There are various hormonal imbalances that can occur throughout a woman’s life.
One extremely common hormonal imbalance is estrogen dominance. It’s more common than some women may realize, so it’s important to be able to distinguish the symptoms that could lead toward this diagnosis.
As a naturopathic physician I help my patients get to the root of their illnesses, to reach their optimal health goals. If you are a woman and dealing with hormonal imbalances, excess estrogen could be the culprit.
What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a hormone that plays various roles in the body, especially in regards to the development and maintenance of the female reproductive system. (1) Estrogen can be broken down into three different levels: Estrone, Estradiol, and Estriol. Each of these three levels plays a vital role in the body and are the sources to estrogen dominance. Estrogen influences many bodily systems: neurological, digestive, reproductive, and even the immune system. Estrogen also impacts organs like the liver, heart, ovaries, and uterus, as well as soft tissue, like the skin and lymphatic system.
It is also important to note that one can have low levels of estrogen but still experience estrogen dominance. This happens because the ratio between estrogen and progesterone is imbalanced. If you are trying to figure out your hormones and establish whether you may have an estrogen dominance, here are some symptoms that may occur in your body.
30 Common & Uncommon Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
1. Weight Gain
Weight gain is a common symptom of estrogen dominance particularly around the hips and the midsection. This includes the tummy, the flank, and even the upper bum area.
2. Bloating – Swelling – Edema
This is more common during menopause. During this time your body produces more estrogen and less progesterone and causes a shift in your hormones. Estrogen also encourages water retention, therefore it may cause bloating, excess swelling, and edema. (2)
3. Breast Changes
Changes in the breast include the development of cysts, fibrocystic breast tissue, and density of breast tissue. This is extremely important, especially for women who are overweight because estrogen is attracted to fat cells and gets stored there. This can then lead to a higher risk of breast cancer. (3)
If you are noticing these changes, you should act now to address these changes. Many of my female patients will take my Breast Health Course.
4. Irregular Periods
This is common for teenagers, and for women who are going through menopause. These are the times when your body is going through big hormonal changes that can throw them out of balance.
5. Heavy Periods
This can happen to women who experience normal and irregular periods. When estrogen is dominating the body, it can make your period heavier and more painful.
Due to the hormonal imbalance that estrogen dominance creates, it can cause anxiety in some women. Although the root of anxiety can be attributed to various things, estrogen dominance can be one of them. (4)
Similarly to anxiety, panic attacks are more common than some people realize as a symptom of estrogen dominance.
Depression can be a symptom of estrogen dominance and oftentimes you will see it being paired with anxiety and/or panic attacks.
9. Low Libido
If you have low levels of progesterone or if they decrease with age, this can cause an estrogen dominance which results in a low libido for women.
10. Headaches & Migraines
All different types of headaches fall into the category of excesses of estrogen. This is really complex because many women experience hormone related headaches around PMS, or even around ovulation.
11. Hair Loss & Thinning Hair
As women go through menopause they may notice changes in the scalp which can be a symptom of estrogen dominance.
12. Cold Hands & Cold Feet
You may experience cold hands and feet as a symptom of estrogen dominance due to poor blood circulation. (6)
13. Memory Loss & Brain Fog
Whether you forgot your keys, wallet glasses or any other items, it could be a symptom of estrogen dominance.
14. Sleep Imbalances
This is a common symptom especially if you wake up in the middle of the night, anywhere between 1 am and 3 am.
If you are feeling rundown or are always tired, you may want to check your hormones as this is a common indication of estrogen dominance.
16. History of Breast Cancer /Ovarian Cancers
If you have excess estrogen and have abnormal breast tissue, you may be screened for breast and ovarian cancer along with having some biopsies done.
17. Mood Swings
If you are experiencing mood swings throughout all times of the month and not just PMS, you may be experiencing estrogen dominance.
This is not just having a bad day or week, it is more of a constant feeling that you can’t shake off which could be caused by a hormonal imbalance.
19. Vaginal Dryness
This is an uncommon symptom which could be a result of estrogen dominance. Due to a hormonal imbalance, the vaginal walls tend to thin and provide less lubrication, therefore causing dryness. (7)
20. Vaginal Itchiness
Similarly to vaginal dryness, experiencing itchiness is an uncommon symptom as well. However, when the vaginal walls have less lubrication, it is likely to get drier and cause itchiness. (7)
21. Hot Flashes
Similarly to going through menopause you may experience hot flashes before your menopausal years if you have estrogen dominance.
22. Endometrial Tissue Changes
Changes in the uterine lining, whether it’s a thickening of the lining, presence of fibroids, or any other irregularities in and outside the uterus is the result of estrogen dominance.
23. Sluggish Digestion
This particularly presents as constipation. If we are constipated we are not able to cycle out the excess estrogen that the liver is breaking down, this becomes really critical to address when we are trying to balance estrogen levels.
24. PCOS & Ovarian cysts
One of the derivatives of both of these is estrogen imbalances.
Whether having difficulty getting pregnant or not being able to sustain a pregnancy, it could be a result of estrogen dominance.
26. Severe Cramps
If your cramps are worse than they typically are, or altogether unmanageable, you may have a hormonal imbalance.
27. Thyroid Imbalance
Estrogen dominance is often a big factor when it comes to thyroid imbalances.
28. Weak Nails
Since estrogen needs to hold on to the water inside your body, it prevents it from flowing into your nails. This lack of hydration causes the nails to be weak and brittle. (5)
29. Gut Imbalances – IBS/SIBO
Estrogen directly influences IBS, SIBO, and other gut imbalances. Resolving an estrogen imbalance could help ease your symptoms.
If you experience acne from the corner of your nose all the way to your ear and down your chin line, that is an indicator that it’s hormonal.
As you can see, the long list of common and uncommon symptoms of estrogen dominance is quite varied. If you are interested in learning more about estrogen, estrogen dominance, hormones, and more, you can download my free “Estrogen Dominance balancing Guide” here.
If you can relate to these symptoms I highly encourage you to test your hormone levels to see if you are dealing with estrogen dominance as well. You can purchase the female hormone test kit here. You are also welcome to schedule a virtual appointment with me here to get your questions answered in real time.