WHAT IS ESTROGEN?
An extensive array of hormones controls a woman’s reproductive system. These hormones work in harmony and sync with each other to bring about the sexual characteristics in a girl, such as the development of breasts, maturation of vagina and uterus, and marking the beginning of her menstrual cycle. The same hormones prepare a woman for potential pregnancy every month, as well.
The relation of one hormone with another is so complex that even the slightest change can obscure the typical pattern of a woman’s reproductive health, and similar is the case with a hormone known as estrogen.
Estrogen is regarded as the primary hormone responsible for puberty in a woman, as mentioned above. It is produced in the sac-like structures attached to the uterus, called ovaries, and controlled by a gland present in the brain, called the pituitary gland. And together with other hormones, estrogen plays a crucial role in a woman to differentiate her body features from men and get pregnant.
There are different types of estrogen present in a woman’s body in different cases, and there are different Low Estrogen Symptoms. For instance, estradiol is the most common form of estrogen present in all women of child-bearing age. The placenta produces another form of estrogen called estriol in pregnant women, and this is the most potent form of estrogen out of all of them. Estetrol is also produced only during pregnancy as the fetus forms this. The final form is estrone made in the ovaries and is the weakest of them all and is created in lesser amounts when a woman is pregnant or in her menopausal state.
WHAT HAPPENS IF ESTROGEN IS LOW?
Multiple health problems arise in a woman’s body due to the deficiency of estrogen. At an early age, a girl would experience late development of sexual characteristics and delayed menarche. That is, her first period would come late. On the other hand, the woman who develops estrogen deficiency after puberty or after the age of 30 might complain of symptoms similar to menopause-like breast tenderness, fatigue, mood changes, headaches, hot flashes, painful sex, recurrent urinary tracts infections due to narrowing of the urethra and even depression. But the cardinal sign of estrogen deficiency in these women is irregular period or missed period, and consequently, they find it difficult to get pregnant.
WHAT CAUSES ESTROGEN DEFICIENCY?
The first important cause of estrogen deficiency is found in the ovaries. Polycystic ovarian disease or premature ovarian failure, along with any pathology that hinders the normal physiology of the ovaries, would lead to lower levels of estrogen. In addition to these, many women in their 30s might experience this due to anorexia, an eating disorder. At the same time, other causes include reduced functions of the pituitary gland located in the brain, which signals the ovaries to either release or stops the estrogen. Similarly, Hypothyroidism is another essential reason for low estrogen in women older than 30 years of age. Other factors are exercises that lead to severe weight loss, autoimmune conditions, prolonged kidney diseases, chemotherapy, and Turner syndrome, a chromosomal disorder.
DOES LOW ESTROGEN CAUSE FATIGUE?
The answer is a definite yes. Women who are low on estrogen go through easy fatigability and depression. Even a woman who is energetic and lively would show signs of low energy. The reason behind this is simple. Estrogen helps in the release of another hormone called serotonin, which is a happy hormone. In other words, lower estrogen levels mean lower levels of serotonin that in turn causes easy fatigue in a woman and reduced libido.
DOES LOW ESTROGEN CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN?
Again, yes. Estrogen is known to enhance the metabolism rate in women, which keeps the weight gain in check. But once there is low estrogen in the body, the body cells start to deposit more fat, particularly in the abdominal region. Moreover, the ineffective use of starch and glucose in the body.
LOW ESTROGEN IN PERIMENOPAUSE:
This is the stage that occurs right before menopause and is also called the transition phase to menopause. On average, a woman would go through perimenopause at 35 to 40 years of age. This stage is characterized by fluctuating levels of estrogen in the body that cause irregular periods. Even though women still get their periods in this phase, their cycles release no eggs.
Therefore, a woman no longer stays fertile, and it gets more challenging for them to become pregnant. And further accentuates the weight gain. Since these women tend to eat more and exercise less, all the factors precipitate the fat accumulation in the visceral area that becomes harder to metabolize. Even if, by chance, a woman does get pregnant, there is a high possibility that her child may be born with chromosomal abnormalities, or she might go through recurrent miscarriages.
LOW ESTROGEN IN MENOPAUSE:
Menopause Menopause is a naturally occurring phase woman does not get her period for the last 12 months or more. This is commonly at the age of 45 to 50 years. Thus a woman is said to be in her menopause when these criteria are met. Most symptoms of menopause are already mentioned above.
But the more serious ones still need discussion.
The action of estrogen is so versatile that many functions become deranged due to its deficiency. Estrogen aids in maintaining the mineral deposition in the
bones and reduces the activity of bone-eating cells, but menopausal women experience decreased bone density that causes osteoporosis only because of low estrogen levels in the system.
It should also be mentioned that estrogen has a protective mechanism against heart attack, and menopause makes a woman more prone to it. Furthermore, the vagina, ovaries, and uterus shrink in size due to a lack of stimulation by estrogen. On the other hand, it reduces sexual stimulation, memory loss, skin rash and increases obesity.
HOW TO INCREASE ESTROGEN IN YOUR BODY?
Estrogen can be naturally increased in the body if you are looking for something other than medication or the inclusion of estrogen-rich food in your diet. Number one on the list is flax seeds, as they are one of the richest sources of estrogens. It includes phytoestrogen that replaces your estrogen to some extent and omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce cholesterol from the body. Another popular food is soy. Known for their high estrogen content, they can easily be consumed in the forms of soy milk, soy yogurt, or simply as soy. Surprisingly, strawberries and peaches also help replenish estrogen levels in your body. At the same time, nuts and dry fruits have also proven to be sufficient for estrogen.
TREATMENT FOR LOW ESTROGEN:
The definite treatment to cure the deficiency of estrogen is to take the medical route. A doctor might prescribe you a hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) to boost the estrogen levels in your body. This therapy can be utilized orally as pills, vaginally as suppositories, topically as patches, and injectable. The treatment dose principally depends on the deficiency, history of the woman, and the severity of side effects of the treatment.
HOW MUCH IS HIGH ESTROGEN?
As we already know how meticulously the hormones work and how an unbalance in hormones can show drastic effects, we can also tell that just like low estrogen, high estrogen levels will cause health problems, as well. The estrogen levels can be detected with a blood test. Still, other than this, a high estrogen level becomes a risk factor for endometrial hyperplasia, which has the potential to turn into a malignant form and develop into endometrial cancer. In addition to this, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, thyroid dysfunction, and stroke can be the complications of increased estrogen levels in the body.