Is Too Much Estrogen Causing Your PMS? Let’s take a look at 5 Simple Tips for Balancing Estrogen Levels Naturally.
Why do we get PMS? Those chocolate cravings, that crippling fatigue, the scary mood swings, the unexplainable weepiness… it sure can creep up on you every month, but what in the world causes it? And even more importantly: what can we do to stop it?
“Periods Aren’t Supposed to Be Miserable”
PMS is so common that just mentioning those three letters is enough to get an emphatic nod from almost every women.
But just because PMS is “normal” doesn’t mean you can’t find a solution. In her book Quit PMS, Lauren Geerston reminds us that we have the power to do something about PMS:
“This may blow your mind, but periods aren’t supposed to be miserable. They aren’t supposed to hurt. They aren’t supposed to mean a whole day of crying and a gallon of Ben and Jerry’s.
PMS, cramping, bloating and all the rest of it is the result of imbalanced hormones. If we can manipulate those hormones into balance with diet and lifestyle changes, the unpleasant symptoms will disappear.” – from Quit PMS
PMS: Symptom of Too Much Estrogen?
The fact that PMS symptoms cycle around hormonal fluctuations is a big clue about why PMS happens. When your hormones are out of whack, these imbalances can throw a wrench into how your body is supposed to function… and it leads to side effects like PMS cravings, bloating, and mood swings.
So which hormone is responsible for PMS? A lot of fingers point to estrogen. Or to be more exact, too much estrogen. Estrogen does play some important roles in our health and fertility, but you can definitely have too much of a good thing.
Lauren describes these as common symptoms of estrogen dominance:
- Salt and fluid retention
- Impaired thyroid function
- Lowered metabolism
- Increased cortisol
- Increased risk of cancer
- Increased risk of insulin resistance
- Increased permeability of the gut
- Increased risk of autoimmune disorders
Yikes! Not exactly a pleasant list. But when the body’s natural balance is disrupted, the results aren’t always pretty.
Why do We Have Too Much Estrogen?
These days estrogen is just all over the place. Estrogenic substances are in the food we eat, the bottles we drink from, and the expensive moisturizer you just bought at the department store. Our bodies simply become overloaded with estrogenic compounds, and according to Lauren, getting rid of all this excess estrogen is not so easy for your body to do:
“Estrogen is a long-acting hormone in the body. Unless it is removed from circulation in the blood, it will repeatedly deliver its chemical messages to body cells. Estrogen dominance is exacerbated due to the fact that it requires a lot of effort and energy to eliminate estrogen from the body.
Excess estrogen is eliminated with two primary pathways: the liver and the digestive tract. Part of the unneeded estrogen gets shipped to the liver, where it is prepared for excretion and sent to the kidneys to be eliminated. If the liver is not functioning, then 100% of the estrogen sent to the liver can be recirculated in the bloodstream.” from Quit PMS
5 Simple Tips for Balancing Estrogen Naturally
So to end estrogen dominance and relieve PMS symptoms, it best to approach the problem of too much estrogen in three ways: 1) improve liver health, 2) improve digestion and elimination, and 3) avoid estrogenic foods and environmental toxins as much as you reasonably can.
Here are five simple ways you can get on the road to estrogen balance:
1. Eat enough quality protein.
“A protein deficiency or impaired protein digestion can suppress liver function. Since a healthy liver is required to detox estrogen, inadequate protein may exacerbate estrogen dominance.” from Quit PMS
I personally recommend about .5 grams of protein per pound of body weight (so someone who weighs 150 lbs would eat at least 75 grams of protein per day). This is just a general guideline, but it can be a helpful starting place. (Note: If you’re super active, you may need a lot more protein.)
Of course, the quality of protein is important, too. Grass-fed meat and dairy are good, as well as other quality meats and seafood. Bone broth and collagen protein are also excellent sources of protein.
2. Avoid Soy
Many people turn to soy for protein, but when you have too much estrogen, soy can just make the problem worse.
“Soy is extremely high in phytoestrogens, substances that mimic estrogen in the body. If you have hormonal imbalance, the last thing you want to do is eat this ‘estrogen supplement.’ “ from Quit PMS
If you have PMS, it’s probably best to limit soy consumption (there are other reasons to avoid soy as well, but that’s for another post!).
3. Stay “Regular”
Since the body gets rid of some estrogen through the digestive tract (aka by “elimination” if you catch my drift), constipation is your enemy.
“Some estrogen is packaged into bile, where it is excreted into the small intestines during digestion. There, the estrogen is eliminated as part of solid waste. If there is constipation or slow transit time, however, the waste sits stagnant in the colon. Here, the estrogen can be reabsorbed by the body and sent into recirculation.” from Quit PMS
To assist your body in eliminating excess estrogen, it’s important to stay regular and prevent constipation. In general, I’ve found that eating enough quality food and supporting metabolic health are extremely helpful for preventing constipation.
“What is so special about raw carrots? Raw carrots contain a special fiber that binds to estrogen in the digestive tract and helps move it out of the body. Hormone researcher Ray Peat found that consuming a raw carrot for just three days in a row significantly reduced estrogen levels.” from Quit PMS
4. Go Organic
One reason I choose organic food is to avoid the chemicals in conventional herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. These chemicals can be highly estrogenic. Avoid these chemicals by choosing to buy organic or from a farmer you trust, or grow your own instead!
5. Avoid Aluminum
“Aluminum (a metalloestrogen) is capable of binding and activating estrogen receptors. The aluminum in conventional anti-perspirants/deodorants is absorbed through the skin, along with the other stressful toxins in these products.” from Quit PMS
Read more about getting some PMS relief here from Our Small Hours.
Want to Learn More About the REAL Causes of PMS?
I love Lauren’s book Quit PMS.
It’s filled with natural, simply remedies for dealing with PMS–but more importantly, Lauren takes a deep look into the metabolic reasons that PMS happens in the first place, so you can stop PMS at the source. (If you like this post, Lauren also provides recipes for carrot salad to help with digestive health, along with many other recipes for natural skincare, remedies, and nourishing foods geared toward healthy hormones.)
You might also be interested in reading… Why You Need to Ditch Tampons
More Women’s Health Articles:
- How to Stop Anxiety
- How to Relieve Period Cramps
- PMS, Anxiety, and Mood Swings
- Supplements to Improve PMS
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Elizabeth is the founder of The Nourished Life and has been writing about natural living for 12 years. Her work has been featured at Shape, Bustle, and Mother Earth Living. Her mission is to help you lower your stress levels and find fun ways to become happier and healthier. Read more about Elizabeth here.