Among other tasks, estrogen is responsible for developing secondary female sex characteristics within the body. Estrogen is the collective term for the female hormones estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Estrogen plays a key role in menstruation and in maintaining bone, cardiac, and endocrine health; for these reasons, it is imperative to maintain normal estrogen levels.
However, as women approach and enter menopause, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain normal levels of estrogen. Both excessively high and excessively low estrogen levels can cause a bothersome array of symptoms. High levels of estrogen, a condition also known as estrogen dominance, are common in women who are obese, pregnant, diabetic, those who have high blood pressure, or those that take medication containing estrogen.
Many cases of high estrogen levels are reported in otherwise healthy women over the age of 35; oftentimes women who experience high estrogen levels assume the effects are due to approaching middle age or menopause, leaving the problem untreated. In other instances, these women incorrectly interpret their high level of estrogen as a deficiency, eventually exacerbating the condition by augmenting the amount of estrogen within the body.
Detailed information about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of high estrogen levels can be found in the following sections.
Causes of High Estrogen Levels
There are many factors that can cause high estrogen levels in women, with pregnancy and the lead up to menopause being common hormonal triggers. Another cause is a woman's menstrual cycle. Levels of the estrogen, estradiol, have been recorded at an average of 400pg/ml for most women during ovulation. During pregnancy, however, levels can rise to 100 times as much. High estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can have effects such as headaches, breast tenderness, and even breast cancer, if left untreated.
Environmental causes such as the existence of xenoestrogens, chemicals in the environment that mimic the body's own estrogen, can also increase the body's estrogen levels.
Stress, diet, and lifestyle also have an impact on the levels of estrogen. A poor diet can cause problems over an extended period of time, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Digestive problems
- Insulin resistance
Click on the following link to read more about the causes of high estrogen levels, or continue reading below to learn more about the symptoms of high estrogen levels.
Symptoms of High Estrogen Levels
Symptoms of high quantities of estrogen in the body fall into two categories - physical and mental.
Physical conditions include:
- Vaginal infection
- Weight gain
- Uterine fibroids
- Hot flashes
- Irregular periods
Mental conditions include:
- Panic attacks
- Low self-esteem
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
Click on the following link to discover more information on the symptoms of high estrogen levels.