Excessive estrogen is also known as ‘estrogen dominance’ – a problem most likely to affect women due to the fact that estrogen is the ‘female hormone’ responsible for their reproductive health, the development of breasts and other feminine features.
In normal quantities estrogen is a highly important hormone for women and certainly not one you’d want to be without. However like most things, in excess it can be a problem and create several unwanted symptoms. Many of these are frustrating and annoying, but some can be highly damaging and even life threatening.
The Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance in Women
- Mood swings
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Insomnia & restlessness
- Hot flushes
- Irregular/absent periods
- Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
- Heavy periods
- Tender breasts
- Dry skin
- Water retention and bloating
- Lack of libido (sex drive)
- Fibryocystic breasts
- Uterine fibroids
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Breast cancer
Estrogen dominance for women can have many causes such as insufficient levels of the hormone progesterone, effects of hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, exposure to xenoestrogens and phtoetrogens and more. It may also be a side effect of a range of illnesses and conditions, so it is very important that you see a doctor if you experience these symptoms.
Another common cause of excessive estrogen is obesity. This is due to the fact that estrogen gets produced by fat cells – as you gain weight so you become more likely to have higher amounts of estrogen in your body. Alcoholism meanwhile may also lead to excessive estrogen and this is because estrogen levels are normally regulated by the liver – as alcohol damages the liver so the body’s ability to control levels is diminished. A single glass of estrogen a day can increase the estrogen in the body.
Excessive Estrogen in Men
While estrogen dominance is most common in women, it can also occur in men and here it can cause a number of embarrassing and unpleasant side effects. Normally there is a balance in women and men of testosterone to estrogen – testosterone being the predominantly ‘male’ hormone. Where testosterone is decreased due to an increase in estrogen, this can cause men to develop more feminine qualities and to lose some of the conventionally masculine features that are desirable in men. Symptoms of excessive estrogen in men include:
- Prostate problems
- Reduced sex drive
- Weight gain
- Testicular shrinkage
- The development of breasts (gynecomastia)
This is generally caused by ‘xenoestrogens’ but can again be an indicator of a more serious condition such as testicular tumor or pituitary disease. The use of anabolic steroids (synthetic testosterone) can also lead to an increase in estrogen.
How to Lower Estrogen
If you suspect you have excessive estrogen then it is highly important that you seek medical attention in order to try and identify the cause. However there are things you can do as a man or a woman in order to reduce estrogen and to increase testosterone that might help to prevent the condition. The following may help:
- Using pro-hormones such as testosterone enhancers
- Carefully selecting your birth-control pill (try switching if you are noticing problems)
- Having sex – it increases testosterone!
- Losing weight
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Eating red meat