Originally published: 10.DEC.2020
Last updated: 16.OCT.2023
Our hormones are the chemical messengers that work to support many vital functions throughout our bodies. That’s why when levels shift, it can cause a whole host of symptoms, from shifts in weight to disruptions to sleep. In the case of estrogen dominance, which refers to an increased level of estrogen in comparison to progesterone levels, there are several signs and symptoms, including:
- Decreased sex drive
- Increased PMS symptoms
- Irregular periods
- Mood changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hot flashes
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
Read on for more insights into the symptoms of high estrogen and whether it might be time to consider testing your estrogen levels.
Related article: How to Naturally Decrease Estrogen Levels
At the time of writing, estrogen dominance is still a theory. So while we will use the term throughout the article, we will also refer to it as ‘high estrogen’ and/or ‘estrogen imbalance’.
- What Causes High Estrogen?
- 10 Symptoms and Signs of Estrogen Dominance
- How to Know if You Are Estrogen Dominant
What Causes High Estrogen?
There are a number of common reasons that your estrogen levels may rise or fall including age and general health. With that said, some specific factors can sometimes contribute to hormonal imbalance and may be associated with estrogen dominance in women, these include:
- Premature menopause: 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.
10 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. However, there are a handful of symptoms that are often associated with high estrogen levels in women.
#1 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 affects your libido.
Related article: Can You Get Pregnant With High Estrogen Levels?
#2 Increased PMS symptoms
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.
#3 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 .
#4 Mood changes
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.
#5 Difficulty concentrating
Headaches and difficulty concentrating have been linked to estrogen when it exists in the body and 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.
#7 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.
#8 Breast tenderness
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.
#9 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 because 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.
Related article: Foods That Increase Estrogen: Do They Actually Exist?
Unsurprisingly, 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.
Low progesterone, in comparison to levels of estrogen, is also said to lead to feelings of fatigue.
Remember, while these are all symptoms of a fluctuation in estrogen levels, they may also signal other health problems.
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 a home test which you can do with LetsGetChecked’s range of Female Hormone testing options.
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
Related article: How do you check estrogen levels from home?
- Mayo Clinic. Amenorrhea. Online: [Mayoclinic.org](https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/amenorrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20369299#:~:text=An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism,Premature menopause.)
- NHS. Hormone headaches. Online: NHS.uk