Estrogen dominance is a growing problem — both among men and women.
Have you ever wondered why there’s a growing number of men who experience male pattern baldness? Or why more girls are hitting puberty and developing at an earlier age than ever before?
Estrogen dominance is to blame.
In men and women, high (or low) levels of any hormone are never a good sign. But, when it comes to estrogen, the symptoms can affect other related hormones and can disrupt everything from your sleep to your weight and even your fertility.
In this article, you’ll learn about the most common symptoms of estrogen dominance and ways to fix it naturally.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance is a surplus of estrogen in the body. It occurs when too much estrogen accumulates and when the liver can’t successfully detoxify excess estrogen.
Now, you may associate estrogen with women and testosterone with men. And you’re technically not wrong.
As far as the primary sex hormones go, estrogen and progesterone support women’s menstrual cycle while testosterone triggers changes in men during puberty.
There are three main types of estrogen circulating in the body: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. However, men have low levels of the first two, which their bodies need to control sex drive, sperm production, arousal, and erections, in balance with testosterone.
Because estrogen plays different roles in each sex, estrogen dominance symptoms differ between biological males and females.
- High estrogen in men: Abdominal weight gain, lethargy, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, mood swings, irritability, low libido, depression, and anxiety.
- High estrogen in women: PMS, thyroid dysfunction, thinning hair, PCOS, fertility issues, mood swings, bloating, adult acne, insomnia, development of ovarian cysts, and so much more.
Here’s the thing: estrogen dominance in males occurs naturally after the age of 40 due to a natural decline of testosterone. So, in a way, estrogen dominance symptoms in men are inevitable.
However, too much estrogen in a male’s body, coupled with the decline of testosterone, culminates in estrogen dominance symptoms such as:
- Prostate enlargement
- An increased risk of cancer
- A loss in bone density
- High cholesterol
- A greater incidence of urinary and prostate disease
- Abnormal cell growth
Whether a man or woman, balancing your estrogen levels is the key to maintaining optimal reproductive health as well as total body wellness. That’s because estrogen dominance symptoms, as we’ll see next, affect so much more than just your fertility or libido.
4 Signs You Are Estrogen Dominant
So, how do you spot the signs of estrogen dominance in your body? There are several unmistakable symptoms associated with estrogen dominance you should be on the lookout for, including physical changes, shifts in mood, and changes in behavioral patterns.
Let’s take a look at four of the most common signs of estrogen dominance that both sexes experience.
#1. Weight Gain
Hormonal weight gain is an estrogen dominance symptom that can often slip unnoticed. You may attribute the weight gain to a lack of consistent exercise or poor eating habits — and while these issues certainly compound hormonal weight gain, they’re not the cause of it.
Hormonal imbalances cause weight gain because hormones are chemical messengers. They work together, are interconnected in their signaling functions, and a shift in one usually equals a change in another.
So, for example, estrogen dominance in the body disrupts the levels of related hormones such as insulin, leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol.
Your body uses these hormones to perform a host of functions such as triggering hunger, metabolizing glucose, balancing blood sugar levels, activating the feeling of “satiety” (or feeling full), and responding to stressful situations.
The weight gain that you experience as a result is similarly specific. It comes with periods of fatigue or lethargy.
Furthermore, you’ll gain subcutaneous fat, which is that “jiggly” fat visible just beneath the skin in areas like your hips, your thighs, your arms, your face, and your mid-section (especially the belly).
Subcutaneous fat is an important part of your body, but storing too much can lead to a greater risk of developing several related diseases such as fatty liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea.
According to researchers at Yale Medicine, estrogen — and its associate, progesterone — have significant effects on the quality and duration of your sleep. And that’s true for both men and women. Specifically, estrogen has a stimulating effect on the nervous system, which can keep you awake at night.
When you have too much estrogen, you also experience a sharp decline in progesterone, which can then cause insomnia.
It’s why so many women experience a sleep deficit in the two to three days leading up to their menstrual cycles. As progesterone drops, estrogen rises. And if there’s no sufficient way to eliminate rising estrogen levels naturally, then it accumulates in the body, continuing the condition of estrogen dominance.
Estrogen also disrupts the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. It’s why estrogen dominance symptoms after menopause worsen.
Insomnia in post-menopausal women is a common occurrence because estrogen secretion disrupts melatonin production.
If this is what you’re experiencing right now, you might consider using Happy Healthy Hippie’s Namastay in Bed, a curated collection of sleep-specific natural herbs that also includes melatonin.
#3. Fibrocystic Breasts and Gynecomastia in Men
Even though they’re a secondary sex organ, breast tissue in both men and women responds to increasing levels of estrogen. However, estrogen dominance produces different effects in each sex.
Let’s look into this estrogen dominance symptom in males and females separately.
Males who have estrogen dominance will experience the dreaded “saggy breast” syndrome — scientifically known as “gynecomastia.” If you, as a biological male, start to gain belly weight or fat, coupled with enlarged and “sagging” tissue around the pectoral muscles, you can be sure that there’s an imbalance of estrogen in your body.
Image from Mayo Clinic
High estrogen levels in men trigger an increase of breast gland tissue, along with tenderness around the area. It’s most common around the ages of 50 to 69, as testosterone levels drop naturally at this time. However, gynecomastia is becoming more frequent among young males who have a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.
That’s why it’s so important to offset hormonal imbalances using natural remedies that we’ll discuss below. Just because gynecomastia is common as you age, it doesn’t mean it has to be inevitable for you.
In women, fibrocystic breasts are even more worrisome. It’s not purely a question of appearance — it can also be incredibly uncomfortable. Fibrocystic breasts, caused by estrogen dominance in females, are painful, lumpy breasts.
It’s so common that most women experience mild fibrocystic breasts in the four to five days leading up to their period.
However, in women who have high estrogen levels, it is more frequent than a pre-period occurrence. The breast tissue thickens and fluid-filled sacs called “cysts'' develop in one or both breasts. The result is a series of sensations including pain or discomfort under the arms, full, swollen, or heavy breasts, and lumps that change in size throughout the month.
Image from Mount Sinai
Fibrocystic breasts are not the same as benign tumors or breast cancers. So far, cancer researchers have debunked any connection between fibrocystic breasts and breast cancer. So rest easy knowing that one does not lead to the other.
#4. Mood Swings
Besides the physical changes like weight gain and behavioral disruptions to sleep patterns, estrogen dominance can also affect us at the neurological level. Specifically, too much estrogen and too little progesterone lead to chronic and dramatic mood swings.
That’s because the production of estrogen triggers changes in the delicate balance of other neurotransmitters in your brain. Serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, all of which impact mood, are some of the hormones affected by imbalanced estrogen levels.
How to Fix Estrogen Dominance Naturally
If you’re looking for ways to fix estrogen dominance naturally, we have good news.
Whether estrogen dominance is due to a secondary, underlying cause, like an overall hormone imbalance, or you’re simply genetically prone to accumulate more estrogen, here are four steps you can take to alleviate these symptoms:
#1. Take Supplements for Estrogen Dominance
There are two tracks you can take with supplementation: You can either opt for hormone balance pills that will help alleviate the symptoms of estrogen dominance, or you can use specific supplements for estrogen dominance.
For example, since one of the symptoms of estrogen dominance in males and females is mood swings, you could address this particular issue with Joy Filled, a collection of herbs by Happy Healthy Hippie that decreases anxiety and uplifts your mood.
You may also choose to address weight gain issues due to estrogen dominance using a supplement like Be Grounded.
This particular formula of natural, premium adaptogenic herbs helps you heal physical and mental stress by addressing the stress hormone cortisol. And since stress is a prime cause of hormonal weight gain, you can reverse this symptom using reliable supplementation.
However, if you’re looking to lower estrogen and bring this hormone back into balance, the best hormone balance supplement to opt for is Go With the Flow. Devised as a hormone-balance-specific formula, it uses natural herbs and ingredients to address hormonal imbalances in women related to estrogen.
That’s why it’s the perfect supplement for estrogen dominance and menopause symptoms like low libido, PCOS, PMS, mood swings, and even insomnia.
#2. Exercise Regularly
Remember those Jane Fonda aerobic exercises from the ‘80s? Well, there’s scientific evidence to suggest that exercise can help metabolize and clear the body of excess estrogen. In other words, weight loss is just one of the benefits of regular exercise.
Whether aerobic, strength conditioning, or meditative, regular exercise balances five major hormones: irisin, estrogen, testosterone, human growth hormone, and cortisol.
This, in turn, affects hunger-related hormones leptin and ghrelin, which signal to your brain when you’re hungry and full, as well as insulin, which is responsible for modulating blood glucose levels.
For estrogen dominance, do exercises such as:
- High-intensity interval training circuits
- Strength training, with a particular emphasis on core conditioning
- Core- or abs-focused yoga poses
- Core elongating Pilates exercises
#3. Improve Your Diet
A diet that alleviates estrogen dominance should focus on two specific tasks.
First, it should support the detoxification function of the liver and your body’s estrogen receptors. Second, it should provide an equal balance of healthy fats so that your body can burn cleaner forms of energy when you’re exercising.
A well-functioning liver thrives with foods like:
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Bok choy
For healthy fats and fiber to support your body’s energy production and elimination processes, include estrogen foods like:
- Chia seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Sunflower seeds
#4. Detox Your Life
Speaking of detoxification, many household endocrine-disruptors may be causing your estrogen dominance symptoms. Simply finding and replacing these products can make a world of difference to your health.
You want to look for:
- Xenoestrogens, a group of synthetic chemical compounds present in everything from contraceptives to skincare products.
- Phthalates, which are a group of chemicals that make plastics more durable and your health more vulnerable to changes in sex hormones, altered development of the genitals, and low sperm count and quality.
- Phytoestrogens, which are plant estrogens. You specifically want to avoid unfermented soy products.
- BPAs, which are found in epoxy resins and can interfere with the production of estrogen.
Estrogen Dominance Symptoms f
#1. What are the most common estrogen imbalance signs?
Estrogen imbalance can trigger a range of symptoms, including:
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Muscle aches, tenderness, or stiffness
- Mood swings
- Low libido
- Irregular periods (for women)
#2. What are some common treatments for estrogen imbalance?
Treatment options for estrogen imbalance include a group of prescription medications known as aromatase inhibitors. These medications block estrogen production.
If your case is serious or if you have a history of estrogen-related conditions like breast or ovarian cancer, your doctor may also prescribe surgery to remove the ovaries, where estrogen is primarily produced.
#3. Can I treat estrogen imbalance naturally and if so, how?
The most common, natural treatments for estrogen imbalance include:
- Improving your diet and cutting down on refined sugars and carbs.
- Emptying your house from known endocrine disruptors.
- Opting for organic fruits and vegetables grown without chemical pesticides.
- Using supplements that balance estrogen levels.
#4. What to avoid if you are estrogen dominant?
If you’re estrogen dominant, you need to avoid:
- Meat and products raised on hormones and antibiotics
- Endocrine-disrupting environmental toxins
- Phytoestrogen (unfermented soy products)
- Refined sugar and carbs
- Caffeine or other stimulants
#5. What are some of the best supplements for estrogen dominance?
The best supplements for estrogen dominance will use natural hormone balance herbs and ingredients to rebalance estrogen to its optimal levels. An excellent choice is Happy Healthy Hippie’s estrogen imbalance supplement, Go With the Flow.
Estrogen dominance symptoms don’t need to be debilitating or rob you of your quality of life. The best way to address this issue is to spot the signs as quickly as possible. From here, book a blood test to confirm your hormone imbalance.
You can then formulate a plan that includes a healthy hormone balance diet, exercise, supplementation, and detoxification. It may take some time, but these strategies will be able to get you back to wellness.