And what to do about high estrogen levels in women.
As women approach menopause, their estrogen levels naturally begin to decline. However, some women may experience high levels of estrogen, which can lead to various symptoms.
Estrogen is responsible for a range of functions in the body, including regulating menstrual cycles, maintaining bone density, influencing metabolism, and supporting brain health and heart health.
As estrogen levels decline during perimenopause, it's important to manage these changes to maintain overall health and wellness.
Estrogen is produced primarily in the ovaries. During perimenopause, the production of estrogen in the ovaries gradually declines.
But some factors, such as extra body fat, can promote high estrogen levels.
Also, if your body is not efficiently breaking down and clearing estrogen then estrogen levels can be chronically high or can fluctuate, leading to symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
When estrogen levels remain consistently high, it can lead to a range of other symptoms.
One way to measure estrogen levels is through a blood test that measures estradiol levels. Estradiol is the most potent form of estrogen, and high levels of estradiol in women can indicate too much estrogen in the body.
Other tests such as urine or saliva, can be used to measure estradiol levels as well as the other two measurable forms of estrogen called estrone and estriol.
So, what are the signs of high estrogen in women during perimenopause?
Here are a few common symptoms:
1. Heavy periods: Women with high estrogen levels may experience heavy or prolonged periods. This is because estrogen stimulates the growth of the uterine lining, which can result in heavier bleeding.
2. Breast tenderness: High estrogen levels can also cause breast tenderness or soreness. This is because estrogen stimulates the growth of breast tissue.
3. Mood swings: Estrogen can affect neurotransmitters in the brain, which can lead to mood swings or depression. Women with high estrogen levels may experience more intense mood swings than usual.
4. Weight gain: Estrogen is involved in fat storage, and high levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain, particularly in the hips and thighs.
5. Hot flashes: While hot flashes are more commonly associated with low estrogen levels, women with consistently high estrogen levels may also experience hot flashes.
6. Fatigue: High estrogen levels can cause fatigue or a feeling of sluggishness.
One important thing to keep in mind is that progesterone is like the sister hormone to estrogen.
Often women are experiencing signs of estrogen dominance because their progesterone levels are low, even though their estrogen levels are low or normal.
So, in order to make a fully holistic analysis of what is going on, I always recommend getting progesterone levels tested at the same time you test estrogen levels.
Most women experience a drop in progesterone before a noticeable drop in estrogen.
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider. But be sure to work with someone that is very experienced in testing sex hormone levels.
Your doctor should recommend a blood test to measure your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels.
And they may want to follow it up with a urine and/or saliva test.
Please, don't settle for "You are just going through menopause".
There are many strategies that can be employed to help balance hormone levels in women during menopause.
Here are some ways women can manage their estrogen levels during perimenopause:
Eat a balanced diet
A healthy, balanced diet can help regulate estrogen levels. Foods high in phytoestrogens, such as fermented soybean products (like miso), chickpeas, and lentils, may help balance estrogen levels by acting as natural estrogens in the body.
Including plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unprocessed forms of proteins and fats in your diet can also help support overall health during perimenopause.
Regular exercise is important for maintaining healthy hormone levels, including estrogen. Engaging in moderate-intensity activities like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming for at least 30 minutes per day can help regulate hormone levels, support bone health, and reduce stress.
Chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance, including estrogen. This is particularly true as we enter perimenopause because most of our sex hormones are now being produced in the adrenal glands.
With chronic stress, the adrenal glands get taxed and will downregulate the production of sex hormones in favor of cortisol.
Practicing stress-management techniques like meditation, walks in nature, deep breathing, or hot showers or baths can help reduce stress and support healthy estrogen levels.
Consider hormone therapy
Hormone therapy can help manage symptoms of perimenopause by replacing estrogen and other hormones that decline during this time.
I generally recommend that if someone is considering hormone therapy they should speak with a healthcare provider who will do detailed hormone testing and that is very familiar with bio-identical hormone therapy (BHRT).
We work closely together with a local nurse practitioner who provides this level of care to our clients.
Get enough sleep
Sleep disturbances are common during perimenopause, and poor sleep can exacerbate hormonal imbalances.
Aim for seven to eight hours of good quality sleep per night by practicing good sleep hygiene, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and creating a relaxing sleep environment.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT EVERY WOMAN'S BODY IS DIFFERENT, AND WHAT WORKS FOR ONE MAY NOT WORK FOR ANOTHER.
Our "Sail Through Peri-Menopause" program can help you with all of these strategies in depth. That is why we created it! We don't want any woman to suffer needlessly.
If you are looking for ways to balance your estrogen and other sex hormones, we can help!