In males and females, estrogen is an important hormone. High levels of estrogen can cause a variety of symptoms and may increase the risk of developing certain medical conditions.
Females tend to have higher levels of estrogen, while males have more testosterone. In females, estrogen plays a role in the menstrual cycle and reproductive system. In males, it is important for sexual function.
High levels of estrogen in females can lead to weight gain, particularly around the hips and waist. Excess estrogen can also cause menstrual problems, such as irregular periods, light spotting, heavy bleeding, and PMS (premenstrual syndrome). They may also experience bloating, cold hands and feet, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, hair loss, headaches, low sex drive, mood changes, depression, or anxiety, memory problems, swollen or tender breasts, noncancerous breast lumps, or uterine fibroids.
In males, symptoms of high estrogen include erectile dysfunction, enlarged breasts (gynecomastia) and infertility.
High estrogen can also increase the risk of developing thyroid disease, blood clots, heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, or ovarian cancer. Some research suggests that men with high estrogen levels may experience depression.
Medications that can increase estrogen levels include hormonal contraceptives, certain antibiotics, some herbal or natural remedies, and phenothiazines (used for emotional disorders).
Estrogen levels vary according to a person’s age and sex. These levels also fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. The three forms of estrogen are estradiol, estriol and estrone. Estradiol is the primary form of estrogen.
Eating certain foods may reduce the body’s levels of estrogen, including cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, red grapes, flaxseed, and whole grains. Also, losing weight may decrease estrogen levels in people who are overweight or obese. This is because fat cells produce extra estrogen.
If medication is causing high estrogen levels, a doctor may recommend a lower dose or an alternative treatment.
Exogenous sources of estrogen or estrogen disruptors, like biphenyls, are a huge factor in creating high estrogen levels in both sexes. In men, stimulation of the aromatase enzymes can convert testosterone to estrogen creating both high estrogen and low testosterone.
The article goes on to talk about laboratory testing of estrogen from blood. However, I much prefer salivary or urine hormone testing. Serum testing only shows the protein-bound estrogen. Although this accounts for 97% of circulating hormones, only the free estrogen is active. Serum testing of estrogen will not show the effects of bio-identical hormone therapy that has become so popular with menopausal women.
High estrogen is a serious health issue for both men and women. Eating more cruciferous vegetables can reduce estrogen by supporting phase II liver detoxification. However, if you have symptoms of high estrogen, salivary or preferably urine hormone testing is most accurate lab test to evaluate your situation.
Source: October 8, 2018 NIH