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Estrogen and Fertility – The Good, the Bad and the Necessity

Estrogen and Fertility – The Good, the Bad and the Necessity

j04433031Estrogen is one of the most important female reproductive or sex hormones (progesterone is the other). Estrogen is produced by the developing follicles in a woman’s ovaries, the corpus luteum (the remaining egg sac of the follicle that released the egg at ovulation), as well as the adrenal glands (in small amounts) and fat tissue throughout the body, and by the placenta in pregnancy. In this article we’ll be discussing estrogen deficiency, estrogen dominance, and natural therapies that can help with each; such as diet, cleansing the body and different herbs that can be used to help bring the body back in to balance.

Although estrogen is present in both women and men, there is usually a higher level of estrogen in women who are of reproductive age.

Estrogen in necessary for females to start puberty and develop breasts and pubic hair. Estrogen increases the rate at which women reach reproductive maturity. Estrogen helps to create a thick endometrium, and affects other aspects of the menstrual cycle. In a man, estrogen helps to regulate the maturation of healthy sperm.

According to the Hormone Health Network, estrogen also:

  • Keeps cholesterol in control
  • Protects bone health for both women and men
  • Affects your brain (including mood), bones, heart, skin, and other tissues

Estrogen Deficiency

Too little estrogen can cause headaches, hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. However, a lack of estrogen can also affect fertility by preventing ovulation and not allowing the lining of the uterus to thicken enough for the fertilized eggs to implant.

An estrogen deficiency can be caused by having too little of the Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which regulates the manufacture of estrogen. It can also be a result of the pituitary gland functioning incorrectly; such as in the case of excessive exercise, being underweight or having an eating disorder.

Estrogen can be increased in a woman’s body through medication or by supporting the endocrine system with the use of herbs and supplements, of which we share below.

Excess Estrogen

On the flip side, having too much estrogen can wreak havoc as well!

Excessive estrogen levels for women can cause: irregular periods, headaches, anxiety, depression, digestive issues, weight gain, and heart palpitations. Having a high level of estrogen can also prevent conception.

Having a high level of estrogen has been found in cases of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. A 2003 study conducted at Vanderbilt University has shown that too much estrogen can negatively impact a woman’s fertile window and may prevent an embryo from implanting.

One of researchers, Sudhasu K. Dey, PhD, of the Division of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, explains:

“The most exciting aspect of this investigation is that a very narrow range of estrogen levels can alter embryo implantation and gene expression.”

High estrogen is possible for men as well, causing breasts to enlarge (gynecomastia), weak erections or erectile dysfunction and infertility.

Causes of Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance may be caused by eating a poor diet, being overweight or obese, stress, hormone replacement therapy, as well as being exposed to environmental sources of estrogen, called xenoestrogens.

Processed foods or foods that are high in fat and sugar can actually increase estrogen levels. Not eating enough fiber, or having enough magnesium and Vitamin B6 in one’s diet can also affect estrogen levels.

A major cause of estrogen dominance is exposure to xenoestrogens, which function by imitating regular estrogen and consequently serve as endocrine disruptors, even in small amounts. Growth hormones and pesticides that are stored inside the fat cells of poultry, fish and various other food sources are the main source of xenoestrogens.

Natural Support for Balanced Estrogen

American’s consume over a pound of pesticides unknowingly each year Yikes!. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as few as three years ago the urine of more than 75% of the U.S. population contains organophosphates (the most widely used insecticide). Therefore, you should always try to eat as organic as possible.

Eat as organic as possible!

Eating a diet that low in processed foods, and high in fiber and dark green leafy vegetables is a great way to start naturally reducing estrogen. Try to limit the amount of caffeine that you drink daily and be sure to maintain regular exercise.

Support the body’s ability to cleanse.

Another great way to naturally treat estrogen dominance is through a thorough detoxification of your body. Learn about Fertility Cleansing and try to minimize your daily exposure to pollutants, pesticides and plastics.

Learn about and employ herbs!

Herbs that may help with estrogen deficiency:
Maca Root

  • Maca – Supports the endocrine system to be healthy and balanced.
  • FertiliCare Phase 1 & 2 – Helps to balance the hormones.
  • Royal Jelly – May help to slightly increase estrogen naturally in the body.
  • Vitex – Supports a healthy endocrine system without containing hormones.
  • Soy foods – Are known to have estrogen mimicking properties within them.

Herbs and supplements that may help with estrogen dominance:

  • Fertility Cleanse – Supports the body in cleansing excess hormones and toxins that may mimic estrogen.
  • DIM – Helps to take excess estrogens out of the body.
  • Maca – Supports the endocrine system to be healthy and balanced.
  • Vitex – Supports a healthy endocrine system without containing hormones.
  • FertiliCare Phase 1 & 2 – Helps to balance the hormones.

Too learn more about related subjects covered in this article, please visit the following links:
The Natural Fertility Diet: How to Eat for Optimal Fertility
Estrogen Fertility Guide
How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs
5 Steps to Reversing Endometriosis Infertility


Dr. Kimberly Langdon Cull M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Kimberly Langdon Cull M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Kimberly Langdon Cull is a University-trained Obstetrician/Gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She delivered over 2000 babies and specializes in gynecologic diseases such as menstrual disorders, infertility diagnosis and treatment especially pertaining to tubal blockage and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Dr. Langdon is the inventor of 6 patent pending medical devices, and attended Ohio State University from 1987-1995 receiving her Medical Doctorate Degree (M.D.) with Honors in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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  1. Avatar

    I am 38 and have a history of PCOS. I am currently on thyroid replacement (levothyroxine). I take no other medications. Our daughter just turned 2 and we would like to attempt to conceive again. I have not had hormone testing done since before my first pregnancy. Would you recommend starting with only the fertilicare phase 1 and 2 or should I go ahead and add in Maca and Vitex, since the phase 1 and 2 contain these? I know from past fertility visits with my doc that my egg quality is pretty low and with my age I want to provide as much support as possible. I struggle with my weight despite regular exercise 45-60 minutes cardio 3-5 day/week and moderately (no ones perfect) dietary choices. TY

  2. Avatar

    Hi! I went to the doctor for hormone testing, as I am hoping to conceive. My youngest will soon be 5. My periods are like clockwork, except my periods have decreased from 4 days to 3 days to now 2 with only a medium flow for about a day. Cervical Mucus changes seem normal. I have two questions. 1) She ONLY tested estriol but from all my research, I don’t understand why. The result <.10. What does that mean, really?
    LH, FSH, Prolactin were all within the normal range. She did not test progesterone.
    2) I have been taking DIM for about a month (I just added Dong Quai a little over a week ago). If my estrogen levels are low is DIM still okay? Also my TSH went from 1.88 to 2.99 since April. :/

    • Dear Krissy,

      It is going to be best to ask your first question of your doctor given she knows the entirety of your fertility health, your age, and how the lab shares results. She’ll also help you know if that TSH level is concerning or not. Regarding DIM, it can be taken if endogenous estrogen is low, yes, but I’m not sure I know enough to help you know it’s right for you. Do you exercise regularly and work at supporting healthy circulation to the uterus with anything other than Dong Quai? It may be worth learning about Fertility Yoga, Self Fertility Massage, etc? Our site’s founder created this Video: The Most Ignored Fertility Tip You Need to Know to teach about healthy circulation.

  3. Avatar

    Hi Doc, This is Usman, my wife is facing issue of FSH Level and hormonal issues. She is only 32 and she got early menopause. Her FSH level is 86. Please advise how to share her reports to you so you could give her suggestions. She had been undergo many treatments and tests but no effects. Please advise.

  4. Avatar

    I took vitex drops for fertility and found that it increased my periods to every two weeks. Wehn I stopped it, my periods started skipping months.

    • Dear Carol,

      I’m sorry to hear of the irregularity. I have so many questions and don’t know enough about your fertility health to offer any insight really. I’m sorry! It may be helpful to consider a Fertility Consultation. This allows one of our fertility herbalists to lay out an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs.

  5. Avatar

    I have a question! I have hypothyroidism and PCOS what can I do to help me get pregnant, which medication would work best!

    • Dear Krystal,

      The goal of our programs is to support the body in re-learning balance and/or supporting balance when fertility issues are present. The great part about herbs, supplements and natural therapies (which are not medication and do not work the same as medication) is that they often work wonders in doing this given commitment to dietary and lifestyle change is made as well.

      We are more than happy to work with you in making these changes! The very best way to receive a full plan designed specifically for your fertility health needs is to have a Fertility Consultation. Learn more about a Fertility Consultation here…

  6. Avatar

    Can anybody help me? I have high irregular hormones and would like to find right tablets to balance it as we are trying for baby

  7. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  8. Avatar

    Hi, I recently started getting rapid heart palpitations,but my doctor does not know why, I was on a heart monitor and they found nothing. other than my slight mitral valve on my heart, my heart appears to be healthy. My good cholesterol is high, and my bad cholesterol is low. Also, my blood pressure is good. This is good news, although for some reason my palpitations have subsided, & I rarely get them anymore I really don’t want to take the Maca root if it will make matters worse. I also get dizzyness at times. Also, I am perimenaupausal. I think a lot of what I have been exp. is due to that. I bought an herb called femmenance for perimenaupausal women, and it has Maca Root in it. In fact that’s all it is, Maca Root. Could you please advise? Should I take this? Thank you! 🙂

    • Hi Sandra,

      I am not familiar with that product. If it is just pure maca, it may or may not be okay for you to take. You may want to ask your doctor first. Maca has been known to cause feelings of a racing heart in some people. This website is geared around women in their childbearing years, I am not sure if you are looking to get pregnant or just balance hormones. If you are just wanting to balance hormones royal jelly is another super food to look into.

      Best Wishes,


    • Avatar

      I am pre menopausal as well. i have been on HRT. The only time I get palpitations and dizziness is when my thyroid T3 is high. I hope that helps. 🙂