T Nation

Estrogen too High or too Low? Can't Tell!


#1

I know the simple answer to this is “get bloodwork done, don’t guess”. Great idea. Impractical for most people to get a blood test done every time their E2 feels like it’s out of whack. It costs me $900-1200 each time I get T and E2 levels checked.

As many of you know, E2 can be very hard to control. I can’t seem to nail it down. Every time I go get bloodwork, it seems to be around 21-23, which is perfect. Unfortunately, my doctor’s appointments just always happen to fall at the right/wrong time when I’m feeling great. I can make an appt when I feel like crap, but by the time I can get to see the doctor and my blood drawn, I have myself back in the sweet spot, usually by sheer luck. Without fail, though, as soon as I leave there… 2-3 weeks later, I can tell I’m out of whack; but that’s all I can tell, is that my E2 is “off”.

I find it nearly impossible to tell at any of these times whether my E2 has gotten too high or too low. I can just tell it’s simply “out of bounds”. My mood changes to irritable and slightly depressed, I get terrible cognitive problems (memory gets bad, I feel “fuzzy”/“blurry” in the head and can’t think), I feel bad fatigue or tiredness… my sleep gets bad, erection quality suffers, libido gets wiped out, etc. These are all symptoms of both high AND low E2. How can I ever tell, then?! I desperately want to acquire a very important self-assessment tool that anyone on TRT needs to be able to do in long-term treatment: “Are my symptoms from too low or too high E2?”

Most of the symptoms are the same, and I don’t know what to do, take more arimidex or less. I always risk making myself worse and suffering for my decision. Maybe sometimes I’ll guess right and feel better. Sometimes I make myself worse.

I want to know—

What are YOUR ways to tell if your E2 is too high or too low? I see the exact same list on the internet, recycled over and over, which incidentally lists most of the same symptoms for both extremes. Not helpful!

I need some real advice from you guys. What tells YOU which direction you’re in? Something more definitive. Something I can say OK, IT’S TOO LOW. I need to ease up on the AI. Or it’s too high, I need to take more. I would like personal experiences and advice. This has become the bane of TRT for me, and you’d think that over a year into his I’d have it figured out, but I don’t. I promise that I have more than done my homework. I normally do good on .5mg of Arimidex 2-3 times a week, but there are times where my body just decides to defy this homeostasis and throw me into guessing land. I hate it. Ideally, yes, you want to keep it as steady as possible. I wish it were that easy for me. E2 is a constant cat-and-mouse.


#2

Do you have access to a lab via discounted labs? Many use this option and e2 tests cost $20-$40 out of pocket. That site will show you lab corps close to you if available.

To answer your question, e2 as you mentioned is extremely difficult to determine through what you’re experiencing. Below is my experience:

Overlapping Symptoms:
irritable
fatigue
brain fog

Low e2:
constant urination
decreased vascularity
weak erections
slow memory, recall and thoughts
irritability via low level depression and fatigue
apathy
aching wrists and joints
low libido

High e2:
irritability via emotional sensitivity/weepy
increase in racing thoughts
weight gain
edema ie water storage, feel bloated
ok libido
ok erections


#3

Thanks for the list. Very helpful. I’m interested if you have any more detail on the brain fog and fatigue feeling?

These will be my easiest ways to tell, as they’re what I notice most when things get off.

If I could elaborate, for instance, I think that when my E2 is low, the kind of “mental feeling” is one of kind of detachment from everything that’s going on, or not really feeling present, like I feel like I’ve been missing stuff like I’ve been daydreaming (even though I wasn’t). Just sort of not all there. Mild depersonalization might be a good description, whereas when it’s high, it’s more like a mental fatigue like my mind is really fuzzy and “heavy”. Almost like there’s something heavy in my head that’s pulling me down. Hard to describe.

One end, it’s like I just can’t think properly (as you said, slowed thinking)… and on the other it feels like my brain is just too exhausted to think.

As for the irritability, I find that I get really pissy about things that wouldn’t normally bother me. Super irritated at everything that I don’t like.

Also, I think when E2 is high, I tend to catastrophize things. Little things feel like some major deal and it’s the end of the world. Like if I spill a little bit of something on my shirt I’ve now ruined it and I’ll have to throw it away… and I just paid $50 for it and why can’t anything go my way. And now I’m gonna have to buy a new one and now I’m gonna have less money and why do I never have enough money, my job doesn’t pay me enough… I hate my job, they don’t appreciate me. Nobody does. Lol! Rambling thoughts of doom.

Any way you can elaborate on what you mean about those symptoms? Especially the overlapping ones… Meaning is the fatigue or brain fog “different”? (You sort of did this with “irritability”).

I’m still in the middle of this. Trying to pull my E2 back to center and I’m not sure which direction I’m in. Stuff seems to conflict which really confuses me…

Example: I have brain fog and I’m tired… I feel really bloated, but my joints are clicking and my shoulder joints hurt. Bloating and clicking joints would seem to indicate opposite things. That’s why I’m confused. I have symptoms of “both” ways somehow…


#4

This is not easy. I have taken this back to your other thread where we have the context of what has been going on there. You are somewhat unsettled. Getting a steady hormone foundation will be helpful. You might be making things worse.


#5

As you’re noticing, it’s extremely hard to “tweeze” apart and explain, even though I’ve gone through it myself a few times. The bloating is usually always associated with high estrogen and clicking joints can be associated with plenty of other causes besides e2; so I would venture to guess your e2 may be high.

#1 Is getting lab work done via an independent lab out of the question? Here in many states in the US, I could go and pay $20-$40 to get it done.

#2 What is the current protocol you’re following?