Three Signs You’re Experiencing Estrogen Dominance

Jan 23, 2020

Dr. Ashley Margeson, ND

Dr. Ashley Margeson, ND


Ah, hormones. Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, adrenaline… the list can go on and on. Estrogen is the driving force behind many important factors in our bodies, but estrogen dominance can send us for a loop.

When it comes to women, estrogen is important for the health of our skin, reproductive systems, our sex drive, our focus and even our motivation. When estrogen fluctuates within the proper rhythm of our other hormones, our bodies stay pretty balanced. But when estrogen goes out of that important rhythm; we can start to experience some pretty annoying changes. Like… what you’ll see below.

[ONE] I can’t lose weight

This is the most common sign of estrogen dominance I see in practice. Women who experience too much estrogen tend to have trouble losing weight, specifically the weight around your midsection, hips and thighs. This most often happens after the age of 40; and is a combination of estrogen not being able to be broken down and then being stored within adipose tissue. If you’re eating well and exercising, but your weight isn’t changing, there’s a good chance estrogen is playing a big role.

[TWO] My periods are REALLY painful

 Though an inability to lose weight is more common with middle-aged women, painful periods tend to start when we’re in our 20’s. High estrogen has been associated with endometriosis, clots during your cycle, heavy bleeding and extreme pain before and during your period. PMS shouldn’t actually be a thing. If your hormones are balanced properly, mood swings, cramping, and pain don’t tend to affect us as much. If you’re having to pop 10 advil’s to just get through the day, it’s a good sign your estrogen to progesterone ratio (how your hormones communicate with each other and your brain) is too high. In our world, it’s far more common to see high estrogen, then it is to see low progesterone – but blood or urine testing is the best way to verify. If you are going to test your hormones with blood, make sure you ask your medical professional for 2 separate requisitions. Estrogen (estradiol) should be tested between days 9-11 of your cycle, and progesterone should be tested as close to day 19 as possible… providing you have a 28-30 day cycle.


[THREE] I can’t manage my stress anymore

 If you think you might be experiencing estrogen dominance, evaluate your stress levels before you do anything else. It’s difficult to diagnose estrogen dominance based solely off of blood levels because that estrogen has to be taken in relation to all your other hormones. Chronic stress in particular, will throw off your hormone balance and contribute to estrogen dominance if you don’t get a handle on it. The reason for this is a multi-tasking hormone, pregnenolone, of which both our stress hormones and sex hormones are made from. The only downfall with pregnenolone is that it goes where the demand is. When everything is fine, pregnenolone helps make progesterone, and just enough cortisol. But when your body is stressed (or just on the go and busy), your body converts almost all of it’s pregnenolone to cortisol. This means that progesterone comes up short. Progesterone is what keeps our lovely estrogen levels in check. If you don’t have enough progesterone, you end up with estrogen dominance. To learn more about managing your stress click here!



If you think you health issues are a sign of estrogen dominance, talk to a regulated medical professional about how you can support your hormone production, because your hormones should be working for you… not against you.




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