Shalom, womb sister.
I've been asked how to lower estrogen levels to tackle things like fibroids and benign breast lumps.
If you think you have - or have been told you have- high estrogen levels, this article is for you xo
What is estrogen (aka oestrogen)?
'Estrogen' is the name given to a group of 3 growth hormones* that are responsible for the development and maintenance/regulation of the female reproductive system and our secondary sex characteristics (our breasts, hips, etc.).
*(The 3 growth hormones are called 'estrone', 'estriol', and 'estradiol').
Why we want to avoid having high levels of estrogen:
High levels can lead to stubborn weight gain, tender breasts, bloating, constipation, headaches, memory problems, fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, irregular periods, heavy periods, worsened menopause symptoms, fertility issues, and more...
High levels can also lead to PMS, depression, anxiety, moodiness, and other negative effects on our mood
Over time, high levels can lead to hormonal cancers (uterine, ovarian, and breast cancers)
Note that the term 'estrogen dominance' can refer to two things:
either having excess estrogen in the body (what this article is about); or
having a lack of the 'progesterone' hormone in the body
the estrogen in your body, the more your uterine walls/lining grow & thicken as it prepares for possible pregnancy
estrogen levels rise just before ovulation
How do we know if we have high estrogen levels...
If we tend to suffer from any of the above symptoms, this may be an indicator
Get tested: ask your doctor for an estrogen blood test and/or a dried urine test
Things we can do to naturally lower our estrogen levels:
Get more sleep- sleep naturally lowers our estrogen as sufficient amounts of sleep reduces stress on the body
Exercise regularly- excess estrogen accumulates in our body fat tissue, so having less body fat makes estrogen accumulation in the body harder/less likely
Reduce stress- stress produces cortisol... cortisol increases our estrogen level. Meditate, exercise more frequently, avoid stressful people & situations, take time off work, do yoga etc. to reduce stress
Avoid cosmetics that contain xenoestrogens- these chemicals have a similar structure to estrogen and so can affect our body in the same way estrogen can. Avoid cosmetics and household products containing parabens, ammonia, BPA (found in plastics), benzophenone, and other xenoestrogens
Eat a plant-based wholefoods diet (see below)
Find alternatives to taking the pill- birth control pills contain synthetic hormones that raise our estrogen levels
Breast massage or dry brush- these both stimulate & drain our lymphatic system thereby releasing toxins from the body (estrogen included)
Yoni steam- yoni steam with herbs that are associated with lowering estrogen levels i.e. milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock, chaste tree berry, calendula, lady's mantle, red clover.... (Check out our loose lady's mantle leaves and loose red clover leaves). Yoni steaming also helps reduce sleep and improve sleep quality.
Small changes we can make to our diet to help...
Eat organic fruit & veg- pesticides contain various chemicals that disrupt our reproductive system
Eat more fiber/fibre- estrogen leaves our body through our poo... frequent constipation means estrogen will get trapped in- and accumulate in- our body. Ideally, we should be having at least one poo a day- fiber aids digestion and helps get our bowel moving. Fiber also lengthens the follicular phase of our cycle and helps against estrogen dominance (this phase is the time between the first day of our period and ovulation...estrogen gradually/steadily rises during this phase and peaks just before ovulation... lengthening this phase gives our body more time to 'adapt' to the higher levels of estrogen (having a longer follicular phase - and therefore cycle- statistically doesn't affect your fertility (source)). High fiber foods are fruits, whole grains, brown rice, lentils, beans, oats, and vegetables. Increase your fiber slowly to avoid bloating and constipation.
Increase your gut health- we need more good bacteria in our guts vs bad bacteria to not only promote frequent bowel movements but also to reduce the chances of bad bacteria causing estrogen to be re-absorbed into our bloodstream and thereby stored in our body fat tissue. Drink apple cider vinegar, eat more fiber, and eat probiotic-filled foods.
Drink more water- this will aid more frequent bowel movements
Eat flaxseeds- these contain lignans and so block the negative effects of excess estrogen
Eat more phytoestrogens- phytoestrogens can decrease estrogen activity in the body... think lentils, sweet potatoes, carrots, soy products, alfalfa, red clover etc.
Change your meat & poultry: reduce your red meat consumption... opt for organic, grass-fed meats... we want to be eating meats that haven't been injected with growth hormones i.e. estrogen
Eat less dairy: same reason as above!
If you choose to eat soy, go organic: eat soy in moderation and choose fermented and organic soy
Eat more vitamins/ Take supplements- the following help to eliminate estrogen from our body: B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin D3
Support your kidney functioning- when our kidneys are functioning correctly they help our body eliminate estrogen. Eat more garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables (kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli).
Support your liver functioning- when our liver is functioning correctly it helps our bodies to eliminate estrogen. Eat antioxidant-rich fruits (strawberries, raspberries, guava etc.)
The following are additional ways to further support your liver functioning:
Reduce your caffeine- too much caffeine makes our adrenal glands work harder and can drain our adrenal glands which in turn increases our estrogen levels
Reduce your alcohol intake- alcohol leads to estrogen accumulation in the body because it forces our liver to focus on eliminating the alcohol from our body instead of being able to focus on eliminating estrogen from our body! Alcohol also decreases our 'progesterone' which in turn raises our estrogen level.
Drink organic herbal teas- pesticides contain various chemicals that disrupt our reproductive system. Also, herbal teas support the liver's detoxing process thereby cleansing the liver of excess estrogen. Drink milk thistle tea, dandelion root tea, burdock tea, chaste tree berry tea, calendula tea, lady's mantle tea, red clover tea etc. Check out our range of herbal womb/yoni teas here.
My final point is to always be mindful of your estrogen level becoming too low (this is also why testing is useful).... This is important because low estrogen may result in things like low libido, joint aches, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings.
Goddess, I hope you found this information helpful... I know it's a lot to take in, so bookmark this page and re-read this post when you're mentally ready to take notes and implement this womb-wisdom.
(From Felicia Founder)