Ever Had PMS? Then You Are Familiar With These Symptoms.
During peri-menopause estrogen dominance symptoms are common because our hormones go on a roller coaster and can fluctuate wildly.
Estrogen dominance symptoms include:
- Water retention
- Breast tenderness
- Fibrocystic breastsH
- Heavy periods
- Uterine fibroids
- Panic attacks
- Sleep disorders
- Thyroid problems
Water retention (edema) is caused by the abnormal build up of fluid in the body, often most noticeable in the ankles and feet.
Too much estrogen (in a round-about way) causes the kidneys to retain water and sodium, which leads to the bloating. In time the elevated sodium levels can lead to high blood pressure.
It is important to manage the amount of sodium you consume but it is even more important to increase the amount of water you drink. It appears contradictory that you need to drink MORE water when you feel bloated, but more water will flush the sodium from the kidneys.
Breast tenderness (Mastalgia) is common during peri-menopause when hormone levels fluctuate. Breast pain occurs in cycles when estrogen levels are higher because the pituitary gland releases additional FSH to stimulate the ovulation.
Often this causes estrogen levels to spike without the production of progesterone to balance it. You can get relief from a hot water bottle or heating pad, or an over-the-counter pain medication. Evening Primrose Oilmight help as well.
Heavy bleeding during menopause
High levels of Estrogen that are not balanced by progesterone can lead to an overgrowth of the uterine lining. When this breaks down you will experience heavy bleeding, often with blood clots.
It is important to talk to your doctor about this symptom, because the heavy bleeding can also be a sign of endometriosis or other disorders.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. Fibroid tissue has estrogen receptors and is sensitive to the amount of estrogen. They often disappear after menopause when hormone levels stay low.
Small fibroids seldom cause any symptoms, but larger, or multiple fibroids can cause heavy or irregular bleeding and pain. There are numerous treatment options for fibroids, ranging from passive observation, medications to various surgical options.
The hormones that regulate our mood and feeling of well being are influenced by estrogen. Additionally, estrogen helps to regulate the hear-beat. Together with stress and probably some genetic factors, too much estrogen can trigger panic attacks.
There is a connection between estrogen and depression but this relationship is not at all clear. We know that estrogen influences the serotonin production (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood). The risk for depression gets higher after puberty, when hormone levels increase and it decreases after menopause. But in some women, hormone therapy helps with even major depression.
Insomnia in menopause can be caused by either too much estrogen or not enough progesterone. However, there are numerous other reasons for sleeplessness during menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats. Some women begin to snore after menopause but it is not clear why this happens.
Treatments for Estrogen Dominance
The treatment for these symptoms depend on the causes of estrogen dominance. If you are in the earlier stages of perimenopause, Evening Primrose Oil or Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex) are good options.
At any time, when you have a hormone imbalance, certain supplements can help to balance your estrogen levels. Options include Estrobalance or Estrosense.
You can also treat estrogen dominance symptoms by adding progesterone. This is often the treatment of choice for women who experience heavy bleeding in perimenopause.
Estrogen Dominance Caused by Hormone Therapy
Another reason for estrogen dominance symptoms is estrogen-only hormone therapy. Your doctor has already given you progesterone (hopefully as a natural progesterone not a progestin!) if you still have your uterus to prevent endometrial cancer.
Estrogen only therapy is often given to women who had a hysterectomy because some doctors believe that progesterone is no longer needed to protect the lining of the uterus.
If you experience estrogen dominance symptoms, talk to your doctor about lowering the dose and/or adding a progesterone.