Estrogen is a hormone primarily produced in women. For proper growth of female sexual characteristics such as the breasts, production of estrogen in sufficient amounts is a must. The ovaries have been assigned the task of producing estrogen. Estrogen deficiency in older women is often the result of menopause. A time comes when women no longer experience menstruation. This time period in a woman's life when menstrual cycle comes to a halt is referred to as menopause. Menopause typically disturbs hormonal imbalance, which causes decrease in estrogen levels. Low estrogen in young women indicates that something is wrong with the ovaries; probably an ovarian cancer. Too much exercise and eating disorders like anorexia nervosa are some other factors that could lower estrogen levels in young women.
As estrogen levels go below normal range, older women may experience headache, dry skin, irregular or absence of periods and bloating. Recurring bladder infections and infertility is connected to estrogen deprivation in younger women. Other symptoms of low estrogen are given below:
Dipping estrogen levels can cause hot flashes that is typically marked by weird sensation of heat in the neck, shoulders and the chest. Women experiencing hot flashes often complain about excessive sweating and racy heartbeats.
This female sex hormone is known to regulate sleeping patterns. So, with the decline in estrogen, one is bound to suffer from sleeplessness or insomnia.
Feeling of tiredness that simply does not go away even after taking rest has also been linked to estrogen deficiency. Activities that do not involve any exertion can also make women with low estrogen extremely tired.
Thinning hairline have also been associated with estrogen deficiency in women. Healthy estrogen levels contribute in maintaining proper hair growth. So, a decline in production of estrogen during menopause triggers hair loss.
Poor Sex Drive
Lowered sex drive is also one of the most common estrogen deficiency symptoms. Women with reduced estrogen levels may no longer be interested in sex. Thus with low estrogen, sex life may take a backseat in women. The passion for making love may diminish substantially.
Low estrogen side effects can also appear in the form of vaginal dryness. As estrogen goes below normal level, the vaginal area may no longer remain moist. It becomes dry and itchy. In such circumstances, having sexual intercourse can be a painful task. The constant irritation associated with vaginal dryness, can make sex a cause of great discomfort.
Emotional problems in the form of mood disorders also erupt due to estrogen deficiency. Mood fluctuating between two extremes is often the result of hormonal imbalance in women. At one point, she may feel depressed, while the very next moment, she gets elated. This change in emotion from one extreme to another is often referred as mood swings.
Unexplained Weight Gain
Are estrogen and weight gain related? Unexplained gain in weight, which is common during menopause often occurs as a consequence of low estrogen levels. As ovaries lose their ability to manufacture estrogen sufficiently, the responsibility to produce estrogen is taken by the fat cells. In an attempt to normalize estrogen levels, the body speeds up the conversion of calories into fat. This often causes an increase in weight.
Research has also proved that as estrogen levels slide down, memory becomes weak. However, scientist are yet to establish the exact link between declining estrogen and memory loss.
Pain and stiffness in joints during menopause has also been attributed to low estrogen levels. Estrogen deprivation can also make the joints sore and inflamed. A condition known as menopausal arthritis may also develop due to fluctuating estrogen levels. Estrogen is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, so a decrease in its production is likely to cause inflammation of the joints.
Breast size as well as normal breast tissue growth is dependent on how much estrogen is being produced during puberty. Considering this fact, it won't be surprising that one of the most beautiful assets (breast) of women lose their appeal with low estrogen levels.
Sexual intimacy can also be a cause of great discomfort in women with low estrogen levels. To simply put, when estrogen levels are below normal, sexual intercourse can be extremely uncomfortable. No wonder, it is often said that sex with no adequate estrogen can be difficult.
Urinary Tract Infection
Poor estrogen levels can also have a negative impact on the urinary tract. For instance, in the presence of estrogen inadequacy, the urinary tract find it difficult to handle bacteria. Hence, people with estrogen deficiency may suffer from recurring infections of the urinary tract.
Incontinence or involuntary urination has also been linked to low estrogen. This is because diminishing bladder control resulting from reduced estrogen levels can trigger involuntary urination. The bladder becomes less elastic due to reduced estrogen levels, which may lead to incontinence.
Normal estrogen levels are also very important to keep the bones healthy. Estrogen helps to maintain bone density. Studies have also shown that estrogen is crucial to protect bones from becoming brittle. So, it is hardly surprising that dipping estrogen levels post menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become extremely weak. Although, there are other risk factors that can trigger osteoporosis, a drop in estrogen levels is the primary cause of bone problems.
Older women suffering from estrogen deficiency due to menopause are advised to take estrogen supplements. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, doctors will decide the dosage that works to relieve health problems arising from menopause. On the other hand, younger women have to undergo a specific blood test that detects FSH levels. FSH stands for follicle stimulating hormone. It is a hormone that does an important job of stimulating the follicle cells in the ovaries. This action helps to release estrogen from the ovaries. However, if FSH levels are itself very low, ovaries may secrete estrogen in less than normal amounts. Thus, low FSH levels may contribute to estrogen deficiency. So, if low FSH is diagnosed in younger women which in turn means low estrogen, treatment will be given accordingly to raise FSH levels.