The most common signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance include fatigue, mood changes, hot flashes, low libido, bloating and difficulty concentrating.
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. Men may also be diagnosed with estrogen dominance if estrogen levels become very high.
Let’s take a look at the symptoms of estrogen dominance and whether it might be time to take a test for estrogen dominance.
Symptoms Of Estrogen Dominance
Common symptoms of estrogen dominance include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Increased PMS symptoms
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
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 estrogen dominance, they may also signal other health problems.
Let’s take a quick look at why high estrogen may cause certain signs and symptoms.
Decreased sex drive
Estrogen dominance may lead to decreased sex drive for a number of reasons including the fact that higher estrogen levels may cause mood changes, worsened PMS symptoms and fatigue. While optimal levels of estrogen stimulate vaginal lubrication and increase sexual desire, too much estrogen can create an array of symptoms that will leave sufferers feeling not so in the mood.
For a lot of women, PMS symptoms, while unfavourable are unavoidable. Estrogen dominance may leave women feeling that their PMS symptoms have increased in severity. Maybe you were used to some moderate bloating or a slightly bad mood but this has developed into severe bloating, feeling very emotional and experiencing bad back pain in the first few days ahead of your period. Significant fluctuations in estrogen may be the reason that your PMS symptoms have worsened.
Women who are experiencing estrogen dominance are more likely to experience irregular periods. This may mean that your periods are shorter or longer, lighter or heavier or occur multiple times in a month. Estrogen may play a role in this part of your menstrual cycle as estrogen levels drop drastically ahead of your period.
Depression/ Mood swings
Have you ever seen the movie White Chicks? Remember when the white chicks accidentally take estrogen supplements and immediately become extremely emotional? This may have been an over exaggeration of what actually happens around one’s period but it is not so far off what may occur if you are living with estrogen dominance. Often for those who are living with estrogen dominance, women can begin to feel that their emotions are increasing in intensity around their periods, and also in the lead up to and aftermath of experiencing their periods.
Headaches and difficulty concentrating have been linked to estrogen when it exists in the body in either too high or too low a volume.
Bloating is often caused by water retention or disruption in the water-salt balance in females. An increase in estrogen levels may cause water retention which in turn leads to water retention and bloating in women.
Hot flashes are one of the trademark symptoms of the menopause, however they may also indicate estrogen dominance if you are experiencing them well before the cessation of your periods.
Tenderness in the breasts
Whether your breasts feel lumpy, swollen or sore, we can often attribute this tenderness and these changes to our hormones. During the menstrual cycle, we can often attribute breast soreness to the decreased volume of progesterone in relation to estrogen. This is generally a natural occurrence. In saying that, we may attribute ongoing breast tenderness and soreness to estrogen dominance.
A tell-tale sign of estrogen dominance is weight gain, especially around your middle. This weight gain is most likely to take place during the 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.
Insomnia may be caused by some of the above symptoms and it’s unsurprising that hot flashes, mood changes or headaches would keep you up at night but another reason that you may be lying awake lies in the fact that estrogen and progesterone are sleep promoting hormones and fluctuations may lead to sleep disruptions.
The best (and only) way to know if too much estrogen is to blame for your symptoms is to test your hormones. The most accurate way to test your hormones is via a blood sample.
Women who have experienced normal menstrual cycles their entire lives may be at risk for estrogen dominance when their ovaries stop ovulating regularly. In fact, it was once believed that these symptoms were indicative of ovaries that were not functioning well and the solution was to prescribe estrogen medication in an attempt to stimulate ovary function.
However, Endocrinologist Dr. Jerilynn Prior found that women (between the ages of 35 and 50) experiencing perimenopausal symptoms like hot flashes and heavy periods were actually suffering from high and often fluctuating estrogen levels, not low ones.
Estrogen levels in perimenopausal women are often higher than those in younger women meaning the ovaries are working overtime ahead of the end of menstruation and the beginning of the menstrual cycle. This highlights the importance of hormone testing before seeking out medications or supplements for hormone imbalance.
It is always better to do baseline testing and have an idea of where your hormones are before seeking out treatment.
How Do I Know If I Have Estrogen Dominance?
Answering the question “How do I know if I have estrogen dominance?” isn’t always easy, because as mentioned, the signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance are not always obvious and they can be attributed to different things that affect our everyday lives.
The best thing you can do if notice that you are experiencing negative symptoms is to start taking note of when they started and exactly what they feel like. This will make it easier for you in the long run when you want to pinpoint exactly when this started, and the severity of each symptom.
If you are feeling very unwell, you need to go straight to your physician’s office for a check up.
In instances where the symptoms are not too severe but you want to have a better understanding of what might be going on, you have the option to take fertility tests from the comfort of your home.
The LetsGetChecked tests are convenient options that make it possible for you to better know your health. Whatever the reason, you may not want to visit the physician’s office, have a face to face consultation or take time off work.
For a lot of people, time is the biggest factor that prevents them from being proactive when it comes to their health.
While taking a progesterone supplement may be called for in order to correct estrogen dominance, it is not always necessary. Instead, there are a few natural ways to decrease estrogen dominance without a prescription.
With LetsGetChecked tests, there is no excuse and no barriers to putting off getting tested.
If you suspect that you are living with estrogen dominance, we recommend taking the female hormone test.
This test is beneficial for anyone who wants a comprehensive overview of their current fertility status. It will offer insight into your hormonal health and equip you with the knowledge you need to combat unpleasant symptoms.
The female hormone test will offer insight into whether you are suffering from estrogen dominance as well as other hormonal imbalances such as:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Ovarian failure
- Low ovarian reserve
- Early menopause
- Thyroid Issues
- Ovulation function issues
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director, Dr. Dominic Rowley