What Questions Should I Ask My Provider
- How will I know that I need an estrogen test?
- Are my low estrogen levels a sign of a condition?
- What lifestyle changes can I put into place to manage low estrogen symptoms?
- Do I need to increase my estrogen levels to manage my symptoms?
- Would you recommend hormone replacement therapy for me? What are the risks?
- What foods, vitamins or supplements would you recommend to prevent or treat hormone imbalances?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Many people shrug off the symptoms associated with low estrogen as an unpleasant part of getting older. But you should address symptoms that interfere with your quality of life. If youre noticing bothersome signs of low estrogen, see your provider and discuss the hormonal and non-hormonal ways to manage your symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Estrogen Levels During Menopause
Prior to menopause, women usually do not pay much attention to their estrogen levels, except during occasional discomforts around monthly periods. However, once the transition begins, they often learn the significance of estrogen balance the hard way, often leaving them in disbelief that it can cause such distraught in their bodies and minds.
Continue reading to discover the most common symptoms of low estrogen during menopause, both physical and psychological, so that you can be a step ahead in creating an effective action plan to tackle them for ultimate relief.
The Bottom Line On Low Estrogen
Symptoms of low estrogen are becoming increasingly common in young, pre-menopausal women.
Everything from night sweats, depression, vaginal dryness, headaches, and irregular periods can be traced back to low estrogen.
And because estrogen is responsible for far more than just regulating our periods and enabling us to get pregnant, it makes sense that the symptoms of low estrogen would be far-reaching.
Overcoming low estrogen and reducing your symptoms is possible.
Working with a qualified practitioner who can help you determine your estrogen levels and how to correct hormonal imbalances is key to getting the best results.
You can also work on other lifestyle factors such as reducing your intense training, eating more, managing your stress, and upping your carb and/or fat intake.
All of these seemingly simple changes can be the building blocks for reversing low estrogen and fully healing your hormones.
After reading this post, do you think low estrogen could be a cause of your symptoms? What are some lifestyle changes you plan to make to reduce some stress in your life? Let me know in the comments!
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Low Estrogen Symptoms What Can Be Done
The extent to which low estrogen symptoms bother you and affect your day to day life varies from woman to woman, so this will ultimately determine your course of action. Not all women will require treatment.
The most common solution prescribed by doctors for low estrogen is hormone replacement therapy and is generally prescribed for women who are approaching menopause. This increases the levels of the hormones produced naturally in the body and is generally an effective solution for reducing the symptoms associated with low estrogen and menopause.
These hormones can be taken either orally, vaginally, applied to the skin, or by injection. The specific treatment and dosage will depend on the woman and her symptoms. While HRT is an effective treatment option it can cause certain side effects such as bloating, vaginal bleeding and headaches. It may also not be suitable for everyone, particularly women who have a history of cardiovascular disease, stroke, or high blood pressure as HRT can increase the risk of these health conditions.
There are also many natural supplements that have become popular for reducing the symptoms of low estrogen. Black cohosh, soy isoflavones, and wild yam are some of those that are commonly used and have been shown to have a positive effect on low estrogen symptoms and improving a womans quality of life.
How Can You Test Your Estrogen Levels
Yes you can your doctor will test your estrogen levels through a blood test. A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm. Your doctor may test your oestrogen levels if you are experiencing symptoms such as:
- Irregular periods
The best thing to do is to consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. They will be able to send you for a blood test to determine exactly what is wrong. Once you are given a diagnosis, you will be able to begin receiving the right treatment to make you feel well again.
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How You Know Your Estrogen Is Low
The symptoms of low estrogen can seem confusing when they first develop, because estrogen contributes to so many of your physical functions. You could see symptoms including:
- Mood swings or depression
- Disruptions in your menstrual cycle
- Painful or uncomfortable intercourse
- A decrease in your bone density
In addition to being uncomfortable to experience, low estrogen can also permanently damage your fertility. Get your symptoms checked out by a medical professional sooner, not later!
Once weve tested and confirmed your low estrogen, the care team at Morris Medical Center can get started re-balancing your hormones. With treatment, you can improve your quality of life and prevent the development of health issues related to your low estrogen.
Do Estrogen Levels Fall At Menopause
Yes. Estrogen levels fall at menopause. This is a natural transition for all women between ages 40 and 55. The decline in estrogen can happen abruptly in younger women whose ovaries are removed, resulting in so-called surgical menopause.
Perimenopause is the period of transition before menopause. The first natural decline in estrogen levels starts during this phase. Other physiological changes also start. Women going through perimenopause may experience weight gain along with other menopause symptoms. For instance, there may be irregular menstrual periods, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
On average, menopause occurs at age 51. When it does, a woman’s body produces less estrogen and progesterone. The drop of estrogen levels at menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including:
Some women experience moodiness. That may or may not be related to the loss of estrogen. Lower levels of estrogen may also increase a woman’s risk for heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and fractures.
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What Causes Low Estrogen
Our amazing ovaries are responsible for producing most of our estrogen during our fertile years. So anything that affects the health of your ovaries can lead to reduced estrogen.
There are a number of things that could be the root cause of your low estrogen. The great news is that most of these are caused by lifestyle choices which means you can take control of them!
Causes of low estrogen include:
- Over exercising
- Low fat or vegetarian diets
- Thyroid disorders or dysfunction
- Genetic defects, toxin exposure or autoimmune diseases that cause your ovaries to fail
- Chronic kidney disease
- A congenital condition called Turner syndrome
- Perimenopause or an age related decline
- Problems with your pituitary gland which produces FSH and LH
- Premature ovarian insufficiency
What Can You Do About Low Estrogen Symptoms
Getting medical help if you have symptoms of low estrogen you will need to visit your doctor to confirm a diagnosis. Your estrogen levels will be tested through a simple blood test and if your estrogen levels are low, you may be given a prescription for HRT. If you are using HRT for the menopause, you can order repeat prescription through our online service. You will need to complete a short online questionnaire, where one of our doctors will be able to check you are still suitable for the medication. If you are, your treatment can be delivered to your for free, alternatively, you can collect in-store.
Tips for symptoms you can also manage some of your symptoms with some handy techniques. For example, if you are experiencing hot flushes you could carry around a hand-held fan to help keep you cool. If you suffer from night sweats, wear light pajamas to bed and use a low tog duvet.
Keeping active exercise is an important menopause management tool and this is good for women who have low estrogen levels. Low estrogen levels can result in a low bone mineral density. Therefore, exercise can help to keep your bones strong and at less risk of fracture. Exercise also helps to reduce the risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease.
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Causes Of Low Estrogen In Women
There are several potential causes of low estrogen in women, but the most common is menopause, which means you’ve stopped having your period.
Perimenopause, the body’s natural transition to menopause, usually begins in your 40s, but it can start earlier or later for some women. During this time, your estrogen levels fluctuate and can be high and low. The average length of perimenopause is 4 years, but it can last longer.
Other causes of low estrogen can include:
surgical removal of the ovaries
A womans estrogen levels rise and fall throughout her menstrual cycle. But unusually low levels may lead to irregular or missed periods and problems with fertility.
Some women with low estrogen levels may also experience a lower sex drive. And low levels of this hormone may also affect vaginal pH levels, leading to dryness, pain during sex, and potential urinary problems.
Treatment For Symptoms Of Low Estrogen
Not all women need treatment for a low level of estrogen. But if one is facing the symptoms of low estrogen, treatment must be taken. There are generally two types of treatment, and the option of treatment will depend upon the causes of low estrogen in an individualâs body. A doctor can best suggest the perfect way to you.
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How Low Estrogen Can Affect Your Body
Estrogen is a very busy hormone for women throughout their lives. Men have some too, but women have more. Estrogen is primarily active in reproductive development and health for women, but its role is far greater than that.
Estrogen is actually a group of sex hormones, each of them performing different roles in womens health and development. Estrogen helps make women curvier than men by making their pelvis and hips wider, and their breast grow.
Estrogen is part of your menstrual cycle, helps you get pregnant, and plays a role in helping you develop bones and grow hair. It also helps regulate your moods and impacts your brain development and structure.
Pcos Low Estrogen And Weight Gain
PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition where many small cysts develop on womens ovaries. PCOS often results in hormonal imbalances, including low estrogen.
Along with irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain is a serious condition associated with PCOS, and if left untreated, may result in diabetes or heart conditions.
In summary, common weight gain in menopause and PCOS, both linked to low estrogen, further supports the overall link between low estrogen and obesity.
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What Happens When Testosterone Levels Rise Or Fall
If your body produces too much testosterone, you may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. You may also have more body hair than the average woman. Some women with high testosterone levels develop frontal balding. Other possible effects include acne, an enlarged clitoris, increased muscle mass, and deepening of voice.
High levels of testosterone can also lead to infertility and are commonly seen in polycystic ovarian syndrome . PCOS is an endocrine condition that is sometimes seen in women of childbearing age who have difficulty getting pregnant. Women with PCOS have symptoms similar to those produced by high testosterone levels. They include:
As women with PCOS age, the presence of these risk factors increases their risk for heart disease.
By the time of menopause, women have experienced a decline in testosterone since their 20âs that does not decrease further.â That decline may be correlated to a reduced libido. Some findings indicate that testosterone replacement therapy may benefit sexual function in certain perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Testosterone replacement is unadvised in women with breast or uterine cancer. It also may increase the chances of cardiovascular disease or liver disease. So, experts are cautious about recommendations.
Hot Flashes During Perimenopause
Most women dont expect to have hot flashes until , so it can be a big surprise when they show up earlier, during perimenopause. Hot flashes sometimes called hot flushes and given the scientific name of vasomotor symptoms are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. Theyre also a regular feature of sudden menopause due to surgery or treatment with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
Hot flashes tend to come on rapidly and can last from one to five minutes. They range in severity from a fleeting sense of warmth to a feeling of being consumed by fire from the inside out. A major hot flash can induce facial and upper-body flushing, sweating, chills, and sometimes confusion. Having one of these at an inconvenient time can be quite disconcerting. Hot flash frequency varies widely. Some women have a few over the course of a week others may experience 10 or more in the daytime, plus some at night.
Most American women have hot flashes around the time of menopause, but studies of other cultures suggest this experience is not universal. Far fewer Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian women report having hot flashes. In Mexicos Yucatan peninsula, women appear not to have any at all. These differences may reflect cultural variations in perceptions, semantics, and lifestyle factors, such as diet.
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Diagnosis And Treatment For Low Estrogen
Early diagnosis of low estrogen can help prevent complications later on, so if you think you might be experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of low estrogen then you need to see a doctor. During an assessment, your doctor will go over your family history and your symptoms as well as conduct a physical exam. It is common for blood tests to be ordered to measure hormone levels. If you are having night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, or missed periods, the doctor will want to assess your estrone and estradiol levels. In some situations, a brain scan will be conducted to check for possible abnormalities that could be impacting the endocrine system.
Low estrogen treatment varies, and it could involve hormone replacement therapy . Estrogen can be administered orally, topically or vaginally in women ages 25 to 50 who are experiencing low estrogen. The method and dosage depend on the severity of the condition. This treatment is not without controversy, as there has been some research that indicates it may increase the risk of heart problems, stroke, and cancer.
Low estrogen is considered below 100pg/ml . The good news is that there are also home remedies in addition to medical treatments that often help bring the symptoms under control.
Irregular Periods Or Anovulation
Estrogen plays a vital role in ovulation.
Its actually your rising estrogen levels that trigger Luteinizing Hormone to be secreted from the pituitary gland, causing an egg to be released from the follicle .
If your levels of estrogen dont rise enough during the follicular phase of your cycle, it can cause a delay in ovulation or prevent it completely.
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Why Estrogen Is Important
Estrogen is an important hormone. While there are small amounts of estrogen in your body, the hormone plays a large role in womens health.
The estrogen hormone is responsible for:
- Puberty and sexual development in girls
- Controls the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy
- Involved in bone and cholesterol metabolism
- Helps regulate body weight, insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism, and food intake
Estrogen affects women of all ages typically as it increases and levels rise in young women and those who are pregnant. However, as women are on the end of menopause and enter postmenopause, estrogen levels drop.
Postmenopause is the time after a woman has been without a menstrual cycle for over 12 months.
Low Estrogen Symptoms Can Be Manageable
Symptoms of low estrogen can include joint pain, a lack of sex drive, brain fog, headaches, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and more. It might not be immediately apparent that youre dealing with an estrogen deficiency when looking at each symptom individually, so understanding the big picture is really important when you go to talk to your doctor.
Whether youre reaching the age of perimenopause/menopause or struggling with a hormonal imbalance that isnt age-related, understanding the role of estrogen and the importance of balance is key. There are medical interventions that you can employ, , but by starting with lifestyle changes, youll be more likely to get at the root cause of the issue and balance your hormones naturally.
Maintaining a healthy weight, enjoying moderate exercise, getting better sleep, minimizing stress, and eating well seem to be the solution to all of lifes health problems, and this one is no different. Each of these will positively impact your hormone levels, in addition to improving your gut health, which is linked directly to your hormones as well.
To get more support in balancing your hormones, reach out to our clinic at the Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine to become a patient.
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Diet Lifestyle And Exercise
Changes to your diet can also help keep your estrogen levels low.
A diet low in fat and high in fiber is commonly recommended for estrogen level control. Some foods that might be involved in this kind of diet include:
- cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals that block estrogen production
- shiitake and portobello mushrooms naturally reduce aromatase
- red grapes contain natural estrogen blockers resveratrol and proanthocyanidin
- sesame seeds and flaxseed, as well as whole grains like oats, corn, and rice contain a micronutrient called polyphenol
- green tea is another good source of polyphenol
- pomegranates are high in estrogen-blocking phytochemicals
Some meat products contain estrogen as a result from treatment with synthetic hormones and should be avoided. Some other products to avoid that can increase your estrogen levels include:
- wraps or containers made of plastic that can be absorbed by your food
- hygiene products that have parabens containing estrogens, such as shampoos
Staying in shape can also keep your estrogen levels low:
- get a physical to check your overall health