Estrogen dominance causes PMS symptoms. We can naturally reduce estrogen dominance with simple interventions and reduce the symptoms of PMS!
Do you remember a time when you learned a fact that blew your mind? For me, the ones that stick out are:
- Santa isn’t real
- Oktoberfest isn’t celebrated in October
- PMS isn’t a necessary part of being a woman
PMS isn’t necessary! I always thought you either lucked out and didn’t have bad symptoms, or you’re a woman who gets PMS. Balancing our hormones can give us a PMS-free cycle. We don’t need to cover up our symptoms with drugs and the birth control pill. We have other options!
What is Estrogen Dominance, and what causes it?
If you have estrogen dominance, it means you have too much estrogen compared to progesterone. Some people call it your estrogen to progesterone ratio. An elevated ratio means you have too much estrogen compared to progesterone.
After ovulation, your estrogen should drop, and your progesterone should increase. If either, or both, of these things don’t happen, the ratio will be higher than it should be. When the ratio is high, we get PMS symptoms.
Why should I care about Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance causes more than the annoying symptoms of PMS. If it goes on for too long, it can cause health issues. Cancer, especially breast cancer and autoimmune diseases, especially Hashimoto’s, are associated with estrogen dominance.
Helping our estrogen to progesterone ratio to improve PMS symptoms can help us stay healthy later on.
What are the Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance?
- Heavy periods
- Breast cysts
- Mood changes – depression, anxiety, irritability, or mood swings
- Brain fog or memory issues
- Low libido
If you have a few of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you have estrogen dominance. But if you have more than three, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.
Different Types of Estrogen Dominance
Before we can reduce estrogen dominance naturally, it’s important to know about the different types of estrogen dominance. For some women, decreasing estrogen will help. For others increasing progesterone will help. Get your hormones tested to understand which interventions will work best for you.
High estrogen, normal progesterone
For women with high estrogen and normal progesterone, we want to reduce estrogen. Often, “fake” estrogens are introduced via chemicals in the environment, increasing the estrogen in our systems.
After ovulation, we should metabolize most estrogen, but it piles up if we have too many fake estrogens from external sources. This causes the estrogen to be higher than it should after ovulation.
How to avoid excess estrogen in your environment:
- Avoid phytoestrogens like soy, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and wheat bran.
- Avoid hormones in conventionally raised meat. Organic is good, grass-fed grass-finished is best. Meat raised with hormones introduces more estrogen into our systems.
- Avoid plastics, especially food storage and water bottles, since the plastic can leech into the food/water and then be introduced into our system when eating/drinking.
- Use clean cosmetics and cleaning products. Xenoestrogens are in many conventional products and mimic estrogen in our body. The skin is our largest organ, and when we put these ‘fake’ estrogens on our body, they are introduced into our system and act like estrogen.
We can take steps to neutralize estrogen in our body, so we can lower our levels after ovulation and reduce the estrogen to progesterone ratio.
- Eat lots of veggies around ovulation. The fiber helps our body get rid of extra estrogen. Cycle syncing suggests we eat like a raw vegan during ovulation to help with estrogen detoxification.
- Consider the supplement glutathione during ovulation. I’m not a physician. Speak with your doctor before taking supplements. Glutathione is an antioxidant that supports detoxification. This supplement helps your liver eliminate excess estrogen.
- Support liver health.
- Reduce chemical exposure as described above
- Eat organic, whole foods as often as possible.
- Drink lots of water
- Workout until you sweat to help release toxins
Normal Estrogen, Low Progesterone
Low progesterone can also cause estrogen dominance symptoms. If you have the estrogen dominance symptoms above and the low progesterone symptoms below, increasing your progesterone may be the first place to start.
- Shortened luteal phase
- Spotting before your period
- Migraines, especially in the second half of your cycle
Here is a lot more information about increasing progesterone levels. One of the best ways to increase progesterone is to decrease stress in your life. The same pathway produces cortisol and progesterone, so if you’re stressed and produce cortisol, we lack what we need to produce progesterone. Stress can come from many places, like caffeine, over-exercising, lack of sleep, or a low-quality diet. If you can get your stress in check, it will often improve progesterone levels.
High Estrogen, Low Progesterone
Lucky you! When estrogen levels are high, and progesterone levels are low, we have double the work to do! Follow the advice above. Start with stress reduction. Once that’s in check, reduce excess estrogen-like substances, which will help your liver detox estrogen.
Other Ways to Help Estrogen Dominance
Even if you don’t know whether estrogen is high or progesterone is low, there are ways to support your body to improve your estrogen to progesterone ratio.
- Support gut health – Real foods and probiotics can help your body detoxify estrogen and other toxins while reducing inflammation.
- Stop birth control – Birth control pills contain estrogen and can introduce more estrogen than you need. If you have a heavy period on the pill, it may be too much estrogen for you. I’ve documented other reasons to stop the pill as well.
- Physical exercise – I called it out before, but exercising until you sweat helps estrogen dominance. Sweating allows you to release toxins and support your liver health.
How to Reduce Estrogen Dominance Naturally Through Diet and Lifestyle
I want to do a quick summary of which interventions are diet and lifestyle changes that will improve your health even if you don’t have estrogen dominance. These are changes you can implement to improve your health, even if you haven’t confirmed you have estrogen dominance with a physician.
- Support your liver health – When your liver works optimally, you can detoxify excess estrogen more easily.
- Eat cabbage family vegetables – The fiber in these foods will help you eliminate excess estrogen if you have it, and provide fiber and vitamins even if you don’t!
- Reduce stress – Easier said than done, right? But even small steps can help reduce cortisol and increase progesterone. Try removing caffeine, sugar, and other inflammatory foods like dairy, corn, and wheat to see how you feel. You don’t have to eliminate all at once. Try removing one at a time and see if it helps your energy.
- Eat clean meats and reduce meat consumption – The estrogens and inflammatory feed that conventionally raised animals consume can cause estrogen dominance. Switching to grass-fed beef or reducing meat consumption will help reduce excess estrogen introduced into your system.
- Avoid excess chemicals – Using clean products will reduce the “fake” estrogens you introduce to your system, and your body won’t need to work so hard to metabolize them.
- Try cycle syncing – I say it every time! The whole point of cycle syncing is to balance out your hormones and improve your estrogen to progesterone ratio. I’ve created some cheat sheets to help you get started.
PMS isn’t a necessary part of being a woman! I know this is true, and I wish more women knew about it. We can take so many small steps and reduce estrogen dominance naturally. Try a couple of these tips each month, and you should have lighter periods, fewer mood changes the week before your period, and even reduced cramps. Let me know what you’re trying and how it’s working for you.