Originally published: 27.JUL.2019
Last updated: 28.AUG.2023

Estrogen dominance refers to a hormonal imbalance in women that is often associated with a number of conditions such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, and breast and uterine cancers. There are thought to be a number of potential underlying causes including an overproduction of estrogen in the body and an imbalance in the estrogen to progesterone ratio.

Whether you suspect that you have estrogen dominance or you are looking for answers to specific symptoms you’re experiencing, read on for more insight into estrogen dominance including its causes and how to check your levels.

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What is Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen dominance is a term used in some medical literature to describe estrogen levels that are high in comparison to progesterone. Both hormones work alongside each other and are known to naturally fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle. That’s why if your body produces too little or too much of either hormone, it can impact the levels of the other.

What Causes Estrogen Dominance?

According to Anne Kolan, MD, of the US Department of Veteran Affairs, estrogen dominance can be the result of the overproduction of estrogen by the body, shifts in estrogen metabolism, or an imbalance in the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio. Each of these may occur for any of the following reasons:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Certain medications
  • Related health conditions
  • Environmental factors
  • Nutrition

Let's take a deeper look at some of these potential common causes of estrogen dominance.


After the age of 35, many women enter the phase of reproduction called “perimenopause”.

  • From the age of 35 to 50, there is an overall decrease in the amount of estrogen you produce, but a much bigger drop in progesterone as your cycle becomes increasingly anovulatory (you don’t ovulate).
  • In this instance, estrogen levels remain high but your body can no longer combat them with appropriate amounts of progesterone. As a result, your estrogen levels are much higher than your progesterone levels.


Body fat and estrogen dominance often go hand in hand. Having excess body weight can cause higher estrogen levels as fat tissue synthesizes estrogen.

  • When there is too little or too much estrogen, weight gain typically occurs. This is why those who are overweight typically have higher levels of estrogen and vice versa.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is recommended to help manage weight gain caused by hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance.


Certain medications may lead to a rise of circulating estrogen in the body, and while often the purpose of these medications is to raise estrogen levels, in some rare instances, it may lead to estrogen dominance. Medications that alter estrogen levels in the blood include:

  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Antibiotics
  • Phenothiazines (used to treat emotional and/or mood disorders)

Remember, if your doctor has recommended these medications, they are not guaranteed to cause estrogen dominance. If you are concerned, speak with your healthcare provider.

Related Health Conditions

There are a number of conditions believed to be associated with or even worsened by estrogen dominance. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Autoimmune conditions including thyroid disorders
  • Ovarian cancer and cysts
  • Endometriosis

If you are living with these health conditions, you should consider female hormone testing as part of your routine screening.


There are claims that your environment may have an impact on estrogen production.

  • Xenoestrogens, or synthetic estrogen compounds, are part of a category of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can potentially impact hormone levels.
  • Xenoestrogens have ‘estrogen-like’ effects and can enter our body through consuming food or inhalation. They can be found in everyday products such as styrofoam containers, detergents, and lotions. Pesticide, plastic, and car exhaust fumes all contribute to high levels of xenoestrogens in our everyday environment.

While it is not possible to avoid all synthetic estrogen, there are ways to counterbalance estrogen levels by being proactive in other areas of your life. This includes regularly exercising to support healthy hormone levels and following a balanced diet.


We all know a well-balanced diet is important for so many reasons, but there are claims that your diet can actually affect the levels of estrogen in your body.

  • While soy products are a key replacement for protein in many vegetarian diets, the consumption of soy has been linked to estrogen dominance. Soy contains phytoestrogens that mimic the role estrogen plays in your body.
  • Other products known to potentially raise estrogen include flaxseeds, dried fruits, garlic, and peaches.

The recommendation isn’t to simply avoid these foods, but rather focus on having a balanced diet that doesn’t contain too much or too little of any food group.

It’s important to know that the connection between your diet, environment, and estrogen levels is still an emerging science and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt. If you are concerned about your hormone levels, the most reliable way to know more is through hormone testing - this can be done from home with LetsGetChecked or with your doctor.

How do I Know if I Have High Estrogen?

Having too much estrogen in the body may cause symptoms such as

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Low sex drive
  • Heavier or lighter periods

How is Estrogen Dominance Diagnosed?

If you suspect your symptoms are linked to estrogen dominance, the first step is to record your symptoms, at what point in your menstrual cycle they appear, and how long they last. At this point, you should not change your diet, begin an exercise routine, or begin taking hormonal supplements before an appointment with a medical professional.

You can then choose to

  • Discuss your symptoms with your doctor. At your appointment, give your doctor all of your information including any medications you are taking, and ask your healthcare provider to check your hormone levels.
  • Order a Female Hormone Test with LetsGetChecked to get key insights into your hormone levels. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available to support you on the best next steps for you.

Related article: How do You Check Estrogen Levels From Home?

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