Estrogen Dominance : 10 Signs Your Hormones Level Arent't Where They Should Be

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By Yulli Agnes, MD, MBiomed (AAM)

Estrogen and progesterone are two of the primary sex hormones involved in the many everyday biological functions that occur in our bodies. Among its duties, estrogen gives your body fabulous hips, breasts, and thighs. Adequate estrogen levels also protect your mood, brain, heart, and bones. Progesterone works to balance estrogen.

Estrogen and progesterone need the presence of each other in order to correctly perform their individual functions. Estrogen dominance occurs when the ratio of estrogen to progesterone sways too much one way or another. One of the most common patterns with estrogen dominance is to see excess estrogen in relation to progesterone, which is often too low, and causes various health complaints.

Sometimes our bodies send undeniable signals that are too obvious to ignore. But in other cases, the signals our bodies send are much more subtle, and if you don't know what you're looking for, you just might miss the very clear message that something needs attention, stat.

Very few women know how to spot the signs of hormonal imbalance. After all, we're often taught that pain and suffering are just a normal part of the female experience. Why would we think to question the massive mood swings, disruptive cramping or migraines? Because those things are, in fact, not normal. They're just a few clear signs from your body alerting you to a hormonal imbalance.

Here's what to be on the lookout for:

1) Off-the-charts PMS

Even though it's called "premenstrual syndrome," the symptoms of PMS can strike any time between ovulation and menstruation, during the second part of your monthly cycle. This is when many women start to have major bloating, uncontrollable crankiness, unexplainable sadness, severe headaches, insomnia & restless sleep and more.

2) Irregular menstruation

Estrogen and progesterone need the presence of each other in order to correctly perform their individual functions. When estrogen and progesterone become out of balance, you will experience irregular menstruation.

3) Severe menstrual cramp & heavy bleeding with clots during period

If you are experiencing severe cramp and changing your pad or tampon every hour, or seeing dark purple clots during your cycle, something is up. Too much estrogen is tied to this type of excessive bleeding, and especially if you are experiencing severe cramp it could be a symptom of something larger, such as endometriosis, fibroids, or ovarian cysts. Also if you are noticing strange brown stuff at the start of your period, it is actually oxidized blood that did not quite make it out of your uterus during your last cycle. The culprit? Low progesterone.

4) Low libido

There are a lot of reasons why you have no interest in sex, but estrogen dominance and adrenal dysfunction are the major factor that wreaks havoc on your hormones and in turn depletes your sex drive.

5) Low energy & exhaustion

Tired all the time? It could be that you have adrenal dysfunction. Adrenal glands are the endocrine glands that sit above the kidneys and release the stress hormone known as cortisol. High cortisol level usually cause low level of progesterone. Most women that have adrenal dysfunction also have estrogen dominance.

6) Insomnia & restless sleep

Hormones imbalance resulting from estrogen dominance or adrenal dysfunction, may cause sleeplessness which in turn worsens the hormone imbalance. Your body needs sleep for the hormones to do their job properly. Sleep is absolutely essential for repair and rejuvenation.

7) Brain fog & memory problems

Estrogen dominance could be the reason why you frequently forgot where your keys are, or could not focus on your work. Progesterone has multiple non-reproductive functions in the central nervous system include regulating your cognitive function & mood.

8) Skin break-out like a teenager

Whether pimples crop up every time your period approaches or you're coping with severe acne, your hormones are the source of the issues. While low level of progesterone itself does not cause acne, low level of progesterone can cause estrogen & androgens level to become unbalanced. Excess androgens are the biggest factor when it comes to acne.

9) Erratic sugar cravings and crazy binges

Everyone craves certain foods now and then, but if your cravings are out of control, your hormones are the likely culprits. If you consume too much sugar, whether it's in the form of pasta, bagels, or ice cream — your body has to churn out a hormone called insulin to break it down. Spikes in glucose and insulin can disrupt ovulation, shutting down your production of progesterone and setting you up for the troublesome effects of estrogen dominance.

10) Weight Gain

When you are eating salad after salad and spending hours at the gym but you're still not seeing results. But the problem is not lack of effort or faulty scale — high levels of cortisol, high estrogen level or combination of both are the major reason we tend to keep gaining weight, especially on our belly area.

You want estrogen sticking around, but you also want it to stay in check.