Gallbladder Disease & Estrogen

Apr 21, 2023 | Gallbladder Support, Hormones | 0 comments

Gallbladder Disease & EstrogenEstrogen and the Gallbladder (Plus 5 Tips to Support This Relationship)

We’re constantly learning more about hormone health, and how hormones affect every system in the body– including the gallbladder. One of the most overlooked causes of gallbladder disease is hormone imbalance. More specifically– high estrogen in women.

Gallbladder disease tends to be predominant in females, so high estrogen can be a likely root cause of many women’s problems.

Tons of people struggle with the difficult symptoms of gallbladder disease. And if you’re one of them, understanding your hormones can be a great step toward the management of your gallbladder issues.

As someone who’s struggled firsthand with gallbladder disease and its symptoms, I understand how it feels to search for answers to gallbladder problems. That’s why I became a functional nutritionist focusing on all things gallbladder.

So. I can help others who’ve been through the same thing as myself. And to help them get to the source of their gallbladder issues.

By addressing a root cause, we can understand how to manage symptoms of gallbladder attacks much easier. And if the cause is excess estrogen in the body, we can focus on nutrition and lifestyle changes to help metabolize and excrete estrogen. Let’s first dive into what it means when someone has a high estrogen level– or estrogen dominance.


What is Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen dominance and gallbladder disease can go hand in hand. So it’s essential to understand the hormone estrogen and the relationship between estrogen and the gallbladder.

Estrogen is a critical hormone found in both males and females. But it’s seen in higher amounts in females. It’s made in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and adipose (or fat cells).

Estrogen is responsible for:

  • Maintaining blood glucose and lipid levels
  • Promoting bone strength
  • Protecting against Alzheimer’s
  • Reproductive health and development including ovulation and embryo growth 1-6

Estrogen’s effect on lipid metabolism directly affects gallbladder health – which we’ll get into later on.

There are three types of estrogen– estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3)

  • E1 is highest after menopause and is produced in the adipose
  • E2, or estradiol, is the strongest type of estrogen, made in the ovaries
  • E3 is only present during pregnancy and is the least powerful.3

There are two main pathways that break down estrogen into metabolites.

  1. 2-hydroxyestrone metabolite works to block stronger estrogens and protect against excess cell division and resulting cancer growth.
  2. The 16-hydroxyestrone metabolite does the opposite by increasing cell division and is associated with inflammation, obesity, hypothyroidism, and chemical toxicity in the body.

As you can predict, we want to have more 2-hydroxyestrone for optimal health.3

Estrogen dominance results from too much estrogen relative to progesterone in the body.

This can be due to either too much estrogen production or too little breakdown and excretion of estrogen.3

Estrogen dominance can result from a combination of factors. Common factors include:

  • A suboptimal diet and lifestyle
  • Medications like birth control or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
  • Excess fat tissue
  • Emotional stress
  • Thyroid and autoimmune conditions
  • Poor gut health
  • Environmental toxins

Unfortunately, many health conditions can arise from high estrogen levels, including cancer (breast and ovarian), endometriosis, dense breast tissue, PCOS, and – you guessed it – gallbladder disease.2,3,5,6

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

If you have been experiencing vague but concerning symptoms like those listed below, estrogen dominance may be to blame. Symptoms include:7

  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Chronic bloating
  • Mood changes, like anxiety, panic attacks, and mood swings
  • Worsening PMS symptoms
  • Low sex drive
  • Problems with memory
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Increased breast tissue density, swelling, and tenderness
  • Cold hands and feet

If you’re experiencing multiple symptoms on this list, seek medical attention. Your doctor may want to check your estrogen levels. There are blood, urine, or saliva tests to measure hormone levels in the body.2

Excess Estrogen and Cholesterol Gallstones

A high level of estrogen– or estrogen dominance– increases the risk for gallstone disease. Differences in hormones are a major reason why women are at greater risk for developing gallstones than men. 8

The liver contains estrogen receptors. When these receptors bind with estrogen, they cause

increased amounts of cholesterol in the bile…

Resulting in thicker bile…

Which is a precursor for gallstones.

This explains why pregnancy, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), and birth control all increase the risk of gallstones.7-9

Excess estrogen during the third trimester of pregnancy increases cholesterol–saturated bile and impairs gallbladder function – increasing the risk of gallstones.9

So how do we manage estrogen and gallbladder disease? There are a few ways to help promote estrogen metabolism so your body can excrete it, thus lowering your estrogen levels.


Following the following steps can help you better manage your symptoms if the cause of your gallbladder disease is excess estrogen.

Steps to Detox Estrogen

Because there are many reasons estrogen dominance may develop, treating it involves a multifactorial approach including diet and lifestyle changes.

1.    Nutrition

One of the most important ways you can help your body metabolize excess estrogen is with food. Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that may be helpful in excreting estrogen and supporting the detoxification pathways in the liver.2,3

Fiber is crucial to detox estrogen. The recommended daily fiber intake is about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Fiber serves as a binder for excess estrogen and removes it out through your stool. Key foods like beets, cooked broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, carrots and bitter foods are great to include in the diet too!

Other factors like optimizing gut health, balancing blood sugar, and limiting the  grintake of ultra-processed foods can help support your hormones– and total body health.

  • Optimize gut health by incorporating probiotics into your daily supplement or dietary intake through foods or drinks
  • Balance blood sugar by eating meals with fat, fiber, and protein
  • Limit ultra-processed foods and opt for whole-food, home-cooked meals!


2.     Supplements

Taking daily supplements can benefit so many aspects of our health. And there are some specific supplements that can help support the liver and gallbladder to help increase the excretion of excess estrogen in our body. 

Try these supplements to optimize your gallbladder health:

  1. Milk Thistle
  2. Curcumin (from Turmeric)
  3. Schisandra
  4. Artichoke Extract
  5. Burdock Root
  6. Dandelion Root & Leaf

Always ask your healthcare provider before starting any supplement routine, as supplements can interact with the medications you’re taking.

If you’re looking for more information about these specific supplements and how they function in the body, check out my post on Herbs and Gallbladder Disease.  


3.    Sleep

We all know how important sleep is. But getting at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night can help regulate hormones.

Estrogen and progesterone are some of the hormones that are signaled by cortisol every morning when we wake up. But if we don’t have a restful sleep, cortisol is disrupted and this leads to issues with signaling the release of estrogen and progesterone.10 Try to implement a nightly routine to set you up for a restful sleep. And stick to the same daily schedule for bedtime and waking up to best regulate your body!


4.    Reduce stress

When we’re constantly experiencing stress, our bodies have to ramp up the production of the stress hormone cortisol. This affects the production of progesterone, leading to an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels.

So, find stress reduction techniques that work for you to help your hormones and rebalance estrogen and progesterone. Here are some of my favorite stress relievers:

  • Set a morning routine
  • Set your day up for success and take time for yourself
  • Journal your thoughts
  • Write down things you’re grateful for or any thoughts that are taking up too much space in your brain
  • Go for a walk
  • Enjoy being outside and connecting with nature
  • Try meditation
  • Sit in stillness, breathe in, breathe out– and just be
  • Move your body!
  • Exercising and stretching both increase endorphins to boost our mood

5.    Reduce toxins

Many toxins, especially BPAs, can mimic estrogen in the body which can increase the burden on our liver. This causes issues with excreting estrogen, so it builds up in the body.11

Take small steps each day to try to reduce your exposure to toxins. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, but a few changes over time add up! Here are a few easy-to-implement ways to reduce your exposure to toxins

  • Avoid single-use plastic water bottles and try reusable glass ones
  • Swap your cleaning products for natural versions– or even make your own!
  • Buy natural beauty products, soaps, and detergents
  • Avoid using plastics for food storage and don’t heat food in plastic containers
  • When grocery shopping, try limiting food that comes in plastics2


Promoting Your Gallbladder Health

These steps may feel like a lot, but I promise it doesn’t have to feel that way! These recommendations are not only beneficial for helping to reduce estrogen levels in the body, but they also can optimize your entire well-being.

As a gallbladder-focused nutritionist, I have so much knowledge I’d love to share with you about specific meals, lifestyle changes, and more that can boost your gallbladder health and prevent gallbladder disease symptoms.

I offer one-on-one integrative nutrition support to my clients so we can work together to find their own root causes of gallbladder issues. When you work with me, you can expect an individualized treatment plan based on your symptoms and your needs.

I’ve been able to help so many people take the reigns on their life and live in harmony with their gallbladder disease diagnosis. So check out my detailed packages and see which one is the right fit for you! Or connect with me to get more information, and I’ll answer any questions you may have.

Whether it’s estrogen dominance causing your gallbladder issues or any of the multitude of other factors leading to gallbladder disease, I’m ready to work with you to manage your symptoms. And I can’t wait to help you feel your best!





  1. McLaughlin JE. The Pituitary and hypothalamus. Merck Manuals. Published December 14, 2022. Accessed December 19, 2022.


  1. Estrogen dominance in women. Naturopathic Doctor News and Review. Published February 6, 2019. Accessed December 19, 2022.


  1. Kolan A. Whole health library. US Department of Veterans Affairs. Accessed December 19, 2022.


  1. Cui J, Shen Y, Li R. Estrogen synthesis and signaling pathways during aging: from periphery to brain. Trends Mol Med. 2013;19(3):197-209. doi:10.1016/j.molmed.2012.12.007


  1. Patel S, Homaei A, Raju AB, Meher BR. Estrogen: The necessary evil for human health, and ways to tame it. Biomed Pharmacother. 2018;102:403-411. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2018.03.078


  1. Cirillo DJ. Effect of estrogen therapy on gallbladder disease. JAMA. 2005;293(3):330. doi:10.1001/jama.293.3.330


  1. Holland K. Signs and symptoms of high estrogen. Healthline. Published January 30, 2015. Accessed December 19, 2022.


  1. George E, Schluger L. Special women’s health issues in hepatobiliary diseases. Clin Fam Pr. 2000;2(1):155-169. doi:10.1016/s1522-5720(05)70011-8


  1. Celaj S, Kourkoumpetis T. Gallstones in pregnancy. JAMA. 2021;325(23):2410. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.4502


  1. How Your Hormones and Sleep Are Connected. April 22, 2022. Sleep Center of Middle Tennessee.


  1. 9 Tips To Support Estrogen Detox Naturally. January 6, 2023. So Fresh So Green


This was in the original doc so add a hyperlink over this text if you want to link out to this blog!!


  1. Johnson LR. Encyclopedia of Gastroenterology. Elsevier, Inc.; 2003.
  2. Cholagogue. Accessed November 21, 2022.
  3. Taraxacum officinale. Accessed November 21, 2022.
  4. Silybum marianum. Accessed November 21, 2022.
  5. Abenavoli L, Capasso R, Milic N, Capasso F. Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future. Phytother Res. 2010;24(10):1423-1432. doi:10.1002/ptr.3207
  6. Polachi N, Bai G, Li T, et al. Modulatory effects of silibinin in various cell signaling pathways against liver disorders and cancer – A comprehensive review. Eur J Med Chem. 2016;123:577-595. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2016.07.070
  7. Ben Salem M, Affes H, Ksouda K, et al. Pharmacological studies of artichoke leaf extract and their health benefits. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2015;70(4):441-453. doi:10.1007/s11130-015-0503-8
  8. Greater Celandine. In: LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; 2022.
  9. Mentha piperita. Accessed November 22, 2022.
  10. Nidamboor JR. Therapeutic Repertoire of Turmeric. Research & Reviews: A Journal of Pharmacognosy. 2018;5(2):1-9. Accessed November 22, 2022.
  11. Moga MM. Alternative treatment of gallbladder disease. Med Hypotheses. 2003;60(1):143-147. doi:10.1016/s0306-9877(02)00351-1
  12. Curcuma longa. Accessed November 22, 2022.
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
      Calculate Shipping
      Apply Coupon