Side Effects of Low Estrogen in Women: Clues, Causes, and Care

Monali Sharma
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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side effects of low estrogen

Low Estrogen can have several implications for women’s sexual as well as general health, significantly impacting their quality of life.

Estrogen has a vital role in regulating various bodily functions, including reproductive, skeletal, and nervous systems.

Consequently, its deficiency leads to a range of symptoms related to all those systems.

The Menopausal transition and various other factors can contribute to a fall in Estrogen levels.

Let’s explore the side effects of low Estrogen in women, their causes, and management methods.

Side effects of low Estrogen in women

Given the functionality of Estrogen, impacts of its deficiency extend to various body areas, such as the breasts, ovaries, brain, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems.

Side effects of low Estrogen may include the following:

Vasomotor symptoms

Low Estrogen in women can lead to the occurrence of vasomotor symptoms (VS).

These include hot flashes, sudden and intense feelings of heat, primarily affecting the upper body and causing the skin to redden, resembling a blush.

When these hot flashes occur at night, they are called night sweats.

Vulvovaginal complications

Low Estrogen level is associated with Vulvovaginal Atrophy (VVA), i.e., complications related to the vulva and vagina.

These may include all or some of these:

  • Vaginal dryness, irritation, and soreness,
  • Pain before, during, or after sex
  • Abnormal urine discharge and urge to urinate
  • Bleeding after intercourse

Abnormal Menstrual Cycles

menstrual cycles in womenSource: Mehaniq

Any defect in the normal levels of Estrogen and Progesterone can lead to menstrual disorders.

Women with low Estrogen may experience irregular periods or even missed periods, called Amenorrhea.

Decreased sex drive

Low Estrogen significantly affects sexual enthusiasm and satisfaction.

Women experience reduced sex drive, particularly during postmenopausal years.

Hypoestrogenism can also lead to changes in the vaginal wall layers, resulting in a decline in the quality of the genital arousal response, further impacting the sex drive.

Mood and sleep disorders

Estrogen has a significant influence on the mood and sleep quality of women.

The decline in ovarian Estrogen production among women can contribute to a range of mood disorders.

These changes may appear as sudden mood swings, fatigue, nervousness, impaired memory function, and challenges managing stressful situations.

Additionally, Estrogen minimizes the time taken to fall asleep and the frequency of awakenings during sleep and increases the overall duration of sleep.

In addition to its impact on sleep patterns, Estrogen also helps regulate body temperature, further enhancing sleep quality.

Hence, low Estrogen in women can also lead to disrupted quality of sleep.

Heightened depression and anxiety

Insufficient levels of Estrogen in women, particularly during Menopause, can hurt their overall mental well-being.

Low Estrogen is linked to higher incidences of depression and anxiety.


Estrogen hormone also influences the metabolic process in the body.

When Estrogen levels see a dip, one might experience increased susceptibility to obesity.

Increased sensitivity to pain and anxiety

Research has indicated that women tend to have heightened sensitivity to pain and anxiety when their Estrogen levels are low.

Meaning the levels of pain and anxiety experienced by women tend to intensify when the Estrogen supply is insufficient.

Deteriorated bone health

A lack of Estrogen has been associated with reduced bone mineral density, resulting in impaired bone health and structure.

In certain instances, the decline in bone strength can contribute to joint discomfort.

Three major types of Estrogen are present in the female body; these include Estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and Estriol(E3).

What causes Estrogen levels to go down

Sexual hormones see a natural decline with age.

Several factors can contribute to low Estrogen in women including:


low estrogen levels during menopauseSource: elenaleonova_from_Getty_Images_Signature
Middle aged woman

As women age, their ovaries produce less Estrogen, leading to hormonal changes and a decline in Estrogen levels.

Although Estrogen decline starts with the onset of menopausal transition, it increases significantly when Menopause occurs.

In the initial year of Menopause, women typically experience an average annual reduction of 80% in their Estrogen levels.

Reduced ovarian function

Certain medical conditions may lead to reduced female ovarian functioning, resulting in low Estrogen levels.

These can include Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), hypogonadism, and surgical removal of ovaries.

A woman’s ovaries do not function at full capacity or cease to function altogether in these conditions before it is normally expected.

As a result, Estrogen is not produced sufficiently, leading to underwhelming levels of Estrogen.

Genetic defects

Turner Syndrome (TS) is a female-specific genetic disorder.

Females with TS experience impaired ovarian function, resulting in decreased levels of androgens and Estrogens starting at a young age.

Psychological disorders

There are some psychological conditions that cause individuals to adopt abnormal eating practices to manage weight.

Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological condition characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight, leading individuals to engage in excessive exercise or starvation.

Bulimia, a disorder similar to Anorexia, involves extreme eating behaviors such as binge eating followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting as a means to lose weight.

These disorders can contribute to low Estrogen levels across different age groups in women.

Other factors

Some other factors may also be responsible for low Estrogen levels in women.

Studies have suggested a correlation between physical activity and decreased Estrogen levels.

Engaging in intense fitness training or aerobic exercise has the potential to reduce Estrogen concentration in women.

Smoking activity also has an adverse effect on the Estrogen production process in the body.

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Measures to manage the side effects of low Estrogen

The approach to addressing side effects of low Estrogen involves measures to identify and treat the underlying cause and alleviate the symptoms.

Hormone Therapy is a prevalent approach that involves the supplementation of hormones by external means.

Estradiol is commonly considered Estrogen hormone for Hormone Therapy in the treatment of low Estrogen and menopausal complications.

Estradiol dosage can also be taken in the form of skin patches, solution or lotion, injections, sprays, and vaginal creams. 

Vaginal lubrication can be considered to minimize vaginal and sexual discomfort.

Additionally, individuals may consider including Estrogen-rich foods in their diet, such as meat, eggs, and dairy from animals. 

Other food items that contain Phytoestrogens, which is a form of Estrogen, may include citrus fruits, parsley, broccoli, apples, beans, apricots, soybeans, legumes, clover, spinach, etc.

However, it is important to acknowledge that their effectiveness is a subject of debate, and their long-term safety remains uncertain.

Furthermore, avoiding smoking and extreme physical activity may also be considered as a supplementary measure to maintain Estrogen levels.

High Estrogen intake is associated with risk of vaginal bleeding, fluid retention, and mental complications. It is important to stick to the advised dosage and get regularly screened.


The common side effects of low Estrogen in women may include hot flashes, irregular menstrual cycles, vaginal discomfort, and diminished sexual pleasure and satisfaction.

Mood and sleep disturbances, heightened pain sensitivity, depression and anxiety, obesity, and joint pain can also be indicators of low Estrogen.

While aging and Menopause can be considered primary reasons, other factors might be causing low Estrogen in women.

These can include medical conditions like low ovarian function, Turner Syndrome, or psychological disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia.

Certain lifestyle habits, including excessive exercise, obesity, and smoking, can also adversely influence Estrogen levels.

The approach to address the side effects of low Estrogen is to treat the underlying condition while minimizing the symptoms with medication.

Low Estrogen levels are generally managed with the administration of Estrogen hormone externally, called Estrogen Hormone Therapy.

It is, however, recommended to consult with a medical expert to determine the suitable treatment method for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the side effects of low Estrogen in a woman?

Insufficient levels of Estrogen in women can result in an array of symptoms and health consequences. These can include hot flashes, menstrual irregularities or absence, mood and sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness,  pain and itching, reduced sexual desire, bone density loss, heightened vulnerability to osteoporosis, and potential fertility challenges.

How do you fix low Estrogen?

Low Estrogen fixing strategy depends on its root cause. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a common method to replenish Estrogen levels in women. Additional measures include lifestyle adjustments such as maintaining a healthy weight, moderate exercise, quitting smoking, and a balanced diet. If there is an underlying medical condition, treatment should be initiated.

What happens if low Estrogen goes untreated?

Estrogen deficiency goes unnoticed in some cases as the symptoms don’t seem to be bothersome. However, if it is not treated and persists for long, it may pose risks to severe health issues, including abnormal vascular function and premature cardiovascular disease, deteriorated bone health, and increased rates of depression and anxiety.

What causes low Estrogen in women?

Various factors can lead to low Estrogen levels in women, including Menopause, certain medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or primary ovarian insufficiency, excessive exercise, obesity, specific medications, and certain hormonal disorders such as hypogonadism or genetic conditions such as Anorexia Nervosa.

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