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[1].

Let’s take a look at the symptoms of estrogen dominance and whether it might be time to take a test for it.

The Truth Behind Estrogen Dominance

The term originated from the late Dr. John Lee, who claimed that the cause of premenopausal and menopause symptoms is a fluctuation in the hormone: estrogen, particularly in young women [2] .

The term has led to a lot of back and forth in the health industry, and there is some uncertainty around the term.

Ultimately, ‘estrogen dominance’ refers to a fluctuation and imbalance of the hormone, estrogen, relative to other hormones. Symptoms resulting from high levels of estrogen usually don’t last very long.

Signs and symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

Common symptoms of high estrogen levels include:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Increased PMS symptoms
  • Irregular periods
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Hot flashes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia

Symptoms of high estrogen levels 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.

Read on for more information about the signs and symptoms associated with fluctuating levels of estrogen:

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 sex drive.

Increased PMS
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.

Irregular periods
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 [3].

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/Difficulty concentrating
Headaches and difficulty concentrating have been linked to estrogen when it exists in the body in 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 [4].

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 [5] .

Hot flashes
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 [6].

Tenderness in the breasts
If your breasts feel lumpy, swollen or sore, it can often be attributed to your hormones.

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.

Weight gain
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 [7].

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 your hormone levels - estrogen and progesterone are sleep promoting hormones and fluctuations may lead to sleep disruptions.

The 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.

It's always informative to do a baseline test and have an idea of where your hormones are before seeking out treatment.

How Do I Know If I Have Estrogen Dominance?

The signs and symptoms of an estrogen imbalance aren’t always obvious and they can be attributed to different things that affect our everyday lives.

If you do notice some of the above signs and symptoms, begin to take note of when they started and what they feel like - this will make it easier for you to pinpoint exactly when it began and the severity of each symptom.

If you’re feeling very unwell, you should visit your physician for a check up.

If your symptoms aren’t severe but you would still like to have an understanding of what might be going on, you have the option to take a female hormone test from the comfort of your own home!

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.

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

  • Menopause

  • Thyroid Issues

  • Ovulation function issues

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.

Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director, Dr. Dominic Rowley