6 Ways to Reverse Estrogen Dominance Naturally
Balanced hormones are the key to healthy living, and when they are out of whack, it can cause a whole host of issues that make it hard to function. Female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, play a crucial role in women’s health and work best in harmony.
Both hormones play an essential role in a woman’s menstrual cycle and overall health, as long as they are balanced. Too much estrogen (compared to progesterone) results in estrogen dominance and can have many unpleasant symptoms.
Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body, produced by glands in the endocrine system and released into the bloodstream. Too little of one or too much of another may create a variety of unwanted symptoms in the body. From appetite and metabolism, to sleep and reproductive cycles, hormonal imbalances aren’t just a slight inconvenience, they may have a noticeable effect on your overall health and well-being.
Estrogen plays an important role in your overall health, regulating everything from metabolism to body weight and libido (just to name a few). Although it’s normal for hormone levels to fluctuate, you need to maintain healthy levels in order for estrogen to play its proper role in the body.
Read on to learn how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Frank estrogen dominance is when there is an excess amount of estrogen on its own and relative estrogen dominance is when the excess of estrogen is relative to other sex hormones, especially progesterone.
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
Although there are many factors, causes of estrogen dominance typically stem from genetics, your environment, and your diet.
Other causes include:
- Environmental exposure to chemicals (pesticides, BPA)
- Excess weight
- Medications (birth control, hrt, etc)
- Cosmetics & personal products
While things like genetics are obviously out of our control, environmental, dietary, and lifestyle factors are much more addressable and a great place to start when looking at controlling estrogen dominance naturally.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance can lead to a variety of issues including weight gain, blood sugar imbalances, mood swings, and depression. Since your hormones play such a vital role in regulating many processes in your body, it’s no surprise that even the slightest imbalance can have noticeable effects on your overall health.
When your estrogen is not balanced properly in your body, you may experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Decreased libido
- Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
- Increased PMS symptoms
- Increased menopause symptoms
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Fatigue or trouble sleeping
- Cold hands or feet
- Swelling or tenderness in your breasts
- Memory problems
- Fertility issues
How to Reverse Estrogen Dominance Naturally
Whether you are trying to address unwanted symptoms such as weight gain or you’re investigating hormone levels on your fertility journey, no one wants to feel out of sync with their hormone health.
Thankfully, we are not totally at the mercy of these chemical messengers and there are lots of natural levers to pull in order to get your body back on track!
Support your liver and gut health
A properly functioning liver is vital to good health, and it does much more than just purify your blood or regulate your metabolism. A sluggish or improperly functioning liver can be a major factor in hormonal imbalances and estrogen is no exception.
Your liver is responsible for removing excess hormones from the body, but if it’s not functioning properly those hormones get recirculated. When the liver is overworked and can’t perform at expected levels, estrogen is recirculated back into the body rather than removed, contributing to estrogen dominance.
Liver detoxification is a key step in estrogen dominance treatment. Without getting into the complicated processes of the liver, it is simply enough to say – start paying more attention to your liver and the load you are placing on it.
Your liver, the body’s largest internal organ, does more than just detoxing. Responsible for over 500 vital functions, your liver processes virtually everything you eat, drink, breathe, or put on your skin. When the liver is burdened by filtering out excessive toxins (like chemicals in your makeup or processed foods), it simply can’t function to support hormone health in the same way.
And when it comes to your guts, emerging research shows that optimizing your gut microbiome is key to keeping hormones balanced.
Try the following strategies for treating estrogen dominance and improve gut health:
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet with nutrient rich foods
- Add probiotics into your diet
- Eat fibrous fruits and vegetables that contain prebiotics
- Eliminate sugars and artificial sweeteners
- Use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary
- Drink more water
Eat a High-Fiber Diet
The liver is not the only system for ridding the body of excess estrogen. Elimination, the act of discharging waste from the body, is also responsible for removing excess estrogen via the bowels. However, when stool sits for too long, estrogen is reabsorbed into the bloodstream rather than eliminated.
Eating a diet high in fiber can move the process along, stimulating the digestive system and helping to eliminate excess estrogen at the same time. Studies have even shown that following a high-fiber diet correlates to lower levels of circulating estrogen in the bloodstream.
It’s well known that stress is a key risk factor for a variety of health concerns, and estrogen dominance is not immune. Left unchecked, stress releases hormones into the bloodstream that, while beneficial in the short term, can have devastating effects on your fertility and hormone health if present in the long term.
Excess cortisol, the stress hormone, perpetuates inflammation in the body, making it a prime factor in estrogen dominance and other health issues. As we know, chronic inflammation is an essential component of chronic diseases and reducing stress is a key step in reducing inflammation in the body.
Managing stress looks different for everyone, but practicing meditation, mindfulness, and even physical exercise are all excellent strategies in making the body more resilient to the stresses of modern life.
Avoid Chemical Estrogens
There are a number of chemical compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. Natural estrogens produced in your body are known as endogenous, whereas those from outside the body are called synthetic or exogenous. Synthetic estrogens can be found in a number of medications such as hormonal contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy.
In addition to chemical estrogens found in medication, artificial estrogens may also be present in plastics, cosmetics, detergents, and pesticides. These chemicals tend to mimic how estrogen works and are one of the main culprits for high levels of estrogen. Limiting your exposure to environmental estrogens is vital to overall health, and key to treating estrogen dominance.
Balance your Progesterone
Hormonal balance is like a well-rehearsed circus act – when one hormone is out of whack, others likely are as well. Progesterone and estrogen work closely together to regulate your entire reproductive system. When progesterone levels are too low, estrogen levels are elevated in response and estrogen dominance occurs.
Low progesterone can affect a number of things including fertility, thyroid, mood, and skin. Unfortunately, while it cannot be easily tracked without the help of a doctor, Mira does plan to release a progesterone test wand in the future.
Until then, maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding overexercising, and reducing stress can all lower progesterone levels naturally.
Take DIM for Estrogen Detox
Produced by the body when you eat cruciferous vegetables, Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a compound that helps convert excess estrogen into “good” estrogen in the body. DIM can also be taken supplementally to promote healthy estrogen metabolism. Although research is still limited on these supplements, they have been used to treat a variety of hormonal issues, and the benefits are promising.
These strategies may not directly increase progesterone, they go a long way in balancing hormone health. Estrogen dominance can have far reaching health effects and many unpleasant symptoms, not to mention major issues for fertility. However, with a bit of knowledge and a few simple changes, your chances of keeping your body in harmony go up significantly!
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Dr Roohi Jeelani, MD, FACOG and Lauren Grimm, MA
Dr Roohi Jeelani is Director of Research and Education at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Dr Jeelani earned her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica. She then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center, where she was awarded a Women’s Reproductive Health NIH K12 Research Grant. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr Jeelani has authored numerous articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific meetings. A Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Jeelani is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists.
Lauren Grimm is Research Coordinator at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, where she also completed her masters in Medical Sciences. Lauren has worked alongside Dr. Jeelani for the last 3 years, authoring a number of abstracts and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific conferences. Lauren will be continuing her education this fall at Rush University Medical College in Chicago, IL as an MD candidate.
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