How to counteract too much estrogen? (5 ways)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much estrogen?”. We will further elaborate on the symptoms and causes of high estrogen levels in the body. 

How to counteract too much estrogen?

Estrogen is a steroid hormone associated with the female reproductive organs and is responsible for the development of female sexual characteristics. For women, the effects of estrogen on various systems of the body are described below (1):

  • Breast: Estrogen is responsible for developing mammary gland tissue and parenchymal and stromal changes in breast tissue at puberty in females. Estrogen is also responsible for the development of mammary ducts during puberty and pregnancy, functions to secrete breast milk in postpartum lactation.
  • Uterus: In the uterus, estrogen helps to proliferate endometrial cells in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, thickening the endometrial lining in preparation for pregnancy.
  • Vagina: Estrogen supports the proliferation of epithelial mucosa cells of the vagina and the vulva. In the absence of estrogen, the vaginal and vulvar mucosal epithelium becomes thin and presents with symptoms of dryness known as vulvovaginal atrophy.
  • Bone: During puberty, estrogen aids in the development of long bones and fusion of the epiphyseal growth plates. Estrogen protects bones by inactivating osteoclast activity, preventing osteoporosis in both estrogen-deficient and postmenopausal women.
  • Cardiovascular: Estrogen affects plasma lipids by increasing high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and triglyceride levels while decreasing low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and total plasma cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease in early use in postmenopausal women.

If your blood test reports an elevated level of estrogen in your body, and you are searching for ways to counteract it, do not worry, here in this article we have prepared a list of ways that can help you counteract too much estrogen. Try the approaches below:

  • Eat phytoestrogen-rich foods
  • Decrease your alcohol intake
  • Eat magnesium-rich foods or supplement
  • Eat 30 grams of fiber daily
  • Eat cruciferous vegetables frequently

Symptoms of high estrogen levels 

Estrogen is a sex hormone that performs major functions in the body. An imbalance in the levels of estrogen can greatly affect health. For example, high estrogen levels may increase weight, lower mood, and result in severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women.

This hormone is also present in men but in limited quantities. It is normal for estrogen levels to variate to some degree, but more severe problems can happen if the levels are consistently raised. When estrogen levels are high corresponding to progesterone in women, this is referred to as estrogen dominance.

Elevated estrogen levels have different consequences on males and females. So let’s learn about their symptoms separately. In women, symptoms of excess estrogen exposure include heavy menstruation, irritability and mood swings, headaches, sleep disturbances, breast cyst, endometriosis, fibroids, gallbladder disease, and thyroid disorders. Symptoms of excess estrogen in males include infertility and gynecomastia (1).

Symptoms of high estrogen levels in females

In females, high estrogen levels may result in (1):

  • Worse premenstrual syndrome than usual
  • Gain in weight, particularly in the hips and waist
  • Heavy or light menses
  • Fatigue
  • Fibroids in the uterus
  • Fibrocystic lumps in the breasts
  • Low mood or anxiety
  • Decreased sex drive

Additional possible symptoms may include:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Hair loss
  • Bloating
  • Headaches

Symptoms of high estrogen levels in males

In males, high estrogen levels may cause:

  • Enlarged breasts, identified as gynecomastia: The source of estrogen excess in gynecomastia is circulating androgens from the adrenal glands, and the earliest onset of gynecomastia occurs around the adrenarche period (7–14 years). Early diagnosis and prophylactic treatment can avoid the need for surgical intervention. 
  • Difficulty getting or sustaining an erection: Decreased testosterone levels are consistent in patients of all ages and testicular volume is subnormal in teens, but normal in adults.
  • Infertility
  • Increased rates of depression: Gynecomastia is not only a physical but also a mental health problem for patients and their families, even in mild cases.

 Estrogen excess during the prepubertal period initially accelerates bone growth and bone age, and subsequently, induces premature epiphyseal closure. As seen in other instances of precocious puberty, patients are taller than their age-matched peers until the early teenage period, after which height is in the subnormal adult range. In addition, decreased testosterone levels are consistent in patients of all ages. Testicular volume is subnormal in teens, but normal in adults (2).

Different ways to reduce estrogen levels 

Eat phytoestrogen-rich foods

Foods that are rich in phytoestrogens, such as soy and legumes, provide a weaker form of estrogen that can help to counteract the high estrogen levels. They act by adhering to the estrogen receptors thus preventing estradiol, a more powerful estrogen produced principally by the ovaries from adhering to the estrogen receptor. This way, it helps to reduce the adverse side effects linked to high estradiol.

Phytoestrogens are a group of plant compounds containing one to two benzene rings and two or three hydroxyl groups, similar to 17-estradiol in structure and molecular weight. Owing to structural similarities, they are capable of binding to estrogen receptors. These compounds include isoflavonoids, flavonoids, lignans, coumestans, ellagitannins, stilbenes. It has been suggested that phytoestrogens can modulate estrogen metabolism by inhibiting aromatase, therefore reducing levels of circulatory estrogens. It is also thought to competitively bind to estrogen receptors owing to its structural similarity with estrogen, thus reducing its bioavailability (3).

When consuming soy, make sure you are consuming a non-GMO product and that it is obtained from the whole soybean, for example, tempeh.

Chickpeas and mung beans are other varieties of legumes that have phytoestrogens.

Decrease the alcohol intake

As low as one alcoholic beverage a day can elevate estrogen levels, and sadly, no type of alcohol is more good than the other. This also corresponds to why frequent alcohol intake can boost the risk of breast cancer.

Thus, reducing your net alcohol consumption is important to reduce the total estrogen levels in the body.

If you drink alcohol frequently, start by decreasing the total alcohol consumption throughout the week by assuring you are having many alcohol-free nights in a week.

Eat magnesium-rich foods or supplement

Magnesium is a vital mineral to counteract the high levels of estrogen in the body. It also helps to alleviate symptoms correlated with too much estrogen, for instance, period cramps. It acts by decreasing inflammation and muscular contractions.

A study showed that in the menopausal and postmenopausal women, the Mg level was inversely and significantly related to the estrogen level (5).

You can get magnesium from food sources like nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, leafy green vegetables and even dark chocolate.

If you do not have access to these dietary sources, another option is to take magnesium supplements. Opt for a magnesium amino acid chelate, bis-glycinate or citrate for good absorption. 

Eat cruciferous vegetables frequently

Another approach to counteract too high estrogen levels in the body is to eat cruciferous vegetables frequently. Once ingested, the Cruciferae release unique phytochemical constituents able to modify the activity of cellular enzymes affecting estrogen metabolism. The most active of these phytochemicals with regard to estrogen is the dietary indole, diindolylmethane, that promotes the metabolism of estrogen by the liver.

Cruciferous vegetables have been shown to shift production of the estrogen metabolite 16-hydroxyestrone to the less potent estrogen metabolite 2-hydroxyestrone. This change in estrogen metabolite production has been shown to be protective against estrogen-dependent cancers. Moreover, studies reported that compounds in cruciferous vegetables are able to modulate estrogen receptor transcription activity (4). 

Among the cruciferous vegetables, you can have Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and watercress.

Eat 30 grams of fiber daily

Fiber is not just essential for good digestive health but also helps in lowering the high levels of estrogen by detoxifying through the bowels. 

Having a diet with surplus plant foods will not just assure you are obtaining sufficient quantities of fiber, but it will also give you plenty of minerals plus antioxidants that are essential for detoxifying the liver.

A fiber rich diet is essential for a healthy intestinal microflora. Studies showed that intestinal microbes encode enzymes capable of deconjugating conjugated estrogen metabolites marked for excretion, pushing them back into the enterohepatic circulation in a biologically active form. In addition, the intestinal microbes also break down otherwise indigestible dietary polyphenols to synthesize estrogen-like compounds or estrogen mimics that exhibit varied estrogenic potency (3).

Among the high fiber-rich foods you can have, pear with their skins on, lentils, apple, pinto beans, flaxseeds, black beans, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, prunes broccoli, kiwi fruit, walnuts, quinoa, carrots and brown rice.


In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “How to counteract too much estrogen?”. We have further elaborated on the symptoms and causes of high estrogen levels in the body. 


  1. Delgado, Benjamin J., and Wilfredo Lopez-Ojeda. Estrogen. StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing, 2020.
  2. Shozu, Makio, Maki Fukami, and Tsutomu Ogata. Understanding the pathological manifestations of aromatase excess syndrome: lessons for clinical diagnosis. Expert rev endocrinol metab, 2014, 9, 397-409. 
  3. Parida, Sheetal, and Dipali Sharma. The microbiome–estrogen connection and breast cancer risk. Cells, 2019, 8, 1642.
  4. Murillo, Genoveva, and Rajendra G. Mehta. Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. Nutr cancer, 2001, 41, 17-28.
  5. Muneyyirci-Delale, Ozgul, et al. Serum ionized magnesium and calcium in women after menopause: inverse relation of estrogen with ionized magnesium. Fertil steril, 1999, 71, 869-872.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!