As our bodies age, our hormones and bodies change. For example, a woman might begin to notice an unreliable menstrual cycle, hot flashes, and hair thinning at the age of 40 years old. During this period in your life, you might begin to wonder if you’re experiencing low estrogen symptoms.
When a person has low estrogen symptoms, it can have a tremendous effect on all sorts of bodily functions. Hormones within themselves are extremely complex. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a physician’s help to understand the mechanisms of what’s happening to your body.
What Is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a hormone that plays numerous roles in the body. In females specifically, it assists in developing and maintaining female characteristics such as pubic hair and breasts, and the reproductive system. Overall, estrogen contributes to:
- Bone health
- Cardiovascular system function
- Cognitive health, and other fundamental bodily processes
Estrogen is a group of hormones often referred to as “female sex hormones”, but individuals of all genders have various amounts of estrogen in their bodies. Though the adrenal glands, fat tissues, and ovaries produce estrogen, ovaries typically create the most of it. However, a person’s brain can create it too.
In individuals with testes, the body can convert some testosterone into estrogen. Estrogen truly plays a major role in many bodily processes ranging from head to toe including:
- Bone and skin health
- Urinary tract health
- Body hair growth
- Sexual function
Also, they work in combination with other hormones in the endocrine system, including androgens and progestogens. It’s completely natural to have lower levels of estrogen after menopause and before puberty. However, imbalances can cause intolerable symptoms and increase the risk of developing issues in the future.
Low Estrogen Symptoms & Signs
Since estrogen does a great amount in the body, imbalances can lead to an extensive range of symptoms that a person might not realize are connected to a person’s hormone levels.
These can include issues such as:
- Vaginal dryness (which can make sexual intercourse extremely painful)
- Irregular menstrual cycles (which might even stop completely)
- Mood changes such as anxiety, brain fog, depression, etc
- Flushing, hot sweats, and sweating at night
- Infertility (difficulties getting pregnant)
- Difficulties sleeping and fatigue
- Low sex drive
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin/lips
- Weight gain
Also, low estrogen can increase the risk of osteoporosis (which is bone density). This means you might fracture your bones more easily after a fall or accident. It’s also associated with a greater risk of heart attacks and increased cholesterol.
Causes of Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency
Lower estrogen levels are considered normal in adults experiencing menopause or who are about to start menopause and young children. Generally, those levels don’t always cause concern. However, anyone can experience hormonal imbalances outside of what is considered normal for their age.
Some possible causes of hormonal imbalance include:
- Hypogonadism (low-functioning ovaries)
- Eating disorders (such as anorexia)
- A couple of genetic conditions
- Some autoimmune disorders
- Premature early menopause
- Pituitary gland disorders
- Chronic kidney disease
- Removal of the ovaries
- Excessive exercising
How Are Low Estrogen Symptoms Treated?
Treating low estrogen symptoms isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for an individual will depend on a couple of different factors, including:
- The underlying cause of hormonal imbalance
- If other hormones are affected
- Specific family and personal medical history
In the interim, your primary care physician might ask you to come back a couple of times to test your blood and adjust your treatment. Some of the possible low estrogen treatment options include:
Lifestyle changes: Changes to an individual’s daily life can include everything from making sure to eat a well-balanced diet to using a lubricant to relieve dryness during intercourse. Each of these will make symptoms of estrogen deficiency more achievable.
It’s important to speak to the doctor about certain symptoms that are causing concern, as they’ll be able to assist with finding customized treatment options.
Mental health counseling: Symptoms of estrogen deficiency can lead to feelings of depression and mood swings. Plus, existing mental health disorders such as anorexia can sometimes be at the root of hormone issues. While counseling or therapy won’t change a person’s hormones, a mental health professional can assist with the following areas:
- Teaching you how to cope with anxiety, depression, etc
- Improve your mental well-being
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): This treatment can consist solely of estrogen (estrogen replacement therapy, or ERT). It can also involve a combination of progestin or estrogen. Progestin is a synthetic form of progesterone.
Taking medicine that contains estrogen can balance out a person’s body hormone levels and replace what the person’s missing. There are various types of HRT depending on the type of estrogen that a person is missing. HRT might involve:
- Applying cream or a patch
- Using a vaginal ring
- Receiving injections
- Taking pills
Since HRT isn’t for every individual, you must speak to your doctor to find out more. It can play a huge part in medical treatment. Healthcare providers engage in HRT when symptoms of estrogen deficiency interfere with the person’s life.
Levels of Estrogen
The estrogen levels vary among individuals. Also, they fluctuate during a woman’s menstrual cycle and throughout a female’s life. Sometimes, this fluctuation can produce effects such as hot flashes in menopause and mood changes during menstruation.
Factors that can affect the estrogen levels include:
- The use of certain medications including ampicillin, steroids, phenothiazines, estrogen-containing drugs, and tetracyclines
- Some congenital conditions such as Turner’s syndrome
- Pregnancy, the end of pregnancy, and breastfeeding
- Adrenal glands or tumors of the ovaries
- Anorexia nervosa or extreme dieting
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Strenuous training or exercise
- An underactive pituitary gland
- Primary ovarian sufficiency
- Obesity or overweight
- High blood pressure
- Older age
What Are the Different Types of Estrogen?
This type of estrogen is present in a woman’s body after they undergo menopause. It is considered a weaker form of estrogen and one that a female’s body can convert to other forms of estrogen if needed. Similar to various types of estrogen, estrone supports female sexual function and development.
When an individual experiences low or high estrone, it can cause symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, or irregular bleeding. Estrogen is considered one of the two main female sex hormones, alongside progesterone. After experiencing menopause, estrone is the only type of estrogen that keeps the body moving naturally.
Some postmenopausal individuals generally have higher levels of estrone than those that are premenopausal. Men also have estrone but in much lower amounts. Similar to various other types of estrogen, estrone forms in the fatty tissue (adipose tissue) and adrenal glands. A woman’s ovaries also produce estrone.
Like many other types of estrogen, estrone plays a role in female reproductive health and sexual function. However, it’s not as powerful as other types of estrogen. Estrone is considered a storehouse for estrogen because a body can covert estrogen when it’s needed.
What Disorders and Conditions Are Related to Estrogen?
Though it’s not exactly known all of the ways that irregular estrone levels can affect females at birth, all types of low estrogen, including estrone can increase the risk of osteoporosis. In individuals that continue to experience fatigue, low sex drive, or hot flashes after menopause, low estrone can be the reason. High estrone levels might increase the growth of uterine and breast cancer.
How Does Estrogen Function?
Estrogen enables the following organs to function:
Vagina: In the vagina, estrogen can maintain the overall thickness of the vaginal wall and promote lubrication.
Breasts: The woman’s body uses estrogen in the formation of the breast tissue. This hormone assists in stopping the flow of milk after weaning.
Uterus: Estrogen maintains and enhances the mucus membrane that lines the uterus. Also, it regulates the flow and thickness of uterine mucus secretions.
Ovaries: Estrogen assists in the stimulation of the egg’s follicle growth.
What Causes High Estrone?
Some conditions can cause high estrone in an individual. Since estrone forms in fatty tissue, obesity can lead to even more estrone production.
Both females and males produce estradiol, and it’s considered the most common type of estrogen in a female during her reproductive years. When there is an excess amount of estradiol, it can result in:
- Loss of sex drive
Extremely high levels of estradiol can increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer. However, low results of estradiol can result in cardiovascular disease and weight gain.
How Does Estrone Differ From Estradiol?
Estrone can convert into estradiol when the body needs a stronger type of estrogen. Estradiol assists in maintaining natural female reproductive processes, such as:
- Thickening the uterine lining to prepare for fertilization
- Releasing mature eggs during a menstrual cycle
In individuals of all genders, natural estrone-converted estradiol and natural estradiol assist to maintain:
- Production of nitric oxide, which is a molecule that helps blood vessels open
- Cognitive function
- Bone health
How Do Irregular Estrogen Levels Affect Your Body?
High or low estrogen symptoms create uncomfortable levels in individuals of various genders.
Females at birth, low estrogen symptoms and levels can create:
- Menstrual migraines, a headache right before your period starts
- Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB)
- Difficulties sleeping
- Irregular periods
- Dry skin
Males at birth, low estrogen symptoms and levels can create:
- Low sex drive
- High belly fat
When an individual experiences high estrogen, it can also create issues. In females at birth, it can cause:
- Noncancerous lumps in breast tissue (fibrocystic breast changes)
- Weight gain in the thighs, waist, or hips
- Severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Heavy or light periods
- Depression or anxiety
- Low libido (sex drive)
- Uterine fibroids
For males at birth, high estrogen might cause:
- Enlarged breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Erectile dysfunction
The levels of estriol rise during pregnancy as it assists the growth of the uterus and prepares the body for delivery. The estriol levels tend to peak right before birth. Estriol has been found to provide some protection without the risks that are associated with stronger estrogens.
Depending on the situation, estriol might exert either antagonistic or agonistic effects on estrogen. It appears to be effective at controlling menopause symptoms, such as:
- Frequent urinary infections
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
The effect of Estriol on various cardiac arrest factors has been somewhat ambiguous; however, unlike more standard estrogen prescriptions, it doesn’t seem to contribute to hypertension.
Even though estriol appears to be much safer than Estradiol or Estrone, the continuous high dosage might have a stimulatory effect on both endometrial and breast tissue.
What Are Some Lifestyle Practices That Keep Estrone Levels in a Healthy Range?
Hormonal imbalances can lead to intolerable symptoms, such as mood swings, irregular bleeding, or fatigue. To balance hormones and keep estrone levels in a healthy range, a person can:
- Eat a nutritious diet that includes the balance of fruits, vegetables, healthy protein, healthy fat, and whole grains.
- Exercise regularly, incorporating both resistance training and cardiovascular exercise.
- Manage stress with coping skills such as meditation or talk therapy.
- Sleep for at least seven hours each night. It’s vital to practice healthy sleep hygiene, such as turning off electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed.
Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency Boosted at CA Hormones
Here at CA Hormones, we are a premier health HRT and optimization clinic in California. We provide patients with a completely individualized health plan utilizing amino acids, vitamins, and other supplements. Remember, low estrogen symptoms don’t have to remain that way.
We can assist you in developing a customized plan geared to giving you more focus, libido, and energy! If you want to reach optimal health and wellness, we’re your guide. Let’s get started.