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The Functional Medicine Toronto Approach to Estrogen Dominance


At the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre, we frequently educate our patients on how hormone imbalances can trigger various health issues. One common imbalance is estrogen dominance, which can adversely affect brain health, contribute to unwanted weight gain, lead to infertility, and cause night sweats.

Estrogen dominance is a health condition in which estrogen levels are excessive compared to the amounts of progesterone currently in the body. There are a wide variety of conditions linked to this, including fibroids, PCOS, endometriosis, and some cancers. Furthermore, this health concern can affect both men and women. 

Hormones are significant for optimal function because they coordinate tasks, such as what exactly needs to be done and when in the body. In this article, the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre (TFMC) highlights facts about estrogen dominance and how a personalized approach to wellness may help tend to this issue. 

Understanding estrogen dominance

    • Estrogen is a hormone required by both the male and female body. “Critical functions like glucose homeostasis, lipid homeostasis, bone metabolism, brain function, follicular growth, skeletal growth, and ovulation, among a myriad [of] other functions, depend on its signals,” details an article from Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. But excessive amounts of estrogen can instigate chronic and acute symptoms. 
    • Some estrogen dominance symptoms may include: fatigue, brain fog, water retention, hair loss, endometriosis for females, erectile dysfunction in males, body temperature changes, mood swings, and more. 
    • There are various factors that can cause the condition. These may include: 
      • Aging: Inflammation during our daily lives can intensify as we mature, which can heighten estrogen levels. 
      • Exposures to toxins: Frequent contact with endocrine-disrupting chemicals (i.e. BPA) from plastics and pesticides can alter your hormone balance. 
      • Overgrowth of gut bacteria: Your bowel movements release some amounts of estrogen. If you have unhealthy gut bacteria and chronic constipation, excess amounts of estrogen can accumulate in the body and heighten inflammation. 
      • Perimenopause: During this stage in life, hormone irregularities frequently occur on a daily basis. Estrogen dominance can be a symptom of perimenopause. 
      • Stress: Chronic stress can affect your hormone balance because cortisol (the “stress hormone”) becomes overtasked. This forces the body to use the hormone progesterone to help the body sustain functioning. So, progesterone will then help make up for cortisol’s overworking, but it won’t be accessible to balance estrogen levels. 

Targeting hormones with a comprehensive treatment plan

If you’re worried about your hormone balance, the functional medicine approach to health care can help support this. Functional medicine is a healthcare model that inspects your biology to determine the root of your current symptoms. To pinpoint hormone issues, such as estrogen dominance, our TFMC integrative health providers may discuss these topics during your consultation:  

    • Functional lab tests: Estrogen dominance can be detected from lab testing. We offer select core tests that may not be available through some conventional medicine practices. One of these is the DUTCH test, which is a non-invasive method that is used to analyze dried urine samples, measuring for testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol and organic acids. If we’re concerned about your microbiome, we may recommend a gut health assessment. This particular test from us can help detect “bad” bacteria that may be hindering the digestive tract. 
    • Addressing hormone health through nutrition: Switching to the Mediterranean Diet may play a role in reducing estrogen amounts. According to one diet study, women who consumed this dietary plan for six months led to a 40% decrease in estrogen levels. We recently published a functional medicine blog that talks about nutrients to help optimize fertility in women that you may want to check out. 
    • Implementing lifestyle modifications: If environmental exposures are causing estrogen dominance, refraining from certain chemicals can help; if necessary, detoxification may be advised. We may also recommend new methods to reduce stress (i.e. acupuncture, meditation), which can contribute to lowering cortisol levels. 
    • Increasing progesterone levels: When treating estrogen dominance, there’s a chance that progesterone levels may need to be elevated, too. We may advise on taking certain supplements to help with this, such as milk thistle, and chaste berry.   

Overall, balancing hormones is individualistic and may require some tailoring. A customized health plan can contribute to optimizing your long-term health, and this can be discussed further with a TFMC functional medicine practitioner. 

How we personalize your clinical experience

In our clinic, we promote health optimization by acknowledging uniqueness. Everyone has a distinctive health journey and, for some patients, tailored treatment plans can target biological shortcomings. A customized, comprehensive treatment plan may be implemented for different health goals linked to weight loss, irregular periods, sexual health, birth control hormone rebalancing, chronic pain, digestive issues, heart disease, and other health concerns. 

Each patient is a distinct entity with different genetics, medical history, lifestyle factors, and environmental surroundings. This is why we adhere to the integrative functional medicine model, which is a systems-oriented approach to health that underlines the source of your current health issues. By singling out particular aspects of your wellness, we can potentially relieve individual symptoms and help prevent or delay chronic conditions. 

Integrative medicine plays an imperative role in our practice. When we customize treatment plans, we modify an array of modalities so that different strategies are available for potential symptom relief. Some of these modalities include Western medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathic medicine, therapies for hormone balancing (i.e. custom hormone optimization programs), holistic nutrition, herbal medicines, IV therapy/intravenous infusion drips, acupuncture, and more. 

If you want to test your current hormone balance for optimal health, we’re available to help! Ask us how to get functional medicine from our Toronto clinic.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. You should always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of information you have read from the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre website or other affiliate media. 



Assad S, Khan HH, Ghazanfar H, Khan ZH, Mansoor S, Rahman MA, Khan GH, Zafar B, Tariq U, Malik SA. Role of Sex Hormone Levels and Psychological Stress in the Pathogenesis of Autoimmune Diseases. Cureus. 2017 Jun 5;9(6):e1315. doi: 10.7759/cureus.1315. PMID: 28690949; PMCID: PMC5498122.

Baker JM, Al-Nakkash L, Herbst-Kralovetz MM. Estrogen-gut microbiome axis: Physiological and clinical implications. Maturitas. 2017 Sep;103:45-53. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.06.025. Epub 2017 Jun 23. PMID: 28778332.

Carruba G, Granata OM, Pala V, Campisi I, Agostara B, Cusimano R, Ravazzolo B, Traina A. A traditional Mediterranean diet decreases endogenous estrogens in healthy postmenopausal women. Nutr Cancer. 2006;56(2):253-9. doi: 10.1207/s15327914nc5602_18. PMID: 17474873.

Delgado BJ, Lopez-Ojeda W. Estrogen. [Updated 2023 Jun 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

Estrogen Dominance” from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, updated February 9, 2022, viewed on January 17, 2024. 

Patel, S., Homaei, A., Raju, A. B., & Meher, B. R. (2018). Estrogen: The necessary evil for human health, and ways to tame it. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 102, 403-411.

Santoro N. Perimenopause: From Research to Practice. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016 Apr;25(4):332-9. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2015.5556. Epub 2015 Dec 10. PMID: 26653408; PMCID: PMC4834516.


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