Estrogen is a good thing and women may not appreciate how beneficial the hormone is until their levels plummet during peri-menopause. However, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. When a woman has too much estrogen, this can result in estrogen overload, which can lead to other problems.
According to Dr. Marcelle Pick of Womentowomen.com, a woman’s menstrual periods may become erratic during peri-menopause. Even if a woman’s periods manage to stay consistent, she may start ovulating erratically. When a woman fails to ovulate, but still has a period, this is called anovulation. Progesterone is produced when a woman ovulates. When progesterone isn’t produced due to anovulation, estrogen can go unchecked and soar, resulting in rampant premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, sore breasts, irritability, anger and mania.
Mimics Other Conditions
According to Dr. Ray Peat, a pioneer in the field of natural hormone therapy, estrogen dominance can imitate other syndromes such as metabolic syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, peri-menopause and anxiety. Progesterone counter-balances estrogen. One can inadvertently exacerbate estrogen dominance by eating certain foods. Animals are fed estrogenic growth hormones, which escalates hormone levels through meat. Sugar, particularly high fructose corn syrup, results in xeno-estrogens, which are comparable to fake estrogen that trips up one's body and clogs up receptor sites, according to Peat.
What We Eat
When we introduce even more estrogen into our body by eating certain foods, this can result in a vicious cycle in which fat cells are enlarged and make more authentic estrogen.
Children and Men
Estrogen dominance occurs not only in women but in young girls and boys. Girls are starting their period and developing breasts at an earlier age because of estrogen overload. Symptoms include joint pain, cramps, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, high cholesterol, mood swings and sugar cravings. Men can also have too much estrogen in their bodies, which results in fat and weight gain. The weight gain, for women in particular, generally occurs in the waist, mid-section and breasts.
According to Womentowomen.com, if estrogen levels stay too high and are unopposed because a woman is no longer producing adequate amounts of progesterone, this can result in amenorrhea, which means skipped menstrual periods, decreased cognitive (thinking) ability, heavy bleeding (hyper-menorrhea), endometriosis, infertility, fibroids, uterine cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Estrogen levels that are too high can also cause cyclical headaches, breast pain, weight gain, water retention and irregular bleeding. Ironically, an estrogen deficiency can result in the very same symptoms.
Individuals who have a thyroid deficiency, those who are under unrelenting stress and those who don’t eat enough protein can have elevated estrogen levels.