Symptoms of Low Estrogen
Symptoms of low estrogen levels in females are often more pronounced when they are at the menopausal stage. Estrogen is an important hormone found in women that is mainly responsible for the female’s characteristics and physical development. It is produced in the ovaries and comes in greater amounts as the woman nears her monthly menstruation. Reduced levels of estrogen would greatly alter the woman’s moods and affects the body’s proper functioning. Diminished levels of estrogen would usually mean two things: either the woman is on her way to menopause or she has a problem with her hormonal condition.
Causes of Low Estrogen
The causes of declining estrogen are subdivided into three types: natural, induced and special cases.
• Natural– The common cause of dwindling estrogen in women usually accounts for old age. Estrogen is produced by the eggs inside the woman’s ovaries. As time passes, the production of estrogen shrinks because of the constant depletion of eggs during the woman’s menstrual cycle. And when this happens, the monthly menstrual cycle of the woman will slowly alter, and then would eventually stop. At this phase, the woman would feel various symptoms of low estrogen that is primarily caused by post menopausal syndrome.
Falling estrogen levels can also happen to young people who have late development of their ovaries, hence, causing the delay of the production of estrogen. If this happens, the young female will experience late menstruation or even the absence of menstruation, or medically termed as amenorrhea.
• Induced – Induced causes of low estrogen levels include different kinds of treatments or surgical procedures that could greatly alter the function of the ovaries. The most common surgical procedure that could result to decreased amounts of estrogen is hysterectomy. Hysterectomy can either be partial or whole. Partial is when the surgeon removes the uterus but the ovaries would still remain. Whereas whole hysterectomy refers to the removal of both uterus as well as the ovaries. Both procedures would cause decreased estrogen levels in women thus causing the symptoms of low estrogen to be manifested.
Another induced cause is chemotherapy treatment. A lot of women have reported, and studies also show, that the ovaries do not function correctly right after chemotherapy.
• Special Cases – Medical cases such as anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder wherein the female doesn’t eat much or does not eat anything at all for fear of becoming fat, can also lower the level of estrogen in the body. In order for the female to produce enough estrogen, she has to have a balanced diet.
Turner syndrome can also affect the estrogen level. The female affected by this disorder has a problem ovulating and menstruation is often delayed for months. In some cases, the woman doesn’t experience menstruation at all.
Other conditions that contribute to diminished estrogen levels are thyroid and pituitary gland problems.
Different Symptoms of Low Estrogen
Common symptoms of low estrogen levels in the body include night flashes and sweats, vaginal dryness, anxiety, restlessness, loss of libido and mood swings. These are the symptoms that are usually expected from women who have decreased levels of estrogen. Furthermore, reduced estrogen levels also affect various parts of the woman’s body.
• Genitourinary system – Dwindling estrogen level alters the norms of the genitourinary system. This would cause the genitourinary system to be weak, dry and more susceptible to infections. The genitalia of the woman would feel unusually tight and dry and would constantly feel itchy at the same time. Sexual intercourse would cause pain in the woman’s vagina, and in some cases bleeding would ensue due intercourse. The genitals would also be prone to infections like yeast infections, UTI and urinary incontinence.
• Skin – One of the common symptoms of low estrogen levels in women is the dryness and itching of the skin. The dryness noticed cannot really be remedied by the use of skin moisturizers or lotions. This is only corrected when proper or normal level of estrogen in body is achieved. Formication is often felt, wherein the woman feels a tingling sensation, as if there are some things crawling on her skin.
• Dryness on other parts of the body – Dryness of the eyes also often occurs with declining levels of estrogen. The eye becomes irritating and itchy all the time. Contact lenses are very hard to apply on the eyes in this condition and the eyesight might also be altered due to the change in the shape of the eyeball.
• Brittleness – Another symptom of lessened estrogen levels in women is the brittleness of the nails and hair.
• Alteration of neurotransmitters of the brain – As the woman’s estrogen level drops, it alters the neurotransmitter and the brain receptor so the sending of signals to the brain becomes very confusing. This would cause the famous mood swings of menopausal women. Because of the many shifts in disposition, the woman would become restless and depressed. Menopausal women often feel that they don’t belong and would want to stay inside the house all day. They would also lose energy to do their usual day to day activities. The most obvious symptom of all is the manifestation of irrational impatience. In addition, there are cases in which the woman experiences anxiety attacks with abnormal palpitation of the heart.
• Memory problems – Estrogen is an important hormone that contributes significantly to proper brain functioning and memory preservation. One of the common symptoms of low estrogen level is forgetfulness. In many cases, women with reduced estrogen levels have difficulty in finding the right words even though they know exactly what to say. Another example is forgetting the right path to take even though place is one the woman knows really well.
The symptoms of low estrogen seem alarming. Fortunately there are medicines and lifestyle changes that could help women in overcoming the symptoms of low estrogen. The treatment is always dependent on the cause so it is wise to consult the doctor so that the appropriate tests and assessment can be conducted to determine the root cause of the diminished level of estrogen. When the underlying cause is confirmed, the proper course of therapy can be started.