Your body needs estrogen for your reproductive, cardiovascular and bone health. Too much estrogen, though, can cause irregular periods and may worsen conditions that affect your reproductive health. Your provider can help diagnose what’s causing your high estrogen levels and recommend treatments that can help.
Estrogen is an important hormone that regulates your reproductive system. It plays an essential role in other body systems, too. Estrogen levels rise and fall throughout your life, often in sync with other hormones that control important body processes. Increases in estrogen spur your sexual development during puberty. Along with the hormone progesterone, estrogen prepares your body for pregnancy.
Estrogen levels that are too high or cause a hormone imbalance can cause problems. High estrogen can disrupt reproductive processes, cause unpleasant symptoms and increase your risk of certain conditions.
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Estrogen and progesterone work well together to prevent the lining of your uterus from getting too thick. Some people’s bodies don’t make enough progesterone, leading to what’s called unopposed estrogen. Unopposed estrogen is called estrogen dominance in some medical literature. Without progesterone’s balancing influence, estrogen can work overtime in your body and cause cell overgrowths, like tumors in your uterine lining.
It’s rare for your levels to be high because of the estrogen you’re producing. It’s more likely that your estrogen levels are high because of medications you’re taking. For instance, you may have a low sex drive because of high estrogen levels, but this is most likely caused by your birth control pills — not your body’s natural estrogen.
If you’re a trans man or nonbinary person with a vagina, high estrogen levels may prevent your body from having the physical appearance you’d like. If this is the case, masculinizing hormone therapy may be an option for you. This treatment involves taking testosterone to develop secondary sex characteristics like more muscle mass and facial and body hair.
People assigned male at birth (AMAB) need some estrogen for their sexual and reproductive health. But high levels of estrogen can cause:
If you’re assigned male at birth and concerned about your estrogen levels, speak with an endocrinologist or a functional medicine specialist for help.
Your estrogen levels may be high because:
A variety of factors can contribute to high estrogen, including:
High estrogen levels are associated with a variety of conditions. Estrogen doesn’t necessarily cause these conditions. Instead, estrogen may worsen a condition or symptom you already have, including:
There are three types of estrogen that your body makes. An estrogen test can measure all three: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2) and estriol (E3). Your provider will do a simple blood draw and send it to a lab for analysis.
The treatments your provider recommends will depend on what’s causing your high estrogen levels. In some cases, lifestyle changes may help. If high estrogen levels increase your cancer risk or worsen cancer you already have, your provider may recommend more aggressive treatments.
There are few medications that directly decrease estrogen. Usually, what’s needed is to identify the underlying cause and treating this first.
Making some lifestyle changes may help lower your estrogen levels. Your provider may recommend that you:
Your provider can adjust your prescription if the hormones you’re taking are causing high estrogen. You may need medicine if you have cancer spreading in response to estrogen exposure.
Your provider can help you address a hormone imbalance based on what’s causing it. In some instances, your provider may need to adjust your medications. If high estrogen is related to your lifestyle then diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and sleep changes may help. Discuss your medical history with your provider to identify opportunities to balance your hormones.
Not necessarily. The only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Estrogen plays an important role in maintaining your cardiovascular, reproductive and bone health. High levels of estrogen, however, can cause unpleasant symptoms that warrant a visit to your provider. Once your provider identifies what’s causing your estrogen to be high, they can recommend treatments that make your symptoms more manageable.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/09/2022.
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