Estrogen is a great hormone when balanced - she makes you feel confident, alluring and extroverted. She helps keep your cycle in alignment and balanced with progesterone to smooth PMS symptoms and helps you get pregnant when you're ready. She keeps your mood stable and helps you flow effortlessly through life.
When unbalanced - she's unkind to our waistline, skin, mood, fertility and stress levels. She makes us feel moodier, bloated, and more stressed than we actually are. She disrupts our natural rhythm with progesterone, her calming sister hormone, and cortisol, one of our stress hormones to create more PMS symptoms and feeling like we could scream over nothing.
Higher estrogen levels can also show up as more weight gain or water retention in your hips, thighs and butt area. I've noticed this in times of my life when estrogen was too high, and often during ovulation when estrogen levels naturally peak.
In my second pregnancy with having a baby girl, I've noticed water retention happening in the hips, thigh and butt area, which didn't happen when I had our son. My OB-GYN mentioned my estrogen levels could be a bit higher with having a girl due to producing more female hormones for her development - which is fascinating!
When balancing your hormones, you want to try to keep estrogen and progesterone as balanced as possible. This helps your cycle regulate and reduce hormone symptoms, while keeping your mood more stable.
This balance also helps you get pregnant when you're ready, as low progesterone levels (which happens when estrogen levels are too high - think of them like being on a seesaw) can make it hard to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
>>An easy way to see if your progesterone is too low for pregnancy or having a happy period, watch this YouTube video.
Here are 6 ways to naturally lower estrogen
1.Cleanse Your Liver
One of the tricks to hormone balance is to keep your liver cleansed.
Your liver is your detox organ and it helps hormones and toxins move through the body more effectively. When blocked or not functioning as well, it can make our natural detox system have to work harder, where hormones get recycled in the body. This means they can't leave when they're suppose to so they go back to wait in line to try again later.
This is part of what causes some of the symptoms we feel with our mood, bloating, breakouts, etc.
I had to pay extra attention to my liver when trying to lower estrogen because it truly helps so much!
My favorite ways to naturally cleanse my liver are:
drink lemon water (either in the morning or at some point throughout the day)
sip on dandelion tea or eat dandelion greens in a salad (I swear I have a bowel movement soon after eating these!)
eating or juicing beets (I typically put into a smoothie since I'm not a fan of the taste)
adding some schisandra powder to a smoothie.
All of these are very cleansing and supportive to the liver. If you are pregnant, you don't want to use schisandra powder as it came be too stimulating, which may cause contractions in the uterus.
2. Eat Foods That Bind to Excess Estrogen
Another trick with lowering estrogen levels are to eat foods high in fiber and those that can help bind to excess estrogen and pull them from your system.
These foods include cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts, mung beans, and high fiber foods like seeds, beans, and even using some psyllium husk powder (I like adding this to baked goods or smoothies).
Fiber helps pull excess estrogen from your system so that your levels stay more balanced.
3. Eat Foods That Help Increase Progesterone
As sister hormones, estrogen and progesterone play off one another. So if estrogen levels are higher, eating foods that help increase progesterone can help balance estrogen.
These foods include pumpkin, sweet potato, vitamin C (found in kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, red bell peppers, citrus fruits, etc.), nuts, dark chocolate, avocado, poultry and cod fish.
Other lifestyle components that can get in the way of progesterone production is overexercising, low thyroid function (which was one of my issues with balancing progesterone), not eating enough foods in healthy fat (like salmon, olive oil and avocado), and rarely taking breaks (read on about lowering cortisol in the next section).
4. Keep Stress (& Cortisol) Levels Low
Lowering stress is crucial for a woman's mind and body to work effectively. Most of us can struggle with hormone imbalances, cycle issues, and fertility problems because we have too much stress on our body. Which includes how we live our daily life (lack of sleep, over or under exercising, not eating enough carbohydrates, not setting boundaries, etc.). All of it matters to your stress hormones.
So basically, estrogen, progesterone and cortisol (one of your stress hormones) are interconnected. While estrogen and progesterone play off each other, progesterone and cortisol compete for the same receptors in the body. Which means if you're too stressed, cortisol will attach when progesterone is suppose to. This makes you feel more stressed, anxious and irritable.
When progesterone is too low, like when your stress levels are too high, estrogen overcompensates and increases even more.
It's a very common hormone imbalance and for many of us is largely driven by our own behavior and habits. Which does put us in the drivers seat to course correct!
So to lower cortisol, it's important to:
get a good night sleep (sleep helps your body metabolize cortisol and regulate your adrenal glands which will make you feel more relaxed and focused overall).
do activities that lower cortisol like yoga, walking and meditation.
eat foods high in vitamin C as it helps your body metabolize cortisol through food.
set healthy and realistic boundaries on your time - from work, friends, family, your calendar, etc. Saying no is healthy!
eat 3/4 to 1 cup of complex carbohydrates at dinner - this will help manage your cortisol levels at night by lowering them before bedtime. It also helps melatonin (your sleepy hormone) increase so you sleep better at night.
avoid cardio or intense exercise after 2pm - do these workouts in the morning to regulate cortisol more effectively throughout the day.
A few signs you have high cortisol levels include waking up tired, feeling wired at night when it's bedtime, weight gain in the midsection no matter how well you eat or how much you exercise, fertility or period problems, PMS, and feeling anxious, stressed or irritable.
5. Avoid Alcohol or Consume in Moderation When Estrogen is Low
You can even cycle sync your cocktails to help balance estrogen levels!
Estrogen naturally peaks at ovulation, so if you're already struggling with high estrogen levels, consuming alcohol at this time can make it worse.
Alcohol can increase estrogen and impacts liver function, so your body will have a harder time balancing it.
I like to consume alcohol (a drink or two) when estrogen levels are lower like in the beginning of the follicular phase or a few days after my period starts and I've worked through the hardest days of inflammation. I avoid it as my body preps for ovulation, while I ovulate and the two weeks before my period to help keep progesterone balanced.
Again, this may not be what you need if estrogen and your liver are more balanced than what I've experienced. Or if you're in a state of needing to find more balance with estrogen, this moderate schedule on consuming alcohol may make you feel like you can indulge more strategically.
I also used this schedule when trying to conceive. I did my best to avoid alcohol so I could ovulate correctly and have the best luteal phase for implantation. If I wasn't pregnant that month, I'd have a glass of wine or two to also celebrate the things I wouldn't be able to enjoy while pregnant.
6. Use Supplements to Help Lower Estrogen
There are some supplements that can help your body metabolize estrogen better.
My personal favorites are DIM and calcium d-glucarate. I honestly only needed them for a few months while I leveled out my estrogen levels and they weren't supplements I needed all the time once my body was more balanced. You might find the same.
I also do not use them while trying to conceive or while pregnant. Always check with your doctor or naturopath before starting any new supplements, especially those like these that can alter hormones.
The other supplement I used for a short time period when balancing estrogen levels was progesterone cream. When not trying to conceive, I'd use progesterone cream just in the luteal phase (for maybe 3 cycles), and didn't need it anymore.
When I was 6 weeks pregnant with Dylan, my progesterone was dangerously low (sparked by a recent miscarriage) and I needed to supplement with progesterone oil (prescribed by my naturopath) during the first trimester. I needed to use it again when trying to conceive our second baby and used it through the first trimester again.
I share this because even though my estrogen levels were balanced and in the perfect range, I still needed progesterone support to help me get pregnant and maintain healthy pregnancies (it's more genetic for me at this point and something I will monitor until I go through menopause).
All our bodies are different and we may need full on support all the time or just making some tweaks until we get back into alignment. Then we may have times in our lives when our bodies need some more support, like mine have in trying to conceive and with pregnancy. Hands down, knowing your body and what it feels like to be in alignment is the best gift you can give yourself.
I hope these tips help you lower estrogen!
If you're looking for more ways to balance your estrogen and progesterone levels for a happier mood, more energy and less bloating - you'll love my 6-week course Moody Meltdowns to Balanced Bombshell.
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