You must have heard or read about the hormone estrogen. Estrogen is an important hormone for women. This hormone is more common in women than men. However, what happens if a woman is deficient in estrogen? What are the signs, and how do you fix them?
The importance of the hormone estrogen for the female body
The hormone estrogen is closely related to women. Actually, the male body also produces estrogen, it’s just that more estrogen is produced by the female body than men.
In addition, although the level of estrogen circulating in the blood is small, this hormone plays an important role in maintaining the health of your body. The functions of estrogen include:
- Sexual development in adolescent girls once they reach puberty
- Regulate the thickening of the uterine wall during the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy
- Promotes breast growth in teenagers and pregnant women
- Regulate bone and cholesterol metabolism
- Regulate food intake, body weight, glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in the body
What are the signs and symptoms if a woman has low estrogen?
Girls who have not reached puberty and women who are approaching menopause usually have low estrogen. However, still, women of all age groups can experience this condition. Some of the symptoms of low estrogen levels in women are:
- Pain during sex due to reduced vaginal lubrication
- Increased risk of developing urinary tract infections due to thinning of the urethral wall
- Irregular menstruation or even no menstruation
- Extreme mood swings
- Breast pain
- Hot flashes
- Frequent headaches or increased frequency / intensity of migraines that have been experienced frequently
- Trouble concentrating
- Bones are more brittle so they break easily
If left untreated, low levels of estrogen can cause fertility problems.
What causes low estrogen levels?
Estrogen is produced in the ovaries (ovaries). Therefore, any medical condition that affects the ovaries can threaten the production of estrogen. Young women can experience low estrogen levels as a result of:
- Excessive exercise
- Low function of the pituitary gland
- Ovarian organ failure, can be caused by genetic defects, toxins, or autoimmune conditions
- Turner Syndrome
- Chronic kidney failure
In women over the age of 40, low estrogen levels can be a sign that you are approaching menopause. This transition period is known as perimenopause. During this time, the ovaries will continue to produce estrogen, but in small amounts until they stop completely. When your ovaries have completely stopped producing the hormone estrogen, that’s when you are said to be menopause.
Risk factors for low estrogen levels
The most common risk factors for low estrogen levels include:
- Family history of hormonal problems (example: ovarian cysts)
- Eating disorders (example: anorexia)
- Extreme diet
- Excessive exercise
- Disorders of the pituitary gland
How do I know if I have low estrogen levels?
Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can prevent many of the health problems caused by low estrogen levels. If you experience the symptoms described above, you should immediately consult a doctor. The doctor will usually ask about your medical history and family history. After performing a physical exam, your doctor will usually ask you to have your blood tested to measure the level of estrogen in your body.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend brain imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI to find out if there are abnormalities in the brain that are affecting your hormone production.
How do doctors treat low estrogen hormone conditions?
High doses of the hormone estrogen are usually given to women aged 25-50 who have low estrogen levels. This medication can help lower the risk of fractures, cardiovascular disease, and other hormonal imbalances. Estrogen can be given by oral medication, through the vagina, or by injection.
Long-term estrogen therapy is usually recommended for women approaching menopause or for women undergoing surgical removal of the uterus. Outside of these cases, estrogen therapy is usually only given for one to two years. This is because estrogen therapy can increase the risk of cancer.
Important points to remember
Estrogen is a hormone that is important for health, especially for women. Genetic disorders, a family history of hormonal problems, and certain diseases can cause low estrogen levels. These low levels of estrogen can interfere with your sexual development and sexual function. In addition, this condition can also increase the risk of obesity, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.
However, rapid development of medicine makes this condition easy to treat. With proper diagnosis and treatment, low estrogen can easily be resolved.