One common problem I treat is estrogen dominance (ED). The ED I discuss in this article will focus on ovarian produced estrogen. ED arises from 2 common scenarios:
- Over producing ovaries leading to high levels of estrogen in the blood. The biggest culprit is ovarian cysts – such a PCOS or functional cysts (functional cyst produces estrogen – something not all cyst do). In this case the ovarian cysts manufacture estrogen which can suppress FHS and stop ovulation. This presentation will have clinically high levels of estrogen in their blood work.
- Poorly functioning corpus luteum leading to the under production of progesterone. The corpus luteum -a sack containing the hormone progesterone acts like a pump after ovulation- secreting enough progesterone to offset the estrogen produced by the maturing follicle in the follicular phase. Progesterone is important to decrease estrogen’s proliferated effect (encourages cells to grow and thus often linked to cancer) on cells and helps to keep the reproductive system balanced. When the corpus luteum has not matured properly, the luteal phase is short, unstable or close to the cover line in BBT charting. Women in their 30 to 40’s present with issue, but often their blood work indicate within range progesterone and estrogen levels.
High estrogen not only effects the breasts, bones, brain and uterus, but can impact egg quality. Estrogen is one of the many hormones which signal follicles to grow and mature to dominance. When in excess, estrogen may improperly trigger molecular pathways in the maturing occoyct resulting in lowered DNA integrity. Possibility explaining one of the several reasons why PCOS women miscarry.
What are the common signs of estrogen dominance?
PMS – Especially anger or intense sadness
Weight gain in hips
I have found that DIM is incredible at assisting the body to eliminate estrogen. It has become an important tool for clients who produce high levels of estrogen during IVF or women with estrogen dominant signs with corpus luteum malfunction. Though DIM does not affect egg quality directly, it does lower estrogen allowing proper follicular priming
What is DIM and how does it work?
Dim or Diindolylmethane is a naturally occurring phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables. It promotes the selection of certain enzymatic pathways and methylation of estrogen in the liver. Studies found DIM improves estrogen metabolization when individuals took 200 mg to 400 mg daily. By assisting the liver, the E2 estrogen can be broken down into a less harmful E3 or eliminated.
When to take DIM if you are having problems conceiving.
If you have:
PCOS or diagnosed with a functional cyst.
If your BBT chart has a saw toothed follicular phase with unstable luteal phase, which is accompanied by:
Some of these symptoms can be a result of different types of hormonal imbalancing and you show consult a practiticer if you have questions.
If you have experienced a cancelled IVF cycle related to high estrogen levels, DIM could help normalize estrogen levels, while allowing the body to eliminate excess estrogen from its response to the drugs. A client would not take DIM while on birth control pills, since there is a possibility of interaction. Though please consult a practitioner who will review your history and actively follow you as the IVF is completed. By controlling estrogen, you could be improving your egg quality. DIM has no side effects and limited contras, thus providing a safe simple way to help you conceive.
Please be cautious of the brand of DIM you pick, since by its self the supplement cannot be absorbed the intestinal system. I personally recommend DIM-Avil (www.DesignsforHealth.com) because the product is enhanced by lecithin and fat-soluble nutrients to aid in absorption. There are other brands available – just investigate their absorption capacity.