Have you recently tested your hormones and come to learn that you have estrogen dominance? Maybe you’ve read up on symptoms of estrogen dominance and think you may be suffering from this hormonal imbalance, yet you have no direction on where to start in addressing them. 

If you’ve received an estrogen dominance diagnosis from your gynecologist/OBGYN, they likely offered you hormonal contraception or the birth control pill to fix your high estrogen woes… 

This can be defeating for women who:

A: are not able to take hormonal birth control due to unfavorable side effects 

B: do not wish to use pharmaceutical means to fix the problem

If you fall into this category, today is your day because we are diving deep into how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally!

Now, before we get into how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally, let’s discuss briefly what estrogen dominance is, some signs and symptoms to look out for, and what may have caused your estrogen dominance in the first place!

What is Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen dominance means you have too much of your hormone estrogen in relation to progesterone, which is another key sex hormone that characterizes the menstrual cycle. 

There are two different scenarios for estrogen dominance:

  1. True estrogen dominance is where your estrogen levels are too high, despite progesterone being in a healthy range. This circumstance is common with gut imbalances or liver dysfunction in which the body struggles to properly eliminate estrogen through the liver and bowel (hence one of the top reasons we need to poop at least once every single day!)
  1. Relative estrogen dominance occurs when you have too much estrogen relative to progesterone. So, estrogen may be in a healthy range, but progesterone production is low, thus driving an imbalance ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Liver and gut issues can also be at play here, but this scenario is often less about estrogen being high than it is about progesterone being low.

Regardless of what type of estrogen dominance you’re presenting with, the symptoms are similar, and boy, will they make you feel like junk most days and worsen the menstrual cycle to be super uncomfortable.

Girl using heating back to lower symptoms of low pg/e2 ratio.

What are the Symptoms of Too Much Estrogen?

How would you know if you have estrogen dominance? 

Here are common signs and symptoms to look out for that may indicate estrogen dominance or symptoms of low progesterone to estrogen ratio:

  • Irregular or heavy periods
  • Clots during your period
  • Intensive PMS
  • Painful periods
  • Mood swings, particularly before the period starts 
  • Brain Fog
  • Breast tenderness and fibrocystic breasts
  • Feeling puffy (retaining water)
  • Uterine fibroids
  • History of breast cancer risk
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Craving sugar 
  • Headaches and migraines (particularly before the period starts)
  • Breast tenderness

Not all women experience every symptom of estrogen dominance. Some will experience tons of high estrogen brain fog, whereas other women will have debilitating migraines around their period. It just depends. Every female is different and will experience different symptoms, but typically a few of these symptoms are present. 

For more on female hormone imbalance symptoms, check out our ultimate guide to female hormone imbalance.  

What is the Root Cause of Estrogen Dominance?

You may be thinking, how does one develop estrogen dominance? Shouldn’t our bodies be able to naturally regulate the level of estrogen being produced in our bodies?

In theory, yes. However, many outside factors in our environment, food system, and lifestyle can disrupt this harmonious system. 

Not to mention the level of stress we take on every day in society… hormonal balance as females is the first place that takes a hit! 

Let’s dig into some specific causes before we dive into how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally.

  1. Hormonal fluctuations: Women experience major hormonal shifts during various periods of life, such as puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. These transitions can lead to imbalances between estrogen and progesterone when healthy dietary and lifestyle habits are not put in place to make these transitions seamless.
  1. Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental toxins, known as endocrine disruptors, can disrupt the hormonal balance by acting as xenoestrogens that mimic estrogen in the body and contribute to estrogen dominance. 

Examples include hormone balancing chemicals found in plastics (bisphenol A or BPA), pesticides, certain cosmetics, and personal care products. [1] 

Time to double-check the safety of your favorite makeup and lotion through the EWG’s Healthy Living app

Other environmental toxins, such as mold or mycotoxins, may also have an impact on estrogen levels. [2] One of the less common approaches when learning how to lower estrogen levels in females naturally is addressing environmental toxins like toxic mold. 

  1. Diet and lifestyle: Certain dietary choices and lifestyle factors can influence hormone levels. Consuming a diet high in processed foods, unhealthy fats, and refined sugars, as well as being overweight or obese, can contribute to estrogen dominance. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption and high-stress levels may disrupt this balance. Modifying your diet to be rich in REAL FOOD and living a lifestyle where stress is managed will be key for reducing cortisol levels naturally. Managing cortisol levels is key when considering how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally. 
Girl saying no to donuts and holding an apple in her hand to naturally reduce estrogen dominance.
  1. Impaired liver function: The liver plays a crucial role in metabolizing hormones and eliminating excess estrogen from the body. If liver function is compromised due to eating an inflammatory diet, alcohol abuse, or other factors, it may not effectively clear estrogen from the body, leading to estrogen dominance.
  1. Chronic inflammation: Inflammation in the body can disrupt hormone balance and promote estrogen dominance. Factors that can drive this chronic inflammation include a poor diet (you’re probably seeing the trend here), high-stress levels, a sedentary lifestyle, and certain health conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis. Knowing how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally may be as effective as following a PCOS diet plan.
  1. Medications and hormone therapies: Some medications, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and certain birth control pills, may contain estrogen or affect estrogen levels, potentially leading to estrogen dominance. We see lots of women come into our practice who have MORE hormonal imbalances while on birth control. Ironic, right?
  1. Anovulatory cycles: These are months that, as a female, you do not release an egg. When you do not release an egg, you will not produce sufficient levels of progesterone during your luteal phase, which can cause relative estrogen dominance.

It’s important to note that estrogen dominance is a complex condition, and its causes can vary from person to person. Consider a hormonal imbalance test if these symptoms or causes resonate with you, and find a qualified healthcare professional to guide you through how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally.

How do I get rid of Estrogen Dominance?

Now that we’ve got the 4-1-1 on what drives estrogen dominance in the first place let’s talk about how to remove excess estrogen.

You weren’t born estrogen dominant. This hormonal imbalance can, and is, oftentimes driven by dietary and lifestyle factors, as we discussed earlier.

So, determining the root causes of your high estrogen is a crucial first step and something we are working to uncover with every new client that comes into our practice presenting with symptoms of estrogen dominance. 

How to Reverse Estrogen Dominance Naturally Through Diet and Lifestyle

  1. Eat a nutrient dense, balanced diet 

So, you may be asking what this means! There are so many definitions of a balanced diet…

First, focus on eating whole, real food. Eat fresh fruits, nonstarchy vegetables, quality animal proteins, protein-rich plant sources, and healthy fats. Many of these categories here have foods that can actually support estrogen detox. 

What Food Flush Out Estrogen Levels?

Let’s talk about the top foods to lower estrogen dominance!

Cruciferous vegetables: Momma always said, “Eat your green veggies,” and for good reason! 

These estrogen detoxing veggies include:

  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale

Truly, the most powerful foods you can consume to naturally reduce estrogen dominance are cruciferous veggies. One case-control study in 2017 even demonstrated an association between cruciferous veggie intake and a reduction in breast cancer risk. [3] 

But how? This family of veggies is rich in sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to induce phase II detoxification enzymes such as glutathione S-transferase (GST), which plays a large role in the detoxification and elimination of excess estrogen metabolites from the body! [4] 

These veggies also contain glucosinolates. When these vegetables are chewed, chopped, or cooked, glucosinolates are broken down into various bioactive compounds, including indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and its metabolite, diindolylmethane (DIM), which help regulate estrogen receptor binding, thus impacting overall levels. [5] We’ll get to more on DIM later, so keep reading!

Flaxseeds: One of our absolute favorite ingredients for reducing overall inflammation has to be flaxseeds! Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, which have been shown to have estrogen-lowering effects. Consuming 2-3 tablespoons per day may even reduce breast cancer risk. [6] 

The best part about adding flaxseeds to your diet is that there are so many ways to do so. They can be added to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal or used as a topping for salads!

Fiber-rich foods: In addition to cruciferous veggies and flax, other high-fiber foods are fantastic for keeping regular bowel movements. Pooping once per day supports the removal of excess estrogen! Load up on:

  • whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats
  • legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans
  • fresh fruits such as strawberries, apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes 
  • A wide array of non-starchy vegetables, in addition to cruciferous veggies such as sweet potatoes with skin, bell peppers, asparagus, zucchini, squash, spinach, and carrots 

Omega-3 fatty acids: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines), nuts, and seeds, can help support hormone balance through their anti-inflammatory effects in the body!

  1. Reduce or eliminate processed foods

We know sugar and processed foods aren’t great for human health, but their role in driving estrogen dominance can not be overlooked. 

Eating sugar and processed foods may disrupt your body’s insulin response, which makes for a hormonal disaster! How does this happen you might ask? Well, sugar consumption spikes blood sugar levels, which in turn stimulates the release of insulin to grab that sugar and bring it into the cells for ENERGY! 

Small amounts of sugar likely won’t cause issues, but too much sugar drives too much insulin, which stimulates aromatase, an enzyme that drives estrogen production. [7] 

Here’s the kicker… The US dietary guidelines suggest Americas eat a diet consisting of 45%-65% carbohydrates, which could honestly drive more symptoms of estrogen dominance for some women. [8] 

Of course, carbohydrates are important, but we find that our clients with estrogen dominance find success following a lower carbohydrate diet than what is generally recommended, so long as they are not highly active athletes who have high carbohydrate needs. 

Focusing more on high-quality animal protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich plant sources like beans, legumes, fruits, and veggies vs. bread, pasta, desserts, or other high-carbohydrate foods may be extremely beneficial for managing blood sugar and thus keep estrogen levels in check. 

  1. Limit alcohol consumption

If you want to know how to lower estrogen naturally, FAST, we’ve got the trick for you. Cut the alcohol! We know the ladies love their wine, but in a situation of estrogen dominance, alcohol may be driving the hormonal storm of estrogen dominance. 

As many know, alcohol can impair liver function, which interferes with hormone metabolism since estrogen detoxification is highly reliant on the liver! Moderation or avoiding alcohol is a key tool to reverse estrogen dominance naturally.

  1. Focus on stress management

Stress seems to be linked to every possible imbalance in the body, or so it seems…

Stressed girl thinking about how to lower estrogen naturally.

Stress is a problem because of how high-stress drives adrenal dysfunction and cortisol imbalances. When stress becomes chronic, progesterone takes a hit. When progesterone takes a hit, estrogen dominance becomes inevitable, even if estrogen levels are in a healthy range, because there is no progesterone to balance out the effects of estrogen. 

The result means nasty hormonal imbalance symptoms.

Now maybe you don’t “feel” stressed mentally or emotionally, but physically you push yourself to the breaking point in the gym every day. 

If you’re that person training 6-7 days per week with no rest days, and you are underfueling or undereating for your level of activity, hormonal imbalances like estrogen dominance may be the result. The body will suppress ovulation, which leads to low progesterone production that creates that relative estrogen dominance we discussed earlier. 

Here are some tips for how to reduce estrogen dominance related to high stress:

  • Schedule 2-3 rest days into your training program
  • Reduce caffeine intake and replace it with natural energizers without caffeine
  • Ensure caloric intake and macronutrient balance are maintained for your activity level
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • Eat foods that support muscle relaxation and stress reduction
  • Incorporate daily intake of healthy fats such as fish oil or fatty fish into your diet for healthy hormone production and cortisol balance. [9] 
  • Incorporate restorative exercises such as yoga, pilates, or walking
  • Practice deep breathing and meditation, even if it’s for 5 minutes between work meetings! 
  1. Avoid endocrine-disrupting substances in your food and personal care products

Pesticides in your produce or mycotoxins from mold in your hormone can drive imbalances in estrogen due to the impact on the liver. The worse part is that inside our makeup bags and household cleaners are where we find some of the highest hormone-disrupting chemicals that can wreak havoc on estrogen balance. 

Believe it or not, coffee is one of the most mold and toxin contaminated foods we consume on a regular basis inspiring many mold free coffee brands to include lab testing to show their purity.

Chemicals such as BPA in plastics or phthalates in your soaps, shampoos, and makeup are called xenoestrogens. These compounds can mimic estrogen in the body and contribute to estrogen dominance. [10] 

Don’t worry, though, we have solutions for you! Opt for natural and organic alternatives such as those found on the Environmental Working Group Healthy Living app when possible. 

And, of course, we cannot forget about our go-to place for non-toxic living. We cannot say enough great things about Thrive Market, an online marketplace where you can find just about any personal care item, cleaning product, or organic food source to fill your home in a non-toxic way!  

  1. Support a healthy gut microbiome

But how does the gut impact estrogen levels? 

Every system in the body is connected, and this is no exception. The gut is home to a collection of microorganisms called the estrobolome, which consists mainly of bacteria. These bacteria have the ability to metabolize and modulate the levels of estrogen in the body. Eating a diet with foods that are BEST for the gut is essential to maintain a healthy estrobolome! 

  1. Consider supplements

The dietary and lifestyle factors addressed thus far in this article are the foundations for knowing how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally, but some supplements may be helpful to add to the mix if you’re needing some extra support.

  • DIM (diindolylmethane) – DIM is a compound derived from the digestion of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which we know is found in cruciferous vegetables, and higher supplemental doses can be therapeutic in many women with estrogen dominance. DIM supports estrogen balance by producing more favorable estrogen metabolites (2-hydroxy estrogen or 2OH) and reducing the production of potentially harmful and potent estrogens (4OH and 16OH). More research is needed on the effectiveness of DIM, but preliminary studies show promising results for improving estrogen metabolism. [11] 
  • Chaste Tree (also referred to as Vitex, chasteberry, or agnus-castus) – While this herbal supplement may not directly lower estrogen, it may support progesterone levels to support better balance. Chasteberry has been used to address women’s hormonal imbalances due to its role in affecting prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and even boosting mid-luteal phase progesterone in women trying to conceive. [12] 

Interested in trying these supplements? Check out our favorite DIM and Chase Tree supplements HERE!

The best part? As a FWDfuel reader, you will never pay full price. For example, by using our👉🏻 Fullscript link, our favorite DIM supplement is $13.00 less PER BOTTLE 👈🏻than if you purchased it on Amazon! P.S. For those who are new to us, Fullscript is our favorite professional-grade supplement, online dispensary.

***Disclaimer: These supplement suggestions are provided for educational purposes and should not be taken as medical advice. It is very important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplements to ensure they are suitable for you and won’t interact with any medications you may be taking.

What Vitamins Lower Estrogen?

While vitamins alone may not directly lower estrogen levels, certain vitamins, and minerals play important roles in supporting the hormonal balance of progesterone and estrogen metabolism, which indirectly may improve the balance of estrogen and progesterone. 

Here are some vitamins involved in the hormonal regulation of estrogen and progesterone:

  • Vitamin B6 is essential for the production of progesterone and is highly involved in the liver detoxification of estrogen. A symptom women often see improved with B6 supplementation is mood and reduction in anxiety, which is definitely an added bonus! 
  • Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that may reduce the risk of breast cancer. [13] 
  • Vitamin C not only boosts our immune system, but it helps regulate our body’s stress response and is involved in the production and balance of hormones! [14] If possible, though, focus on whole-food sources. Whole-food vitamin C from citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli should be your go-to! 
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium is involved in hundreds of reactions in the body, many of which are involved in estrogen metabolism. Loading up on extra magnesium, especially if you’re a high-performing athlete, is essential for maintaining balanced hormones. 

Hopefully, after today, you feel more confident knowing how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally. Our modern-day lives, unfortunately, set the stage for women to become estrogen dominant, but with the right information and tools for success, these imbalances can be addressed in a very natural way! 

In a perfect world, the information in this post is enough to reverse your estrogen dominance, but sometimes a personalized approach is needed to help you uncover your individual female hormone imbalance. If you’ve given these suggestions a go on your own but don’t feel you’re making the progress that you should, you can work one-on-one with Abby, our functionally trained female hormone registered dietitian, to get the personalized attention you need and work to get to the root of your health issues! 

Schedule your FREE call today to create a strategy for testing your hormones and finding a personalized approach to your nutrition! 

References:

  1. https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-94-007-5704-2_45#:~:text=Estrogenic%20endocrine%2Ddisrupting%20chemicals%20(e,air%2C%20water%2C%20and%20soil.
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3968378/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998357/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20818711/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17317210/
  6. https://www.oncologynutrition.org/erfc/healthy-nutrition-now/foods/flaxseeds-and-breast-cancer
  7. ​​https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3322018/#:~:text=These%20data%20suggest%20the%20following,enhancing%20endogenous%20endometrial%20estrogen%20production
  8. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12909818/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3987027/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21254914/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15134155/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16091003/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7024758/