There are a number of factors that can cause high estrogen levels in women. Pregnancy is a common reason, as is the time leading up to menopause, as both are instances when the body experiences significant hormone fluctuations. Fortunately, by understanding the causes of high estrogen levels, it is possible to overcome them. Keep reading to find out more about the triggers of high estrogen levels which range from hormonal, or natural, and induced to dietary.
Natural Causes of High Estrogen Levels
High estrogen levels typically indicate a problem in the ovaries or the ovarian area. During a woman's menstrual cycle, it is normal to experience hormonal instability. Often one of the first signs of menopause is a drop in progesterone production, which prompts the body to increase estrogen levels to compensate for this decline. These two hormones exist concurrently, but typically become unbalanced during perimenopause, the stage just before menopause begins.
It is important to remember that estrogen levels can differ greatly among females during their normal monthly cycles and particularly during menopause.
Induced Causes of High Estrogen Levels
During menopause, many women turn to estrogen replacement therapy to maintain healthy bones and/or combat hot flashes. It's possible that while receiving replacement therapy, estradiol levels could climb to more than 200-400 pg/ml, which is fundamentally too much for women. Not only could this increase a woman's chance of blood clotting problems, but it also puts her at risk of infertility, endometrial cancer, stroke, and breast cancer.
Other induced causes of high estrogen levels include certain drugs such as steroid medications, ampicillin, phenothiazines, tetracyclines and drugs containing estrogen.
Another factor that is becoming more relevant in today's society is the existence of xenoestrogens, man-made chemicals in the environment that mimic the body's own estrogen when ingested. Everyday acts such as drinking from a plastic bottle can lead to an increase in the body's estrogen levels.
Other Causes of High Estrogen Levels
Estrogen levels can often be affected by diet and lifestyle. It has been proposed that a diet heavy in artificial ingredients and refined sugar and flour can result in high estrogen levels. Over an extended period of time, this kind of diet is also likely to cause other health problems such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Digestive problems
- Insulin resistance
These health issues can slow down the flow of hormone production in the body and boost estrogen production. The diagram to the right demonstrates the ongoing cycle between hormonal imbalance, weight gain, and increasing levels of estrogen which some women may suffer from. It is important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle during perimenopause and menopause in order to keep the causes of high estrogen levels at bay.
Stress is another cause of high estrogen levels; this leads to overproduction of cortisol in the body, which makes it difficult for information to be passed between the brain, pituitary gland, and the ovaries. This is yet another obstacle slowing the steady flow of hormones throughout the body and can be a major factor in the severity of menopause symptoms.
Now that the causes of high estrogen levels have been explained, keep reading to gain a better understanding of the symptoms of high estrogen levels.