As we go through life our bodies sometimes change without our knowledge or any warning. Women who notice that they’re constantly tired, unable to lose weight, or always irritable may have more than age or stress to blame for these problems. It could be the result of a hormonal imbalance, like estrogen deficiency. Estrogen plays a large role in the female body and, if there’s suddenly not enough of it, you can be left feeling imprisoned by the negative effects. Learn the symptoms of estrogen deficiency, and see if you need to reach out to an experienced physician.
What is Estrogen and What Does it Do?
Estrogen is one of the main female sex hormones. The other is progesterone. A woman’s ovaries provide the highest amount of estrogen to the body, though the adrenal glands produce a small amount of it as well.
Estrogen is responsible for the physical changes that occur in female puberty, as well as the regulation of the menstrual cycle. It plays a key factor in keeping up bone, skin, nail, and hair health, as well as maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol. In addition, it is vital in regulating mood.
After menopause, the amount of estrogen a woman’s body produces will decline. However, one does not need to be of menopausal age to experience the symptoms of estrogen deficiency.
Physical Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency
If a woman’s body does not produce enough estrogen, she may experience sudden hot flashes, night sweats, or similar instances of extreme temperature fluctuation. She may also feel constantly tired throughout the day, without the ability to push through like she used to. Going to the park with the children or taking the dog for a walk at the end of the night might seem like an impossible chore rather than fun or relaxing. To make matters worse, women with low estrogen levels also have difficulty sleeping, which only serves to make them even more tired throughout the day.
Dry eyes, hair, and skin are also symptoms, as well as bloating, frequent headaches or migraines, and back or joint pain. In addition to these achy, uncomfortable symptoms, many women notice sudden, unexplainable weight gain that is difficult to lose.
Because estrogen regulates sex organs, women with a deficiency will also notice a lack of vaginal lubrication which can lead to painful intercourse.
Mental/Emotional Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency
There are host of mental and emotional symptoms brought on by estrogen deficiency, and they’re just as uncomfortable to deal with as the physical ones. In addition to all the aches and pains, women with an estrogen deficiency will experience mental fogginess, depression, anxiety, and a reduction in self worth. They will feel less attractive, listless, and forgetful. Increased irritability or general mood swings often follow low levels of estrogen. These all combine to make one feel helpless, upset, and possibly alone.
Related Health Issues
Low estrogen levels can contribute to problems with your cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease or stroke if left unaddressed. As estrogen plays a role in promoting and protecting bone health, a deficiency can lead to bone degeneration or eventual osteoporosis. And since sudden weight gain or inability to lose weight is one of the common symptoms of estrogen deficiency, women are at increased risk of developing elevated blood sugar or insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you think you may be experiencing the symptoms of estrogen deficiency, you should contact a medical professional. Physicians that specialize with hormones will have familiarity with the signs and symptoms of a possible deficiency, and they’ll be able to run the appropriate tests for diagnosis. They will also be able to give you effective treatment plans that will get you back to your old self again.
Dr. Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker, and author of “Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier.” She can make you slim, sharp, sexy and supercharged. She is an expert in anti-aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, weight loss, medical nutrition, supplements, and executive health.