Living With Estrogen Dominance
There are many factors to consider when treating estrogen dominance. If you suffer with any of the above symptoms, you may want to consider working with a provider of holistic gynecology in Atlanta. The following are ways that you can start to address possible root causes for estrogen dominance:
Your Symptoms May Be The Key
So how are you supposed to navigate this complex problem of estrogen testing?
The key may be in your symptoms.
The evaluation of your estrogen should always be in the setting of whatever symptoms you are experiencing.
You are the single best way to determine if your levels are normal or abnormal.
If you KNOW that your cycle has been stable and normal for the last 5 years but suddenly it’s off by 1 week, there is definitely something wrong.
If you have previously not had any issues but you are now suffering from breast tenderness, migraines or mood issues related to your cycle, there is a high probability that something is wrong.
It’s often the case that your estrogen levels may show up “normal” even in the face of these types of symptoms.
For this reason, you should always pair up how you are feeling clinically with what your labs show.
I’ve provided a list of symptoms which tend to be associated with high and low estrogen below:
Symptoms of Low Estrogen
Low estrogen is relatively unusual among young menstruating women and thus tends to be more common as women age.
The principal cause of low estrogen is menopause which tends to occur in the fifth decade of life.
Other conditions, such as the removal of ovaries or the use of anastrozole, can trigger menopausal-like symptoms in women and lead to symptoms of low estrogen as well.
You can find a list of low estrogen symptoms below:
Diets & Foods That Reduce Estrogen Dominance
Choosing the right diet to reduce estrogen dominance may be an easy fix and might have other benefits for your health. Studies show promising results concerning healthy foods, especially plant-based, and Mediterranean-type diets. Fiber-rich diets that support a good digestion process can also help maintain a healthy level of estrogen and other hormones.
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What Are The Four Happy Hormones
Hormones play a complicated and important role in the way your body functions and even functions the way you feel. Some hormones have a big impact on your mood and happiness because of the signals they send to your brain.
Here is what you need to know about these happy hormones and how to increase their levels to give your mood a boost.
What Causes Low Estrogen
There are multiple possibilities as to why this hormone might be low. To begin to answer this, we need to know a little bit about how it is produced.
How Do You Make Estrogen?
The immediate building block to making estrogen is testosterone. So an obvious reason for low levels would be low testosterone. Then we have to determine what causes low testosterone. Half of your testosterone is produced in your ovaries. The other half comes from your adrenal glands or stress glands. This means that if testosterone is low, there is a 50% chance that it is because your adrenal glands are not producing their share. There are a number of means of supporting healthy adrenal gland function so that they better support the ovaries in making estrogen.
How Does Your Thyroid Affect Estrogen?
Another reason for low estrogen can be that your thyroid is underactive. The entire hormone-producing system works together. If your thyroid is underactive, everything in your body can run just a bit slower than it should. Supporting healthy thyroid function can help if this is the cause.
How Do the Other Hormones Affect Estrogen?
A third reason for it to be low is that there may be an excess of another hormone that is suppressing its production. For example, high levels of prolactin can suppress the ovaries. In this case, we need to investigate which hormone may be causing the suppression and address the cause of that.
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Symptoms Of Estrogen Deficiencies In Men
Males can also have too little estrogen and suffer from symptoms of estrogen deficiency. Some of these symptoms are the same as those of estrogen excess. A recent study examining the important role of estrogen in the regulation of body fat and sexual function in men found that the most severe effects of estrogen deficiency in men were on sexual desire, with estrogen deficient men reporting dramatic declines in arousal and erectile function.
Additionally, the men with decreased estrogen showed higher levels of the type of inner abdominal fat known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Men with estrogen deficiency also have decreased bone strength and are at increased risk for fractures.
Tests For Estrogen Level Changes
Your doctor may recommend taking an estrogen level test to measure the amount of estrogen in your blood or urine. Blood tests are performed by inserting a needle into your vein and taking a sample of blood. With urine tests, doctors ask people to collect urine samples over 24 hours. There are also tests available that measure your estrogen levels using your saliva.
Estrogen tests help to:
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How Can I Fix Estrogen Dominance
Functional medicine can provide some of the best avenues and answers to help combat estrogen dominance and bring your hormones back into balance. Before determining any treatments, our functional physicians will meet with you to understand your whole health history and ask about any conditions, medications, and symptoms you are experiencing. There are a large number of tests that can be helpful to pinpoint exactly what is happening in your body to test hormone levels, thyroid function, gut health, liver function, and more. Once we have determined what you need, we can create a treatment plan together. Some of the more common treatment options for estrogen dominance that work toward total-body health include :
Exercise and, if relevant, weight loss to regulate sex hormones and cortisol levels
Improving sleep quality and quantity
If you feel that your hormone levels may not be balanced, please reach out! No one should have to suffer from all of the many painful, inconvenient, and uncomfortable symptoms that estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance may cause. We would love to partner with you to help you achieve better balance and health.
Jonathan Vellinga, MDis an Internal Medicine practitioner with a broad interest in medicine. He graduated Summa cum laude from Weber State University in Clinical Laboratory Sciences and completed his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Estrogen In Men
What are the symptoms of high estrogen in men? According to Dr. Bernstein “erectile dysfunction, weight gain, decrease in libido or sexual drive, enlargement of the breast tissue, depression, loss of energy or feeling tired and decrease in muscle mass” are some of the symptoms you could expect if you live with high estrogen.
High estrogen in men may cause:
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Your Period Is Irregular
There are tons of reasons why your period could show up early or late. High estrogen is just one, but it is a potential culprit, so its good to know about if youre worried about your hormone levels. Your period is orchestrated carefully and gloriously by the complex dance of multiple hormones. So if one hormone is elevated, the whole operation can be thrown out of whack.
What Do Your Test Results Mean
Your serum progesterone level will be measured in nanograms per deciliter . Once your results are ready, the laboratory will send them to your doctor. Normal results can vary, depending on your gender, age, menstrual cycle, and whether or not youre pregnant.
If youre a woman who menstruates, your blood progesterone level should be low at the beginning of each menstrual cycle. It should peak several days after you ovulate. Then it should fall back to low levels, unless youve become pregnant.
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High Estrogen: Symptoms And Risks
Hormone levels fluctuate normally throughout the menstrual cycle and mild signs of this like tender breasts before your period and changes in mood and energy levels are notably normal. But if you have higher than normal levels of estrogen, these symptoms can turn into something more in fact, they can get so intense that they interfere with your ability to function at certain times in your cycle or throughout the whole month.
If your estrogen levels are too high, symptoms/conditions you might experience include:
- Cyclic breast tenderness, breast cysts, breast fullness
- Short menstrual cycles
- Heavy periods
- Weight gain or weight loss resistance
- Cervical dysplasia
These side effects of estrogen might seem puzzlingly broad and far-reaching but as you learned earlier, estrogen receptors are located all over the body. It makes sense that when estrogen is too high, we feel it just about everywhere.
Unfortunately, if estrogen levels remain high for too long without being addressed, it can put you at risk for other long-term issues, including:
As you can see, there are both immediate reasons and long-term reasons to get estrogen levels to a healthy place. But heres the key instead of just using progesterone therapy to increase progesterone levels as many experts suggest, the key to reducing elevated estrogen is addressing the factors causing high estrogen in the first place.
How To Restore Hormonal Balance
Because estrogen and other hormones can be easily affected by a wide variety of internal and external factors, the symptoms associated with high estrogen are not linked to any single cause. Your symptoms could be influenced by a more serious medical condition. Or they could be related to birth control or other hormone medications, chronic stress, or digestive issues. It may also be possible for estrogenic chemicals in foods and consumer products to an impact on hormone health. In fact, your body may produce excess estrogen for a plethora of reasons you may not know about.
Because the causes are so varied, its important to explore all possibilities with a professional who takes your concerns seriously and is committed to finding answers. An expert in hormone health will take extensive measurements of your hormone levels through saliva, blood, and/or urine and perform a thorough medical examination to determine if any other medical conditions may be causing your symptoms. This absolutely crucial step prevents you from starting treatment that might not be useful for your bodyor, worse yet, ignoring your symptoms.
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Signs Of High Estrogen Levels
Medical signs are quantifiable tests that doctors analyze in order to diagnose a patient with a certain condition. When paired with symptoms of high estrogen, these signs will help distinguish the underlying cause of the hormonal imbalance.
- Vaginal infection
- Hair loss
- Fibrocystic breasts
- High levels of estrogen
- Low serotonin levels by blood tests
- Mental health consultations
Moreover, the presence of high estrogen levels can lead to a host of more serious disorders if the imbalance evolves into a state of estrogen dominance. These ailments include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer
- Thyroid dysfunction
Signs Your Body Is Producing Too Much Estrogen
We at Bustle love giving you tips for how to tap into your sexual potential and troubleshoot when things arent going your way in the bedroom. But what about finding solutions to those stressful sexual health situations that inevitably crop up when youre getting down? Emma Kaywin, a Brooklyn-based sexual health writer and activist, is here to calm your nerves and answer your questions. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions will remain anonymous. This weeks topic: signs your body is producing too much estrogen.
Q: Ive been experiencing some weird symptoms. I recently noticed that I was gaining weight, which is unusual for me. And my brain is feeling fuzzy, like I cant concentrate that well. Im also getting really bad PMS, when I never used to before. I called up my moms best friend, whos a doctor, and she said that Id have to get tested but it sounds like it could be that I have too much estrogen. How is that possible? Is it something I can fix?
If your estrogen levels are high compared to your other hormones, thats often called estrogen dominance because that one hormone is dominating the others. In particular, its high relative to the hormone progesterone, the other hormone that helps orchestrate your menstrual cycle.
So how do you know if your doctor should be monitoring your estrogen levels? Lets look at the ways your body might be tipping you off that its estrogen cup overfloweth.
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What Are The Symptoms And Treatments Of High Estrogen Levels
Estrogen, the most well-known female sex hormone, is an important part of every persons body. It is a formative part of the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and helps to regulate cognitive, bone, and cardiovascular health in both men and women . However, a wave of hormonal dysfunction called “estrogen dominance has been affecting a number of women . Premenstrual syndrome , endometriosis, fibroids, and even mood disorders have all been linked to estrogen dominance.
Should You Get Your Hormones Tested
When my patients ask about estrogen dominance, Im sure they are hoping that this is the answer to all their problems, and that theres a simple test that will reveal exactly whats going on with their estrogen levels.
It can be helpful to get your hormone levels tested, though its not always necessary and the tests may not provide a conclusive link between your hormone levels and your symptoms. They will mostly often just indicate whether theres a significant hormone shift going on or whether theres a more overt hormone imbalance. The panel I run in my practice includes:
- FSH and LH
- Sex-hormone-binding globulin
- Free testosterone
Running these tests can help identify whether you do have a specific hormone imbalance, and your health care provider can help you understand exactly what the results mean.
Unfortunately, this still doesnt tell you why your hormone levels are off. As we already know, there are different types of estrogen that all come from many different sources. In addition, you may have high estrogen levels caused by excess estrogen exposure, but you might also have too much estrogen because of an issue metabolizing or eliminating it.
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The Queen Bee Hormone
Now before you go thinking estrogen is a dangerous hormone, let me explain. Estrogen is the luscious Queen Bee of hormones. I know thats very romantic of me but truly, her influence is so important and so central to our hormonal experience that I think of her as creating a lot of the buzz throughout our lifetime. Shes unquestionably considered the leading lady of female hormones.
Estrogen is best known for helping shape our monthly hormonal cycle, but its role in our life doesnt end there not even close. Here are just some of estrogens other roles in our health and well-being as women:
- Influences the development of the female body shape and physical female characteristics
- Prepares the uterus for pregnancy
- Maintains healthy blood sugar levels
- Stimulates cells growth
- Maintains skin tone and hair health
- Supports vaginal and urinary tract health
- Supports cognitive health, memory, and executive function
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Keeps inflammation controlled
Knowing this, it wont come as a big surprise that both estrogen levels that are too high and too low have been linked to common hormonally-related symptoms and more serious gynecologic conditions, include uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and uterine and breast cancers.
How To Raise Estrogen Levels
A male who is experiencing symptoms of low estrogen should speak to their doctor about treatment options.
Hormone replacement therapy can help treat low estrogen levels in males caused by hypogonadism. A doctor may administer testosterone using a patch, an injection, a gel, or a product absorbed by the gums.
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Functions Of Estradiol In Men
Estradiol plays an extensive role in your overall health, even your reproductive function. In cis men, estradiol modulates sex drive, supports regular erectile function, and regulates healthy spermatogenesis .
Outside of the reproductive system, estradiol has numerous applications and functions, including:
- Maintaining bone health
- Producing nitric oxide