Should We Be Taking Plant-Based Hormones for Endometriosis?

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?

Big hugs,

PS: If you want to figure out how to manage endometriosis naturally, sign up to my free REACH Kickstarter program. Simply click here to sign up. 

Share your thoughts...

  1. 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: 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)

    • 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

  2. 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 🙂

    • 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 🙂

  3. 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?

  4. 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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