Dr. de Castro
Is Too Much Estrogen A Bad Thing?
Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Most commonly people thing of estrogen going low, causing menopause. So it's a good thing to have, right?
Yes, we do need estrogen as women (and men!) to function normally. But you can have too much of a good thing.
Estrogen dominance can present with many symptoms; including but not limited too:
And so much more...
Some of those might feel familiar, but how do you know if you have estrogen dominance or high estrogen? First, let's talk about what estrogen does and it's main jobs.
What Is Estrogen
Estrogen is a steroid sex hormone, and in women is produced in the ovaries as a response to LH and FSH. Small amounts can also be produced in the adrenal glands (above the kidneys) and fat cells. It acts on tissues that have the appropriate receptors and promotes the secondary female characteristics. There are three major endogenous estrogens, E1 (estrone), E2 (estradiol) and E3 (estriol).
Estrogen stimulates breast tissue development, female sex organ development during puberty, blood vessel development in the uterus as well as development of the endometrium.
It is key to regulation of the menstrual cycle, and can have an affect on almost every tissue in the body in addition to the ones already mentioned. It plays roles in muscle mass and strength, bone density, accelerates metabolism, reduces bowel motility, and sex drive.
In normal levels, estrogen helps maintain a health cycle, keeping the body functioning at its best. Now here comes the issues...
Lowering estrogen is a natural part of aging, hence menopause. Low levels at younger ages can impact normal sexual development and should be monitored by a medical provider.
Natural menopause happens as your ovaries produce less and less estrogen. Your menstrual cycle stops, hot flashes can become a regular, and bone density becomes on par with the men in your life (estrogen protects bone density so we even out during menopause when compared to males). Medical menopause can happen if your ovaries are damaged or removed, like during a full hysterectomy.
Hormonal replacement therapy is an option for women with low estrogen, depending on the rest of their health history.
Estrogen dominance, or too much estrogen appears in two ways.
Your body is making too much estrogen, or has too much estrogen in it from another source (like birth control). Or...your progesterone is low so the ratio between estrogen and progesterone is thrown off and it appears that you have high estrogen in your symptoms even if your levels are normal.
Symptoms of estrogen dominance may include: Irregular periods, dense breast tissue, fatigue, sleep disorders, brain fog, hot flashes and night sweats, hair loss, anxiety, weight gain, water retention, loss of libido, mood changes, painful periods, infertility and endometriosis.
So if you have these symptoms, what can you do?
First step, get blood tests. Is your estrogen high? Or normal and progesterone is low? This will impact treatment.
List out your symptoms. Journaling can help see what treatments are helping.
Getting a holistic health care provider on your side is the next step. Because treating this needs approach form all sides. Diet, exercise, GI health (we poop out a lot of our extra estrogen), making sure your liver is detoxing properly (to get that extra estrogen out!), managing stress, and cleaning up your environment from possible estrogen exposure.
Maybe it's time to consider changing birth control options?
Maybe we can switch to a Mediterranean diet?
Maybe we need some supplements like DIM?
There's a lot of things that can be done to help with estrogen dominance. The first step is to get tested and find a practitioner that will partner with you and make you feel your best!
Hope some of this information helps you make informed decisions about your health, advocate for yourself, and live your most blissful life!
In joy and happiness,
Dr. Samantha de Castro DC, BKin
DISCLAIMER: This information is intended to be educational, NOT medical advice. Always communicate with your health care professional about your health when making changes.
Dr. Samantha De Castro is a licensed chiropractor and doctor of chiropractic, but she is not YOUR chiropractor. She can not diagnose you. This does not replace being seen by your own health care provider. This information should not be used too self-diagnose or self-treat. This is informational ONLY and we do not accept responsibility for any outcomes.