When the levels of estrogen, the primary female sex hormone are increased reative to the levels of progesterone circulating in the blood, women are said to be experiencing estrogen dominance.
The most common symptoms and signs of estrogen dominance include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Increased PMS symptoms
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of high estrogen and whether it might be time to test your estrogen levels.
Symptoms and signs of Estrogen Dominance
Symptoms of estrogen dominance vary from person to person and depend largely on the severity of your hormone imbalance.
Remember, while these are all symptoms of a fluctuation in estrogen levels, they may also signal other health problems.
Decreased sex drive
While optimal levels of estrogen stimulate vaginal lubrication and increased sexual desire; higher estrogen levels may cause mood swings, worsened PMS symptoms, and fatigue - each of which naturally have an effect on your libido.
High levels of estrogen may leave women feeling that their PMS symptoms have increased in severity - severe bloating, feeling especially emotional, and bad back pain in the days leading up to your period may be a result of significant fluctuations in estrogen.
Women experiencing a fluctuation in estrogen levels are more likely to experience irregular periods. Mayo Clinic suggests that a significant change in your period may suggest that your hormone levels have shifted .
Depression/ Mood swings
For those living with increased levels of estrogen, you may experience extreme emotions. This can happen in the lead up to and/or the aftermath of your period.
Headaches and difficulty concentrating have been linked to estrogen when it exists in the body is either too high or too low a volume. It’s been found that more than half of women who experience migraines believe it to be linked to their menstrual cycle .
Bloating is usually caused by water retention or disruption in the water-salt balance in females. An increase in estrogen levels and fluctuation of your hormones may cause water retention, which can cause bloating  .
Hot flashes are one of the trademark symptoms of menopause. They can indicate increasing estrogen levels if you’re experiencing them well before your periods are expected to come to an end .
Tenderness in the breasts
During the menstrual cycle, tenderness in the breasts can often be attributed to the decreased volume of progesterone in relation to estrogen - this is generally a natural occurrence. With that said, recurring sensitivity in the breasts may also be attributed to higher levels of estrogen.
A tell-tale sign that you may be having issues with your estrogen levels is weight gain - particularly around your middle.
This weight gain is most likely to take place during menopause which may be confusing for people to hear due to the fact that both estrogen and progesterone are believed to drop during this period. What is often misunderstood is that progesterone drops more dramatically than estrogen which gradually leads to weight gain.
Low progesterone, in comparison to levels of estrogen, is said to lead to feelings of fatigue .
It’s unsurprising that some of the above symptoms would keep you up at night. Though, another reason that you may be struggling to fall asleep is the fact estrogen and progesterone are sleep-promoting hormones and too much estrogen may lead to sleep disruptions.
What causes high estrogen?
Estrogen levels can rise or fall for a number of reasons such as age or general health. With that said, there are some specific factors that can sometimes contribute to hormonal imbalance and may be associated with estrogen dominance, these include:
According to the NHS, premature menopause, or early menopause, occurs when a woman's period stops before the age of 45. This can sometimes occur naturally when the ovaries stop producing normal amounts of hormones, including estrogen.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a condition that can affect the function of a woman's ovaries. While the exact cause is unknown, it is believed that there is a connection between the condition and abnormal hormone levels. PCOS can result in irregular periods as well as excess amounts of the 'male' hormone - androgen.
See also: What Causes Estrogen Dominance?
How to know if you are Estrogen Dominant
It’s recommended that you test your estrogen levels if you’re experiencing signs of fluctuating hormone levels or if you’re simply hoping for a greater understanding of your hormone levels.
If you’d rather not make the visit to your local doctor, the best way to test your estrogen levels is with an at-home lab test.
The Female Hormone Test measures a number of key hormones, providing you with an overview of your reproductive health status
This test is beneficial for anyone who wants a comprehensive overview of their current fertility status and hormonal health. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and medical advice will be available every step of the way from our experts.
It will offer insight into your estrogen levels as well as other hormonal imbalances such as:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Ovarian failure
- Low ovarian reserve
- Early menopause
- Thyroid Issues
- Ovulation function issues