Responsible for developing and maintaining female characteristics, estrogen is one of the two main female sex hormones. Nutrition, weight, caffeine intake, and stress may play a role in altering estrogen levels, however, it’s important to remember that a person’s hormonal health is unique to their health history and a number of other variables play a role in overall health. Therefore if you are seeking out natural ways to decrease high estrogen levels, some of the outlined methods here may be more or less effective than others.
Some lifestyle changes that can help lower estrogen levels include:
- Eat more fiber
- Lose excess body fat
- Decrease stress in your life
- Ditch the caffeine
See also: Estrogen Dominance: Signs and Symptoms
How to naturally decrease estrogen levels
Excess estrogen occurs when estrogen levels are increased relative to progesterone levels in the blood and this may lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms from low sex drive to mood swings or changes. As well as that, high levels of estrogen can put you at risk for other conditions and research suggests that estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a treatment commonly used for menopause symptoms, can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Remember, estrogen levels are known to vary depending on a number of factors. If your estrogen levels have risen as a result of a medication or hormone therapy, it’s important to speak with your doctor. However, there are also lifestyle changes you can incorporate into your day-to-day life that may help decrease and maintain estrogen levels.
Magnesium and B vitamins are essential in the metabolism of estrogen in the body. Incorporate these minerals into your daily diet by eating dark leafy greens and vegetables which are high in both to support the processing of estrogen and your estrogen receptors. Some vegetables to consider include cruciferous vegetables, collard greens, bok choy, and mushrooms.
Also make an effort to incorporate fresh, organic fruits and vegetables into your diet. In a previous article: Foods That Increase Estrogen | Do They Actually Exist?, we spoke about phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are said to exist in processed foods, especially processed soy products.
While it may not always be possible to eat fresh or organically, the effort you put in now will make a big difference down the line. Try to incorporate natural sources of protein into your diet for slow release energy as opposed to processed soy products or laboratory proteins, think eggs, and nuts if you’re not a meat-eater and think lean cuts of meat if you are.
Good sleep pretty much affects every aspect of your health, it’s the rest that our body’s needs for physical and mental restoration. It is no different when it comes to your hormones.
Melatonin is the body’s sleep hormone and it plays a role in overall hormone balance. Adequate melatonin helps to ensure that female sex hormones remain balanced. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each evening as an adult. For more information on how much sleep you should be getting depending on your age.
Eat More Fiber
Eating more fiber deserves special mention. Estrogen is excreted both in the urine and through bowel movements. If stool takes a long time to wind its way through your bowel, estrogen will actually be reabsorbed by your body in the process. The best way to avoid this is to eat a diet high in insoluble fiber.
Lose Excess Body Fat
If you are trying to lose weight at the moment, we have another motivator! Maintaining a healthy weight can drastically improve your hormonal health.
Aim to reduce your body fat percentage below 28%. By losing excess weight through a proper diet and exercise, you will also lose the body’s ability to store and produce excessive amounts of estrogen via the process of aromatization in which the body’s excess fat cells produce more estrogen than is necessary for healthy function.
See also: Signs of High Estrogen in Women
Decrease Stress in Your Life
Cortisol is also known as your “stress hormone” or your “fight or flight hormone”. Cortisol is produced in response to our body feeling under threat.
Our body uses progesterone to create cortisol. The more of your life you spend in “fight or flight” mode, the more progesterone your body will use.
Find ways to help reduce stress. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if you’re feeling run-down, invest in the hobbies that make you feel good, and allow for more experiences that help you to reduce stress and increase your sense of well-being and calm.
Ditch the Caffeine
Many studies related to caffeine and estrogen have been carried out, and they have shown the effect caffeine can have on estrogen levels largely depends on your genetic makeup. Caffeine can also have varying effects on your estrogen levels depending on what part of the menstrual cycle you are in, and how much caffeine you consume. It is clear that caffeine does affect estrogen levels, and if you would like to balance your hormones, avoiding this can help you have a more constant level of estrogen in your blood.
Whether you know you are experiencing estrogen dominance or merely suspect you are, remember that this is a condition that can largely be mitigated by a few simple changes in lifestyle. Estrogen dominance is not a life-sentence, but merely a bump in the road on your way to a long, healthy life.
Can I check my hormone levels at home?
You can check your hormone levels at home with an at home hormone check that involves a simple self-blood collection.
It is now possible to check your hormone levels at home via female hormone checks that involves taking a blood sample at home. Blood samples are the most accurate way to check your hormone levels.
Taking a progesterone test will prove insightful if you suspect that you are living with estrogen dominance as it measures the volume of circulating progesterone in the blood.
LetsGetChecked’s range of Female Hormone Tests provides a broad picture of a woman’s hormonal health. This can provide you with an insight into your current fertility status or potential shifts in hormones with online results available in just 5 days and medical support available over-the-phone for support and guidance.
You should consider taking a female hormone test if:
- You’re looking to start a family
- You’re thinking about pregnancy down the line
- You’re interested in knowing more about your hormone levels
- You’re experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance
Written by Hannah Kingston | Medically reviewed by Dr. Susan O' Sullivan