The Impact of Low Estrogen Levels: Symptoms, Causes and Management Tips

Amisha Jain
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low estrogen levels

Low Estrogen levels occur when the body does not produce sufficient amounts of Estrogen for optimal functioning of the body.

It is also called Estrogen deficiency or Hypoestrogenism.

Low Estrogen can affect multiple systems in the body, causing severe discomfort.

It, hence, becomes crucial to understand the causes and seek treatment and tips for appropriate management.

But before we learn about the symptoms, causes, and management of low levels of Estradiol, it is important to know the normal range as well.

Normal Estrogen levels

Estrogen is a primary female sex hormone.

The ideal range of Estrogen in an adult female depends upon the menstrual phase they are in.

The following table shows the normal levels of Estrogen in women:

Phase of the menstrual cycleRange of Estrogen in pg/ml
Follicular Phase (1-12 days)90-590
Luteal Phase  130-460
Postmenopausal50-170

The normal range of Estrogen in an adult male, however, is lower than that of women and is supposed to be somewhere between 60-190 pg/ml.

A fall in the Estrogen levels below this given range is considered lower Estrogen levels.

Low Estrogen levels symptoms

It is important to know the signs of low Estrogen so that you can get help right away. 

Low Estrogen can show up in different ways for men and women. 

Some of these signs are:

Irregular or absent menstrual periods

Missed menstrual cycles in womenSource: Mehaniq
Irregular menstrual cycle

Low levels of Estrogen can lead to irregular or missed menstrual cycles in women. 

These changes in the menstrual pattern can affect fertility and may indicate underlying hormonal imbalances.

Hot flashes and night sweats

It is common to experience sudden and intense hot flashes, particularly during Menopause. 

These heat sensations can disrupt sleep and affect daily activities.

Mood swings and irritability

Low Estrogen levels can affect mood and lead to mood swings, irritability, and anxiety. 

Hormonal fluctuations can influence emotional well-being, making it essential to seek support and coping strategies.

Fatigue and insomnia

Experiencing persistent tiredness, fatigue, and insomnia is a prevalent symptom of low levels of Estrogen. 

Hormonal imbalances can significantly impact energy levels and overall vitality and affect a person’s sleeping patterns.

Decreased libido

Low Estrogen levels in males and females can cause them to experience a reduced sex drive.

This decrease in libido can significantly impact relationships and overall well-being.

Vaginal dryness or atrophy

Women may also experience vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual intercourse, particularly prevalent during Menopause. 

This symptom can be managed with appropriate treatments.

Bone loss

Estrogen has an important role in maintaining bone density. 

Low Estrogen levels can lead to accelerated bone loss and increase the risk of Osteoporosis. 

Memory problems

Some studies suggest that reduced Estrogen levels may impact cognitive functions, including memory. 

Engaging in mental exercises and maintaining brain health is essential for overall cognitive well-being.

Weight gain

When Estrogen levels decrease, it can affect the body’s metabolism and lead to changes in fat distribution.

Both men and women may experience an accumulation of fat, specifically in the abdomen area.

What causes low Estrogen levels

A number of factors influence the hormones and lead to low Estrogen levels.

It becomes essential to understand these causes to manage the condition accordingly.

Some of the common causes include:

Age

low estrogen levels during menopauseSource: elenaleonova_from_Getty_Images_Signature
Middle-aged woman

As individuals age, the ovaries gradually produce less Estrogen.

This decline is a natural part of the aging process and commonly occurs during Menopause, resulting in lower Estrogen levels and associated symptoms.

Age is a primary risk factor for conditions like Primary ovarian insufficiency.

It can disrupt normal ovarian function and lead to reduced Estrogen production.

Eating disorders

Eating disorders, like Bulimia or Anorexia, can lead to significant nutritional deficiencies.

Inadequate calorie intake and malnutrition can disrupt the normal hormonal balance, including reduced Estrogen production. 

Severe and prolonged calorie restriction can impact the hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating hormone production, leading to low Estrogen levels.

Autoimmune diseases

Certain autoimmune diseases can target and damage the ovaries or other hormone-producing glands.

As a result, the production of Estrogen can be impaired, leading to hypoestrogenism.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress at any age can affect the endocrine system, disrupting the balance of hormones.

High levels of stress can lead to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which can negatively impact the production of sex hormones like Estrogen.

Fact:
The HPA axis is an important system in the body that involves three parts: the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. It helps control hormone levels and how the body responds to stress by connecting the nervous and endocrine systems.

Medications or treatments

Some medications, such as certain types of hormonal birth control, can intentionally lower Estrogen levels as a method of contraception. 

Additionally, medications used to treat certain health conditions can have the side effect of reducing Estrogen levels by affecting the ovaries.

Some examples of such medications include antidepressants or Chemotherapy.

Additionally, a procedure involving the removal of one or both ovaries (Oophorectomy) as a part of treatment might impact the production of Estrogen.

Conditions affecting your pituitary gland

The pituitary gland also plays a crucial role in regulating the production of hormones in the body. 

Conditions that affect the pituitary gland, like tumors, can disrupt the normal production and release of hormones, including Estrogen.

Genetic factors

In some instances, genetic factors can also contribute to Estrogen deficiencies. 

Understanding your family history and genetic predispositions can help in the early detection and management of hormonal issues.

Diagnosis

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, seeking guidance from a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation is crucial. 

The diagnostic procedure may involve:

  • Thorough medical history review
  • Physical examination
  • Assessments of hormone levels through blood tests

By analyzing your symptoms and medical background, your doctor can accurately measure Estrogen levels to determine the underlying cause of your condition.

Treatment and management

Appropriate diagnosis and accurate treatment are essential for the proper treatment of problems faced due to low Estrogen.

Following are some of those treatment and management options:

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a common approach for managing low Estrogen levels, especially in women experiencing Menopause. 

HRT involves the administration of synthetic Estrogen or a combination of Estrogen and progesterone to supplement the body’s hormone levels. 

However, it is not suitable for everyone, and individual health factors must be considered before starting treatment.

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Balanced diet

Including foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as soy products, flaxseeds, and legumes, may help mimic Estrogen’s effects in the body.

Additionally, consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins provides essential nutrients and supports hormonal balance.

Regular exercise

regular exerciseSource: Jacob_Lund
Aerobic exercise

Exercise helps reduce stress, which is beneficial since chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance.

Engaging in regular physical activity can have a positive impact on Estrogen levels and overall hormone balance.

Stress reduction

Implementing stress reduction techniques can help support hormonal balance.

Indulging in activities such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can prove to be helpful in this case.

Adequate sleep

Ensuring sufficient and restful sleep is essential for hormone regulation and overall health. 

Try for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support your body’s natural hormonal processes.

Herbal supplements

Certain herbs, like black cohosh and red clover, have been used to alleviate menopausal symptoms by exhibiting Estrogen-like effects. 

However, consult with a healthcare professional before using them, as they may interact with medications or have potential side effects. 

Avoiding toxins

Reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors and environmental pollutants like plastics and chemicals. 

These chemicals may affect hormone production and may result in hormonal abnormalities.

Takeaway

Low Estrogen levels can result from various factors, such as Menopause, hormonal imbalances, stress, and certain medications. 

It can manifest as weight gain, decreased sex drive, and bone loss in both men and women.

Additionally, women might also experience irregular or absent periods and vaginal dryness.

To naturally manage and increase Estrogen levels, prioritize a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress reduction, good sleep, and avoiding toxins. 

Herbal supplements and Hormone Replacement Therapy can also be beneficial under medical supervision.

Always seek professional advice for a personalized plan to manage and balance Estrogen levels effectively.

Warning:
Delay in seeking medical attention may be harmful to your well-being and health. Consult a doctor immediately if one or more of these symptoms show up.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix low Estrogen?

Low Estrogen levels can be addressed through Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) in selected cases. Lifestyle changes, like a balanced and nutritious diet, regular exercise, stress reduction, and adequate sleep, may also support hormonal balance in addition to herbal supplements.

What causes low Estrogen?

Low Estrogen levels can result from factors like Menopause, ovarian dysfunction, chronic stress, certain medications, excessive exercise, autoimmune diseases, and age-related decline. In certain cases, genetic factors also play a role in the low Estrogen levels of individuals.

What foods increase Estrogen?

Foods rich in phytoestrogens can help increase Estrogen levels. These include food items like seeds, berries, fruits, and legumes. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli may aid in Estrogen metabolism and balance.

Does low Estrogen cause periods?

Low levels of Estrogen can result in irregular or absent menstrual periods in women. Estrogen, a female sex hormone, plays a vital role in regulating the menstrual cycle, so its deficiency can affect the frequency and regularity of periods.

How can I increase my Estrogen levels naturally?

To naturally increase Estrogen levels, focus on a balanced diet rich in phytoestrogens from foods like soy, flaxseeds, and legumes. Engage in regular exercise to support hormonal balance and maintain a healthy weight. Manage stress through relaxation techniques and ensure adequate sleep. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Citations:
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