Low estrogen levels usually manifest symptoms during the period of female menopause. But they may also be problems for women who are not yet menopausal. If this is the case, a physician may advise that natural estrogen be supplemented.
Low estrogen is sometimes a symptom of another underlying problem. If you experience this problem and you are not pre-menopausal or menopausal, you should make an appointment to consult with your physician. Some home remedies are also helpful to relieve some low estrogen symptoms.
What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a hormone responsible for the sexual characteristics of females. These various characteristics include wider hips, more body fat and larger breasts than are usually seen in males.
Estrogen is also responsible for smoother skin and less hair in women. Males do have small amounts of estrogen in their bodies, but the levels are usually a lot higher in females. If you’re a woman and your estrogen levels drop, this condition is known as low estrogen.
Low Estrogen Symptoms
Signs of low levels of estrogen vary from one woman to the next. In addition, their intensity depends on just how low the woman’s estrogen level is.
Some of the symptoms you may encounter if you have low levels of estrogen in your body include:
- Difficulty in focusing on tasks
- Extreme fatigue during the day due to sleep disturbances
- A sense of not feeling “right”
- Joint pain
- Diminished sex drive
The sleep disturbances can result from combinations of cold chills, night sweats, hot flashes and heart palpitations. You may gain weight, especially water weight. Your vagina, eyes and skin may become dryer.
As you lose calcium from low estrogen, you may be more likely to break bones if you fall, since they will become brittle. You may start to develop more bladder and vaginal infections. Various combinations of all these symptoms may lead to depression, which may be severe.
Low Estrogen Causes
The reason for low levels of estrogen can be as different from one woman to the next as the symptoms are. If you are approaching menopause, you can expect to experience low estrogen, which will result in the ceasing of menses.
If you’re a younger woman, low estrogen may result from a number of behavioral or physical problems, including:
- Cysts in and on the ovaries
- Decreased ovarian function
- Childbirth & breast feeding
- Pregnancy issues that led to miscarriage
- Dieting and eating disorders, which result in lower body fat
- Decreased pituitary gland function
- Some fertility drugs
- Excessive exercise that results in lower body fat
Low Estrogen Treatments
If you believe that you may have this estrogen condition, you should first see your physician. Low estrogen can be diagnosed with just a blood test. You may have problems other than low estrogen that can cause some of the same symptoms.
There are home remedies and medical treatments that may work to ease the symptoms of low levels of estrogen.
If you are diagnosed as having low estrogen, your physician will look for the causes for it. If you are an older woman, the issue is not actually a problem, but rather the natural result of aging.
If you’re a young woman, your physician will run more tests, so that the root cause of the issue can be identified. After the identification of the underlying cause, the treatment will focus on that cause.
If other causes have been ruled out, your physician may decide to prescribe a program of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. This is usually effective, but somewhat controversial. It may be used just for short time periods while underlying causes are being treated. Using HRT may increase your risk for the development of cancer, heart problems or stroke.
There are fortunately some home remedies that will help you in managing the symptoms of low estrogen.
- Add Herbs to your Diet
Some herbs provide valuable nutrition to estrogen-producing glands. One useful herb is chasteberry. You can find it in many pharmacies and health food stores. It may help to increase normal estrogen production.
Before you take any herbal supplements, consult with your physician. This is especially true if you’re taking birth control pills, Parkinson disease medications or psychiatric drugs. Herbal active ingredients can also interact with over the counter and other prescription drugs.
Make some healthy diet changes. Increase the amount of fiber you eat, and lower your intake of fats and carbohydrates. Eat foods have a naturally-occurring estrogen known as phytoestrogen. Foods of this type include bran, some fruits and vegetables like peas and beans, edamame, tofu and soybeans.
Include in your diet foods that have high vitamin B and vitamin C levels. Some in this group include some citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, collard greens, avocadoes, beets, carrots, spinach, kale, peppers, corn, asparagus and artichokes. It’s healthier to eat fresh foods instead of processed foods. If you stick to a diet that is well-balanced, this will help your body to produce estrogen.
Stop Tobacco Use
Using tobacco lowers your estrogen level indirectly, since tobacco affects your endocrine system. Tobacco use has sometimes been linked to early menopause and infertility.
Monitor your Exercise
If you don’t have much body fat, your body may produce less estrogen. Moderate, regular exercise of about a half hour per day, is a healthy way to help in the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other health issues.
Moderate exercise may help your body produce more estrogen, but excessive exercise can decrease your levels of estrogen, causing a variety of health problems.
Yes! That’s a surprising remedy, isn’t it? If you drink two or more cups of coffee every day, you may be able to increase your body’s levels of estrogen. If you’re pregnant or are breast feeding, speak with your physician before you begin to raise your caffeine intake. It may be contra-indicated in these cases.