All month long, a woman’s body produces estrogen. If you have a normal menstrual cycle, then you can observe fluctuations in the amount of estrogen produced, it is high during ovulation, and it is low when you have your period. But there are several other factors that play a role in a woman’s increased or decreased production of estrogen.
Estrogen is primarily produced in the ovaries, though small amounts are also produced in the adrenal glands and fat tissue. Estrogen then circulates through your blood and acts all over your body helping with growth, maintenance, and repair of reproductive tissues, as well as influencing other body tissues and bone mass.
As a woman’s body naturally has highs and lows levels of estrogen, you might observe anything from your mood or behavioral changes, oil secretions, to fluctuations in sex drive. Although it is natural to see highs and lows in estrogen throughout the cycle, let’s look at what it might feel like if your estrogen levels drop lower than your monthly usual.
Here are the Functions of Estrogen in a Woman’s Body.
1) Estrogen is responsible for the sexual development of girls when they reach puberty.
2) Estrogen controls the growth of the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle and at the beginning of a pregnancy.
3) Estrogen causes breast changes in teenagers and women who are pregnant.
4) Estrogen is involved in bone and cholesterol metabolism.
5) Estrogen regulates food intake, body weight, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity.
Low levels of estrogen can affect many of your body’s normal functions. By recognizing the symptoms of low estrogen levels, you can take steps to correct your estrogen hormonal imbalance. Here are some low estrogen symptoms to look out for if you are concerned about your body’s hormonal balance.
1. You Frequently Experience “Brain Fog”
Brain fog is commonly reported by women undergoing menopause or perimenopause. Brain fog can manifest in many ways, including:
– Trouble concentrating on tasks
– Difficulty remembering things
Estrogen aids to sharpen your cognitive acuity, and low levels of estrogen prevent your memory and focus from operating at full capacity.
2. Your Mental Health is Declining
Poor mental health is one of the symptoms of low estrogen levels. Since estrogen helps with your neurotransmitters, low levels are associated with a risk of schizophrenia, psychosis, and worsened symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Because estrogen helps the body process stress, low estrogen levels can make stressful situations feel unbearable. Estrogen is associated with serotonin, which is one of your brain’s neurotransmitters responsible for enhancing your moods. This is why women with low estrogen levels can suffer from depression. They can also experience severe mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and anger.
3. You’ve Gained Weight
A drop in estrogen corresponds with a desire for comfort foods, such as foods high in fat, calories, salt, and sugar. These unhealthy types of food can lead to weight gain and water retention. Estrogen also decreases your levels of leptin, which acts as an appetite suppressant.
Besides weight gain, low estrogen can change the distribution of weight in your body. This means you’re gaining more weight in unusual areas, which could cause problems for your cardiovascular health.
4. Advanced Skin Aging
Normal levels of estrogen are responsible for maintaining healthy skin. As we grow older, our skin becomes wrinkled and thin. Low estrogen levels can cause advanced skin aging, where your skin looks older, thinner, dryer, and less elastic than it should. The onset of menopause when the required amount of estrogen is no longer produced accelerates premature skin aging.
5. Higher Frequency of UTIs
When estrogen levels are low, a thinning of the urethra occurs. This can lead to an increase in urinary tract infections. If you’ve been getting several UTIs, considering getting your estrogen levels tested.
6. You Are Not Sleeping Well
Your hormones play an important role in the quality of your sleep. If you’re not sleeping deeply through the night or consistently waking up not feeling well-rested, low levels of estrogen could be a factor. These abnormal sleep patterns could also correspond to the risk of developing sleep apnea.
7. Change in Your Breasts
Have you observed any lumps in your breasts? Do they feel more sensitive, more tender, or more painful? Estrogen plays a big role in the development of your breasts, and imbalanced estrogen levels can cause pain and discomfort in your breast area.
8. Changes in Your Period
A woman’s menstrual cycle is primarily driven by estrogen. Low estrogen levels can result in your period becoming irregular or stopping completely. Low estrogen levels can also prevent ovulation, resulting in infertility.
9. Sex is Becoming More Painful
Estrogen helps maintain a woman’s vaginal lubrication. Vaginal dryness can result from lower estrogen levels. Thinning of the vaginal wall can also occur. Both of these symptoms combined to make sex very painful and uncomfortable.
10. You Frequently Experience Headaches
While headaches have several causes, low levels of estrogen is a common one for women. One way to tell if estrogen levels are the reason behind your headaches is consistency. If you are experiencing the same type of headache at around the same time of each month, they could be estrogen-related.
11. Poor Bone Health
Estrogen is an important ingredient for strong and healthy bones. If your bones feel weak, or you observed that you are prone to breaks and sprains, low estrogen levels could be the cause. Low estrogen levels can result in conditions like osteoporosis if it is left untreated.
What Causes Low Levels of Estrogen?
Low estrogen levels can result from many factors, including:
– Being underweight
– Premature ovarian failure
– Exercising too much
– Undergoing chemotherapy
– Poorly functioning pituitary gland
– Turner syndrome
– Kidney disease
– Approaching menopause for women in their late 40s/40s
– Family history of hormonal problems
– Hormonal imbalance
How is Low Estrogen Treated?
Women who have low levels of estrogen may benefit from hormonal treatments such as:
1) Estrogen Therapy
Women between the ages of 25 to 50 who are estrogen-deficient are commonly prescribed a high dose of estrogen. This can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, bone loss, and other hormonal imbalances.
The exact dose will depend on the severity of the condition and the method of application. Estrogen can be administered:
– Via injection
In severe cases, long-term treatment may be required even after your estrogen levels return back to a normal level. This may require lower doses of administered estrogen over time in order to maintain your current level. Estrogen therapy may also ease the severity of some menopausal symptoms and reduce your risk of bone fractures.
Long-term estrogen therapy is generally recommended for women who are approaching menopause and have also had a hysterectomy. In most cases, estrogen therapy is only recommended for one to two years. This is because estrogen therapy may increase your risk of acquiring cancer.
2) Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Hormone Replacement Therapy is used to augment your body’s natural hormone levels. Your doctor may recommend Hormone Replacement Therapy if you are approaching menopause. Menopause causes your estrogen and progesterone levels to significantly decrease. Hormone Replacement Therapy can help return these levels to normal.
In this therapy, hormones can be administered:
– Via injection
Hormone Replacement Therapy treatments can be adjusted in dosage, length, and the combination of hormones. For example, depending on the diagnosis, progesterone is often used together with estrogen.
Women approaching menopause who undergo Hormone Replacement Therapy may have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The treatment has also been shown to increase your risk of stroke, blood clotting, and breast cancer.
If you are a woman, estrogen guides who you are, how you feel, and how you act. It regulates your body’s development, your emotional fortitude, your mental well-being, your cognitive discipline, and even your sex drive. Those were essential components of your livelihood. As we age, women naturally lose estrogen and men lose testosterone.
By restoring your body’s hormonal balance, you can take control of your life and reverse the symptoms of low estrogen. Restore the feeling of having a sharper mind, emotional stability, your ideal weight, beautiful skin, and stable mental health when you achieve hormonal balance.