Scientists believe high estrogen and constipation are linked. However, the exact connection is currently unknown.

Estrogen hormones are chemicals that play a role in female and male reproductive systems. They also help develop female sexual characteristics, influence growth, and control many other functions.

A person’s body makes several forms of estrogen, including estrone, estradiol, and estriol, which can also be artificial. Doctors use estrogen to treat several conditions, including menopause. People may also use estrogen as a form of birth control.

A person’s estrogen levels typically vary over time, and having sustained high or low levels can cause several health conditions. One health condition high estrogen may cause is constipation. However, healthcare professionals are still investigating the link between the two conditions.

This article discusses the connection between high estrogen and constipation, other symptoms of high estrogen, and causes of high estrogen. It also discusses when to contact a doctor and tips for managing constipation.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Healthcare professionals believe high estrogen levels can directly or indirectly cause constipation. However, they do not yet fully understand exactly how the two are connected.

Estrogen plays an important role in regulating the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is part of the digestive system, including the stomach and intestines. It helps pass waste material out of their body. If a person has constipation, they find it difficult to pass stool.

One 2019 study investigated the effects of estrogen and stress on the connections between a person’s brain and gut. They found that one effect of high estrogen levels could be decreased GI motility.

GI motility refers to how food moves through the body and exits it as waste. If a person has decreased GI motility, it means they have slower or impaired movement of waste through their system, and this can lead to constipation. The study suggested further research into the way estrogen affects connections between the brain and gut.

In a 2023 study, scientists also concluded that estrogen can lead to constipation. They found that the signals estrogen sends may play an important role in controlling colonic motility, which is how well the colon moves waste out of the body.

The scientists concluded that estrogen may lead to constipation by making the colon muscles contract less smoothly and stopping how quickly the GI system empties.

However, the scientists noted that they do not fully understand how estrogen affects this. They also stated that they did not study some other effects of estrogen on the gut due to time and money constraints.

The scientists recommend further studies to fully understand how estrogen affects constipation. Another study from 2020 found similar results. However, both studies used animal testing rather than studies involving humans. Therefore, they recommended more human clinical trials.

Learn more about constipation.

Other symptoms of high estrogen for females can include:

Females with extremely high levels of estradiol can also have an increased risk of:

Males with high estrogen may have increased depression symptoms. Other symptoms in males can include:

Learn more about high estrogen.

A person may have high estrogen if their body:

  • produces excess estrogen
  • changes how it absorbs estrogen
  • changes how it excretes estrogen

Females can also have an imbalance of estrogen in comparison with another hormone called progesterone. Health experts call this estrogen dominance, which can be due to:

People with constipation need to contact a healthcare professional if their symptoms do not go away with self care or if they have a family history of colon cancer or rectal cancer.

People also need to seek immediate medical attention if they have constipation and any of the following symptoms:

  • bleeding from their rectum
  • blood in their stool
  • constant abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • being unable to pass gas
  • lower back pain
  • weight loss without trying

People can manage and treat constipation with the following methods:

  • eating more foods high in fiber
  • drinking plenty of water
  • training themselves to have bowel movements at more regular times

Regular physical activity may also help relieve symptoms. Healthcare professionals may recommend laxatives or prescribe medication for constipation.

Learn more about natural remedies for constipation.

Below are some questions people frequently ask about bowel movements and the effect of estrogen on weight loss.

What hormone causes bowel movements?

Several hormones, including estrogen, help control the GI tract, which controls bowel movements. They include gastrin, secretin, cholecystokinin, and motilin.

Is it hard to lose weight with high estrogen?

Natural and artificial estrogen can cause weight gain. For females, having too much estrogen can cause weight gain in their waist, hips, and thighs.

Learn more about estrogen and weight gain.

Estrogens are a group of hormones that regulate many body functions in males and females. A person may have high estrogen levels for several reasons. As a result, they may experience constipation.

Scientists are still investigating the precise way estrogen causes constipation.

People can use some methods to manage or treat constipation. They need to seek immediate medical attention for certain symptoms, such as bleeding from the rectum, alongside constipation.