gynecologist Podcast!
Kate: Hi, thank you so much for having me. I’m so honored and blessed to be here today and having this conversation.
Dr. Tabatha: I’m so glad you’re here. This is one of my favorite topics and it’s near and dear to my heart. I don’t think we talk about it enough. A lot of women don’t really realize what they’re experiencing and going through. So, I really want to take a deep dive into all of this.
What Made You Write Estrogen Is A B*tch?
Kate: I am a physician assistant and certified in Functional Medicine. I’ve been on my own health journey, especially as I transitioned from conventional Western Medicine into Functional Medicine. I had my own health issues at the time and I didn’t think it was a big deal because I had a high pain tolerance and just pushed through everything.
I started having migraines when I was a child. Then when I went through puberty I developed acne, so I was put on birth control, which definitely cleared the acne. And of course, that was the first sign of hormonal imbalance. Then I developed a lot of anxiety from high school into college and in college, I also started developing a lot of GI issues like constipation and bloating. It was one thing that was just building on the next.
Once I discovered Functional Medicine, I learned that I could really heal my body and that all these things were happening for a reason. All the systems were integrated and being able to heal that was very empowering. At the time, I felt like it was my fate, even though I was the only one in my immediate family to have migraines. But, my parents and my sisters had GI issues. I thought it was just my fate because it was genetics.
Learning about functional medicine, I realized, no, it doesn’t have to be my fate. So I did a lot of work, like healing my gut and reducing anxiety, but I was on birth control pills still. It wasn’t until almost three years ago, when I finally came off birth control, especially learned about the long-term effects of birth control, which, unfortunately, most providers don’t tell us because they’re not aware. But I learned about all the long-term effects.
I also wanted to get my body ready for pregnancy. I’m still preparing and not quite ready yet, but I wanted to make sure that when it was time, my body was ready. I had a lot of friends and co-workers who they came off birth control, they would get pregnant and miscarry. And I knew something was not right. Why is this happening? I didn’t want that to happen to me and learning about Functional Medicine, I wanted to prepare my body.
So coming off birth control, my hormones went crazy. It surprised me because I had done all the work healing my gut and managing my stress. What I hadn’t looked at were my hormones. I did the testing for hormones and discovered I had an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone. My progesterone levels were very, very low after being suppressed for over 15 years. It created an imbalance and I needed to support estrogen metabolism as well.
When I came off birth control I was experiencing very irregular cycles, having severe menstrual cramps, and breast tenderness, and I even started gaining a little weight in my butt, hips, and thighs. I knew that this is not normal and something was going on. So once I discovered that imbalance, I did a lot more research and looked into why this was happening.
I discovered I had estrogen dominance. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information out there and in conventional medicine, they just have no idea what you’re talking about. But in functional medicine, we know what it is. So when I realized I was experiencing that I started seeing a lot of the same patterns in a lot of my clients. I decided at that point, I needed to bring awareness to this. One day I was thinking about all the crazy symptoms that come with estrogen dominance and I was like, “Wow, estrogen is a b*tch.” I realized that would be a great title for a book. From that moment on, I realized I needed to write about it, bring more awareness, help, educate, inspire, and empower women, to not only learn about their hormones but different steps and things that they can take on their own to really help balance the hormones naturally.
Watch the full video interview on my YouTube Channel
Dr. Tabatha: I’m so glad you wrote the book because women do need to know about estrogen dominance. Conventional gynecologists don’t recognize estrogen dominance because it’s not a disease per se, right? It’s not a disease that developed that has a medication that can fix it. It’s an imbalance in your hormones and it usually continues month after month and usually gets worse.
So this is really important to understand that we are trying to shed light on how your body functions day-to-day and month-to-month. This is a newer concept and you know, our great-great grandmothers didn’t have to deal with this. People didn’t have estrogen dominance and all these period issues. They didn’t have to deal with things like we do now such as environmental toxins, our professional status, and juggling all the things.
Can you help break this down so women aren’t as confused?
Kate: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, even as a PA, we didn’t learn about these things. We were taught that PMS was normal and I completely agree. When you look back at our ancestors, our grandmothers, and great grandmothers, they might have had some mild cramps, but they didn’t have all the crazy symptoms associated with it. But their lives were a lot different. They didn’t have the stress that we have now especially as women working, juggling kids, and everyday demands. They didn’t have that stress and they didn’t have all the toxins that we’re constantly exposed to every single day.
Toxins contain chemicals, which are called Xenoestrogens, and they are basically foreign estrogen because they are molecularly the same. They’re chemically structured the exact same as estrogen. So when we are exposed, these chemicals bind to estrogen receptors because the receptors don’t know the difference between estrogens. So they’re binding to these receptors and creating the same response and now the body thinks there’s more estrogen in the system than there really is.
That’s a problem because now women are experiencing all these crazy symptoms with estrogen dominance. They are experiencing heavy periods, irregular cycles, breast tenderness, swelling, breast cysts, they’re even developing breast cancer, uterine or endometrial cancer, and even other estrogen types of cancer. So there’s just so much that is happening because of these constant exposures.
Also, women aren’t prioritizing their sleep anymore because they’re having to juggle the kids, go to work, and meet all these demands. Food quality is completely different too. Back then everything was whole, homemade, and fresh. Now, we have so many more packaged foods that are contained with so many artificial ingredients and pesticides. Things aren’t organic and this impacts our gut health.
Gut health is really important for estrogen metabolism because our bodies are supposed to use estrogen and then get rid of it. But when it comes to estrogen metabolism, it gets metabolized through our liver first. We have phase one and phase two, in which a lot of things can impact the liver. Then it goes to our intestines, which is phase three or elimination, but if we have poor gut health elimination isn’t happening. So it ends up getting reabsorbed back into circulation.
Dr. Tabatha: Let’s talk about those in more detail. You talked about the hormones, Xenoestrogens, and people need to get plastics and garbage out of their food and their personal care products. Let’s talk about the liver for a little while.
Why are our livers so congested and not metabolizing estrogen the way they should?
Kate: There are two phases, phase one and phase two in the liver. There are different enzymes and nutrients that are needed to help support that. When I realized and I did the testing, I discovered that my estrogen metabolism wasn’t being supported. I needed to support both phase one and phase two. Now some women just need support with phase one whereas others only need support with phase two. However, I needed support with both and with specific nutrients.
In phase one, there’s a nutrient called Diindolylmethane, and this is coming from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, and cauliflower. Even though I was eating these vegetables in my diet, it still wasn’t enough. Unfortunately, all the nutrients in our food are way more depleted than they were and we don’t have the nutrients in our food as they did back in the day because our soils are depleted.
So supporting my phase one with Diindolylmethane really helped make a difference. In phase two, I needed B vitamins like B12, folate, and B6, to help support metabolization in phase two through the liver. I also needed magnesium because there are two enzymes, MTHFR and COMT gene that needs magnesium to help support that. So when I did the hormone testing, I looked at my genetics, and then I discovered I had mutations. I had both of these genes, which required me to have more of these nutrients to support those two pathways.
Dr. Tabatha: I have mutations in both of those as well so I totally get it. It’s easy to get pushed into estrogen dominance when you’re genes get activated and they’re not functioning well and when you’re not getting your vitamins to help support that process.
Why is it so important to have good gut health for your hormones?
Kate: I love talking about the gut because in the gut we have different organisms. There are trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and yeast parasites. For the most part, they’re supposed to be living in community. There shouldn’t be an overgrowth of one versus the other. There should be a healthy balance of all these different organisms, but the problem is that when one of these organisms, bacteria, yeast, or parasites starts taking over, then we get something called dysbiosis.
We also have something called the estrobolome, which is a specific bacteria that is actually responsible for helping to facilitate estrogen metabolism to take that inactive estrogen that comes from the liver and to eliminate it in the gut. So when dysbiosis occurs, that disruption in the gut actually affects the estrobolome.
Then there’s also an enzyme called beta glucuronidation, which is normally supposed to be low when there’s a healthy balance of that microbiome. But when there’s dysbiosis, this enzyme increases. So it turns estrogen from its inactive form back into its active form. Then the body realizes that estrogen is ready to go again and ready to be used so it gets back up into circulation, which is what we don’t want.
This is why it’s so important to look at gut health because we really need to support healthy gut bacteria to help facilitate this process. So beta glucuronidation levels are low, but if there’s that disruption, then we have to figure out why is there a disruption in the first place and sometimes we have to go in and treat it even if it doesn’t get resolved. That way, we can really support and bring those beta glucuronidation base levels back down so estrogen gets eliminated.
Dr. Tabatha: Oh, my gosh, so important.
So we need to love our liver, get our gut healed, get our stress and lives under control and we need to support our progesterone.
Why do we need a balance of estrogen and progesterone?
Kate: If you’re taking birth control, your progesterone levels are suppressed. Then if you are depleted in nutrients, like B vitamins, B6, and vitamin C, that’s actually what helps support the production, which I was deficient in. And not only just the B vitamins but with vitamin C too, because I was definitely under a lot of stress and our adrenals need a lot of vitamin C. So when we’re stressed, we’re depleting that.
Progesterone is really important because it’s our feel-good hormone. It makes us happy and helps us to be able to sleep really well at night. In fact, in functional medicine, we call it nature’s natural Valium. When I look at the hormones, I’m looking at a specific phase of the cycle, which is the luteal phase because this is when progesterone is actually produced. It’s not produced any in any other phase and it’s primarily in the luteal phase. Once an egg is fertilized and gets implanted in the uterus, progesterone is what is going to sustain a pregnancy.
We also get a little bit of estrogen during this time as well, because estrogen normally peaks right before ovulation. And then it starts to decline. But then we get a little bump of estrogen again. So when we’re looking at the ratio of progesterone, and estrogen, we’re looking at these two hormones during the luteal phase during the peak time. So for example, if a woman has a 28-day cycle, I’m typically checking day 21. If a woman has a 30-day cycle, I’m checking day 32. Or you can do days 19 to 22.
Because progesterone levels should normally be between 15 to 25 during this time, that’s optimal levels. However, if women typically are on the lower side, like if they are at 10 or less than that, it’s really going to cause an imbalance because now they either have low progesterone and high estrogen or low progesterone and normal estrogen. But either way, because that progesterone is so low, it’s going to create an imbalance and the body is going to think that there is more estrogen in the system, which is going to contribute to that estrogen dominance.
Dr. Tabatha: I see that all the time. And, you know, you mentioned progesterone is produced from ovulation. And so us older women, once you get past 35 – 45, you’re not necessarily ovulating every month and making that progesterone consistently. So that’s why sometimes it seems like it’s getting worse month after month, right? For instance, it wasn’t so bad six months ago, but now it’s out of control. Now I’m having accidents and soaking through my pants because the estrogen is just so unchecked from that progesterone, right?
Kate: Yeah, absolutely and that’s another good point. As women start to go through menopause, they may not actually have estrogen dominance symptoms while they’re cycling, but as they start going through menopause the first hormone to start to decline is progesterone. So that’s when a lot of women go through menopause they actually start developing those symptoms of estrogen dominance for the first time. Because now there is a physiological imbalance by progesterone declining because of what’s happening in the body. The body’s not producing as much progesterone, even though estrogen is still being produced at the normal amounts until eventually the body stops producing estrogen and catches up. A lot of women going through menopause will also experience those estrogen dominance symptoms.
Dr. Tabatha: You have laid it out nicely what it feels like to have estrogen dominance and why it’s happening. So where do we go from here? You talked a little bit about testing.
Example of DUTCH test results
What’s your favorite way to test hormones?
Kate: I love doing the Dutch tests because it actually gives a good breakdown of the hormones and their metabolites. It looks at progesterone metabolites, estrogen metabolites, testosterone, DHEA, androgens, and cortisol levels throughout the day. It’s a very good comprehensive test to looking not only at sex hormones but cortisol too. If women are going to have high cortisol levels, they’re actually going to end up producing less progesterone in the body because cortisol and progesterone are all made from cholesterol. And so when women are under chronic stress, I’ll typically see higher levels of cortisol and lower levels of progesterone.
Then it’s not only for metabolites but also looking at metabolism through the liver of estrogen because I actually get to see phase one and phase two metabolites to see where women don’t need the support the most. As I mentioned previously, not all women are going to need support in both phase one and phase two, some women just need support in phase one and some women just need support and phase two. So when I can look at these metabolites, now I can really help tailor that plan because unfortunately, when you Google estrogen dominance they’ll list out all the supplements. And yes, DIM is definitely one of those. It definitely helped me for sure but not every woman needs DIM. In fact, some women when they take it can actually feel worse. They can get headaches and severe menstrual cramps if they don’t need it because now it’s stopping the process of estrogen metabolism through the liver.
That’s why it’s really important to do the Dutch test so you can look at those metabolites to see where you really need the support. At the end of the day, I’m not one that’s going to just throw supplements at someone. I’d rather test instead of guess so that way I can create a plan that’s personalized for them. Then, as I mentioned, taking a look at the cortisol too because that’s really going to impact the hormones. So we need to make sure cortisol is not too high or too low. Then I can provide the necessary support from there.
I do the GI test first because it’s important that we take care of the gut and elimination first to make sure that once I put them on a protocol and plan that they can absorb everything. There are a lot of companies that do gut testing. A lot of people use Doctor Data. I like to use Genova Diagnostics as they actually check beta glucuronidation levels which is awesome because if you just go to your doctor and ask them to do a regular stool test it’s definitely not as comprehensive. Those tests are only really good to do if you have acute diarrhea. For example, if you took antibiotics and now you have diarrhea or you went to Mexico and got diarrhea. They’re actually looking for an acute active infection. That’s really the only reason those tests are good. But these specialty microbiome tests are going to look at all the different types of bacteria that could contribute to dysbiosis and check to see if there are yeast or any parasites. Most importantly, check those beta glucuronidation levels because if I see those levels are high and with dysbiosis, then I know we have to treat the gut.
Dr. Tabatha: I couldn’t agree more. That’s exactly what I do with all my patients. I have had a lot of women who say, “Oh, I had a colonoscopy done or I had a stool test done with my conventional doctor.” And you’re right, that stool testing they’re doing is looking for an outright infection that’s got you in the ER or you can’t stay out of the bathroom because you have traveler’s diarrhea or food poisoning.
We are talking about stool testing that’s evaluating your entire microbiome to see what’s in there. And as you mentioned, you want this balanced community of everybody living together in harmony, you don’t want some dictator running the show, right? I love doing stool testing to see what’s living in there and seeing what we need to kill off, spot, and checking the beta glucuronidation level because that can be a game-changer for women.
Would you agree that you see a lot of constipation associated with estrogen dominance?
Kate: Oh, my goodness, yes. I mean, I had it myself as well. When you are constipated and you’re not going to the bathroom every day that’s a problem. That’s an important process in order for us to eliminate estrogen and toxins. In general, in order for us to eliminate we need to be going at least once a day. Two or three times is still good, but if you’re going more than that, that’s a problem as well. If you’re going less than once a day that’s a big problem as well because you’re not eliminating the estrogens and toxins that we need to be every single day.
There are so many factors that can contribute to this. Stress can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria. When I did the microbiome testing, I discovered I had an overgrowth of bad bacteria. So that was contributing to not only constipation, but the bloating and the gas I was having, which was not fun. And but I was happy, I was happy to finally figure out because, you know, as I mentioned previously, I’m like, I thought it was my fate. But now I have answers like, Oh, now this is why this is happening.
I also had low lactobacillus levels. And, of course, I came across a study when I was going through functional medicine, that stress depletes lactobacillus. When I did the microbiome testing I had like barely any lactobacillus in my gut. So it made sense that I had to do a lot of healing with my gut lining. Birth control also impacts the gut lining and can contribute to something called leaky gut. It can really affect that like gut lining barrier. So I had to heal the gut, kill off all the bad bacteria that had taken over, and then repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Once I did that, I was going regularly again. I wasn’t experiencing bloating or gas, most importantly, which was amazing.
Dr. Tabatha: It’s amazing how different life is once you finally have the right bacteria living in your body. It’s a symbiotic relationship that you have to figure out how to get along.
It kills me that we are just so fixated on sanitizing the world and killing everything off when really what we want to do is support our good guys, so they can fight the fight. It’s not about wiping out everybody. It’s only about wiping out bad guys, right?
Kate: Yeah, for sure. It’s crazy with the pandemic, unfortunately, everybody is just grabbing Lysol, Windex, and Clorox, but at the end of the day, we need all the bacteria. I don’t know about most people, but when I was a kid I was definitely in the dirt and that’s where all that bacteria lives. Studies show when kids are playing in the dirt they have a healthier microbiome and a healthier immune system. Then as we become adults, we stop playing in the dirt. So every once in a while I actually go out in the yard and pull some weeds just to get exposed to the dirt again. It’s so beneficial for our gut bacteria. When we have that healthy gut bacteria we have our health, we feel so much better, and things are functioning so much more optimally.
Dr. Tabatha: I couldn’t agree more.
We used to hand wash our dishes and things weren’t always sparkling clean. Now everyone uses a dishwasher, extra hot water, and put the sanitize mode on. We’re literally killing everything that’s supposed to be protecting us. So hopefully, everybody listening realizes it’s not just about killing off, it’s about supporting too.
What else do women need to do?
Kate: We need to learn how to adapt to stress. I hate saying manage the stress because you’re never really going to manage stress. Stress is always going to be there, but if we can learn how to adapt when we are in a stressful situation, that’s going to really help our body at a cellular level.
That’s what I discovered for myself that I am a recovering perfectionist and type A personality. Everything had to be perfect, I was always on the go, and I needed to make sure everything was done. But I’ve learned to let go of a lot of that. Also going through PA school was probably the most stressful time of my life. I was put on Prozac during that time. No one ever taught me that I could do some yoga, meditation, or deep breathing. I was only taught how to manage stress was by taking a pill.
But I realized when I was taking it, that the stress was still there and I felt numb emotionally. Once I got through my didactic year where I was in the classroom and finally went to clinical rotations, I decided to come off of it because I didn’t like how I felt on it. I definitely didn’t want to be on it for the rest of my life because I knew that there was a different way. So I started doing yoga, which changed my life, and I have been doing it ever since. Then I learned about deep breathing, meditation, and journaling. So I do different practices and the key is to have a daily self-care routine. If I don’t do my daily self-care routine in the morning, it definitely makes a difference. I definitely feel a little bit more on edge and I’m not able to adapt to the stress that comes my way. However, when I do my daily self-care routine I feel like I can show up and if anything comes my way, I can definitely conquer it. I definitely have much more control over it now than I used to.
I think for women it’s recognizing what are all the different stressors and then figuring out what can they do to help adapt to stress. Thinking about what activities they can do to incorporate into the day. Also, the biggest thing that helped me was working on my mindset. We could do another podcast on mindset, but I learned so much in the last five to six years on mindset. That was also another pivotal turning point for me and learning how to adapt to stress and calm the anxiety that I had experienced.
Try to eliminate toxins as much as you can because there are just so many toxins in our environment. When I learned about toxins and how our health is being impacted, I almost felt like I needed to be in a bubble, go live on an island, and make everything homemade But I needed to be realistic. Obviously, that’s not going to happen. If we can support our gut health, liver, reduce the toxic burden on our bodies, and in our home, we’re actually supporting our bodies and our hormones way more than if we don’t do anything.
I always recommend that you start looking at the products that you are using in your home and on your body. There are great resources out there. I love the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Skin Deep Database, Think dirty, and WUKA. They have a scanner in the app where you can scan the products you are using in your home. I would then make a list of which ones are clean and dirty and swap them out when you go to the store. You can scan the products in the store to find a better alternative and start swapping them out one at a time because I know it can get overwhelming and can be costly doing it all at once. However, if you start swapping them out one at a time, over time, you will have completely cleared out a lot of the toxins from your home and in your body.
Think about your shampoo, toothpaste, makeup, household cleaners, and toxic cookware. Anything that’s nonstick you definitely want to start swapping those out for other alternatives like glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or cast iron. Switch all food storage containers to stainless steel or glass and do the same with plastic bottles. Start swapping all those items out one at a time to really reduce the toxic burden in your home.
Then also focus on the food you consume. Make sure you get whole foods as much as possible. If you consume meat, make sure it’s organic with no antibiotics or hormones. Again, for produce make sure they’re organic. If you can’t afford everything organic, check out EWG again and look at their Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. The Dirty Dozen list is the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. If anything, try to get organic for those to help reduce the toxic burden that you’re consuming and affecting your gut.
Dr. Tabatha: Those are all great tips. I did the exact same thing. I did it slowly and started swapping things one at a time because it can feel so overwhelming and scary. I remembered, last year, I went and bought a new griddle because my kids want pancakes all the time. They love their gluten! But I remember I bought the griddle that was there. I think there were only two options and I just picked one. I didn’t even think about the purchase and I got home and the first time I used it, that nonstick Teflon chemical was filling my kitchen. I had a headache the rest of the day and couldn’t believe what we are exposing ourselves to, putting in our food, and breathing in our lungs. We’re not thinking twice about it.
I started to do more research and those chemicals continue to release gas with every use, it’s not just the first time. So we needed a new griddle. I had already swapped out my pans and everything else, but it didn’t even occur to me. So that was a good reminder that these chemicals are everywhere. It’s made to make our life easier, make my pancakes not stick, and make it quick to clean, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for us.
I explained it to the kids and my 12-year-old son said he didn’t care about hormones. I told him it causes man boobs so you probably don’t want to have boobs now that you’re growing. And then he was interested and wanted to know what he should avoid. So, you know, I think the more that we know and understand you can start to make different choices.
You won’t feel the change overnight, but it will have an impact, right?
That’s when I look back over my life, I realize it was just a compounding effect of one thing after another, and I finally got to the point where enough was enough. I didn’t want to know what the next thing was. And the same with the chemicals, they just build and build, and our bodies over time, just become very tolerant of it. Initially, the body’s sending us red flags when we’re experiencing different symptoms, but over time, if we don’t listen to our bodies, eventually those signals stop. And the body’s just like, “Alright, you’re not going to do anything. So I’m not going to tell you anything.” Then we look back and wonder why we got a certain disorder and we aren’t feeling well. Our body was telling us the whole time, but we didn’t listen to it.
But the good news is, is that once you start making the changes, the body becomes sensitive again. And now when you’re exposed to a chemical or food and you react it’s because your body’s saying, “Yeah, I don’t like it.” When I work with my clients I love being able to help them see what they’re truly sensitive to and moving forward they know what they can avoid optimizing their health.
Dr. Tabatha: I hear that all the time. Once women clean up their diets and go out one weekend and get drunk and eat a pizza they realize how bad it feels. They don’t know how they lived like that for years. Once you’re cleaned up your body just doesn’t tolerate it anymore.
How can women get back in tune with their bodies and listen to what it’s trying to tell them?
Kate: I think the first thing is to really focus on the lifestyle and look at what are you eating. Then reducing the toxic burden, reducing stress, and reducing inflammation in the body.
First thing I would recommend doing is working on the gut and looking at the food that you’re eating. If it’s very processed and high in sugar, you definitely want to start eliminating those. Also looking at alcohol and caffeine consumption. Both can impact estrogen metabolism, increase estrogen dominance in the body, and prevent estrogen from being eliminated. Caffeine also can increase cortisol levels in the body. So take a hard look at the foods that you are eating and if they are contributing to inflammation in the body, affecting your gut health, and estrogen metabolism start to eliminate those and search for better alternatives.
Also, consider if you are under a lot of stress. Look at what you can do to help your body adapt and calm that stress response down. Next thing is to look at the toxins in your life and determine if they are affecting you and if they are starting to eliminate those in your life as well.
You have to evaluate what you’re doing in your life and get mindful. No more just chugging through the day, never stopping to even process your thoughts, or paying attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. That is how I lived for way too long and it definitely ended me up with some major estrogen dominance. I’m so glad I got that in check because I don’t want breast cancer, uterine cancer, or fibroids. So thank you so much for all of this amazing information, every woman needs to know this.
We’re all susceptible, right? This can happen to everybody.
Kate: Yes, absolutely. I am completely on the same page as you. My grandmother had breast cancer so I have a family history. In fact, when you think about it, 90% of women that develop breast cancer, don’t even have a family history or even have the genetics. So when we think about what’s contributing to it and what’s causing the breast cancer if it’s not genetic, it has to be those environmental lifestyle factors. I do believe estrogen metabolism is the driving force behind it and it’s not being looked at and addressed.
That’s the importance of doing the hormone metabolite test through the urine because we’re checking those estrogen metabolites. There are three metabolites that get produced. The first one is protected against estrogens called two hydroxy estrone, 16 alpha-hydroxy estrone, and four hydroxy estrone that actually can damage DNA and increase the proliferation of cancer cells. So when women have higher levels of those we can assess the breast cancer, breast endometrial, and uterine cancer risk, as well as other estrogen-related type cancers. Because estrogen receptors are all over the body. When we think estrogen cancer, we think breast, endometrial, and uterine, but it can also contribute to brain, the thyroid, intestinal, and even bone cancers because that’s where estrogen receptors are as well.
So it’s not just reducing your breast cancer risk, but reducing a lot of other types of cancers that are related to estrogen by assessing the risk through testing, supporting our lifestyles, reducing the burden in our gut, reducing toxins, and managing your stress. That’s really the key.
Dr. Tabatha: I want everyone listening to understand that you shouldn’t be afraid of estrogen, even though it can be a bitch. It can also be an amazing necessary hormone to keep us in balance. The key that Kate’s trying to get to you guys is, that it’s all about the balance and the right types of estrogen. It’s really important to know what’s running the show.
Thank you so much for writing this book and for sharing all this with us.
Kate: Yeah, absolutely. It has been my pleasure.
It’s been my mission and I want women to understand estrogen is not bad for us at all. I don’t want to give it a bad rap because we need it for so many different things. I talk about it in the book why we need estrogen. But yes, it can become a problem when it’s imbalanced.
I don’t dive into when estrogen becomes too low. My book is more about when estrogen is on the higher side or imbalanced with progesterone. But it is important to have that healthy balance and there are so many things that we can do to support that. So it is definitely my pleasure and honor to be able to provide this for all women.
Tell Me How My Audience Can Connect With You
Dr. Tabatha: Awesome! They can also check out your course called Estrogen Reset, right?
Kate: Yes, I do have an online course is called The Estrogen Reset. It’s eight modules and the videos are anywhere from seven to 15 minutes. So it can definitely be knocked out in one day or over the course of a week or two. You get to follow along with each module and you get a guidebook to implement each step to really help start balancing your estrogens.
That’s a Wrap
I know you got some good information out of that episode because it’s so important for us to understand what’s happening in our body with our hormones. Hopefully, you had some “aha moments” or some “Oh, my God, really, because I didn’t know that was the case” moments.
I can tell you as a conventional gynecologist, I didn’t even stop to think about the impact of environmental toxins on our hormones. Or about how diet and nutrition played a role in the metabolism of our hormones. That’s now how I was trained to think back in the day. I was trained to figure out your diagnosis and fix it. I would wait until you had endometriosis. Or I would wait until you had uterine hyperplasia and then we would do the surgery. It’s just a completely different mindset and way of approaching the body.
I love that you’re with me on this journey to reclaim and focus on your health and wellness and not focus on disease. You need to give that positive energy out into the world that you want health, vibrancy, you don’t want to age or degenerate. Put that energy out into the world. It will come back to you if you keep doing all the work by adding the golden nuggets you have learned here today.
One of my favorite things that Kate mentioned was the estrobolome. Estrobolome is the bacteria in your gut that metabolizes and helps you excrete and get rid of your estrogens. It’s super important to not be reabsorbing them when you’re in your young reproductive years. When you’re menopausal, and your estrogen levels are low, you might want to reabsorb those estrogens. So that’s the amazing beauty of what God created is he knew that bacteria can help you reabsorb estrogens when needed so he made this enzyme called beta glucuronidation for the issue.
But we have it out of control as younger women. It’s supposed to be more helpful for menopausal women. It’s not supposed to be happening so much in younger women. I love the intricacies of our body, but we need to remove the impedances and we need to support homeostasis and the proper function.
So get your bacteria balanced in your gut ladies and get on some good probiotics. If it’s really a mess, get it tested, don’t guess. We can do stool testing. You can reach out to me. Or you can check out the Institute for Functional Medicine through the Cleveland Clinic. That’s where I was trained and certified. You can search for a practitioner in your area if you physically want to see someone and not do the virtual thing. Although I’ll tell you virtual work is amazing. I see women in Australia, Britain, Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada and it does work out really darn well. Sometimes the time differences is a little bit of an issue. You know, I got my girls in Australia, but we have figured out that I see you Friday night and it’s Saturday morning for them and that’s okay. You’re living in the future and you’re enjoying life. It’s pretty fun to connect with women everywhere and just to help guide you guys back to reclaiming your health.
I love what I do. I’m so honored that you’re on this journey with me and that you trust me to guide you.