Estrogen is a powerful sex hormone that plays a vital role in reproduction. Yet, it has to remain balanced for optimum female health.

Why does it matter if your estrogen is out of balance? 
Having estrogen levels that are too high or low can cause problems with your health and fertility. For women trying to conceive, having estrogen that is out of wack can make it more challenging to get pregnant. Don't worry. By knowing high vs low estrogen symptoms, you have taken the first step in correcting this potential issue. Read on to learn signs of high and low estrogen and what to do if out of balance.

Normal estrogen levels

Many women don't worry about their estrogen levels unless there are concerns about irregular periods or find it difficult getting pregnant. 

However, your provider will be very interested in checking your hormone levels, estrogen included. He will want to make sure that your estrogen is within the normal range to ensure that your body is ready to conceive a baby.

Estrogen levels vary with age, with a steep decline after menopause. Estrogen also fluctuates throughout your menstrual cycle and is lowest during your period. Estradiol, one of the most potent types of estrogen, is the most common component measured as "estrogen".

Normal levels for estradiol in blood are:

  • 30 to 400 pg/mL for premenopausal women

According to News Medical Life Sciences, estradiol levels fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle with normal values as follows:

  • <50 pg/ml during menstrual periods
  • 200 pg/ml (maximum) during follicular development
  • 400 pg/ml (maximum) just before ovulation

Estrogen and ovulation

Estrogen is a hormonal messenger released from your ovaries like clockwork each month to help regulate your periods.

Estrogen is one of the key players in the monthly dance of hormones in the female process called the menstrual cycle. This vital element is especially important in the first half of your cycle (called the follicular phase).

As you may recall from the dreaded "sex talk" in health class, your ovaries contain thousands of follicles containing eggs. During the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle, cells around the developing egg in the ovaries will produce and secrete estrogen.

Estrogen is necessary for the process of ovulation. This estrogen, along with other female hormones, causes a mature egg to erupt from the ovary, where it progresses into the fallopian tube on its way toward implantation in the uterus.

Estrogen and fertility

A woman needs just the right balance of estrogen to have the best shot at conceiving. When trying to get pregnant, you should strive for adequate estrogen levels but not too much to cause other issues.

Both the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are necessary for conception. However, it is essential to carefully measure estrogen levels to help discern if your body is in an optimal position to conceive and support a pregnancy.

How exactly does estrogen play a role in fertility?

The most crucial job of estrogen in the initial process of conception is as follows:

  • Estrogen levels peak a few days before ovulation and stay elevated through your ovulation day and one day afterward. This is the most fertile period in your cycle.
  • Estrogen plays a vital role in egg fertilization. This essential hormone thins your cervical mucus, thus giving sperm less resistance to move more freely to your egg.
  • Estrogen prepares the body for pregnancy by building the uterine lining.

Knowing when you are most fertile may be the number one factor in helping you to get pregnant. Timing sex to coincide with your peak fertile days is not only fun but gives you a better chance at making a baby.

How high estrogen affects fertility

Excess estrogen can cause problems with fertility, especially conception. Although estrogen helps to keep your periods regular, too much estrogen can wreak havoc on your menstruation schedule, causing irregular cycles.

Elevated levels of estrogen can:

  • Prevent LH, another vital hormone in the pregnancy process, from rising as it should. 
  • Prevent egg follicles from developing early in your cycle.
  • Lead to cyst formation. 

Medical literature informs us that the window of prime uterine receptivity is shortened due to higher estrogen levels. Thus, women with high estrogen have a lesser fertile period which makes conception less likely. 

Estrogen dominance and fertility

We know that estrogen and progesterone are necessary for conception. There needs to be a precise balance of these two hormones to properly work in your body and make it ripe for pregnancy.

Progesterone works as an antagonist to keep the production of estrogen in check. It is a perfect balance to make your reproductive system run smoothly.

When this estrogen-progesterone ratio gets out of whack and estrogen levels are too high, it is called estrogen dominance. This condition can disrupt your menstrual cycle, making it difficult to conceive.

Low estrogen and its impact on fertility

On the other hand, low estrogen levels are a red flag for women in their childbearing years. The plain and simple explanation is that without enough estrogen, your follicles will not grow. 

Thus your body will not release an egg (anovulation) and sperm will not have anything to fertilize.

So, can you get pregnant with low estrogen levels? The answer is yes and no. Some women with low estrogen get pregnant despite the odds against them. However, your body needs the appropriate high estrogen levels to maintain the pregnancy. So the sad truth is that you may miscarry with low estrogen.

Women with low estrogen may be in perimenopause. Consult your OB if you suspect that you are in perimenopause or have low estrogen symptoms.

High estrogen vs low estrogen symptoms

So let's find out about high estrogen vs low estrogen symptoms to help you figure out if your body is at its best to conceive a baby.

As we had discussed, you do not want to have your estrogen out of balance when trying to get pregnant. The following symptoms list should alert you to a possible problem with your hormone levels. Discussing any of these concerns with your OB is recommended.

High Estrogen vs Low Estrogen Symptoms 

High Estrogen Symptoms

Low Estrogen Symptoms

Trouble sleeping

Hot flashes and night sweats



Low mood, depression, anxiety


Dry eyes

Vaginal dryness

Decreased sex drive

Loss of interest in sex

Weight gain


Breast tenderness

Low back discomfort

Thinning hair

Hair loss


Muscle and joint aches

Foggy thinking

High cholesterol

Irregular periods/Fertility issues

Irregular periods/Fertility issues

Early onset of menstruation

Early menopause


Low estrogen symptoms

As you can see, most of these low estrogen symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness can be found in women in menopause. Most symptoms are annoying and your provider should have advice to correct this issue.

High estrogen symptoms

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, severe PMS, and certain female cancers often suffer from high estrogen levels.

Although some of the symptoms associated with too much estrogen are similar to those in the low estrogen category, these issues are still quite troubling. Correcting your high estrogen is the first step in helping to relieve these symptoms.

How to balance high & low estrogen levels?

Once it has been determined that your estrogen levels are too high or low, you will most likely ask, "what can be done to correct this problem"?

Let's learn what you can do to get your body primed for pregnancy by balancing those all-important estrogen levels.

As with most avenues to a healthy body, achieving the right estrogen balance can be affected by lifestyle choices. Much of the components necessary for a healthy menstrual cycle, estrogen included, start with a proper clean diet, rest, and exercise.

Tips for healthy estrogen levels

Let's break down what you can do to manage your estrogen to maximize your fertility successfully.

  • Eat a diet dense in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, dark leafy green vegetables, and herbs. Keep your diet low-fat and high-fiber with very little processed sugar.
  • Add cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and kale.
  • Eat organic foods. Foods that are not organic contain toxins and additives that may interfere with estrogen production. This is especially so for meat and dairy products like milk which contains trace amounts of estrogen that may throw off its balance in your body).
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables well before eating, as they may contain harmful herbicides and pesticides.
  • Avoid the use of plastics for food products. Plastics leach harmful xenoestrogens into our food. Especially avoid heating food in plastic containers or coverings.
  • Choose natural cleaning and body products (such as deodorants and tampons).
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
  • Avoid stress. Manage the stress that you have.
  • Exercise daily in moderation. Avoid high-level or overly strenuous training as it may interfere with estrogen.
  • Get approximately 8 hours of sleep each night.

If you still have concerns and feel that your estrogen may be unbalanced, talk to your doctor about blood tests to measure your estrogen and progesterone levels. Additionally, discuss adding certain medications, vitamins, and supplements to your daily routine to help keep you well-tuned for conception.

With these tips in mind, you should be in great shape to begin the exciting journey of getting pregnant.

Summing up high estrogen vs low estrogen symptoms

  • Estrogen needs to be properly balanced in your body for optimal conditions for conception.
  • Low or high estrogen can result in fertility issues that need to be addressed by your doctor.
  • There are specific clues, such as irregular periods, hair loss and fatigue, to help you figure out high estrogen vs low estrogen symptoms.
  • Lifestyle modifications such as eliminating toxins from the environment and the foods you eat can help to balance your estrogen levels.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising in moderation may also help to improve your estrogen levels.

Author Bio: Donna Reese is a family nurse practitioner and RN who enjoys translating complex medical material into relatable content. She is a mother and wife who uses her nursing and everyday life experiences to write from the heart about women’s and family health topics, parenting issues, autoimmune conditions, and nursing education. Donna’s work can also be found in Health Digest, The Midlife, Wonderbaby, Genes 2teens, university nursing department sites, and many others. You can find her at

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