Low Estrogen Symptoms
Important Information about the Symptoms of Low Estrogen
Women experiencing the throes of menopause know only too well the disturbing symptoms of low estrogen. However, aging is not the only cause for the decreased production of the hormone.
The role of hormones
Hormones exist in every living organism. In humans, numerous different hormones are produced by the body’s numerous endocrine glands; derived either from naturally produced cholesterol in the body or from naturally occurring amino acids. Their function is to regulate bodily functions in two ways; one, to initiate an increased rate of metabolism or two, initiating a decreased rate of metabolism in the specific cells for which they are designed to regulate.
The hormones called estrogens are sexual hormones. They are produced by the ovaries in the female body, and their main function is to stimulate the growth of the female sex organs, and to regulate the process of the menstrual cycle. Estrogen is responsible for maintaining the elasticity and the lubrication of the vagina as well as the overall condition of the vaginal wall lining.
Imbalance of hormones in the female body
A delicate balance of hormone production is maintained within the body in normal situations. Certain conditions can disrupt this balance, however, and thereby the bodily functions that the hormones control. Aging is the primary cause of hormonal imbalance. Due to the fact that the aging body will no longer be used for reproduction, the need for the sex hormone wanes as does their manufacture. However, aging is not the only reason for this condition. Certain illnesses and cancer treatments are capable of disrupting the hormonal balance. Whatever the cause for the condition may be, one thing is evident: with less hormone produced, the body soon experiences the symptoms of low estrogen.
Because estrogen is a sex hormone, sexual function is the area that will suffer from decreased hormones. The vagina actually diminishes in size, with the wall linings becoming thinner. Vaginal lubrication decreases, causing pain during intercourse. Perhaps due to this discomfort, but certainly bolstered by decreased estrogen, women often have lower sex drives. Breasts may begin to sag, losing the fullness that estrogen provided in earlier years. Fatigue may be experienced, and mental capacity may seem diminished as forgetfulness and an overall foggy brain feeling takes over. Hot flashes and night sweats could begin to occur. Thinning skin that is dry is another indication of low estrogen in the body.
Treatment for low estrogen levels
Hormone replacement therapy has undergone great scrutiny over the past years due to links of estrogen therapy to breast cancer. Depending on the underlying cause of the low estrogen, treatment can be handled in a variety of ways. For a younger woman who is vastly underweight or performs excessive amounts of exercise, low levels of estrogen will interfere with normal menstrual cycles. Treatment of the cause will generally result in resumption of hormone production. Women experiencing low estrogen symptoms because of menopause will not resume normal production. Some women will find low dose estrogen treatment to be highly successful in fighting against hot flashes, depression, deterioration of vaginal function and the possibility of osteoporosis by maintaining bone strength.
There are herbs that can diminish the effects of lower natural estrogen in the female body. Black cohosh is instrumental in reducing hot flashes, while St. John’s Wort can treat depression and mood swings. Drinking large amounts of green tea is thought to show higher levels of binders of estrogen. There are also over the counter preparations targeting menopausal symptoms through natural means.
Whether aging, illness or some other situation creates the lower estrogen levels, knowing the symptoms that it produces is vastly helpful. Many women feel as though their bodies betray them, or that they are going crazy as they experience fluctuating sensations. It is a normal situation that affects every woman although in varying degree and, while it can be uncomfortable, our bodies do eventually adjust.