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Estrogen Dominance May Really Be a Progesterone Deficiency


The term "Estrogen Dominance" can be confusing at times because it is less related to the amount of circulating estrogen and more related to the ratio of estrogen to progesterone in the body.

Contrary to popular belief, Menopause and PMS are not the result of estrogen deficiency although estrogen levels do decline during the latter phases of a woman reproductive cycle.

More relevant is that the estrogen levels drop by approximately 40% at menopause while progesterone levels plummet by approximately 90% from pre-menopausal levels.

It is the relative loss of progesterone that causes the majority of symptoms termed estrogen dominance.

The disproportionate loss of progesterone begins in the latter stages of a woman's reproductive cycle, when the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle begins to malfunction.

The malfunction is initiated when the remnant tissue of the follicle (corpus luteum), the primary source of progesterone, begins to lose its functional capacity.

By about age 35, many of these follicles fail to develop creating a relative progesterone deficiency. As a result, ovulation does not always occur and progesterone levels steadily decline.

It is during this period that a relative progesterone deficiency, or what has become known as Estrogen Dominance, develops.


Typical symptoms of estrogen dominance are:

  • Mood Swings
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Irregular Periods
  • Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
  • Hot Flashes
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Water Retention
  • Weight Gain: Hips, Thighs and Abdomen
  • Sleep Disturbance (Insomnia, less REM sleep)
  • Decreased Libido
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Short-term Memory Loss
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Dry, Thin, Wrinkly Skin
  • Thinning of Scalp Hair
  • Increased Facial Hair
  • Bone Mineral Loss (Osteoporosis)
  • Diffuse Aches and Pain



Patients experiencing a majority of these symptoms most likely will benefit from natural hormone replacement. The most effective way to assess hormone status is to test saliva for the appropriate hormone levels.

Dr. Widenbaum finds that Saliva is the best method for testing "functional" tissue levels of hormones.

The Progesterone/Estradiol (Pg/E2) reference ranges are optimal ranges determined by Dr. John Lee. While they are not physiological ranges, they are optimal values for the protection of the breasts, heart and bones in women, and the prostate in men.

Salivary values within these ranges have been shown by Dr. Lee to decrease
both breast and prostate cellular proliferation.