If you suspect you have low estrogen, you may not be feeling your best. A deficiency in estrogen can cause symptoms such as irregular periods, fatigue and insomnia, low sex drive, infertility and hot flashes. It can also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Estrogen is known as the “female sex hormone”, helping to develop and maintain the reproductive system and female characteristics, such as breasts and pubic hair. If your estrogen levels are off, it can affect essential bodily processes. Take a look at 25 signs, causes and tips for women with low estrogen.
What is Estrogen and Why Is It Important?
Estrogens are a group of hormones naturally produced by your body and although they’re typically known as “female sex hormones”, all genders have estrogens. The ovaries, adrenal glands and fat tissues produce estrogen. It’s an important hormone that prompts your sexual development and helps maintain your reproductive system.
Estrogen plays various roles in your body. It contributes to everything from cognitive and bone health, to cardiovascular and sexual function, to hair body growth and bone and skin health. Low estrogen increases your risk of osteoporosis, making you more prone to bone fractures and breaks. It’s also associated with increased cholesterol and a greater risk of heart attacks.
Estrogen is essential for vibrant health and energy. As women, it makes us feminine, gives us our womanly figure and even boosts skin health. It promotes plump breasts, spurs and regulates our menstrual cycles, promotes fertility, protects our bones and promotes bone strength, supports our mood and protects the brain from cognitive decline.
12 Symptoms of Low Estrogen
1. Dry skin
2. Tender breasts
3. Fatigue and sleep issues
4. Irregular or disappearing menstrual cycles
5. Trouble concentrating
6. Moodiness and irritability
7. Hot flashes and night sweats
8. Weight gain
9. Thinning hair
10. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
11. Low sex drive
12. Infertility (trouble getting pregnant)
6 Causes of Low Estrogen
1. Premature menopause or perimenopause
2. Excessive exercise
3. Eating disorders – deprive your body of nutrients that keep your hormones balanced
4. Low functioning pituitary gland
5. Premature ovarian failure – result of genetic irregularities, toxins, autoimmune conditions
6. Genetic conditions such as Turner syndrome and Fragile X
There are also certain risk factors that make you more susceptible to low estrogen. These include age, family history of hormonal issues, such as ovarian cysts, extreme dieting, chemotherapy and radiation therapy and substance use disorders.
7 Natural Remedies for Low Estrogen
Chasteberry (the dried fruit from chaste trees) stabilizes the body’s stress response and helps the pituitary gland to rebalance estrogen and testosterone during perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. It’s been shown to significantly reduce menopausal symptoms like mood swings, breast tenderness, interrupted sleep and hot flashes.
2. Phytoestrogen-rich Foods
Phytoestrogens, which are found in plant-based foods, have a similar structure to estradiol, the stronger estrogen hormone. Phytoestrogens are recognized by estrogen receptors and mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Phytoestrogens are thought to help the body function better if you’re low in estrogen. Phytoestrogen-rich foods include soybeans, flaxseeds, chickpeas and dried apricots, raisins and dates.
3. B Vitamins
B vitamins play a vital role in the creation of estrogen and vitamins B2 and B6 in particular, and are associated with healthy estrogen levels. Low levels of these vitamins can lead to reduced levels of estrogen. The top food sources of B vitamins include meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, legumes, leafy greens, seeds and fortified foods.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D and estrogen work together to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease. On top of that, the presence of vitamin D in the body impacts the production of estrogen, playing a role in estrogen synthesis. This shows that vitamin D supplementation can be helpful for low estrogen levels.
Boron is a mineral that plays a variety of roles in the body. Its main role is to help the body break down key minerals and vitamins, but it also manages bone health, treats osteoarthritis, and is necessary for the metabolism of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. It’s believed that boron allows the body to more easily use estrogen that’s available in the body. It’s naturally found in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, as well as avocados, prune juice, raisins, apples, beans and peanuts.
6. Black Cohosh
Black cohosh is a traditional Native American herb that has been used to treat numerous conditions such as PMS, menopause and hot flashes. It’s also believed that black cohosh contains certain compounds that stimulate estrogen receptors when estrogen is low.
Maca has come to be known as the hormone superfood. It helps our bodies adapt to stress, lowering cortisol levels that have been shown to cause imbalances in our sex hormones, including estrogen. Maca is loaded with antioxidants, dietary fibre, iron, magnesium, selenium and calcium. Add maca powder to your morning smoothie to reap all its good-for-you benefits.
When to See a Doctor
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low estrogen, you should talk to your doctor. Hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia and frequently missed periods before menopause are key signs to look for. Your doctor can help you make a diagnosis and will likely order some blood tests to check your hormone levels. Early diagnosis can help prevent further complications.
If you have symptoms of low estrogen, try these natural remedies and talk to your doctor to help you with an official diagnosis.
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