First of all, what exactly is estrogen? For those who don’t know, estrogen is a hormone commonly associated with the female body but also produced in small amounts in men. Hormones play important roles in regulating activity of specific cells and organs as well as maintaining your overall health. If you feel that you may have low estrogen, keep reading. We’ll be discussing what estrogen does, common causes, common risk factors, as well as treatments and solutions for women with low estrogen.
What Does Estrogen Do?
Estrogen is primarily produced in the ovaries and is considered a sex hormone since it regulates sexual development in girls during puberty. Estrogen also has other functions:
- Regulates menstrual cycles
- Regulates body weight which helps control metabolism involved in growth of healthy bone tissue
- Regulates glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity
Common Causes of Low Estrogen
Because estrogen is primarily produced in the ovaries, anything that affects the ovaries ends up interfering with estrogen production as well.
Young women may be experiencing low estrogen levels due to:
- Excessive exercise
- Anorexia and other eating disorders
- Premature ovarian failure from an autoimmune condition, genetic defects, or toxins
- Chronic kidney disease
- A low-functioning pituitary gland
- Turner syndrome
Women over the age of 40 may be experiencing a drop in estrogen because they are approaching perimenopause, the transitional phase before menopause. During perimenopause, your body will produce less and less estrogen until you finally reach menopause – when your body is no longer producing estrogen.
Symptoms of Low Estrogen
Common symptoms of low estrogen include:
Bone loss may occur when estrogen levels decrease. Older women who are past the menopausal phase are at a higher risk of bone fractures and developing osteoporosis.
Irregular or missed periods may be another sign of estrogen deficiency since estrogen is one of the main hormones driving your normal menstrual cycle.
Getting pregnant may be difficult because low estrogen levels prevent ovulation, leading to infertility.
Estrogen is linked to higher serotonin (chemical in the brain that boosts mood) levels, and low estrogen levels may cause a decrease in serotonin, contributing to mood swings or depression.
Having low estrogen can cause women to have hot flashes – a sudden feeling of heat, sometimes causing a flushed face and/or sweating. Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause.[Text Wrapping Break]
Estrogen deficiency can also affect vaginal lubrication. Low levels can cause vaginal dryness, often causing painful intercourse.
Common Risk Factors for Low Estrogen Levels
- Hormonal issues in family history
- Eating disorders
- Issues with pituitary gland
- Extreme diets
How to Treat Low Estrogen
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Older women with low estrogen levels may benefit from hormonal therapy. At Healthy Aging Medical Centers in New Jersey, Dr. Rand offers a comprehensive Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy program that can help patients reach better balanced hormone levels as well as prevent from encountering symptoms associated with hormonal decline. Dr. Rand specializes in this type of therapy which utilizes hormones that are identical in chemical function and molecular structure to the hormones produced in the body. Bioidentical hormones are especially unique because they are easily metabolized into the body since they are synthesized from soy or yam products. Bioidentical hormones are identical to human hormones, allowing men and women to consume without dealing with negative repercussions.
Another solution for estrogen deficiency may be estrogen therapy. Your doctor may prescribe estrogen therapy especially to women who’ve had their ovaries removed or to treat the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.
Maintaining a healthy body weight as well as cutting back on exercise if you currently follow a vigorous regimen may help increase your estrogen levels to a healthy standard. Being extremely underweight can cause a decrease in estrogen levels. There may be some natural remedies that can improve estrogen as well, although these methods are not scientifically proven thus far.
Estrogen and other hormones play a crucial role in your health. Certain factors such as age, genetic defects, a family history of hormonal imbalances, and certain health conditions can cause your estrogen levels to decrease. If you’re not sure if you have low estrogen, the most common symptoms discussed above can serve as a guideline to consult with your doctor to determine if you are in fact deficient. Extensive research over the years have resulted in more effective treatments to help patients increase their estrogen levels, whether you are looking for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, estrogen therapy, and/or want to try certain lifestyle changes.
If you are located in New Jersey and are interested in learning more about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or our anti-aging services, make sure you contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rand at Healthy-Aging Medical Center today!