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How Do I Know If I Am High Or Low In X Hormone?

hormones hormonal birth control magnesium cortisone menopause depression

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#1 Green Gables

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 08:43 PM

I get a lot of questions or messages asking me how to tell what hormones I am high/low in based on symptoms. The short answer is you don't know based on symptoms alone. Many symptoms for OPPOSITE disorders are the SAME. Yes, this is terribly confusing. What you can do about it:

1. Get a hormones saliva test. This is not always conclusive but it can help. Maybe you are in the normal range but are "borderline" high or low. You may also have normal hormone levels but have a sensitivity to normal levels for some reason (not a lot of research has been done on this, doctors now are brushing it off as "genetic"). Remember that if you are on hormonal birth control then the birth control is setting your hormone levels, so a test will not tell you much about your natural levels.

2. Base your conclusions off what is most common. For example low progesterone is MUCH more common than high progesterone. High estrogen is MUCH more common than low estrogen. Also, remember from this last post that generally low progesterone = high androgens + high estrogen.Progesterone is a regulatory hormone that keeps both androgens and estrogen in check.

3. Even though I don't think it will help much, here is a list of side effects associated with each imbalance. Many of the symptoms overlap, so I did not find it conclusive, but if it makes you feel better to know what the symptoms are...

HIGH Estrogen

High levels of estrogen are very common in women, especially in women over 35, yet most ignore and try to live with the problem because they attribute it as part of their menstrual cycle or aging.

In addition, many women of menopausal age believe they are actually lacking in estrogen, and this misconception has led many women to engage in hormone replacement therapy. However, this additional estrogen only exacerbates the problem further, complicating health even more.

Many "women's multivitamins" contain added estrogen because of this misconception!

Women who are overweight, have high blood pressure or diabetes, take estrogen-containing drugs or are in certain stages of pregnancy may also be suffering from excess estrogen. This condition is also referred to ‘estrogen dominance’, because while some women may have surges of estrogen, it is often the imbalance between the normal hormones levels in the body, progesterone and estrogen, where the problems most occur.

Symptoms of high levels of estrogen may include:
  • PMS
  • Migraines
  • Mood swings, feeling easily angered
  • Cramps
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Depression
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Feeling fatigued or lethargic
  • Osteoporosis
  • Insomnia
  • Allergies
  • Memory loss
  • Skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, or a red flushed appearance
  • Breast sore, tender, and/or enlarged
  • Miscarriage
  • Low sex drive
  • High blood pressure
  • Facial hair – excessive growth
  • Inflammation
  • Hot flashes
  • Thinning hair or excessive loss
  • Irregular periods
LOW Estrogen

While most common during menopause, women can experience low estrogen levels if they undergo a hysterectomy, have chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or have an autoimmune disease. Women with very low body fat, often due to excessive exercise, may also experience low estrogen levels.

Mood is greatly influenced, as hormones decrease the onset of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase (MAO), destroying neurotransmitters that greatly effect mood and emotions, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitter fluctuations can have an effect on thinking, digestion, sleeping, eating, pain levels, and can lead to onset of disease and mental health disorders.

In addition, low estrogen levels can adversely affect the vagina, causing thinning of the walls and dryness, which can lead to painful sex. The lining of the urethra also thins, leaving the body susceptible to infections like UTIs.
Symptoms of low estrogen may include:
  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Memory lapses
  • Difficult concentrating
  • Joint pain
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Dry skin (which can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and brown age spots)
  • Loss of libido
  • Artherosclerosis
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Vaginal infection
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Low self esteem
HIGH Progesterone

A hormone naturally secreted by the ovary during the menstruation cycle, progesterone levels can become raised by birth control pills or menopausal hormone replacement therapy. Excessive progesterone can lead to fatigue and even sedation. It also promotes vaginal dryness, and can also decrease the amount of menstruation or cease it entirely by reversing estrogen’s effect on the growth of the uterine lining.

Symptoms of high progesterone may include:
  • Breast tenderness
  • Feeling bloated
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Susceptibility to yeast infections
  • Functional estrogen deficiency
LOW Progesterone

Progesterone is one of the most important hormones produced by the female body. It plays a critical role in regulating various functions within the body. Progesterone is a fundamental hormone that is also responsible for the production of additional hormones such as estrogen and cortisone.

There could be many possibilities that could cause the progesterone levels to fall. Some prominent factors include excess estrogen, resistance to insulin present in the body, chronic stress, sugar-laden diet, insufficient exercise and certain medications.

Symptoms of low progesterone may include:
  • Infertility
  • Thyroid dysfunction or disorders
  • Depression
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Weight gain
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Low blood sugar
  • Panic attacks
  • Water retention
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Blood clots during menstruation
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Muscle cramps, sore muscles
  • Insomnia
  • Dry cracked heels
  • Sugar cravings
  • Low basal body temperatures
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Slow metabolism
  • Weight gain, especially around middle
  • Spotting in the days before your period begins
  • Mood swings
HIGH Androgens

In a woman's body, one of the main purposes of the androgens is to be converted into the female hormones called estrogens. These hormones influence and regulate the function of many organs, including the reproductive tract, bone, kidneys, liver and muscle before, during and after menopause. Androgens also affect libido and sexual pleasure. However, excessive androgens can pose a problem and disrupt the healthy functioning of many of these bodily systems.

Left untreated, high levels of androgens can lead to serious health consequences, such as insulin resistance, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Symptoms of high androgens may include:
  • Acne
  • Hirsutism (excess hair growth in "inappropriate" places, like the chin or upper lip)
  • Thinning hair
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Irregular or absent menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Low HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol") and high LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol")
  • Obesity around the abdomen
LOW Androgens

Low androgen levels can be a problematic as well, and may affect women at any age, but most commonly occurs during the transition to menopause, or perimenopause. Associated conditions which may lead to low androgens include hypothalamic amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods resulting from excessive dieting and exercising) and hyperprolactinemia (characterized by high levels of prolactin, the hormone that drives milk production when a woman breastfeeds).

Rarely, pituitary gland tumors also can affect low production of testosterone (as well as other hormones). Low androgen levels also have been linked to bone loss and osteoporosis.

Symptoms of low androgens may include:
  • Low libido
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced sense of well-being
  • Vaginal dryness
Sources: Wikipedia, NativeRemedies, WebMD

And that's it. Good luck!

Edited by Green Gables, 29 September 2012 - 03:47 PM.

#2 mammasay


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Posted 28 September 2012 - 11:05 PM

Your posts are SO informative! I'm pretty sure my issue is Low Progesterone. One question though: does hormonal birth control lower Estrogen? I'm just curious if that could be why I had severe mood swings and chronic UTIs on birth control but haven't had either since going off.

#3 Green Gables

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:03 AM

Your posts are SO informative! I'm pretty sure my issue is Low Progesterone. One question though: does hormonal birth control lower Estrogen? I'm just curious if that could be why I had severe mood swings and chronic UTIs on birth control but haven't had either since going off.

Every birth control is so different I really have no way of telling you that. Wish I could be more helpful. BCPs are a whole new can of worms...

Edited by Green Gables, 29 September 2012 - 10:04 AM.

#4 DC-girl



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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:05 PM

Thank you Green Gables, that is really helpful

#5 andres123


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Posted 12 May 2013 - 02:00 AM

This is pretty good....


Is there one for guys somewhere around here??....I havent been able to find one this informative and well broken down.

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