If you’re a woman and you’ve been feeling off lately, it’s possible that your estrogen levels are too high. Excess estrogen levels can cause a number of difficult to handle health problems, including belly fat, fibroids and cysts. It is important to be able to identify the symptoms and get help if you think you may have too much estrogen.
High Estrogen doesn’t only affect women (it is a female sex hormone after all!), but also men (surprise surprise, Estrogen is present in men too). For men, most of the symptoms of high Estrogen are usually towards the physical features. However, for women high Estrogen levels really turn her health upside down!
Some of the highly prevalent high Estrogen symptoms in women include heavy and painful periods, hard to lose weight, heavy hips and thighs, big breasts or breast lumps, and mood swings.
In this post, you will learn what it means to have high Estrogen, what causes high Estrogen symptoms, and signs of hormone imbalance that you should take note of. Let’s begin!
Estrogen: A Hormone of the Women
Well not exactly! As I just said, Estrogen is also present in men and in small amounts, it is vital for their health too. But, more importantly Estrogen is a hormone of the women, because it is responsible for providing female body characteristics such as the pear shaped body, growth of breasts, pubic hair, and some other essential features.
Estrogen Function in Women
Along with Progesterone (another female sex hormone), Estrogen practically controls a woman’s menstrual cycle, menstrual flow, and her overall reproductive system health.
However, the role of Estrogen doesn’t end here. It also communicates with and regulates the functioning of our vital body systems such as Metabolism, Circulatory System, Bones, Mood and Mental Wellness.
That’s why when the levels of Estrogen are disturbed (low or high), it poorly affects our health in nearly every aspect. High estrogen levels also lead to Low progesterone symptoms in women.
Learn here about the functions of Estrogen in your body and low Estrogen symptoms and signs.
Estrogen has the following functions in women:
- Helps to promote the development of an egg
- Promotes the growth of the uterine lining
- Contributes to ovulation (in tandem with other hormones)
- Helps you feel happy and energized
- Promotes a healthy libido
- Protects your bones
- Benefits your brain function, cognition, and mental sharpness
- Supports healthy, supple skin and hair
- Protects your heart and cardiovascular system
- Supports your metabolism
What Causes High Estrogen Symptoms?
There are two cases where estrogen levels can become high in women:
- A woman may produce too much estrogen herself
- A woman may not produce enough progesterone to balance out the excess estrogen
Either way, the result is the same – an imbalance that can lead to a variety of problems and symptoms. High Estrogen level is often caused by exposure to environmental toxins, stress, and poor diet. It can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as birth control pills.
Now, let’s look into specific causes of Estrogen imbalance in your body:
1. Poor Liver Health
In majority of the cases, a malfunctioning liver is the primary cause of high Estrogen inside the body. In fact, for males; liver is to be blamed for high Estrogen.
This is because, liver is where excess Estrogen gets neutralized and disposed off from the body.
And when it doesn’t work properly; you end up accumulating all that you should have gotten rid of!
2. Hormonal contraceptive or Birth Control Pills
Some of the birth control pills contain synthetic estrogen. And when you take it on regular basis, it really disturbs the natural hormone balance that your body should have.
During menopause, progesterone production drops significantly and Estrogen may stay as such or decrease just a little.
This often leads to relative high Estrogen (higher as compared to Progesterone) and hence hormone imbalance.
They can lead to excessive and unabated production of Estrogen, leading to high estrogen levels.
5. Excess Stress
Stress in the form of physical and mental exertion or emotional stress disturbs all the natural functions of the body as metabolism, reproductive function and circulation.
High levels of Cortisol that result from stress disturb estrogen and progesterone production, promote insulin resistance and create a nervous system malfunction.
This leads to Estrogen dominance and high Estrogen symptoms along with low Progesterone levels.
6. Endocrine Disrupting Materials
On daily basis we are exposed to numerous chemicals in the form of food ingredients, environmental chemicals, and those in personal care products.
Artificial fragrances, materials such as plastic, synthetic colours, and preservatives often mimic the natural Estrogen in our body. This creates an too much Estrogen.
6. Poor Diet
A diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can also contribute to hormonal imbalances. These foods can increase inflammation in the body and disrupt the delicate balance of hormones.
High Estrogen Symptoms and Signs of Hormone Imbalance
Now that you understand the role of Estrogen in our body, it is time to know high Estrogen symptoms and signs of Estrogen dominance.
1. Irregular periods: Heavy Bleeding, Clots, and Short Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is controlled by a woman’s sex hormones Estrogen and Progesterone. Therefore, hormonal imbalances will result in irregular menstrual flow and menstrual symptoms.
High Estrogen levels lead to heavy bleeding with clots, spotting in between the periods, and often prolonged flow.
So, if your period is carrying on beyond 7 days, or you need to change pad too often, or you have a cycle shorter than 21 days; then you need to pay attention to your hormone balance and Estrogen balance.
2. Heaviness in the body: Flabby arms, big breasts, and heavy hips and thighs
High Estrogen levels increase the rate at which muscles get degenerated. It also stimulates water retention.
Both of this lead to flabbiness and heaviness in the body, specifically in the places that should have high muscular mass to carry your weight.
Additionally, Estrogen stimulates the growth of tissues in the breast, at hips, and thighs. This leads to increase in the size of these body parts.
3. Decreased Libido
Your libido and sexual drive is highly impacted by Estrogen levels. Both high and low levels of Estrogen can significantly lower your desire to get intimate.
4. Mood Swings: Anxiety, Irritability, and Depression
High levels of Estrogen in your body significantly effect your mental wellness. When Estrogen rages, it leads to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, and often depression.
Estrogen imbalance poorly affects the health of your gut, leading to episodes of bloating, gas, and water retention. It also affects your appetite.
When you struggle with consistent bloating and digestive issues, you need to take a look into your hormone balance and overall digestive system health.
6. Sudden Weight Gain and Excess Body Fat
You have neither changed diet, exercise nor lifestyle routines, yet you are gaining weight? Or you may notice that you have difficulty losing weight. This can be credited to Estrogen dominance in your body.
High estrogen can lead to both water retention, poor metabolism, and storage of fat. All of this contributes to weight gain in the form of water and fats. This gives a puffed up look and hard to lose weight.
Women are more prone to headaches. How about that for a fun fact? Well, add this. Anyone with higher levels of estrogen than usual is more likely to experience headaches and migraines also.
8. Hot flashes
You might experience uncontrolled body temperature in terms of high heat or sudden coldness. Some of the common symptoms are heat flashes and excessive sweating like in menopause.
9. Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Since a similar event of hormones occurs in estrogen dominance and PMS, some similar symptoms crop up also. This includes breast tenderness, headaches, acne outbreaks, and more dramatic mood swings.
10. Breast lumps
Fibrocystic lumps can develop in your breasts if the estrogen is dominant. The breast begins to feel like a lump or rope. The breast becomes tender and painful to the touch, mostly at the top or side.
11. Brain fog and memory loss
You feel confused and you have trouble recalling details. This can also be a result of high estrogen levels.
12. Fertility problems
Problems can arise with fertility due to overboard estrogen levels. To be factual, hormonal imbalances are never favorable for fertility.
However, in the case of these problematic estrogen levels, the problem is compounded. Why? Most of the women, who experience it are over 35 years of age. This is also the time of life that fertility starts to decline.
13. Excessive Hair Fall
Estrogen levels affect the growth of hair follicles and also the strength of your existing hair.
Unbalanced estrogen (both low and high) leads to dryness and hair fall. This is also related to low Iron levels or Iron deficiency that often accompanies hormone imbalance.
14. Fatigue and sleep disorders (insomnia)
High levels of estrogen can cause persistent tiredness. To make things worse, you can’t get to sleep when you even try to.
This leaves you exhausted and feeling of “tired and wired”.
15. Thyroid Problems and Hypothyroidism
High levels of Estrogen often affect the functioning of our endocrine system and liver such that the free thyroid hormone levels get suppressed. It is often a vicious circle as low thyroid also leads to high Estrogen and vice versa.
What are the Health risks of high Estrogen Levels?
Some of the health risks associated with high Estrogen levels include:
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Uterine Fibroids
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Early Menopause
- Hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth)
- Breast Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
- Endometrial Cancer
What are the Tests to check High Estrogen Symptoms?
Estrogen dominance test can be done by different methods:
1. Blood Test
One way is through a blood test. A sample of blood is taken from a person and then analyzed. This is used for regularly menstruating women. The egg produced by the woman in turn produces a form of estrogen that is then tested for.
2. Saliva Test
Alternatively, doctors could perform a saliva test. This is used to evaluate the type of estrogen a woman will produce after menopause.
3. Urine Test
Finally, there’s also the dried urine test. This measures estrogen metabolites in urine. That is, the by-products of the hormone, estrogen, are produced.
Estrogen has different forms, and in a woman with normal levels of the hormones, the expected result is shown in the table below.
The measurements are taken in a picogram (10−12 of a gram) per milliliter.
|Prepubescent female (before puberty)||Undetectable – 29 pg/mL||Undetectable – 20 pg/mL|
|Pubescent female(at puberty)||10 – 200 pg/mL||Undetectable – 350 pg/mL|
|Premenopausal female(before menopause)||17 – 200 pg/mL||15 – 350 pg/mL|
|Postmenopausal female(after menopause)||7 – 40 pg/mL||<10 pg/mL|
How can you balance your Estrogen levels?
If you suspect that you may be suffering from high estrogen symptoms, there are a few things you can do to address it.
- First, it’s important to identify any potential root causes. If you are exposed to environmental toxins, try to limit your exposure as much as possible. This may mean switching to natural personal care products and cleaning supplies, eating organic foods, and filtered water.
- You should also aim to reduce stress in your life by incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine.
- Finally, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
To know in detail on the best Ayurvedic ways to balance estrogen levels in your body, check out this blog post on Ayurvedic Solution for Estrogen Dominance and Progesterone Deficiency.
Before you Go!
Hormonal imbalances like high estrogen levels always set up an unpleasant chain reaction. Worse still, there are long-term consequences that should be prevented.
If you believe your hormone levels are out of balance, you should not take it lightly! Nobody should have to go through all of the distressing, inconvenient, and unpleasant symptoms that estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance can produce.
Ayurveda provides effective treatment options, diet and lifestyle guidelines with which you can achieve a healthier state of mind and body.
Do write to us for any queries and feedback. We will get back to you the soonest.
Wishing you vibrant health!