Estrogen or oestrogen is one of the most widely heard of female hormone. It is considered to be the primary female sex hormone. This hormone is responsible for the development of female reproductive system and regulating the secondary sex characteristics.
Though it is present in the body in small amounts but its effect on maintaining the overall health of the women’s body is huge. And a lot of women who are about to hit puberty and those who have reached menopause suffer due to low estrogen. However, women of all ages can develop low estrogen. So let us begin with the causes of low estrogen.
Low estrogen: causes
Estrogen is produced in ovaries so technically anything that affects the ovaries is indirectly going to affect the estrogen production in the body. And this low estrogen can be caused due to,
- Natural causes: it can happen naturally amongst women who are about to reach puberty and those who are either premenopausal or menopausal.
- Other causes: Sometimes low oestrogen is a result of some special conditions like,
- Eating disorders: It can include anorexia where the women starve herself to severe limits.
- Turner syndrome: Abnormality in sex chromosome.
- Excessive exercises or extreme dieting
- Kidney diseases
- And low-functioning pituitary gland, hypopituitarism
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Low estrogen: side effects
Estrogen is considered to be the ‘power hormone’ of the body. And lack of estrogen can lead to several side effects that may disrupt the normal functioning of the women body. Those are,
- Lack of vaginal lubrication that leads to painful sex
- Prone to urinary tract infections
- Irregularity in periods
- Depression or severe mood swings
- Severe headaches, migraine
- trouble in concentrating
- hot flashes
- Loss of libido, sex drive
Apart from all, low estrogen can also lead to reduced bone density, thus bones become easily breakable. Because estrogen works hand in hand with calcium and vitamin D in keeping the bones strong and reduction in same may lead to weak and brittle bones.
What is the normal estrogen level for women?
Estrogen is the primary female hormone that is produced in the ovaries. The normal level of estrogen differs at various levels. In day 2 to 3 of menstrual cycle, the estrogen level is noted to be 25 to 75 picograms per milliliters. During menopause, thus level of estrogen drops down to as low as 32 pg/ml. This level continues to drop at 10 pg/ml.
Causes of low estrogen in 30s
When a women is in its early 30s, estrogen levels typically starts to drop down due to many notable reasons. The major reason among these is usage of birth control pills. These pills trick the body into believing that it doesn’t require as much of hormone, but it actually does.
Moreover, excessive exercising, binge eating, and even women who get extreme PMS etc, all these can cause the estrogen levels to drop down in 30s.
Low estrogen treatment
A lot of women suffering from low estrogen have benefitted from the following treatments,
1. Estrogen therapy
Women who are 25-50 suffering from estrogen deficiency are usually prescribed a high dose of estrogen. Depending on their severity, actual dose is decided so that they do not develop any bone deficiencies, cardiovascular problems or other hormonal imbalances.
This estrogen dose can be administered orally, vaginally, or through injection. This therapy may reduce menopausal symptoms and even reduces the chances of fractures.
2. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Menopausal women are generally recommended HRT as menopause leads to a significant decrease in estrogen and progesterone. And HRT may help you restore the levels of these hormones. Furthermore, in HRT, hormone can be given orally, topically, vaginally, or injections.
Low estrogen: natural treatments
Everyone cannot respond equally on medical treatment for low estrogen. Hence, here is list for those who prefer going all natural to increase their estrogen levels,
- Healthy eating: low levels of carbohydrates and fats and increased eating of fibrous food.
- Caffeine: Surprising enough, but coffee and tea are considered good to boost the levels of estrogen
- Say NO to tobacco: Tobacco can severely low down the levels of estrogen
- Herbs: Some herbs like chasteberry may work magic in increasing the levels of estrogen.