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When your periods go for a toss, you feel fatigued all the time, and suddenly you start gaining weight. If this happens to you, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Well, of course, most of you will be quick to put the blame on a deficiency. But it might be estrogen dominance.
You may have hardly heard of this term before, but you will be shocked to know that most of us might be dealing with estrogen dominance in our bodies. And that’s why we feel or experience the issues we have stated above.
In fact, some women also get hot flashes in this case and at times consider it to be pre-menopausal symptoms.
We know the signs it shows are very tricky and it becomes harder to tap and tackle it. That’s why this guide on high estrogen is going to be your guiding light.
Come, let’s take this topic point by point and decipher this complicated problem.
According to Dr Shalini Vijay, senior consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Lullanagar, Pune, estrogen is found in both women and men. The thing is that women have higher levels of it than men. When it comes to women, estrogen helps in their sexual development.
Along with progesterone, it regulates one’s menstrual cycle too. So, estrogen is essential for reproductive and bone health.
Sometimes, there can be higher levels of estrogen.
Estrogen dominance is noticed when the estrogen levels increase when compared to progesterone levels in one’s body. Estrogen dominance is seen due to the overproduction of estrogen, changes in estrogen metabolism, menopause, or an imbalance in the estrogen to progesterone ratio which can be alarming.
Having more estrogen can lead to various problems. High estrogen levels can take a toll on one’s physical and mental well-being. There will be vaginal thinning and dryness, dry skin, spotting, and fibroids in females.
“There is another situation where people report low estrogen levels. Estrogen levels will go down due to premature ovarian failure, thyroid problems, too much exercise, being underweight, chemotherapy, and improper functioning of the pituitary gland. Low levels of estrogen in women can interfere with sexual development and sexual functions. It can also raise the chances of obesity, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease,” says Dr Vijay.
Apart from taking certain medications, high levels of estrogen are seen due to polycystic ovary syndrome aka PCOS, poor liver functioning, insulin resistance, poor diet, taking too many birth control pills, or chronic stress.
Women with estrogen dominance will exhibit symptoms such as
“I would suggest you consult the doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. And if your male partner has this problem, then lookout for signs like low sperm count, infertility, gynaecomastia which is a condition causing larger breasts, and erectile dysfunction (ED),” suggests Dr Vijay.
What about women?
“Well, women need to be alert as high levels of estrogen can lead to breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), uterine cancer (endometrial cancer), and even tumors on your ovaries and adrenal glands.”
Yes, there are ways to balance your estrogen levels. You will be recommended treatment based on the underlying cause behind the high estrogen levels. You can take medications only prescribed by the doctor. Moreover, you will also have to make some lifestyle modifications such as reducing weight to control the amount of estrogen in the body.
“So, try to eat a well-balanced diet low in fat and high in fiber, exercise daily without fail, cut down on alcohol consumption, and stay stress-free by doing yoga or meditation to lead a healthy life,” recommends Dr Vijay.
The bottom line is all about striking the right balance. Everything, whether it’s your eating habits or your lifestyle, needs to be in check if you want to keep your estrogen levels in check.