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Oestrogen Levels: What Women Should Know

Oestrogen is one of the two main female sex hormones that control your reproductive health and fertility. Paying attention to this hormone’s levels is important to maintain good reproductive health. Apart from being involved in your reproductive system, oestrogen plays several other roles, from controlling your lipid metabolism to bone health. 

Your body must maintain the correct levels of this important hormone. Too low or too high oestrogen levels can affect your reproductive system and overall health. 

This article intends to explain oestrogen’s role in your body and how its levels fluctuate. We will also discuss normal oestrogen levels and how to tell if you have an imbalance in your body’s important hormone.

estrogen in women
How do I know if my oestrogen is high or low?

What is Oestrogen?

Oestrogen is a steroidal hormone secreted by the ovaries, which acts as one of the primary sex hormones for females. It directly impacts your reproductive health, fertility, and other body functions. Although the ovaries are major oestrogen-secreting organs, the adrenal glands and fatty tissue produce a small amount of the hormone. In certain medical conditions, ovaries tend to have too little or too much oestrogen, leading to several health issues.

Types of Oestrogen

Three distinct oestrogen types are found in the female body: Estradiol, Estrone, and estriol. Although these three hormones are chemically similar, they each play a specific role in the body. 

  • Estradiol is found in females of reproductive age and is the major type of oestrogen during this phase of life.
  • On the other hand, Estrone is the most abundant form of oestrogen found in women after Menopause.
  • Estriol is produced, especially during pregnancy, as the major form of oestrogen.

When we talk about oestrogen levels in your body, we talk about the amount of estradiol, the most common oestrogen in childbearing age. 

What does Oestrogen do?

One of the major roles of oestrogen is in the sexual development of females. It is the hormone responsible for developing secondary sexual characteristics, including breasts, pubic hair, etc. Oestrogen also controls the growth of the uterine lining, called the endometrium, during the menstrual cycle. 

Apart from these sex-related functions, oestrogen also plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health. The mineral, fat, and even glucose metabolism is controlled to a certain degree by oestrogen. 

Do you need estrogen or progesterone to get pregnant?
What day of your period is oestrogen the highest?

Oestrogen levels during your menstrual cycle

The oestrogen levels do not stay stagnant but fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle. A lot can be learned from knowing the oestrogen level in your body regarding your fertility status. 

Oestrogen Levels During Menstruation

When you are menstruating, the oestrogen levels in your body are at their lowest. Menstruation occurs when the body removes the unfertilised egg and the endometrial lining. As oestrogen is responsible for the growth and maintenance of the endometrial lining, the fall in oestrogen triggers its destruction marking the beginning of your period. 

The normal level of oestrogen (estradiol, specifically) is less than 50 picogram/ml during your period. The lowest level of oestrogen will be present in your body. 

Oestrogen levels Follicular phase

During the follicular phase, the immature follicles in the ovary begin maturing. This is the time between the menstrual and ovulation phases. The oestrogen level rises in this menstrual cycle phase, reaching its peak just before ovulation. 

All the follicles that start developing during the follicular phase start producing oestrogen. However, only one eventually matures and releases an egg during ovulation. 

Estradiol levels continuously increase from day five to day 14 of your menstrual cycle. The level rises from around 19 pg/ml to 140 pg/ml, the highest it can reach before falling again. 

Oestrogen levels in the Ovulation phase

The oestrogen levels are at their peak just before ovulation occurs. If you are trying to get pregnant, you can predict your fertility window by tracking this oestrogen and luteinising hormone level surge using ovulation tests.

You are most fertile a few days before ovulation to the day after. Once released from the ovaries, the egg has about 24 hours to fertilise. If it does not, it no longer stays viable and needs to be eliminated from the body. 

Before ovulation starts, the peak oestrogen level in your body can reach up to 410 pg/ml. In an ideal case scenario, your estradiol levels should hover around the 400 pg/ml mark. 

Using Fertility2Family ovulation tests to help detect your most fertile window. Detecting you are about to ovulate can increase your chances of falling pregnant.

Oestrogen levels in the Luteal phase

Once the egg is released from the mature ovarian follicle, the remaining structure converts into a mass called the corpus luteum. As this mass starts secreting another sex hormone called progesterone, its level increases during the cycle’s luteal phase. The oestrogen rises only moderately during this phase. The luteal phase can last for 14 to 17 days, depending on the length of your menstrual cycle.

The oestrogen levels can reach up to 160 pg/ml during this menstrual cycle phase before plummeting to around 19 pg/ml before menstruation begins. 


Oestrogen is very important to establish and maintain pregnancy. Consequently, the levels of oestrogen increase steadily throughout the pregnancy. The rate of increase is the fastest during the first trimester and is responsible for developing early pregnancy symptoms, including morning sickness. During the second trimester, oestrogen helps your body to develop milk-secreting glands in the breast. The level of oestrogen reaches its peak during the third trimester. Once you deliver the baby, the levels of oestrogen decline very rapidly. 

The placenta of the growing foetus produces oestrogen during pregnancy. A high oestrogen level ensures a halt in the mechanisms leading to ovulation. As a foetus grows, the body does not need to release more eggs.

The oestrogen that increases in concentration during pregnancy is not estradiol but estriol. If you have a normal pregnancy, expect the estriol levels to lie between 4 mol/L during the early phases of the pregnancy to 40 mol/L by the time you are ready to deliver. 

Aging changes in the female reproductive system

Ageing changes in the female reproductive system

Oestrogen levels in Menopause

After Menopause, no new follicles develop in your ovaries, and they stop producing oestrogen. The body keeps making several different forms of oestrogen, including estradiol and Estrone, mainly from the adrenal gland and adipose tissue. The decline in oestrogen levels leads to the unpleasant symptoms that many women experience during Menopause, including hormone flashes and low libido. 

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with the right amounts of oestrogen is often used to alleviate the symptoms of Menopause. Your doctor might prescribe your HRT very small doses until your body is accustomed to the lower oestrogen levels. 

According to Woman’s Health Initiative, excessive use of oestrogen replacements during HRT can harm your health. An increased oestrogen level after Menopause might lead to breast cancer and increase your risk of developing a heart condition and stroke. Women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis are seldom given HRT. 

The oestrogen levels after Menopause can be as low as 35 pg/ml or more. A range between 10 and 50 pg/ml is considered normal. 

What is a low level of oestrogen?

If oestrogen levels are lower than normal, it can make it difficult for you to conceive. It is important to recognise how low oestrogen levels can impact your fertility.

Signs and symptoms

Infrequent or lack of ovulation is one of therein reasons for female infertility. Lower oestrogen levels might be responsible for menstrual issues, including irregular and missed periods and anovulatory cycles. Some symptoms that might indicate that you have a lower-than-normal level of oestrogen include:

  • Missed or late period
  • Fatigue
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Hot flashes
  • Tenderness in the breast
  • Low libido
  • Headaches and migraines

If you lose a large amount of weight, your oestrogen levels might take a hit. Low oestrogen levels are also associated with eating disorders. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these issues. 

Treatment for low oestrogen levels

There are several reasons for low oestrogen levels. Exercise and diet are crucial in training a healthy oestrogen level. Adding certain foods to your diet, such as soy and wheat, that contain phytoestrogens can help treat low oestrogen levels. Some foods that you can incorporate into your diet include:

  • Flaxseed
  • Soy-containing foods (tofu and tempeh)
  • Broccoli
  • Alfalfa 

The best way to care for your reproductive health is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. However, it is important to consider what type of exercise you should do. Exercising too much can also cause issues with falling oestrogen levels. Ditch heavy cardio and lifting and include gentler forms of practice.

What role does oestrogen and progesterone play in pregnancy?
What role do oestrogen and progesterone play in pregnancy?

What is a high oestrogen level in women?

An elevation in the level of oestrogen can cause many health issues. An abnormal increase in this hormone during childbearing age results from medical conditions such as endometriosis or obesity. A side effect of certain medications, including antibiotics in oral contraceptive pills, can also increase oestrogen levels. 

Signs of high levels 

The normal amount of oestrogen will help you maintain good health. You will maintain a healthy body weight, your sexual libido will be normal, and your moods will be generally good. That said, if you have an increased level of oestrogen in your body, you might experience symptoms including:

  • Weight gain (Hip and thigh region)
  • Heavier than usual periods
  • Worsening of PMS
  • Development of fibroids in the breast or uterus
  • Extreme fatigue and loss of sexual libido

Treatment options 

Although we don’t have control over all the causes of elevated oestrogen, we have some control over others. 

Several factors, including lifestyle, dietary, and environmental factors, can significantly elevate oestrogen levels. If you control these risk factors, you can get your oestrogen back in the normal range. The following lifestyle changes can help you if you are experiencing symptoms of higher oestrogen levels.

Seven Reasons for high oestrogen

  • Choose organic food – As far as possible, avoid highly processed food if you want a healthy endocrine system. Organic food can help you limit the exposure of your body to chemicals, pesticides, and other harmful agents.
  • Choose the right personal care products -Several toxins and chemicals are found in personal care products, such as makeup and shampoos. Avoid using products that have parabens and sulphates.
  • Limit the ingestion of phytoestrogens – Phytoestrogens are compounds found in some vegetables and plant products that can mimic the role of oestrogen in your body. If you already have a problem with high oestrogen, adding many phytoestrogen-containing products to your diet might worsen the symptoms. The most common foods containing phytoestrogens include wheat and soy. If you consume dairy or meat, ensure they are made from responsibly raised, hormone-free animals.
  • Control stress – Stress is not good for an elevated oestrogen level. Meditation and exercise go a long way in controlling and managing stress daily. Include some yoga and training to manage stress levels if you have elevated oestrogen levels.
  • Weight loss – Oestrogen over-secretion is commonly associated with being overweight. If it is possible, try to lose some weight healthily. Ask your doctor for ways to lose healthy weight.
  • Seed cycling – This is a great way to increase help your menstrual cycle; many seeds are nutrient-dense and have a variety of health benefits.



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Evan Kurzyp

Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified Registered Nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.

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