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How to Detox Estrogen Naturally: A Dietitian’s 5 Top Tips 

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Do you suffer from regular mood swings, unwanted weight gain, irregular periods, or fatigue? If so, these signs and symptoms could be a sign of estrogen dominance. But don’t worry, there are steps you can take to detox estrogen naturally, support your body and feel like yourself again!

In this article, we’ll explore five insightful tips from a women’s health dietitian to help you naturally detox estrogen and promote hormonal harmony through dietary and lifestyle modifications. Whether you’re navigating hormonal imbalances or simply aiming to optimize your well-being, these strategies offer practical and empowering approaches to support your journey towards hormonal balance and vitality.

This blog post includes affiliate links for your shopping convenience. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

What is estrogen? 

Before we dive into how to detox estrogen from your body, let’s first gain a better understanding of what estrogen is.

Estrogens are a group of hormones that play an important role in the normal sexual and reproductive development in women. There are three types of estrogen:

  • Estrone (E1), the primary form of estrogen produced after menopause
  • Estradiol (E2), the main form of estrogen produced during your reproductive years
  • Estriol (E3), a form of estrogen produced during pregnancy

A woman’s ovaries make most estrogen hormones, though your adrenal glands and fat cells also make small amounts.

Why do we need estrogen? 

We mostly know estrogen for its job in keeping a woman’s menstrual cycle in check. At the start of the cycle, when you’re on your period, estrogen levels are low. But once your flow is complete, estrogen levels start climbing again, marking the beginning of what we call the follicular phase. When estrogen hits its peak, it acts as a signal for your body to release luteinizing hormone (LH), getting your body ready for ovulation. Plus, estrogen thickens the lining of your uterus, getting it all set for a potential egg to snuggle in. After ovulation, both LH and estrogen drop.

Estrogen also has non reproductive functions such as regulating: 

  • Cholesterol levels 
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Bone and muscle mass
  • Circulation and blood flow
  • Collagen production and moisture in your skin
  • Brain function, including your ability to focus

What is estrogen dominance?

Estrogen dominance is often thought to be elevated estrogen. This is where it may get frustrating for some women when they have their estrogen levels checked only to be told their level is normal and they go on living with signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance…

However, estrogen dominance occurs when there is an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone in the body, with estrogen levels being higher relative to progesterone levels.

Ultimately, you can have normal estrogen levels while in an estrogen dominant state.

Estrogen dominance can look like: 

  • Elevated estrogen, normal progesterone 
  • Elevated estrogen, low progesterone 
  • Normal estrogen, low progesterone 
  • Normal estrogen, normal progesterone (but low ratio) 

Causes of high estrogen 

Estrogen dominance can happen due to a mix of environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors including: 

  • Poor gut health 
  • Excess body fat
  • Insulin resistance
  • Excess alcohol intake 
  • Constipation 
  • Hormonal birth control 
  • Chronic stress 
  • Environmental exposure to:
    • BPA, Pthalates, Medications 

Symptoms of estrogen dominance

Signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance may include:

  • Fertility issues
  • Weight gain
  • Heavy, painful periods 
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Acne 
  • Painful ovulation 
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Endometriosis 
  • Extreme hunger/cravings 

How to test for estrogen dominance? 

If you are concerned you might have estrogen dominance, get lab work to test estrogen levels rather than guessing. Your healthcare provider can test for levels of all three types of estrogen with a simple blood draw.

However, it is important to note that you can have “normal” estrogen levels and still have symptoms of estrogen dominance. This is because you could have low progesterone. So checking your progesterone levels in relation to estrogen is important when checking for estrogen dominance.

Additionally, a blood draw only provides a snapshot of your estrogen levels at one point in time, when your estrogen levels could be off throughout the course of your menstrual cycle.

I have estrogen dominance, what now? 

If you suspect you have estrogen dominance, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Once you confirmed you have estrogen dominance, you might be wondering how long does it take to reverse estrogen dominance? The time it takes to reverse estrogen dominance can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the imbalance, individual health conditions, lifestyle factors, and the chosen treatment approach. While some individuals may experience improvements relatively quickly, for others, it may take several weeks or months to see significant changes.

It’s essential to work with a healthcare professional to develop a personalized plan for addressing estrogen dominance, as they can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation. In the meantime, here we share 5 actionable tips you can implement today to help detox estrogen naturally from a women’s health dietitian: 

5 Tips to Detox Estrogen Naturally

1. Improve Your Digestion 

Regular bowel movements are crucial when detoxing estrogen naturally. Healthy bowel movements excrete excess estrogen from the body.

Ways to promote regular bowel movements to detox estrogen naturally include: 

Increase fiber intake

The recommendation for fiber for women under 50 is 25-28 g daily. Consumption of both soluble and insoluble fiber promotes increased stool water content, resulting in bulky/soft/easy-to-pass stools.

High fiber foods to include in your diet for estrogen dominance include:

  • Whole grains: quinoa, oats, brown rice, whole grain bread
  • Fruits & vegetables: berries, pears, apples, leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
  • Beans, nuts, legumes, and seeds 
  • Avocados

Drink more water

When increasing fiber, it’s important to increase water intake to prevent constipation. 

Aim to drink half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounce. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs, you should drink at least 70 oz of water per day.

Incorporate cruciferous vegetables

Foods with sulforaphane have been shown to restore estrogen receptor expression. Foods that contain sulforaphane include:

  • Broccoli 
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bok choy
  • Collard greens
  • Cauliflower 
  • Cabbage

Digestive bitters

Preclinical findings suggest bitter ingestion triggers our bitter receptors lining the gastrointestinal tract, which increases secretion of digestive juices to help us break down our food and absorb nutrients. Bitter consumption helps improve constipation by stimulating the muscular contractions that help move food down the digestive tract. Note *If you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, contact your doctor or OBGYN before consuming bitters. 

2. Reduce Stress 

High cortisol caused by high stress, may lower progesterone levels, which can lead to estrogen dominance: When cortisol levels increase, progesterone levels decrease.

Chronic stress in a woman’s life can lead to a progesterone deficiency, causing the estrogen dominance symptoms mentioned above. Here are some ways to help reduce stress: 

Meditation/ breath work

Breath work and meditation have been found to be beneficial in reducing cortisol levels. Set aside time (even 5 – 10 minutes) for yourself to practice relaxation daily.

Reduce screen time

Blue light has been shown to disrupt hormone levels, and increase stress and anxiety. Limit screen time 1-2 hours before bedtime.

3. Support Your Liver! 

The liver plays a key role in detoxing estrogen. The liver repackages leftover estrogen not used by the body to exit the body through digestion and excretion. If you have a sluggish, overburdened liver, estrogen can stay in your body too long and become reabsorbed, leading to excess estrogen.

Tips to support your liver to detox estrogen naturally include: 

Reduce alcohol intake

Alcohol intake increases stress on the liver. Reducing consumption of alcohol can decrease stress on the liver, allowing it to clear out estrogen more effectively. It is recommended to limit intake to 1 drink or less in a day for women.

When limiting alcohol intake, you may look for alternative drink options. Swapping out an alcoholic drink for Kombucha or gut-friendly soda not only helps to limit alcohol intake, but promote a healthy gut to detox estrogen natrually too!

Consume liver supporting foods for estrogen dominance such as: 

  • Cruciferous vegetables 
  • Berries 
  • Grapes 
  • Nuts 
  • Fatty fish 
  • Olive oil 
  • Grapefruit 
  • Green tea 
  • Dandelion root 

Digestive Bitters

Bitters support healthy bile flow – One small study supports that bitter intake triggers CCK (a digestive hormone) release which directly increases bile flow from the gallbladder. This helps your body digest fats, absorb fat soluble vitamins and helps remove toxins. Improving bile flow improves bodily release of toxins, or waste products (including excess estrogen). 

4. Make exercise a regular part of your daily routine 

Regular exercise, specifically strength training, can help you manage your body fat levels. This is important when detoxing estrogen naturally because excess fat causes excess estrogen production. Decreasing your amount of body fat can decrease excess estrogen production in the body. In addition, sweating supports detoxifying estrogen naturally. 

Exercise looks different for everyone. The important thing is to find a form of exercise that you love. The exercise you enjoy and can be consistent with is the best exercise for you! 

To make this a two in one approach, some stress reducing forms of exercise for estrogen dominance include:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Pilates

5. Avoid synthetic estrogens whenever possible 

Xenoestrogens mimic the chemical structure of naturally occurring estrogen. They can be derived from a variety of sources including diet, pesticides, cosmetics, some plastics, plants, fumes, metals and medications (ex: birth control pills).

Examples of where you may be exposed to synthetic estrogens that may lead to estrogen dominance include: 

Birth control pills 

Birth control contains synthetic forms of hormones that could interfere with normal hormone regulation and has been shown to increase bodily estrogen levels.

Please note, birth control is an effective form of contraception and should not be discontinued abruptly without conversation with your healthcare practitioner.

Plastic containers

Avoid BPA containing plastic containers and water bottles, especially for food and water storage to decrease risk of ingesting xenoestrogens.

When swapping out plastic containers, you may prefer to use glass containers and glass water bottles as alternatives.

Conventional meats / dairy products

Choose organic, pasture raised, grass fed animal products whenever possible. Animals may be fed hormones that you end up ingesting when consuming conventional foods. 

Teflon/Nonstick pans 

Avoid teflon/non-stick pans. These pans can contain chemicals such as BPA, Phthalates, PFOA, PFAS, & metalloestrogens that have been shown to be toxic to humans and affect hormone balance. If you see the material of a teflon/nonstick pan flaking off, discard it as the chemicals can leach into your food.

When replacing old teflon or nonstick pans, you may like using:

Conclusion 

In summary, there are many ways to begin to detox estrogen naturally. While it may take several months to reverse estrogen dominance, with these 5 tips, you are equipped with the knowledge to start and may notice some symptom relief within as little as one week. But remember, everyone’s body is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. Working with a health care provider can assist you along your journey, providing personalized advice and care.

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“Detox Estrogen Naturally: 5 Helpful Tips from a Women’s Health Dietitian ” is written by Ally Solina and reviewed/edited by Jamie Adams, MS RD LDN. Ally is a current graduate student at University of Rhode Island studying Nutrition and Dietetics and exhibits a special interest in hormone health, the gut brain connection, and helping individuals create a balanced, sustainable relationship with food.”

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