While estrogen is mostly known for its role in female reproduction, this hormone also plays a part in achieving optimum brain, bone, and heart health. Furthermore, estrogen also has regulative functions with regards to metabolism, body weight, and insulin sensitivity.
Low levels of estrogen are therefore a catalyst for many physical and emotional health concerns and would need to be addressed by a medical professional.
Symptoms of low estrogen
As with any medical condition, early detection is key. These are some of the symptom’s women may notice early on:
Irregular periods & infertility
Estrogen is one of the main hormones behind a healthy menstrual cycle and ovulation. If your body doesn’t produce enough, your periods may be irregular or disappear completely, and ovulation could be prevented as well.
Estrogen plays a part in the production of serotonin (the happy hormone) in the brain. Lower levels could therefore cause mood swings and even depression.
Estrogen is needed to ensure that the lining of the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder) can successfully keep the bad bacteria out. Increased urinary tract infections (UTIs) could occur if estrogen levels are too low.
Estrogen levels that are too high or too low can cause weight gain. High levels of estrogen in the body can irritate the cells that produce insulin in your body, making you insulin resistant and blood sugar levels rise, leading to weight gain. Low levels of estrogen can also cause a very stubborn type of weight gain. That often happens during the menopausal period women go through later in life. The ovarian cells no longer produce estrogen, so the body starts looking for estrogen elsewhere. One source is fat cells. To put things back in balance the body starts converting extra energy sources into fat, leading to weight gain, particularly in the lower body.
Low estrogen treatment
After low estrogen levels have been confirmed by your healthcare professional, they may suggest some of the following treatments:
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can take on various forms from oral pills, topical creams, and patches, to vaginal rings and tablets. The goal is to replace the lost estrogen through a method that is suitable to your unique circumstances, as prescribed by your doctor.
Eating foods high in phytoestrogens
Obtaining estrogen levels for optimal health doesn’t always require drastic measures. In some cases, eating healthily and including foods high in phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen in the body, could address the issue naturally.
- Soybeans (tofu, miso, etc.)
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
A lack of exercise or excessive exercising can lead to lower levels of estrogen. Be steady and consistent with your exercise regime to regenerate estrogen production.
Are low estrogen levels genetic?
Yes and no. Estrogen levels will naturally decrease with age, however, certain gene mutations will cause it to happen quicker in some, therefore, our genetics can have an impact on our hormonal health. For more information talk to our experts.