Low Estrogen Symptoms and Their Treatments
Low estrogen symptoms are the cause of most of the misery of menopause. They begin in early perimenopause but are most frequent in the later stages of your menopausal transition when all menopause symptoms are at their worst!
After one or two years in post menopause, the worst of the symptoms will disappear. But unfortunately low estrogen levels will be the permanent state in post menopause and will always cause some problems.
There is a long list of symptoms that are directly related to low estrogen levels with hot flashes and night sweats leading the list.
Plus, (and most important for getting out of the misery) you will information on how to find the best treatments for your low estrogen symptoms.
The 12 most common low estrogen symptoms are:
- Hot flashes / night sweats
- Mood swings / depression
- Headaches and migraines
- Weight gain
- Increase in facial hair / coarse body hairs
- Food cravings
- Low energy
- Panic attacks
- Vaginal dryness/ frequent urinary tract infections / yeast infections
- Joint pain
- Brittle hair / nails, wrinkles and skin problems
The good news is that when your hormone levels stay low, estrogen supplements will bring relief. This is different from early perimenopause when hormones were fluctuating rapidly and supplementation could cause estrogen dominance.
The treatment options for low estrogen symptoms range from estrogenic herbs to hormone therapy and some alternative treatments.
Because treatments are probably on the front of your mind, we want to mention those first. But because they are so important, you will find much more indepth information in a separate article.
Here we want to focus more on the details and explanations for each of the symptoms.
Treatments for Low Estrogen Symptoms
- Natural remedies like herbs
- Hormone Therapy including bioidentical hormones
- Alternative treatments
Which option you choose depends to a great extend on your personal preference:
- If you prefer natural treatments, try some of the herbs or herbal supplements.
- If your symptoms make you so miserable that you don’t know if you are coming or going, talk to your doctor about hormone therapy.
- Some women just want some support for dealing with their symptoms and choose alternative treatments.
A good course of action is:
- Start with the natural methods, including the alternative treatments.
- If your symptoms don’t improve, switch to hormones.
- When you are over the worst of the transition (about 1-2 years after your last period) go back to a natural remedy.
The Long List of Low Estrogen Symptoms
Finally, here are the details about the list of low estrogen symptoms.
Hot Flashes and night sweats: Estrogen influences several things that regulate your body temperature. Actually, it is not the low estrogen that causes your symptoms, but falling hormone levels that wreaks havoc with the body temperature regulation in the brain.
Every little change in temperature signals to the hypothalamus (where body temparature is regulated) that your body is getting too hot. This triggers a heat dissipating response in the form of sweating, widening of blood vessels (flushing) and often increases in the heart rate.
Mood swings are common during peri-menopause when hormone levels fluctuate frequently. Serotonin, a chemical that influences your mood and feeling of well being, is sensitive to estrogen. Estrogen increases serotonin production and low levels can cause “feeling blue”.
Depression: Low levels of estrogen can even cause depression in women, who are very sensitive to hormone fluctuations. However, the relationship is highly complex and there is no direct link between estrogen and depression.
Headaches/Migraines: Researchers know that there is a connection between headaches, especially migraines, and hormones. This relationship is not well understood, but researchers suspect that a fluctuation of estrogen, especially rapid declines, triggers changes in certain neurotransmitters which in turn causes the headaches.
Some women experience a relief of headaches and migraines by stabilizing estrogen levels through hormone treatment. There are also a number of herbs that can help.
Weight Gain: Weight gain in menopause is a common symptom. When estrogen levels are low, progesterone dominates and causes cells to store fat. Additionally, dropping estrogen levels slow down your metabolism.
Vaginal dryness/ frequent urinary tract infections / yeast infections are all due to changes in the genital area because of diminished secretions and changes in the ph balance of the vaginal tissue. The loss of natural lubrication causes vaginal dryness and the changes in the vaginal tissue can lead to increased infections.
Fatigue/ low energy/ sluggishness have several causes. One reason is certainly the lack of sleep because of frequent night sweats, but hormone problems influence your sleep pattern as well. Sleepiness or fatigue can also be caused by progesterone dominance.
Increase in facial hair / coarse body hairs: low estrogen levels lead to a dominance of testosterone levels which causes the increase in facial hair and the growth of coarse hairs in the strangest places.
Panic attacks/ heart palpitations: Low estrogen levels cause the stress hormone cortisol to rise. Higher cortisol levels trigger the fight / flight response in the central nervous system with higher blood pressure and insulin levels, and rapid heart beat.
One of the best immediate treatments for panic attacks are deep breathing exercises.
Brittle hair / nails, wrinkles and skin problems: Estrogen plays an important role in the production of collagen. Additionally, lower estrogen decreases the body’s ability to produce natural skin oils and to retain moisture in the cells.
Joint pain and other “strange” pain symptoms are often appearing around menopause. Joint pain can have many causes, such as arthritis or metabolic disorders, but estrogen can also play a role. Estrogen helps to preventinflammation which can cause joint pain. It is very difficult to find out if your pain is caused by age related wear and tear or low estrogen levels.
A Final Word
Because estrogen plays a role in almost every organ, low estrogen symptoms are common in the later stages of the menopause transition.
Usually, hormone levels stabilize several years after your last period. As your body adapts to the lower levels most of these symptoms will disappear.
But this does not mean that you can’t fight the symptoms while they are driving you crazy and making your life miserable.
Follow the suggestions for natural treatments for low estrogen symptoms or talk to your doctor about hormone treatment.
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