Estrogen is important for your body but having too much of it can be problematic. Learn how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally and protect your body from its unpleasant symptoms.

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Estrogen is extremely important for women’s health. Estrogen manages your brain, bones, cholesterol, and other tissues, while feminizing your body. But, having too much estrogen can cause unpleasant symptoms and put you at risk for certain conditions and cancers.

Estrogen dominance is a hormonal imbalance in which a woman’s estrogen levels are too high. Estrogen dominance can be categorized in two ways: frank estrogen dominance and relative estrogen dominance. While both have similar symptoms, the causes differ.

Frank estrogen dominance is an excess of estrogen on its own, while other sex hormone levels (such as testosterone and progesterone) are at normal levels.

Relative estrogen dominance occurs when a woman’s estrogen levels are elevated in relation to her progesterone levels, which are too low.

Causes of Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance is a hormonal imbalance. There are several reasons a specific imbalance such as estrogen dominance can occur. Often, this condition is due to a combination of factors. Here are a few common reasons for estrogen dominance.

Estrogen Exposure

Girls and women around the world are being exposed to more estrogen in our diets and environments than ever before. Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like compounds found in foods like soy and flax; when consumed excessively, this can cause estrogen dominance.

Xenoestrogens are man-made compounds that mimic our natural estrogen, causing estrogen dominance. These compounds are found in synthetic hormones such as birth control, plastics, and common chemicals in household products and cosmetics.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause refers to time period in a woman’s life before menopause officially occurs. This time is characterized by fluctuating hormone levels as the body prepares to transition from its fertile years.

A common cause of estrogen dominance–and subsequent unpleasant symptoms–during perimenopause is low progesterone as ovulation begins to slow down (adequate progesterone levels can only be produced by successful ovulation). Too little progesterone is available to mitigate estrogen’s effects, causing relative estrogen dominance.

Progesterone Deficiency

With relative estrogen dominance, estrogen is too high in relation to progesterone. If adequate progesterone is not produced, estrogen dominance often occurs. Some causes of progesterone deficiency include stress and unsuccessful ovulation.

Poor gut health

An enzyme called beta-glucuronidase is produced in your gut by certain bacteria. You could produce too much of this enzyme due to poor gut health, causing metabolized estrogen to re-enter circulation in the body.

Also, poor gut health usually equals poor digestion. Digestion and successful elimination is crucial to rid your body of excess hormones.

See my related article with Perimenopause Bloating Remedies.

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Symptoms 

Likely, you’ll know if you have a hormonal imbalance. Estrogen dominance in particular has a range of unpleasant symptoms that can be hard to ignore.

Common symptoms of estrogen dominance include:

  • Heavy or painful periods and/or fibroids, including the condition endometriosis
  • Premenstrual syndrome, often characterized by cramps, fatigue, and mood swings
  • Headaches, including premenstrual or menstrual migraines
  • Weight gain localized in the abdomen, hips, and thighs
  • Low libido
  • Bloating around or during your period
  • Tender or swollen breasts around or during your period
  • Irregular or abnormal cycles

7 Ways to Manage Estrogen Dominance

1. Avoid environmental estrogens

Try to avoid the xenoestrogens mentioned above, including chemicals, plastics, and synthetic hormones.

Avoid plastic whenever possible (especially in the kitchen!) and switch to safer skincare and household products. The EWG Skin Deep database is a great resource for checking your products for chemicals that should be avoided.

variety of cosmetics on a table

2. Consider supplements

The supplement DIM, short for 3,3′-Diindolylmethan, contains concentrated amounts of the compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. It can support your liver’s detoxifying abilities so estrogen is successfully metabolized.

You may also want to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about supplementing with micronized progesterone or progesterone cream. Both of these can help balance female hormones during perimenopause when natural levels of progesterone decrease.

You can purchase both DIM and progesterone creams online, but you’ll need to get a prescription if you want to take oral micronized progesterone. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your supplement routine.

Also, don’t miss related articles on the best supplements for women in their 30s and the best supplements for women over 50.

3. Eat more fiber

Eat more fiber, especially from vegetables. The body naturally eliminates excess estrogen with fiber. This is part of your overall digestion; you must be eliminating regularly to rid your body of excess estrogen.

Learn more about how to eat more green vegetables.

basket of fresh vegetables

4. Fix your gut so you have more enzymes that metabolize estrogen

A healthy gut lining and microbiome is essential for producing the right amount of the right enzymes to metabolize estrogen. Read about the top 10 foods with natural probiotics to help with gut health.

If you are experiencing chronic digestive issues, you should talk to your healthcare provider to develop a plan to help reduce gut inflammation and to help improve the integrity of your digestive system.

5. Reduce body fat with a balanced diet and movement

Higher body fat percentages are associated with an excess of estrogen, as estrogen is partially produced by adipose tissue. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider to see if you would benefit from reducing your body fat by a certain amount.

Check out these tips for women who are having trouble losing weight no matter what.

6. Manage stress

Stress robs your body of the resources needed to produce favorable amounts of your sex hormones. When your body is prioritizing making cortisol due to high levels of stress, there isn’t enough pregnenolone left over to make progesterone, causing relative estrogen dominance.

Stress can also suppress ovulation, further decreasing your chances of progesterone production. Learn more about managing stress with a worry journal. You may also like this article with the best supplements for anxiety.

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7. Avoid hormonal birth control

Hormonal birth control including the birth control pill, intrauterine devices, or arm implants all replace your body’s natural sex hormones with synthetic hormones.

Hormonal birth control works by flooding your body with synthetic estrogen and progestin to mimic pregnancy so you will not ovulate. The increased levels of these xenoestrogens can lead to estrogen dominance once you stop taking hormonal birth control, as your body attempts to regulate its own hormones and metabolize the synthetic hormones.

For more information on managing your fertility, be sure to check out the fantastic resource, The Period Repair Manual, by Dr. Lara Briden.

Conclusions

Estrogen dominance can be caused by environmental estrogen exposure, poor gut health, and often, progesterone deficiency. This condition can cause symptoms like painful periods, PMS, and weight gain and increases the risk of certain cancers.

Estrogen dominance can be addressed naturally by focusing on a nutrient-dense diet, reducing stress, limiting your exposure to environmental estrogens, and improving gut health.  

infographic on 7 ways to reverse estrogen dominance naturally