Cold Hands And Tired All The Time? You Might Have Oestrogen Dominance

These are the symptoms you need to know about.
Olga Rolenko via Getty Images

Hormone imbalances have been shown to affect around eight in 10 women, causing everything from rollercoaster emotions, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fatigue and more.

If you’ve been feeling lethargic, unable to shift weight and are having trouble with anxiety, you could be dealing with oestrogen dominance.

And if you are, you’re not alone – videos tagged #estrogendominance have over 101 million views on TikTok.

What is oestrogen dominance?

To take you right back to biology class, oestrogen is known as the “female” hormone and testosterone is known as the “male” hormone.

Although each hormone is identified with a specific sex, both are found in women and men. On average, women have higher levels of oestrogen and men have more testosterone.

Along with oestrogen, women have progesterone, which regulates the menstrual cycle and helps with the reproductive system.

With oestrogen dominance, women have oestrogen levels that are abnormally high compared to their progesterone levels.

How can oestrogen dominance impact us?

The symptoms of oestrogen dominance can include cold hands and feet, weight gain, decreased sex drive, swelling and tenderness in your breasts, fatigue, heavy and painful periods, and anxiety and panic attacks, to list just a few.

Your GP can test if your levels are correct by doing a blood or urine test, or you can buy hormone testing kits online and send your samples away in the post – although chances are you’ll have to take the results of this to your doctor anyway, who will then have to test you again if anything is amiss.

How can we bring hormones back into balance?

Once you know for sure what your hormone levels are like, and if you do have an oestrogen dominance, there are a few things you can try.

Holistic wellness coach and TikTok creator Maria Villaman says alcohol can exacerbate your symptoms. “Oestrogen is mostly detoxified through your liver, so you may notice the symptoms [of oestrogen dominance] are particularly bad when you’ve been consuming alcohol,” she said.

Can cutting down on drinking help? Villaman says it can: “Make sure that your liver can properly do its job, so you may want to lay off alcohol, especially in the seven to 10 days before your period.”

And bad news coffee lovers, but she suggests staying off coffee and other caffeine sources, too.

Getting outdoors in the sunlight first thing in the morning – even if its overcast – is also said to help balance your hormone levels and regulate your circadian rhythm.

And getting regular exercise and taking anti-inflammatory supplements are often used in treatment of oestrogen-dominant conditions by doctors.

Swapping meat for vegetables is also said to have a positive impact: a study showed that women eating a vegetarian diet have lower serum oestrogen levels by 15%-20%.

If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor and chat about how you’re feeling to determine whether the symptoms may be caused by a hormone imbalance.