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Should We Be Taking Plant-Based Hormones for Endometriosis?

To be honest, I struggle with this topic. There is so much misinformation when it comes to plant-based hormones! It has almost tormented me since I started on this quest to overcome endometriosis. It also depends so much on our age, our environment, our food and our hereditary line!

Plant-based hormones are also called phytoestrogens or isoflavones.

There seem to be two different sets of information.

 

1. The Pro-Phytoestrogen Studies

The idea here is that we should consume plant-based hormones in a supplement form or as a food in large doses to overcome endometriosis. The theory behind this is that we replace the excess estrogen in our body by “fooling” the receptors in the body. Essentially, there is a receptor in the body which accepts the estrogen we have. When that receptor is “full” it is believed that it will no longer utilize the remaining estrogen in the body. The theory behind plant-based estrogens (phytoestrogens) is that we replace the estrogens in the body with plant-based estrogens and essentially fill these receptors with plant-based estrogens. As they are less potent estrogens, this is apparently going to make our estrogen levels become less.

This applies to xenoestrogens as well. Xenoestrogens are oestrogens which come from sources in our environment or from foods which are considered “bad” estrogens. They exist in the contraceptive pill, meat, dairy products and from plastics.

This theory is often recommended to women who suffer from menopausal symptoms as a means to level out PMS symptoms. I think this is why it is often recommended to endometriosis sufferers too, as we generally suffer from estrogen dominance.

 

2. The Anti-Phytoestrogen Studies

Then we get the other side of the coin that illustrates that ALL phytoestrogens, xenoestrogens and estrogens are creating an overload in our bodies and should be reduced or removed as much as possible.  The idea is that due to our “new” environment we naturally absorb more xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens without even realizing it. They all add up and ultimately create estrogen dominance in our bodies.

 

 

Some things that have an estrogenic effect:

  • Plastic. Everything you eat and drink out of plastic will leave some estrogens in your body.
  • Coffee. The xanthines found in coffee are shown to mimic estrogen and cause an increase in estrogen levels. It also slows down the liver processes causing it to reduce effectiveness of flushing out excess estrogens.
  • Soy products
  • Licorice and sage
  • Flaxseeds/flaxseed oil
  • Hops (used in beer)
Estrogens are in many of the foods we eat and eating a largely vegetarian diet will increase the quantities of estrogens to some extent.
Please don’t get freaked out by phytoestrogens. Most plants have some estrogenic activity. We want to avoid the high doses, which are found in the ones mentioned above.

I would really like to understand the two different theories better. Personally, I have never felt comfortable with taking plant-based hormones or any hormones since going natural—I know the pill is not comparable but after that I really had enough of all the side effects!

I have always opted to focus my healing on the liver, which regulates and flushes out excess of ANY hormone. However, I can see that perhaps our bodies just have too much to flush out and perhaps we do need to place a hand of balance in all of this and try and reduce the estrogen load.

 

What are your experiences with them? Good? Bad? Agree or disagree?

Hugs, Melissa x
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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Melissa

    Yes there is hun. A thick endometrial lining indicates too much oestrogen for sure! I hope you have joined the free Unfunk your Hormone Series cos I explain it heaps more in that series. It’s free to join on https://www.endoempowered.com/unfunk

  2. Zoe

    I have always told myself to eat what my body allows me to eat.
    We all react differently to different foods. It’s a elimination process to find out what foods cause a reaction in our bodies.
    High fibre food cause stomach and bowel pains for me. A lot of these phytoestrogen foods have a lot of fibre in them. Like soyabeans , soya milk, flaxseed,oats, barley, grains, pulses, beans. Things we are told to avoid with endometriosis.
    so I worked through the list and those that gave me stomach and bowel pains I avoided.

    I drink nettle tea to flush out the liver. It’s also a Estrogen blocker. Lemon water and orange juice are Estrogen blockers.(any citrus fruits are Estrogen blockers)

    I followed a dairy free, gluten free, soya free diet for 20 years. It didn’t really help. I got to a point were whatever I ate I became ill. My body started to reject the diary and gluten free diet.
    I now follow a anti-inflammatory and anti-estrogen diet. The foods are similar. They both have phytoestrogen and foods that block Estrogen.

    I found if I could calm my emotions and hormones it was more effective than the diets.
    I use essential oils, mudra hand yoga and mindfulness more these days as I find it calming and helps me deal with the pain. I am more into the neuroscience side of things these days.

  3. Grace

    Hello Melissa. I don’t know what to do now to regulate my hormones. I had a laparoscopy last June 2017 due to Endometriosis on my right ovary. I had luprolex for two months post operation but stop it because I can not bear all the side effects in my body.I follow all your advises and really help me a lot with pain and manage to have a normal life. Yesterday, I had my TVS and it came out that I have thickened endometrium. My OB advised me to undergo D&C. I would appreciate any advice you can give for me.What should I do. Is there a natural way to normalized my endometrial lining?

  4. Michal Piják

    Interesting article, but I can't agree with everything.

  5. Michal Piják

    Interesting article, but I can't agree with everything.

  6. Melissa

    Hi Heleen,
    Your english is not weird at all 🙂 Love people from the Netherlands 🙂
    I had the same dilema about estrogens that exist in oils too. I think we are okay as long as we don’t take the really powerful ones on a daily basis – flax, soy, and specific herbs as a supplement.
    Chia seeds are a great source of omega 3&6 and they are just as easy to add to your smoothy!
    Thanks for commenting

  7. Heleen

    Thank you very much for this post! I’ve been struggeling with the same issue. So by avoiding al plant estrogens, do you mean just supplements, or also food?

    I was looking at the list on this website: http://www.dietaryfiberfood.com/phytoestrogen-hormones/phytoestrogen-food-sources.php and I was wondering where to draw the line. Do you have any ideas on that? I was actually quite shocked by this list, since I really like garlic, dates and apricots (and lots of other stuff on the list). Also I’ve been adding flaxseed to my smoothies (for the omega 3) but I’ve stopped that immediatly!
    (I’m sorry if my English is bit weird, I’m from the Netherlands)

  8. Melissa

    Hi Mojdeh,

    I have only just found out about this one! You must be onto it 🙂 I have a whole list of these type of supplements which counteract Xenoestrogens and more. Will get back to you on that one 🙂

  9. Mojdeh

    Hi there,

    Have you ever taken Indole-3-carbinol supplements? I’ve read that it’s a negative regulator of estrogen and was wondering if you have experienced any benefits from taking it?

    cheers 🙂
    -Mojdeh

  10. Maybe she means that they get flushed out by the liver – which is on the right side of the body? 🙂 If our liver is overloaded – which unfortunately they often are with endo – then we just can’t cope with all the excess. There are liver boosters we can take though to help that…..more in my blog in a few weeks 🙂 Thanks for sharing Cathy. Where do you live?

  11. Cathy Harms-Schoonveld via Facebook

    I have had bad side effects from plant based progesterones and won’t take any of these. But something I heard from a friend who is naturally regulating her hormone levels, a natural doctor told her that the body’s cells gets rid of estrogen by either flushing it out going down, up or to the right and that it needs to go out to the right. Idk what she means and can’t seem to find anything on it. Was wondering if you knew?

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