Do you think you have symptoms of excess estrogen? You’re not alone. Too much estrogen can wreak havoc on a woman’s body and mental state. Men can also have high estrogen levels and experience serious health concerns.
Estrogen is a critical sex hormone produced naturally in the body, and both men and women need it to help aid important bodily functions. For women, estrogen is one of two key sex hormones. The other one is progesterone. Estrogen levels can become high when progesterone becomes low. The result is a hormonal imbalance and can result in the following symptoms.
While high levels affect each woman differently, below are some common symptoms of excess estrogen.
Estrogen plays a crucial role in fertility. As a woman moves through her menstrual cycle, estrogen levels increase to mature the egg in the ovaries and aid release during ovulation. At this time, a woman's sexual desire increases in preparation for egg fertilization. But if estrogen levels fall and then spike erratically due to a hormonal imbalance, it may lead to sexual dysfunction. (1)
Estrogen is crucial for a healthy menstrual cycle. Progesterone and estrogen work together to optimize a woman’s monthly cycle. (2) If an imbalance happens, women may have irregular menstrual cycles. Menstruation cycles may become longer or shorter. Abnormal periods may also result in excessive bleeding or spotting after a cycle has ended.
Hormones help with mood regulation and emotional well-being. (3) Excess estrogen may result in erratic mood changes and feeling anxious. High estrogen levels are also linked to anxiety and depression. Women in their premenopausal years experience more episodes of depression and anxiety than after menopause. The reasons are unclear for scientists, but they believe it has to do with producing more estrogen during this time.
If hormones cause severe mood fluctuations and impinge on tackling everyday life, it may be premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The symptoms of PMS include bloating, stomach cramps, and feeling tired. As much as 20%-40% of women experience PMS in their life.
For those who’ve experienced migraines, know what a debilitating feeling they cause. When a migraine comes on, you literally cannot function. Research shows that high concentrations of estrogen may cause migraines. (4) Also, migraines for women in their reproductive or high estrogen producing years have more migraines.
Maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial not only for your physical but emotional well being. Your body needs an estrogen balance to regulate metabolism. Excess estrogen may result in weight gain, just as low estrogen may have the same result during menopause.
As women move through the menstrual cycle, temperatures vary according to different factors, including how much estrogen is circulating. High levels of estrogen may make the hands and feet feel cold or even numb. The reason is that estrogen helps with blood flow through the body. (5)
Some studies have shown that estrogen boosts cognitive function. (6) In the brain are estrogen receptors that connect with circulating estrogen, and when levels are high may impair cognition. High estrogen can cause memory concerns or forgetfulness. On the other side of the spectrum, low estrogen treatments, such as bioidentical hormone replacement (BHT) with estrogen cream may provide hormonal balance, too.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder linked to different factors, and one of them may be hormone fluctuations. Women with low estrogen levels commonly have sleep issues, and in studies with estrogen supplementation, women slept better. (7) Estrogen stimulates the nervous system and helps with mood regulation. Any kind of imbalance, whether it's excess or low estrogen, can result in poor sleeping patterns.
Hair loss or alopecia has a profound effect on how women view themselves. It can cause severe psychological issues, such as depression and anxiety. 21 million women in the United States have experienced losing hair. One of those reasons may be connected to excess estrogen. Hair follicles have estrogen receptors, and low or high estrogen levels may result in hair loss. (8)
While estrogen is a female sex hormone, men produce smaller amounts in the testes and adrenal glands. Even though estrogen isn't as important for women as it is for men, excess estrogen can cause serious health concerns. The most important sex hormone for men is testosterone. The male body needs a balance between estrogen and testosterone for physical growth and sexual development. If an estrogen imbalance occurs, the following symptoms may result.
When men have excess estrogen, it may cause enlarged breast tissue (gynecomastia) or growth. The stimulation of breast tissue from high estrogen levels may increase breast tissue stimulation. It gives men the appearance of having breasts and may cause embarrassment and depression.
Sexual performance issues take tolls on relationships and emotional well being. One symptom of excess estrogen is erectile dysfunction (ED). The condition makes it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. Research shows that high-estrogen levels decrease the amount of testosterone in the body, causing a lack of desire and ED. (9)
Estrogen and testosterone are essential for libido regulation and desire. If a man has high estrogen and low testosterone, he may experience a lack of interest in sex and have a low sperm count. During ejaculation, it's estimated there are millions of sperm, but it only takes one for fertilization. Lower sperm count reduces the chances of conception.
If you suspect you have excess estrogen, speak to your doctor about your concerns. Living with high-estrogen levels lowers the quality of your life and puts you at risk for serious health concerns.