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How to Reverse Estrogen Dominance Naturally — info for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance 

Do you want to get to the bottom of what’s behind your Mast Cell Activation? Perhaps you need to reverse your estrogen dominance naturally.

You may already be taking some steps to support yourself. Maybe you’ve started with some mast cell supporting supplements, for example. If so, that’s great!

But what’s the big underlying issue that’s causing your mast cells to react in the first place? For everyone it’s different.

I call these underlying issues the root causes. Many of my private clients have more than one root cause.

To really heal when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, you’ve got to address what’s triggering your mast cells.

One of the root causes I see is imbalanced hormones and estrogen dominance. That’s what we’ll look at more in this post.

In this blog post you’ll learn about:

  • The 4 most common estrogen dominance triggers
  • Herbal supplements that can help re-balance your hormone levels
  • High quality OTC bioidentical progesterone options
  • Detox tips for estrogen dominance

Estrogen Dominance in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Imbalanced hormones make my list of the top 7 root causes I see.

Estrogen dominance is a common hormone imbalance.

Estrogen dominance can affect you during reproductive years, perimenopause, and menopause. On its own, estrogen dominance can contribute to a lot of issues like:

  • acne 
  • constipation 
  • loss of sex drive 
  • depression 
  • weight gain 
  • menstrual problems (water retention, heavy periods, PMS)
  • increased risk of uterine and breast cancer 
  • increased risk of cardiovascular disease  
  • fibroids 
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome 
  • endometriosis 

Estrogen dominance can trigger mast cell activation, too! So, on top of all this, you may also experience mast cell reactions!

I’ve been dealing with estrogen dominance since I was a kid. I had no idea what estrogen dominance was back then. The doctors I saw didn’t know either.

But looking back, I can see how this played a role in how bad my symptoms got around my period.

Estrogen dominance led to me hitting puberty early. It also amped up my mast cell reactions. And it very likely led to the ovarian cysts I had that ruptured and landed me in the hospital.

Now that I know about estrogen dominance, I can see that I was exposed to a lot of estrogen dominance triggers when I was a kid. And I experienced a lot of symptoms and conditions associated with estrogen dominance, too.

As an adult, I started to address these estrogen dominance triggers. When I did, some of those symptoms that had followed me since puberty started to calm down.

Estrogen dominance triggers are often called hormone disruptors. I’ll tell you more about that in just a bit. These disruptors can set your hormones off balance.

And that can lead to estrogen dominance and a lot of problems… especially if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.

These triggers may be coming from your:

  • environment (products like skincare and plastics)
  • food
  • mold toxins
  • synthetic hormones

Those are the ones that contributed to my estrogen dominance early in life. I see these particular triggers show up again and again with some of my clients, too.

There are many more estrogen dominance triggers, but we’ll stick to these today. That’s because I also want to share with you some ways you can consider for balancing your hormones, too.

If you want to read more about the basics of estrogen dominance, check out this post on estrogen dominance.

In that post I talked about the different roles of hormones, the 3 main types of estrogen dominance, and how you can test yourself to see if estrogen dominance is triggering your mast cells.

Once you know you have estrogen dominance, you need to both:

  • remove the triggers
  • rebalance your hormones

So, keep reading to learn more about the most common of these estrogen dominance triggers as well as what you can do to get back in balance.

Let’s start by looking at some estrogen dominance triggers that might be hiding in plain sight.

Estrogen Dominance Triggers

Before you can reverse estrogen dominance naturally, you need to know how to stop its triggers.

Environmental Exposure Triggers

In everything from household items to skincare…there are hormone disruptors.

So, what are hormone disruptors? Hormone disruptors are chemicals that interfere with your body’s hormones. They can do this by mimicking hormones.

Your body is tricked into thinking these “fake” hormones are the real deal.

Hormone disruptors can also interfere with your body by blocking hormones from doing the job they are supposed to do.

These chemicals can be either natural or man-made. And you don’t have to look hard to find them.

Let’s start with skincare.

Skincare

There are a lot of mast-cell and hormone triggers in beauty products and skincare (but not in my new favorite brand of skincare!).

Skincare products aren’t well regulated in the US. This means that companies can put a LOT of toxins in those products.

What you put on your skin gets into your bloodstream. This is why I say if you aren’t willing to put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin.

Toxic ingredients in skincare and beauty products were triggers I encountered a lot as a kid.

Those Bath and Body Works lotions with delicious sounding names were one place I got a lot of hormone triggers. Vanilla cherry. Peach. Cucumber melon.

I also loved makeup! Revlon, L’Oréal, even Aveda…

I didn’t know what was in these products or how these ingredients would affect me.

One ingredient I didn’t even know how to pronounce back then is phthalates.

Phthalates are one of the worst estrogen dominance and mast cell triggers you’ll find in skincare. Phthalates are listed as the Environmental Working Group’s top 12 hormone disrupters.

Studies have linked phthalates to hormone changes and thyroid issues.

We find phthalates in plastics, but you’ll see this in beauty products, too. Sometimes it’s listed clearly as “phthalates” on the ingredients label.

But sometimes it’s a hidden ingredient. Phthalates often go by the name “fragrance.”

Not all fragrances are phthalates, but many are. It’s a way of putting a pretty label on something very toxic! All my delicious smelling lotions had “fragrance.”

It’s even present in make-up. And as you might guess, “fragrance” is also in many perfumes.

It’s amazing to me how many “natural” and “organic” brands contain these hormone disrupting toxins! I was shocked when I cleaned out my products.

Phthalates in the form of fragrance are just one of many toxins in a lot of skincare and beauty products out there. But it’s a big one that you want to avoid. It’s mast-cell triggering and estrogen dominance triggering – a double hit!

Fortunately, there are some truly non-toxic skincare and cosmetic companies out there. You just have to do your homework or check out my recommendations where I do all the research for you (like in this post on safe skincare for MCAS & HIT).

And good quality essential oils are free of phthalates.

So, what can you do to reduce estrogen dominance triggers in skincare?

Phthalates are also found in plastics, so let’s look at plastic next. This isn’t the only hormone disruptor you’ll find in plastic, unfortunately.

Plastics

Another trigger found in plastics is the chemical BPA.

You can find BPA in:

  • the cans of canned foods
  • water bottles
  • sippy cups
  • food storage containers
  • non-stick cookware

Here’s the bad news about BPA. Studies show it mimics estrogen in the body.

When these kinds of chemicals mimic estrogen, the body treats those chemicals as if they were actually estrogen. That can lead to imbalanced hormones and estrogen dominance.

Studies have shown negative effects of BPA on the reproductive systems of both wildlife and humans.

You might see products labeled BPA-free now. But that doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Studies are now showing that the replacement BPS, BPF, and BPAF may also be contributing to hormone disruption.

Animal studies demonstrate that it interferes with the earliest stages of egg and sperm production. This is how BPA affects fertility in both men and women.

You want to be especially careful with plastics and heat. Some of the toxins found in plastics will leach into your food and water when the plastic is hot.

This is why you should avoid putting hot foods in plastic storage containers.

It’s also why you want to avoid pre-bottled water as much as possible. Plastic water bottles often get hot during shipping.

What to do to reduce estrogen dominance triggers in household items:

TIP: On water bottles, make sure the part you are drinking from is not plastic like a straw or mouthpiece.

Of course, it’s not possible to avoid plastic completely. For example, if you buy frozen fruit or frozen vegetables, they often come in plastic wrap. This may not be as much of a concern because these foods stay cold.

Just do the best you can.

And that goes for the next trigger we’ll talk about, too…food.

Food Triggers

Whenever I talk about food triggers, I really want you to think of replacing foods rather than eliminating them. Don’t get in the situation where you keep whittling foods down.

If you’re limited in foods already, be sure to work with your healthcare provider before you take foods out.

This is because it’s very important to get a variety of nutrients to support your body.

But you do want to be mindful of your choices. For example, if you have histamine intolerance, you don’t want to eat foods that add to your daily histamine load.

It’s the same with estrogen dominance. There are certain foods that act as hormone disruptors.

When I was growing up, I drank a huge amount of milk. I almost never had water. I’d just have a glass of milk when I was thirsty.

This milk came from conventionally raised cows that farmers give growth hormones to. And we ate conventionally raised meat, too.

So many growth hormones!

And did you know that studies have shown that after drinking milk from cows given growth hormones, a person’s hormone levels can increase?

We just didn’t know any differently back then.

My family ate conventionally raised produce, too. Conventionally raised means that farmers are allowed to use pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones in what they produce.

When it comes to produce, that means potential exposure to pesticide residue. Many pesticides have been shown to be hormone disruptors, as well.

Some pesticides can be reduced with proper washing. But especially in soft fleshed fruits and vegetables, these pesticides can get into the flesh of the fruit. So, washing isn’t going to remove pesticides in all cases.

What to do to reduce estrogen dominance triggers in foods:

Now, there is a lot more I could tell you about food, hormones, and estrogen dominance. But I just wanted to cover the basics to let you know to be aware.

If you want to learn more about food and estrogen dominance, my friend and colleague Magdalena Wszelaki has a terrific book you can check out called, Overcoming Estrogen Dominance.

But there is one more thing I want to tell you about estrogen dominance and histamine. I talked about this in the estrogen dominance post, but I want to mention it again here.

If the foods you are eating are contributing to estrogen dominance, then it’s also contributing to your histamine intolerance and mast cell activation.

Estrogen is a mast cell trigger. It triggers the mast cells which in turn release histamine.

On top of that, too much estrogen can reduce an enzyme called Diamine Oxidase (DAO). Your body makes this enzyme to break down histamine. 

If your body doesn’t produce enough DAO to keep up with the histamine load, that can lead to histamine intolerance.

So, it really is important to make healthy food choices. Your body and all its systems connect in so many ways!

Now this next hormone disruptor is a little more complicated to address. But it’s a big one, so I want to mention it.

It’s also the #1 root cause of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome I see in my practice…. Mold.

Keep reading to learn how mold might be affecting your hormones, too!

Mold as a Trigger

If you’ve been following the Mast Cell 360 blog, you know mold toxicity is the #1 root cause I see behind Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. It’s disruptive in so many ways!

Mold toxins are big hormone disruptors. Zearalenone is one mold toxin to be aware of, especially when it comes to estrogen dominance.

Zearalenone has estrogenic properties. That means that it mimics estrogen. Basically, your body is reading it like estrogen. Sometimes this is referred to as an estrogenic trigger. This can cause serious hormone dysregulation.

Animal studies show zearalenone to negatively affect pregnancy, both in conception and in carrying to term. It’s believed that this is true for humans as well.

Zearalenone has been shown in these studies to affect both male and female fertility as well.

Multiple animal studies have also linked this mold toxin with endometriosis, and even breast cancer.

Mold exposure really did a number on me!

I was exposed to mold repeatedly. It started when my family moved to the country farmhouse.

Then, there was the 150-year-old duplex I lived in during college.

There was an office I rented for 10 years. And a little cottage I lived in. Like so many of my clients, I had multiple mold exposures.

I just didn’t know anything about mold then or how dangerous it was.

But, my health got worse and worse with each of these moldy places I spent time in.

Now, I know even 1 or 2 hours in a place with mold is enough to cause problems for more sensitive people like us with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.

When I tested my body for mold toxins, I had Zearalenone show up (and several others).

It comes from a type of mold called Fusarium that grows in moldy buildings.

Getting out of the mold exposures and detoxing them was a game changer for my health (and for over 600 clients I’ve worked with).

The severe, jaw clenching cramping I had with menstruation finally started improving when I detoxed this nasty mold toxin. The clotting and heavy flow cleared up as well.

I was clearing zearalenone with my detox protocol and imbalances with hormones were improving.

I see mold detox help a lot of women (and men) with hormonal issues.

What to do to reduce estrogen dominance triggers related to mold:

  • test your body for mold toxicity (even exposure from years ago may be affecting you)
  • take even small levels of mold toxins on urine testing seriously (it’s a tip of the iceberg scenario)
  • test your home for mold
  • consider gentle mold detoxification

Last, I just want to briefly touch on synthetic hormones.

Synthetic Estrogen as a Trigger

When hormones are out of balance, we can support them to help re-establish balance. This can be done indirectly through herbs or directly with hormone replacement.

When it comes to hormone replacement there are two types to consider: bioidentical and synthetic.

Synthetic hormones are typically what a traditional medical practitioner will prescribe. In some instances, this may be necessary and the best choice.

But if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance you may want to consider that synthetic hormones can often make it worse.

Synthetic hormones don’t function the same in your body as natural or bio-identical hormones. And they’re often many times stronger than what nature intended.

This can often wreak havoc with mast cell receptors.

Studies link synthetic hormone replacement to allergies and asthma. This is in part because these hormones are hard on the mast cell receptors.

When mast cell receptors get set off, they release mediators like histamine.

Synthetic estrogen and progesterone have also been studied for links to increased cardiovascular and cancer risks. This is an important factor to consider if you take synthetic hormones.

I mentioned earlier that when I was still very young ovarian cysts landed me in the hospital. I was in so much pain that my parents thought my appendix burst.

I was put on birth control, a synthetic estrogen. My doctor thought that if I didn’t have periods, the excruciating pain and other symptoms would go away. But they didn’t.

And it’s likely because ovarian cysts have been linked with estrogen dominance. Adding more estrogen to my system only made matters worse.

Bioidentical hormones are the other way to optimize hormones. I wish I had known about this much earlier in life! My estrogen dominance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome symptoms would have improved much more quickly.

What are bioidentical hormones?

Bioidentical hormones are identical to your natural hormones. These types of hormones tend to work better for women with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.

They are available as compounded prescriptions or over-the-counter. We’ll cover some options for bioidentical progesterone in a bit.

But first, let’s take a look at some ways to balance hormones naturally with lifestyle and herbal supports.

How to Reverse Estrogen Dominance Naturally

It’s important you know that this blog post is for informational and educational purposes. It’s not meant to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone.  If you have any medical condition, it is critical you work under the care and guidance of a licensed medical provider. If you have any form of hormone sensitive cancer, be sure to work closely with your oncologist.

Here are some steps to consider if you’re working to rebalance hormone levels in estrogen dominance.

Foods That Can Help in Estrogen Dominance

One of the gentlest ways you can start to support hormone balance is by considering the foods you eat.

  • choose whole, fresh, organic, and non-GMO foods
  • emphasize foods that are nutrient-dense
  • avoid conventional dairy and meat

Eat low-histamine, cruciferous vegetables to get DIM. DIM is a compound that has been shown to help balance E2 levels and reduce the bad 4OHE1 estrogen metabolite.

Here are some cruciferous veggies to consider adding to your meals:

  • broccoli
  • cabbage (green, red, Chinese, and Napa)
  • cauliflower
  • dinosaur kale
  • brussels sprouts
  • arugula
  • radishes
  • rutabaga
  • daikon

An anti-inflammatory diet can also help support you. A low histamine diet is an anti-inflammatory diet. So, if you are doing a low histamine diet, you are already on the right path.

Next, you might want to consider some of these gentle tinctures and teas that can indirectly support hormonal balance in estrogen dominance.

Remember, though – test, don’t guess!! You can test your progesterone, 3 types of estrogen, and estrogen metabolites at home with this Dutch Hormone Test. (Please be patient for their site to load!) 

Herbal Supplements That Can Help Balance Hormones in Estrogen Dominance

TIP: If you are sensitive, start with one thing at a time. Many sensitive people do better by starting with a “sprinkle” or a single drop and slowly building up levels over time.

You can also get 15% off anything at Fullscript anytime when you register with the links below. If you don’t have an account already, it’s free and you just enter your email address to sign up. It never costs you any more, but your Fullscript purchase helps support Mast Cell 360 free online resources.

Passionflower Extract

Passionflower does double duty. It acts as a mast cell stabilizer. Studies have also shown that it helps with the symptoms of menopause like night sweats, hot flushes, anxiety, and even itchiness found in estrogen dominance.

Chaste Tree

This extract is also called Vitex. Though studies are ongoing, there has been some suggestion that chaste tree can help with PMS and may normalize estrogen and progesterone levels. Studies have shown that it may also help with female reproductive health in general and may help regulate menstrual cycles.

You can save 15% off on all your orders from FullScript when you use one of our FullScript links to register an account.

Dandelion Root Tincture

We use this to support the liver in detoxification. It’s very gentle. It can also help with inflammation. The liver plays a big role in processing estrogen. So, supporting your liver can also help with estrogen detoxification.

Raspberry Leaf Tea

Some women have reported that raspberry leaf tea helped alleviate premenstrual symptoms including cramping and gut issues. Some use it to stimulate labor so you may want to be careful with this one if you are pregnant.

Bioidentical Over-the-Counter Progesterone Option

Next, let’s look at tips for estrogen dominance when E2 estrogen (or E1+E2) is higher than progesterone. In estrogen dominance, you may want to consider bioidentical progesterone when progesterone levels are low.

This is why it’s important to test your levels. That way you know what is actually happening with your hormones.

Of course, always be sure to work with your provider with any questions or concerns before starting anything new.

And if you have a history of being sensitive to supplements, start low and slow. I tell my clients to start with just 1 drop.

The most sensitive person might even start with 1 drop in water. Then stir the water to distribute the drop and drink just a sip or two. I call this sips of a drop.

You may be able to gradually work up from there as tolerated.

Very good quality bioidentical progesterone is available over-the-counter. There are a lot of low-quality progesterone supplements available, though.

It’s quite important if you use OTC bioidentical progesterone that you get one that is USP grade. This is a stringent evaluation process for supplements.

If you see this on the label, it means:

  • The ingredients listed on the label have been verified.
  • The dosage has been verified.
  • There aren’t any harmful contaminants.
  • It was made with Good Manufacturing Practices to ensure quality and consistency for each batch.

This is particularly important for hormones because you want to make sure you’re getting the exact same dosage each time. And that there aren’t any impurities.

Unfortunately, there have been many cases of non-USP grade OTC progesterone that had huge differences in dosage than what was listed on the label.

Here is a very good quality OTC bioidentical progesterone option:

You can also get 15% off anything at Fullscript anytime when you register with the links below. If you don’t have an account already, it’s free and you just enter your email address to sign up. It never costs you any more, but your Fullscript purchase helps support Mast Cell 360 free online resources.

ProgonB-L

This is a very high-quality bioidentical progesterone available over the counter. The ingredients are fairly simple:

  • Rice Bran Oil
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • USP Progesterone (this means pharmaceutical grade)
  • Vitamin E

Many use ProgonB-L to help with symptoms of PMS and menopause with low progesterone in relation to estrogen levels.

It can be used topically or orally.

Here are some ideas you can consider for how to use this. It’s a little different depending on if you’re in menopause or still menstruating. Let’s look at how it can be used orally, first.

If still menstruating:

Menstruating women usually take bioidentical progesterone on days 12-26 of a 28-day cycle to mimic normal progesterone patterns.

Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of menstruation. If you have shorter or longer cycles than 28 days, you’d normally stop about 2 days before the expected onset of menstruation.

If you’re sensitive, you might consider starting with a drop in water. Then if this goes well, this bioidentical progesterone can be placed under the tongue for better absorption.

The amount you’d take would depend on your body’s progesterone needs. Some women take 1-2 drops at bedtime. Others take up to 5-6 drops. This is why you want to work with your health practitioner to help you decide.

Some women also find they do better with an additional 1-2 drops in the morning.

After about 3 months, you’d want to recheck your levels to see if the amount you’re taking is making enough of a difference. (And to make sure you don’t overshoot.)

ProgonB-L can be used by some women topically as well. That can be a gentler way to start it. Some very sensitive people find this works better for them at first.

Just know that topical use doesn’t tend to raise hormone levels significantly.

TIP: If you use this on your skin, do not let that skin come into contact with a male partner for 4-6 hours to avoid him absorbing it as well. For men, this can cause things like breast development.

If in menopause:

Women in menopause usually take ProganB-L every day for 26 days of the month. Then they take a break for the remaining days of the month.

You might consider starting with 1 drop in 4 ounces water at night. If this goes well, it can be placed under the tongue.

The amount you’d take would depend on your body’s progesterone needs. Some women take 1-2 drops under the tongue. Others take 3-5 drops. Work with your practitioner to help you decide what will be best for you.

Some women find that adding 1 to 2 drops under tongue in morning as well can be helpful.

How do you know if bioidentical progesterone supplementation is too much?

If you get breast tenderness, bloating, mood swings – consider backing down the dose and talking with your healthcare provider.

What if you feel worse on the off days?

I’ve even worked with some women who had such severe problems with estrogen dominance that they did best using 1-2 drops for the whole cycle.

If you feel worse stopping the drops after the 26th day of the month, you can try reducing the amount to 1-2 drops on the remaining days of the month, instead of stopping all together.

Detox Tips to Reverse Estrogen Dominance Naturally

If you can support your body’s estrogen detox pathways you may be able to change what’s happening with estrogen dominance.

These detox supports can be helpful if you have too much estrogen. They can also help if your body is breaking down estrogen into the metabolites 4-OH and 16-OH. These are known as “dirty” estrogens because of their association with inflammation, increased risk of certain cancers, obesity, and hypothyroidism.

The body detoxes estrogen in the liver through both Phase I and Phase II pathways.

This information about the pathways involved is helpful in knowing why these detox tips may be helpful.

You can also get 15% off anything at Fullscript anytime when you register with the links below. If you don’t have an account already, it’s free and you just enter your email address to sign up. It never costs you any more, but your Fullscript purchase helps support Mast Cell 360 free online resources.

Calcium D-glucurate

This can also help support the Phase II detox pathways called glucuronidation to regulate estrogen levels. This can help when estrogen is too high.

The glucaric acid part of this supplement is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and apples.

This supplement may help your body get rid of mold toxins as well. Mold toxins also primarily use this glucuronidation pathway.

And this is another way mold toxins can trigger estrogen dominance. When they hog up your glucuronidation enzymes, there isn’t much left to clear estrogen.

Calcium d-glucurate can help by removing “dirty” estrogens responsible for everything from PMS to fibroids to certain cancers.

I recommend sensitive people go slowly when onboarding Calcium-d-glucurate for this reason.

If you have trouble with this supplement, you may need to back up and add some binders first to help with the toxins hogging up this pathway.

Another way to consider detoxing involves supporting the pathways that break down estrogen. There are several molecules called metabolites. They are 2OH, 4OH, and 16OH.

2OH has protective properties. The other two have been shown to be linked to various health problems, particularly when their levels are elevated.

This next supplement has been known to help balance E2 estrogen levels and break down the 4OH metabolite.

DIM

DIM is a compound naturally found in the cruciferous veggies you just read about.

However, if you have estrogen dominance, you likely need more DIM than you could get just eating veggies. Most people don’t eat 5-6 pounds of cruciferous veggies in one day!

That’s where DIM supplementation comes in.

Studies are showing DIM may have multiple anticancer properties. 4OH has been shown in studies to have possible links to cancer cell development.

DIM can be helpful to support those pathways that break down the 4OH. This helps not only in hormone levels, but in the removal of them as well. It does this by supporting the Phase I detox pathways.

And just remember, it’s always a good idea to talk with your health care practitioner and it’s always a good idea to get your estrogen levels tested. Test, don’t guess! That’s the motto!

The best test I’ve found is the Dutch Hormone Test. (Please be patient for their site to load!)

I’ve given you a lot to consider today! Just remember, baby steps are good steps, too.

If you feel like you need to make some changes but are feeling overwhelmed, I understand. Here’s what you do. Pick one thing. Start there.

When you are ready, pick another thing. Work with that for a while. Just keep going.

Whatever you do, big or small, just keep doing the good work you’ve started with! You’ve got this!

What have you tried to reverse estrogen dominance naturally? 

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