High Estrogen in Women: Are Your Estrogen Levels Too High?

by Jun 4, 2020

Hormone balance plays an important role in your overall health, not least of all your reproductive health. These chemicals send signals to your body to help it perform essential tasks, like triggering the release of an egg or the shedding of the menstrual lining.

woman in a green coat

One of the most important reproductive hormones in women is estrogen. Along with progesterone, estrogen is a primary sex hormone found in women’s bodies that helps regulate the menstrual cycle, fertility and overall health. For example, it controls cholesterol, protects bone health and impacts mood.

Estrogen is mainly produced in the ovaries, though it can be found in small amounts in the adrenal glands and fat tissue as well. Sometimes, the ovaries produce too much or too little estrogen, which can negatively impact fertility and well-being.

So, how can you tell if your estrogen levels are too high? Here are some of the ways high estrogen manifests in the female body — and what you can do to bring your hormones back into balance.

Estrogen’s Role in the Female Body

Before we can talk about high estrogen levels, we first need to understand how estrogen functions in the body.

The female body produces three main types of estrogen:

  • Estradiol, the most common type of estrogen found in women of childbearing age
  • Estriol, the most common type of estrogen produced during pregnancy
  • Estrone, the only type of estrogen produced after menopause

 

Estrogen levels naturally fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle. They are highest during ovulation (when your fertility is at its peak) and lowest during your menstrual period. In women who have undergone menopause, estrogen levels are naturally low, which can lead to the uncomfortable symptoms we associate with menopause, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Measuring your body’s estrogen levels can help you get a better grasp on your fertility throughout the month. Our new Mira Plus fertility monitor measures the trends in your estrogen levels in relation to your levels of luteinizing hormone. Simply dip the test wand into your urine to easily measure estrogen levels at home.

Signs of High Estrogen in Wome

When estrogen levels are healthy, you should not experience any major symptoms associated with hormone imbalance. You should be able to maintain a healthy weight, experience a normal level of sexual desire and have only normal fluctuations in mood, with no signs of anxiety or depression.

Symptoms of hormone imbalance manifest when certain hormones are over- or under-produced by the body. High estrogen levels are one of the most common hormonal imbalances found in women of childbearing age. Excess estrogen can manifest from a health condition, such as endometriosis or obesity, or in response to certain medications, like antibiotics or hormonal birth control.

Some of the symptoms you may experience when your estrogen levels are too high include:

  • Weight gain in the hips and thighs
  • Heavier or lighter periods than usual
  • Worsening of premenstrual syndrome
  • Uterine fibroids and/or fibrocystic breasts
  • Fatigue, loss of sex drive and/or changes in mood

 

How to Balance High Estrogen Levels

The symptoms of high estrogen can be uncomfortable and unpleasant. If you are trying to conceive, high estrogen levels may also pose a challenge to developing a healthy pregnancy.

Not all causes of high estrogen are within our control — but thankfully, many are. Environmental, dietary and lifestyle factors can all contribute to high levels of estrogen. By controlling your exposure to risk factors, you can decrease the likelihood that you will continue to experience symptoms of high estrogen.

If you are experiencing high levels of estrogen, you may want to try implementing the following lifestyle changes to improve your chances of a healthy conception:

 

  • Choose organic foods whenever possible. Exposure to certain toxins can throw hormone levels out of balance. Choosing organic foods minimizes your exposure to pesticides, which is an easy way to manage your body’s toxic load.
  • Avoid toxins in personal care products. Likewise, you should also minimize your exposure to toxins in personal care products. Common culprits include parabens and sulfates, which are found in everything from shampoo to makeup.
  • Minimize phytoestrogens in your diet. Many foods contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the role of estrogen in the body and contribute to symptoms of high estrogen. Examples of these foods include wheat and soy. You should also choose responsibly raised meat and dairy products, as conventional meat and dairy may contain hormones (which many factory farmers administer to animals to speed the fat growth process).
  • Manage stress in your life. Chronic stress has a massive effect on your production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to the imbalance of sex hormones. Meditation and exercise are two healthy ways to manage stress that you may consider adopting in your everyday routine.
  • Consider a healthy weight loss. If you are overweight or obese, losing a healthy amount of weight (as determined by your doctor) may help reduce estrogen levels in your body, as fat tissue naturally produces its own estrogen. Estrogen then leads the body to store even more fat, which perpetuates the cycle of overweight and hormone imbalance.
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Dr Roohi Jeelani, MD, FACOG and Lauren Grimm, MA

roohi jeelaniDr Roohi Jeelani is Director of Research and Education at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Dr Jeelani earned her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica. She then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center, where she was awarded a Women’s Reproductive Health NIH K12 Research Grant. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr Jeelani has authored numerous articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific meetings. A Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Jeelani is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists.

Lauren Grimm is Research Coordinator at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, where she also completed her masters in Medical Sciences. Lauren has worked alongside Dr. Jeelani for the last 3 years, authoring a number of abstracts and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific conferences. Lauren will be continuing her education this fall at Rush University Medical College in Chicago, IL as an MD candidate.

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