Low estrogen symptoms can make a woman's life miserable. With symptoms like irritability, forgetfulness, hair loss and weight gain, who wouldn't be unhappy?
Causes of Low Estrogen
Estrogen is a hormone produced by the ovaries. There are three types of estrogen: estriol, estradiol and estrone. Some women naturally do not produce enough of one or all forms, which leads to symptoms. Abnormal levels can also signal the presence of ovarian or adrenal cancer.
Low estrogen can occur for a variety of other reasons. Most women experience regular dips in estrogen over the course of their normal menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels also drop during pregnancy. In these instances, the estrogen levels eventually rise and the symptoms subside.
Continuing symptoms of low estrogen often signal the arrival of menopause. During menopause, the body gradually adjusts to the lower levels of estrogen, and some symptoms will be alleviated.
In some instances, low estrogen is a symptom of some other disorder. For younger women, conditions such as excessive exercise, an eating disorder or low body fat can cause estrogen levels to drop. This is a cause for concern, because low estrogen levels lead to delayed development and a lack of menstruation.
A doctor can perform tests to determine why a woman's estrogen levels are low and recommend a proper course of treatment. Hormone replacement therapy is successful in many cases, but you need to discuss the long-term health risks and potential side effects of this therapy with your doctor before deciding if it's right for you.
Symptoms to Watch for
The symptoms of low estrogen can often seem to be totally unrelated to estrogen. Symptoms like dry skin and joint pain don't appear to be caused by estrogen levels, but they are. In addition to regulating the menstrual cycle, estrogen affects nearly every system in the body, including the skin, the digestive tract and the brain.
Low estrogen can cause a wide variety of symptoms. These symptoms may get worse at certain times during your menstrual cycle and will persist after your period has ended.
If you experience some or all of these symptoms on a regular basis, make an appointment with your doctor. A simple blood test will determine if low estrogen is the cause.
Did you know women in other countries experience very little menopausal symptoms? Why is that? Women in other countries tend to be more physically active than women in industrialized countries. Daily exercise can diminish hot flashes while improving bone density.