What Indicates That Your Body Is Not Utilizing Estrogen Correctly? Three Major Forms Of Estrogen


When your body isn’t metabolizing estrogen properly, it sends clear signals. Perhaps you’re gaining weight unexpectedly, especially around your hips and waist.

Or, you might find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster with mood swings. Irregular or painful menstrual cycles are a telltale sign for women. Intense PMS symptoms or frequent headaches accompany these. Maybe you’re constantly tired, or your sex drive isn’t what it used to be.

These signs all point to a potential imbalance in estrogen breakdown. Recognizing and addressing these symptoms early can lead to better health and well-being. So, keep an eye out; your body is talking to you. This article explores the signs of estrogen not being metabolized properly by your body. 

What is Estrogen? Types of Estrogen

Estrogen is a hormone found in both men and women. It influences reproductive health and many other bodily functions. In women, it’s important for reproductive and breast health.

It also supports cognitive, bone, and cardiovascular systems. Both sexes produce estrogen, predominantly in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and fat tissues. Women generate larger quantities. 

In women’s reproductive health, estrogen triggers the development of secondary sexual characteristics. Estrogen also regulates the menstrual cycle.

It prepares the uterus for a possible pregnancy by thickening its lining and maintains the health of the vaginal wall and lubrication. It supports placenta function during pregnancy and prepares the breasts for milk production. Estrogen has a crucial role.

It controls the timing of the menstrual cycle. It also ensures the reproductive system’s overall function and health.

Overall Function Of Estrogen

Types of Estrogen

There are three main types of estrogen in the body:

  • Estradiol: This is the most common type in women of childbearing age. It plays a big role in menstrual cycles and overall reproductive health.
  • Estriol: This type of estrogen is mostly made during pregnancy. It’s produced in large amounts to help the body prepare for birth.
  • Estrone: This is a form of estrogen found after menopause. It’s weaker than estradiol and is the main type of estrogen in the body after a woman’s reproductive years.

Breakdown and Elimination of Estrogen in the Body

In the body, estrogen is metabolized by transforming it from an active hormone into an easier form to remove. Initially, the body changes the active estrogen into a water-soluble substance.

This transformation is necessary because it effectively allows the body to transport it to the colon and kidneys. From there, the body can excrete it through urine or feces.

Essentially, this process is the body’s way of using estrogen for its necessary functions. Then, it safely disposes of it once it’s no longer needed to maintain a healthy balance.

Why Estrogen Imbalance Occurs?

An estrogen imbalance can occur when something goes wrong in how your body handles estrogen. Here are some reasons why this might occur:

Other Hormones

Other hormones in the body, such as those from the thyroid or other reproductive hormones, might not be balanced. Since all hormones need to work together smoothly, if one is off, it can throw off estrogen, too.

Liver Health

The liver plays a big role in managing estrogen. If it’s not working well, it can lead to too much or too little estrogen.

Gut Health

How your gut health handles estrogen affects you. If your gut bacteria are out of balance, it might lead to estrogen issues.

Chemicals in the Environment

Certain chemicals like plastics, pesticides, and personal care products can influence how estrogen works in your body. They call these chemicals endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). They can lead to an estrogen imbalance.

Signs Your Body Isn’t Handling Estrogen Right

  • Weight Gain: You might start gaining weight, especially around your hips and waist, and you’re unsure why. It could be your body holding onto estrogen.
  • Mood Swings: Feeling super happy one minute and then really down the next? Big mood changes can be a sign, too.
  • Weird Periods: For girls, if your periods are all over the place or really different than usual, it might be because of estrogen.
  • Always Tired: Even if you get enough sleep and feel tired, your body might struggle with estrogen.
  • Headaches: Getting headaches more often, especially if they seem tied to how you’re feeling or your period, can be a clue.
  • Less Interested in romance: Finding that you’re not feeling as interested in crushes or romance? It could be related to hormone levels.
  • Feeling Bloated: It might be a sign if you often feel bloated or puffy, especially in your belly.
  • Breast Pain: If your breasts feel sore and it’s not the usual time for it with your period, estrogen might be the cause.


Chatting with a trusted adult or doctor is a good idea if you’re noticing these things. They can help determine what’s happening and what to do about it.

Sometimes, making simple changes can greatly help. For example, eating healthier, getting more active, or finding ways to relax. But getting advice from someone who knows much about health is always good.

Recognizing the signs of improper estrogen metabolism helps maintain your health and well-being. Weight changes, mood swings, irregular periods, and fatigue are signs that this vital hormone may be off in your body.

Understanding the role of estrogen and how it’s broken down can help you evaluate possible medical conditions. Learning what might disrupt this process can also be essential for taking appropriate action and seeking a doctor’s assistance.

If you notice these signs, speak with a healthcare professional. They can help explore potential causes and solutions. Remember, addressing imbalances early can improve your quality of life and keep you healthy.


  • Chen C, Gong X, Yang X, et al. The roles of estrogen and estrogen receptors in gastrointestinal disease. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31788039/) Oncol Lett. 2019;18(6):5673-5680. Accessed 2/7/2022. 

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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