Estrogen dominance is somewhat common for women in perimenopause and menopause. It may sound surprising since women experience menopause due to the lack of estrogen, but too much estrogen is also bad news – here’s why.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance occurs when estrogen levels are higher than they normally would be in comparison to the progesterone levels of the body. The balance between these hormones is very important for normal function, and when it’s thrown off, you feel it.
Estrogen is incredibly important for women – it helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, build strong bones, increase happy chemicals in the brain, help with heart health and maintain the elasticity of the skin. Our bodies produce extra estrogen leading up to our period as the body prepares for the release of an egg and potential fertilization. If and when the egg isn’t fertilized, the body has a period and sheds the uterine lining. At this time, estrogen levels should drop and extra estrogen is eliminated. Estrogen dominance occurs when the additional estrogen isn’t properly eliminated.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Women often experience symptoms that are very similar to those of menopause. These symptoms can last for as long as 10 to 15 years.
Mood swings occur when you experience a sudden change in mood. People often express going from high highs to low lows – from euphoria to depression. Since estrogen plays a part in the chemical balance in your brain, including serotonin, estrogen dominance can cause your mood to shift greatly.
Reduced libido, or a loss of sexual urges and desire, can be caused by many factors. Women have two key sex hormones: progesterone and estrogen. These hormones must be in balance for things to work normally. Estrogen dominance can also cause other issues, like depression, fatigue, bloating, and vaginal dryness – all of which can affect libido as well.
Weight gain and bloating
Estrogen dominance causes the metabolism to slow and causes women to gain weight in the belly, hips, thighs, and butt. Additionally, weight gain causes an increase in fat cells, and these fat cells produce even more estrogen. Estrogen dominance also causes the abdominal tissues to retain water, which creates bloating.
The increased levels of estrogen can also cause several changes in the breasts. From tenderness and swelling to fibrocystic lumps and even cancer.
Issues with sleep and fatigue
Since estrogen can stimulate the nervous system, too much estrogen can cause insomnia. It can also obstruct the body’s ability to make melatonin, which is a natural chemical that makes you sleepy. Women who experience estrogen dominance also report ongoing fatigue or extreme exhaustion. This symptom goes hand in hand with insomnia.
Although these are five very common symptoms of estrogen dominance, there are many more that women experience – from memory issues to an accelerated aging process. If you think you may be experiencing estrogen dominance, talk with your doctor. They’ll be able to test your hormone levels and provide customized guidance to help with menopause relief and symptom relief.