All about oestrogen dominance

Estrogen dominance is a condition in which there is an excessive amount of estrogen in the body relative to other sex hormones, sometimes referred to as high oestrogen. 

Estrogen is one of the primary female sex hormones responsible for the development of people assigned female at birth’s secondary sexual characteristics, and plays a role in the menstrual cycle. 

While it’s normal for women to have high levels of estrogen, an imbalance of this hormone can lead to a range of negative health effects.


The causes of estrogen dominance are varied, including factors such as stress, poor diet, hormonal imbalances and as a side effect of some medications. 

In some cases, oestrogen dominance may be caused by a medical condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or Endometriosis. 

One study conducted in Australia in 2013 examined the impact of obesity on estrogen levels in postmenopausal women. The study found that obesity was associated with higher levels of estrogen.

In men, estrogen dominance can be caused by low testosterone levels, which allows estrogen to dominate.


Symptoms of estrogen dominance can be wide-ranging, but may include:

  • Changes in mental health including mood swings, anxiety and panic attacks, 
  • Breast tenderness and/or swelling
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Weight gain or swelling
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Irregular periods. 

In severe cases, estrogen dominance can also lead to an increased risk of breast and uterine cancer, as well as endometrial hyperplasia.


It’s always best to see your general practitioner (GP) when looking at hormone levels. There are specific blood tests that aren’t in the ‘normal’ tests that can be looked at for all hormone levels. 

Some tests that can be completed include testosterone E2 (Oestradiol), SHBG, Prolactin, Progesterone, FSH/LH, DHEAS, Cortisol and IGF-1 + GH.


Medical treatment options for estrogen dominance depends on the underlying cause of the condition. 

For example, if the imbalance is caused by PCOS, medications such as birth control pills, implants or anti-androgens may be prescribed. In some cases, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be recommended to help balance hormone levels.

There are several other steps that can be taken to address estrogen dominance. These include making dietary changes, such as avoiding processed foods and increasing intake of cruciferous vegetables, which contain compounds that help to balance hormones. Exercise can also be beneficial, as it helps to reduce excess estrogen levels and improve overall health.

If you suspect that you may have estrogen dominance, it’s important to speak with your GP to discuss your symptoms, get tests and explore treatment options.

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Inclusivity note

Within this article, we may use the terms she, her, woman, girl or daughter. We understand that not all people with uteruses who are assigned female at birth menstruate, and not everyone who menstruates identifies as a female, girl or woman. For more information on this, please see our article about the importance of gender inclusivity when discussing periods and menstruation.

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