5 Warning Signs You May Have Estrogen Dominance
If you follow my Instagram, you may have heard me preach a few times about if you don’t listen to the whisper, you will definitely have to answer to the scream.
Our body speaks to us every single day, and it warns us about anything that is not functioning properly. For many women, that looks like Estrogen Dominance.
Estrogen Dominance is a term that describes a pattern of elevated estrogen and low progesterone symptoms. It is the second most common hormone imbalance that I see in women in my practice.
Let’s break it down together:
- Estrogen is an amazing hormone that is dependent on its sister hormone progesterone.
- The most common signs of Estrogen Dominance
- Some of the reasons why it occurs
Before we really dive deep into things, let’s talk about estrogen and why women need it. Despite the negative connotation in Estrogen Dominance, estrogen is an incredible hormone.
Estrogen has the following functions:
- Helps to promote the development of an egg
- Promotes the growth of the uterine lining
- Contributes to ovulation (simultaneously with other hormones)
- Increases muscle mass and regulates fat distribution
- Functions as an anti-inflammatory
- Helps you feel happy and energized–regulating energy expenditure
- Promotes a healthy libido
- Maintains bone density
- Benefits your brain function, cognition, and mental sharpness
- Supports healthy, supple skin and hair
- Protects your heart and cardiovascular system–especially your Cholesterol
- Promotes lung function
- Improves coagulation
- Assists with cellular fluid balance
- Supports your metabolism and much more
In order for the balance of progesterone and estrogen to prevent Estrogen Dominance, we need to ovulate regularly. Ovulation is the key event to allow for healthy progesterone levels to be produced. If ovulation doesn’t occur, this sets us up for progesterone deficiency… and this means that estrogen becomes elevated relative to progesterone (i.e. “Estrogen Dominance”).
You may be more likely to have elevated estrogen and low progesterone if:
- You have high cortisol (stress levels)
- Eat a highly estrogenic diet
- You have Fibroids, Endometriosis, PCOS, Adenomyosis or another reproductive condition
- You aren’t ovulating regularly
- You’re in your 40’s and are going through perimenopause
- You have signs of low progesterone – Not sure why this is here. Having low progesterone is not a cause of low progesterone.
Let’s dig deeper: Here are some of the common signs examined in women concerned about elevated estrogen. Some of these symptoms can overlap with other hormone concerns, such as thyroid problems, so it is important to get support from a trained physician / specialist to evaluate your symptoms and rule out other concerns.
Here are 5 warning signs to look out for:
- Cyclic breast tenderness, pain or fibrocystic breasts.
Some women experience an increase in breast fullness or tenderness around ovulation or before the period. This is a response to fluctuating estrogen levels throughout the menstrual cycle. Women with fibrocystic breasts notice monthly breast tenderness. Women with these breast symptoms may have elevated estrogen, or an increased sensitivity to estrogen in the breast tissue.
- PMS moodiness, especially with irritability, tearfulness, or mood swings.
When estrogen and progesterone are out of balance, this can worsen PMS symptoms.
- PMS-related headaches.
Hormone headaches or “menstrual migraines” tend to occur in the days before or during the period. Often it is the sharp decline in estrogen and/or progesterone that seems to trigger the headaches. These may be worsened in women who have fluctuating estrogen levels, for example, in women going through perimenopause or battling a reproductive condition such as Fibroids, PCOS, Endometriosis or more.
- Heavy and/or irregular periods.
As mentioned earlier, one of estrogen’s main jobs is to build up the uterine lining. If we have excess estrogen, this can further build the lining and contribute to excessive heavy periods.
- Weight gain around the hips and buttocks.
Estrogen is the hormone that promotes the body composition and shape that is classically associated with the female form: wider hips, larger buttocks, and breasts. Estrogen “encourages” fat deposition in these areas. This is not inherently a bad thing. Women need a higher body fat percentage compared to men for optimal hormone health. If you have noticed an increase in your weight, especially in these areas, estrogen might be one contributing factor.
What is the root cause of your Estrogen Dominance?
When we work with women on balancing their hormones, we first need to identify their hormone levels. This can be accomplished in a detailed initial consultation, and consistent coaching combined with a hormone blood work done by your primary physician or GYN.
One of the most important steps in our consultation is digging into the WHY? Why is there a pattern of Estrogen Dominance occurring? From there we will carve out a lifestyle that supports the BALANCE you need. You can find support here around the clock.
Learn more about how to find your BALANCE HERE.
Not sure where to start?
Register for one of our Free Weekly Group Consults or Book a Private Consult to have our team review your case and work with you to determine the best plan for you!