Last modified on June 22nd, 2023
Figuring out how to naturally flush excess estrogen can help you feel better.
You may be experiencing symptoms you don’t even realize are associated with excess estrogen or an imbalance in your hormones.
There are strategies you can rely on that will reduce high estrogen levels, and we cover them below.
Key Takeaways—How to Flush Out Excess Estrogen Naturally
- Estrogen is a sex hormone
- Abnormal levels can cause weight gain, low mood, and severe PMS
- Many factors may contribute to high estrogen levels or estrogen dominance, including stress, alcohol, and gut dysbiosis
- You can flush out excess estrogen through supplements and getting enough sleep
- Exercising regularly and your diet can also be part of figuring out how to flush out excess estrogen naturally
- Avoid environmental sources of estrogen
- Reconsider certain medications, including hormonal birth control
What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a sex hormone. Estrogen plays a role in the growth and reproductive development of women. The hormone is responsible for maintaining the female reproductive system and the development of features like breasts. This hormone also plays a role in many essential bodily processes inducing cognitive health, bone health, and the health of the cardiovascular system.
The hormone works along with progesterone, and both are primarily known for their effects on female reproductive and sexual health.
The adrenal glands, ovaries, and fat tissues produce estrogen. While both men and women have some levels of estrogen, females create more.
There are a few types of estrogen which include:
- Estrone, which is present after menopause. Estrone is a weaker form of estrogen, and the body can convert it to other forms if needed.
- Men and women produce estradiol, and it’s the most common type in women during their reproductive years. If your levels of estradiol are too high, it can lead to depression, acne, loss of sex drive, and osteoporosis. Very high estradiol levels increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer. Low levels, on the other hand, can contribute to cardiovascular disease and weight gain.
- Estriol levels rise during pregnancy. Estriol helps the uterus grows, and it prepares your body for delivery. Levels peak right before birth.
Estrogen affects the function of the following:
- Ovaries—in the ovaries, estrogen stimulates egg follicle growth.
- Vagina—estrogen maintains the vaginal wall’s thickness and promotes lubrication.
- Uterus—in your uterus, estrogen can help maintain the mucous membrane lining it, and it regulates the flow and thickness of mucus secretions from the uterus.
- Breasts—your body uses estrogen to form breast tissue; the hormone helps stop your milk flow after you wean.
What is High Estrogen (Estrogen Dominance)?
Some people may develop high estrogen levels naturally. Estrogen dominance can also occur because of medications like estrogen replacement therapy. Estrogen replacement therapy is a treatment for menopause symptoms.
You could also have low testosterone or progesterone, which disrupts your hormone balance.
If your estrogen levels are particularly high compared to your levels of progesterone, it’s called estrogen dominance.
Symptoms of High Estrogen in Women
If your estrogen and testosterone levels aren’t balanced, and you’re a woman, symptoms may include:
- Swelling or tenderness of the breasts
- Fibrocystic lumps in the breast
- Reduced sex drive
- Irregular periods
- More severe symptoms of PMS
- Mood swings
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Weight gain
- Cold hands and feet
- Problems sleeping
- Memory problems
- Brain fog
- Hair loss
Symptoms of High Estrogen in Men
Men’s bodies also make estrogen, even though we refer to it as a female hormone.
Men need a healthy balance of testosterone and estrogen for sexual development and growth.
If a man’s hormonal balance experiences a disruption, it can lead to problems with sexual function.
Signs of high estrogen in men include:
- Infertility—when men have high estrogen levels, sperm levels may fall.
- Gynecomastia—estrogen can stimulate breast tissue growth, which means men can develop this condition, causing larger breasts.
- Erectile dysfunction can be harder for men with high estrogen levels to get or maintain an erection.
Diagnosing High Estrogen
If a female has symptoms of estrogen dominance, their doctor may not need to do diagnostic tests. Most doctors’ recommendations to reduce estrogen or tips on how to flush out excess estrogen naturally are good for you in general and won’t cause harm.
Your health care provider might want to do official tests to check estrogen levels if they think an underlying medical condition is causing the imbalance.
In females, blood tests can be done to measure all three types of estrogen. In males, only estradiol and estrone are measured.
What Causes High Estrogen Levels?
Estrogen levels can naturally vary among people and fluctuate throughout your lifetime if you’re a female and during your menstrual cycle.
Other lifestyle factors can also affect your estrogen levels, leading to the symptoms above, like mood swings, anxiety, and headaches.
These factors can include:
When you’re facing chronic stress, it’s a big factor for high estrogen levels. When you experience stress, cortisol is released. Cortisol is a stress hormone.
When your body releases cortisol chronically, it can shut down the building blocks for sex hormones as a way to protect itself.
Over time, with this continuing to happen, your sex hormones, including estrogen, can become off-balance.
If you eat conventional meat, it could be affecting your hormone levels, including your estrogen.
Livestock animals on factory farms are produced in a way that aims to make them as large as possible and to do so quickly.
That means farmers get the most meat per animal.
Animals are often supplemented with growth hormones, including estrogen, which makes them grow more quickly.
The estrogen in meat can then transfer to blood levels in human circulation and fat tissue.
When you frequently consume traditional meat, estrogen may accumulate over time, leading to symptoms and complications.
Whenever possible, try to opt for organic and grass-fed meat.
Low Fiber Consumption
Fiber helps with digestion, and a study found that when your fiber is low, it may lead to high estrogen.
If you consume adequate amounts of fiber, it’s thought to bind to estrogen so that your body then excretes it in your stool, preventing too much of it from accumulating.
Nutrients can play a role in the metabolism of estrogen and its detoxification.
The best way to combat nutrient deficiencies is to eat a varied diet. Your liver, kidneys, and digestive system should be detoxifying excess estrogen on their own.
When you’re deficient in a nutrient, your natural detoxification systems may not be working as efficiently as they should be.
There are so many toxins we’re exposed to every day. There are toxins from chemicals in the food we eat, in the containers and materials that hold our food, water bottles, and so many other sources.
- If you have a high toxic burden, the number of toxic substances entering your body is more than you can eliminate.
- There are chemicals called xenoestrogens. These chemicals have a structural component that’s like estrogen. When you use these products over time, they can accumulate in your body, leading to high estrogen.
- Xenoestrogens can be found in food, plastic packaging, shampoo and face washes, lotions, and sunscreens. Common xenoestrogens include parabens and benzophenone.
Poor Gut Health
Your gut is so important to your digestive system and every other part of your health.
We’re continuing to learn about gut health’s role in mental health, immune function, and hormones.
Your gut needs diverse good bacteria to digest foods.
There’s a term—gut dysbiosis—which is when there’s an imbalance of good and harmful bacteria in your gut.
Your gut helps regulate your estrogen levels through a particular enzyme.
When your gut health is off, your estrogen balance may be as well.
If you don’t have balanced gut bacteria, it can slow down your digestion, leading to constipation.
Then, if estrogen isn’t being removed through your stool, it recirculates, contributing to high estrogen and hormonal imbalances.
In general, constipation is something that contributes to high estrogen, no matter the underlying cause of it.
Variants in Methylation Genes
Methylation is a chemical process in our bodies.
Methylation is needed for proper DNA function, and when the process isn’t working as it should, it creates a number of health issues.
When the gene MTHFR isn’t working properly in particular, it can cause high estrogen.
When we drink too much alcohol, it impedes our body’s ability to naturally remove estrogen.
Alcohol decreases or slows down the estrogen oxidation process, which is how it turns into the best form for elimination.
Basically, when you drink a lot, you’re interfering with your body’s natural detoxification.
Insulin is a hormone your pancreas produces to regulate blood sugar.
With Type 2 diabetes, the cells in your pancreas can’t create enough insulin to counteract the sugar before it enters your bloodstream, or the cells carrying insulin through the bloodstream no longer respond to insulin, leading to insulin resistance.
Many hormones also work with insulin to control blood sugar.
When one or more hormones are unbalanced, there’s an increased risk of insulin resistance.
If you have an increase in sugar, it decreases testosterone levels and may lead to estrogen dominance, leading to insulin resistance.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills have estrogen, which can cause or worsen estrogen dominance.
The dosage can be very strong, which can linger in your body for long periods.
Typically, your natural cycle is made up of rising and falling levels of progesterone.
Birth control works by keeping your estrogen high so that your body thinks it’s pregnant, preventing another pregnancy.
If you have painful, irregular periods or cramping, it’s often because you’re deficient in progesterone and have an excess of estrogen.
Also, when your body metabolizes birth control pills, your liver needs more B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C than you would otherwise.
If you’re taking birth control pills for extended periods of time and not getting enough of these nutrients, it’s going to lead to deficiencies.
These nutrient deficiencies can, in turn, cause fluid retention, mood changes, depression, or heart disease.
How to Flush Out Excess Estrogen
If you feel like you have symptoms of excess estrogen, there are things you can do to do support your body’s natural detox pathways.
We detail some of the ways you can learn how to flush out excess estrogen and start to rebalance your hormones.
Tip #1: Look at Your Diet
A lot of your problems with hormonal imbalance may be due to your diet.
First, you want to reduce your intake of inflammatory foods, which include those things that are high in sugar and also processed foods.
Specific diet tips that will help flush out excess estrogen naturally include:
- Reduce or eliminate things that are associated with the standard American diet, like refined carbs, sugar, and processed foods. These foods increase estrogen levels in the body.
- Focus on eating healthy fats and cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Cruciferous vegetables contain indole-3-carinol or I3C. I3C helps your liver break down excess estrogen.
- Healthy fats support your body’s natural hormone production. Omega-3s are the best fats you can include in your diet when you’re looking for how to flush out excess estrogen. Foods with healthy omega-3 fats include chia seeds, salmon, and walnuts. Avocado, coconut, and seeds are other good options.
- Have probiotic foods that help your gut health so you can get rid of excess estrogen through bowel movements. Foods that support healthy gut bacteria include kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
- Increase your fiber intake. Aim for 30 mg a day of fiber. Having adequate fiber will help your gut health and allow you to properly detox excess estrogen through your bowels. High-fiber foods include lentils, apples with the skin on, black beans, broccoli, quinoa, and flaxseeds.
- Phytoestrogens are plant-based foods with a structure similar to estrogen but weaker than other xenoestrogens. They help if you have estrogen dominance because they block the effects of stronger estrogens. Phytoestrogens that can help naturally balance your levels include legumes like chickpeas, garlic, fresh herbs, green tea, flash seeds, and organic tempeh.
- Include foods that support your liver in your diet. Foods that are good for liver health include green tea, radish, dandelion green, and bitter melon.
- Drink only purified water, and never have it from a plastic bottle. Instead, use a glass or stainless-steel bottle.
- Limit your caffeine intake. Your liver has to metabolize all the caffeine you consume, which burdens it and can make it sluggish, so you aren’t properly eliminating estrogen.
- One glass of wine can drastically increase estrogen levels because it impacts how your body breaks it down. The more you drink, the more this effect is amplified. Watch your alcohol intake closely.
- Choose organic, grass-fed, and pasture-raised meat when possible.
- Try to stay away from soy products. Soy can affect your hormones; when you have non-organic soy products, they are among the most heavily sprayed crops. If you’re estrogen dominant, ideally, stay away from soy milk, vegetarian meat products, and tofu.
Tip #2—Maintain Your Liver Health
One thing that is so often overlooked is the role your liver health plays in your hormones.
Your liver breaks down and helps eliminate hormones once they’re used.
The liver regulates sex hormones, including estrogen, thyroid, and adrenal hormones.
Your liver health can be affected by alcohol, medications, and diseases. Genetic factors, infections, and accumulations of fat in your liver can also make it more sluggish and less able to effectively break down estrogen.
Estrogen is poorly metabolized when your liver is struggling, so it gets reabsorbed by your body, leading to hormonal imbalances.
To keep your liver health in check, remember the following:
- Eat a healthy balanced diet. The Mediterranean diet seems to be especially good for liver health, emphasizing healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, fish and lean meat, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Cut toxic foods out of your diet. These can include refined sugar, lunch meats, and hydrogenated oils.
- Drink raw vegetable juice when you get the chance. It’s difficult to keep your liver healthy and get all the nutrition you need by eating raw vegetables in their whole form. When you juice vegetables, it helps make them more digestible and the nutrients ready for absorption.
- Make sure you have enough potassium, which helps cleanse your liver.
- Certain supplements support your liver health, including milk thistle and dandelion root. Milk thistle is one of the best detoxifying herbs available. Milk thistle can help eliminate alcohol, heavy metals, environmental pollutants, and prescription medications that might have built up in your liver. The active ingredient, silymarin, strengthens your liver cell walls and supports regeneration. Along with taking milk thistle as a supplement, you can also have it as a tea.
Tip #3—Take a Probiotic
Too often, we don’t associate or see a relationship between probiotics and estrogen levels or hormones in general.
However, it’s possible that you can cure your symptoms of estrogen dominance with a good probiotic.
You can eat fermented foods to strengthen the diversity of good bacteria in your gut.
Foods that have natural probiotics include:
- Raw kombucha
- Fermented natto
- Pickled beets
You can also choose to take a high-quality probiotic supplement that will raise your good gut flora and replace the bad.
This helps your body excrete more toxins and also excess estrogen.
Many women are constipated or don’t have regular bowel movements. This means you could be reabsorbing more estrogen into your bloodstream than what’s considered ideal.
The slower your digestion, the longer toxins can linger in your intestines, where they’re then reabsorbed.
The faster your digestion rate, the more efficiently you can remove the excess estrogen and any other toxic molecules that your body doesn’t need to stay around too long.
Another less direct way probiotics help with estrogen dominance is by reducing inflammation.
When your body is experiencing inflammation, it doesn’t produce hormones at the right levels.
Your body frequently over-produces estrogen when you’re experiencing stress, and that’s part of your pro-inflammatory response.
When you reduce inflammation, you can lower estrogen. When you reduce excess estrogen, you can then combat inflammation.
Particular strains of probiotics that may be beneficial as far as how to flush out excess estrogen include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus is a strain of bacteria that can help change your gut microbiota composition. This particular probiotic shows benefits in the treatment of conditions related to hormones.
- Lactobacillus gasseri can help modulate the immune system and reduce symptoms of endometriosis.
- Along with a probiotic, you might consider taking a prebiotic. Prebiotics can help produce short-chain fatty acids that help rebuild the cells lining the gut, reducing inflammation and intestinal permeability. Short-chain fatty acids can also help lower the colon’s acidity, helping with hormone balance and a pathogen-free gut.
- Bloating and constipation are often best solved by strains like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis.
Getting enough exercise is an important part of managing hormone-related health issues.
When you exercise, hormones affected include:
- Dopamine: Exercise improves dopamine levels and reduces stress and even symptoms of depression.
- Serotonin: When you get physical activity, it releases serotonin which helps you have a positive mood, better social behavior, improved digestion, and better sexual function and memory.
- Testosterone: For men in particular, regularly exercising can improve testosterone levels. For men, muscle mass, sex drive, sperm count, and strength are linked to testosterone. As men age, their testosterone levels naturally go down but exercising can improve them.
Finally, estrogen is also affected by exercise. When you exercise, it can help speed up the removal of excess estrogen.
At the same time, if you have an imbalance in the other direction and your levels are low, exercise can raise estrogen levels and help with menopause symptoms.
Finally, when it comes to how to flush out excess estrogen, there are some supplements that can help with overall hormone balance.
Some of the best supplements for estrogen dominance include:
If there’s one supplement you take to lower your estrogen levels and reverse estrogen dominance, make it a DIM supplement.
DIM stands for diindolylmethane.
The compound is found in cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, but it would take large amounts of eating these foods to get as much of the compound as you can from a supplement.
DIM supplements help adjust estrogen levels, and in some clinical trials, it’s been shown to lower the risk of certain cancers associated with cancer and disorders like lupus.
DIM has a number of specific estrogen-related effects. The benefits of DIM supplements include:
- Prevents the effects of estrogen on cells
- Can slow cancer cells
- Reduces toxins produced by your metabolism
- Improves antioxidants
- Helps promote weight loss
- Memory and mood enhancer
- Alleviates symptoms of PMS
- Supports heart health
- Helps prostate health in men
One study found that increasing the amount of B6 vitamin daily to anywhere from 200 to 800 mg can raise progesterone levels, reducing estrogen and reducing PMS symptoms.
In other research, vitamin B6 has been shown to potentially increase fertility by up to 120%.
Vitamin B6 synthesizes brain neurotransmitters like serotonin.
The vitamin is responsible for making hemoglobin, it’s vital to your immune function and helps your body properly metabolize proteins, fats, and carbs.
So, what about excess estrogen and hormonal balance?
Vitamin B6, along with folate and B12, helps your liver clear estrogen from your body.
B6 can also help estrogen dominance by increasing progesterone but decreasing estrogen, which is what gets you into that optimal place of balance.
B6 is important for the production of adrenal hormones, too.
Symptoms of adrenal dysfunction include irritability, exhaustion, low libido, and problems with memory.
In theory, we should all get enough magnesium from our diets, but that’s not always what happens.
Many of us are deficient in magnesium, leading to a slew of symptoms from migraines to anxiety and depression.
Low magnesium levels can cause you to feel fatigued, edgy, and have insomnia.
In the long term, chronically low levels can lead to heart arrhythmias, inflammation, blood clots, numbness and tingling, high blood pressure, and memory problems.
Magnesium helps your body produce energy, convert food into fuel, and relax muscles.
It also builds your bones, regulates your body temperature, and helps with the digestion and utilization of proteins, fats, and carbs.
The mineral produces glutathione, the powerhouse of antioxidants, and it builds RNA while synthesizing DNA.
There are so many essential roles of magnesium in our bodies, and our hormones are no exception.
Having sufficient magnesium levels can improve your thyroid function, increase serotonin and reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
Magnesium also plays a role in blood sugar reduction.
Along with glutathione and folic acid, magnesium is critical to detoxification in your liver.
Estrogen metabolites are made water-soluble, so they can then leave your body either in stool or urine.
If you don’t have enough magnesium, your liver can’t complete this phase of estrogen detox, leading to estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance can then lead to fluid retention, weight gain, and other symptoms.
If you’re experiencing a low mood or symptoms of anxiety, magnesium helps convert tryptophan, an amino acid, to serotonin.
Serotonin is a mood-boosting hormone. Serotonin also makes melatonin, which helps you get high-quality sleep.
Vitex, technically known as vitex agnus-castus or chasteberry, is an herbal option that can help you get your hormones in check.
This herbal supplement is most commonly used for PMS, menstrual disorders, infertility, and acne.
Vitex may also help with problems nursing and menopause.
Vitex or chasteberry has been used since Ancient Greece.
Researchers think Vitex helps decrease levels of prolactin, a hormone. This then rebalances levels of other hormones, including both estrogen and progesterone.
Vitex, in research, appears to have a number of other benefits along with hormone balancing, including reducing the frequency of migraines during menstrual cycles and reducing inflammation.
How to Flush Out Excess Estrogen—Final Thoughts
When we think about problems with estrogen, we often think primarily about people with low estrogen and the symptoms they may experience.
In reality, if your estrogen levels are off-balance in either direction, you can experience symptoms that diminish your quality of life.
High levels of excess estrogen can lead to abnormal periods that are heavy or painful, headaches, low sex drive, fatigue, anxiety and depression, and bloating.
Estrogen dominance can also lead to breast tenderness, hormonal weight gain, fibroids, and endometriosis.
There are many reasons that you might have high levels of estrogen, including an imbalance of other hormones like progesterone, chemical estrogens like BPA, poor diet, and nutrient deficiencies.
You can do things to flush out excess estrogen naturally, including changing your diet, cutting out alcohol, and exercising. Certain supplements and the use of probiotics and other gut health strategies can also help you get back in a sense of balance and feel better overall.