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Signs & Symptoms of Estrogen Spikes During Perimenopause

Updated November 21, 2016

If you are in perimenopause, the stage leading up to full menopause, your oestrogen levels go haywire at times. This is typical. Your sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, as well as testosterone, can fluctuate wildly as you head down the final stretch toward menopause. When oestrogen spikes during perimenopause, you may experience numerous symptoms, some of which can be unpleasant.

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Tender Breasts

One of the signs that your oestrogen levels are too high is tender, sore and swollen breasts. You may remember this feeling from puberty or those first few months of pregnancy. High levels of oestrogen make your breast tissue grow. High levels of progesterone can make you retain fluid, increasing the size of your breasts. Oestrogen spikes are responsible for the breast tenderness and uterine fibroid growth, according to Marcie Richardson, MD, the director of the Harvard Vanguard Menopause Consultation Service as well as the editor of Flashes, the North American Menopause Association's monthly newsletter. Breast tenderness is often cyclical and is the result of hormonal changes that occur right before a woman's menstrual period, during pregnancy and during perimenopause, according to 34-menopause-symptoms.com. Your breasts will become sore, tender and swollen and you may experience heavy, dull and achy feelings in your breasts, as well as discomfort when you move and pain while sleeping.

Irregular or Abnormal Periods

When you are in perimenopause you may not ovulate regularly. When you don't ovulate, you don't produce progesterone. When progesterone isn't produced, oestrogen is unopposed. Too much oestrogen can lead to build-up of the uterine lining, resulting in irregular menstrual periods or heavier than normal periods as well as lighter periods and breast pain and tenderness. It differs for each woman.

Fibrocystic Breasts

Many women in the perimenopausal age range develop fibrocystic breasts, which can be painful, but generally aren't anything to worry about. The late Dr. John Lee, who is renowned for his study of oestrogen dominance and progesterone, noted that fibrocystic breasts are an indicator of oestrogen overload or too much oestrogen in relation to progesterone. Lee recommended using natural progesterone to clear up the cysts and relieve any discomfort that you might experience.

Other Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

Oestrogen is a crucial hormone but when a woman has too much it impacts her body and brain. Spikes in oestrogen can cause irritability, hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, anger, mental fogginess, weight gain and memory loss. Additional symptoms of oestrogen dominance or spiking oestrogen include unstable blood sugar, bloating, hair loss, slow metabolism, hypoglycaemia, PMS and zinc deficiency, according to Christiannet.com.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.

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