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An Overview of Estrogen Deficiency in Women

written by: Charlotte Raynor • edited by: BStone • updated: 1/12/2011

Estrogen deficiency in women is usually linked to menopause, but this condition can also affect younger women. When a woman has low estrogen, negative symptoms can happen to her body. Learn about the symptoms, causes and treatments of estrogen deficiency in women.

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    Estrogen Deficiency Symptoms

    When women age and progress to menopause, they often show signs and symptoms of estrogen deficiency. In order for a woman's body to be healthy, she needs her estrogen level to work accurately in order to be healthy, otherwise estrogen deficiency can trigger negative problems in the body. Estrogen deficiency in women can cause lowered HDL, the good cholesterol, and raised LDL, the bad cholesterol. Additionally, women that have a low estrogen level are inclined to have low blood pressure. They also are more at risk of bone loss that can eventually lead to osteoporosis. Estrogen deficiency in women can also cause poor memory, depression, thinning of the hair and other symptoms.

    Most women that are in menopause have symptoms that can be credited to estrogen deficiency and low estrogen levels. Low estrogen levels are the most frequent cause of vaginal dryness as are hot flashes. Other menopause symptoms that might be a sign of estrogen deficiency in women are poor memory, dry skin and fatigue.

    Symptoms of estrogen deficiency in women include:

    • Hot flashes
    • Depression
    • Dry skin
    • Headaches
    • Low back pain
    • Rapid pulse rate
    • Poor memory
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Vaginal dryness
    • Bloating
    • Short-term memory loss
    • Lowered sex drive
    • Constant fatigue, lethargy and being tired with low exertion
    • Fatigue that gets worse as the day goes on
    • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
    • Recent weight gain for no reason
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    Estrogen Deficiency Causes

    Women who are approaching or going through menopause are the most common candidates of estrogen deficiency, but it can also happen in younger women. Radiation or chemotherapy can hinder the creation of estrogen, as well as thyroid disorders. In younger women, genetic problems can produce estrogen deficiency in women.

    Additionally, an inherited disease called Turner syndrome can lead to lack of ovulation, short stature, lack of normal female growth and lack of menstruation. Further conditions that can bring on estrogen deficiency in women are too little body fat, exercising excessively and eating disorders. Before and during puberty, girls participating in excessive exercise such as dancing and gymnastics can make the levels of estrogen lower therefore postponing normal female progress.

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    Estrogen Deficiency Treatments

    Whether the low estrogen is in younger women or menopausal women, the essential cause of this problem will establish the particular treatment. There are three different kinds of treatment that should be considered for estrogen deficiency in women: Lifestyle changes, alternative medicine and hormone replacement therapy.

    Lifestyle changes are the most risk-free methods of treatment, but sometimes are the hardest to actually do. Diets that are rich in foods that increase estrogen levels such as rice, yams, alfalfa, soy, potatoes, wheat, flax seeds, apples and cherries can help. Additionally, a low fat diet is helpful along with increasing your intake of eggs, dairy products and meat in your diet. There are also estrogen herbs that some women say are beneficial but that can also lead to the same side effects that estrogen drug therapy does.

    Another treatment for estrogen deficiency in women is alternative medicine. This treatment also involves little or no risk and can work very well. Herbal remedies are a viable option to treat low estrogen, although some woman say that aromatherapy and massage help also. There are two kinds of herbs that are utilized for low estrogen and they are non-estrogenic and phytoestrogenic herbs.

    Many times, women that have estrogen deficiency are prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by their physicians. This treatment does help with the symptoms of estrogen deficiency in women, however this treatment will not produce the correct levels of estrogen naturally.

    Physicians have determined that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in women helps diminish the menopause symptoms and therefore lowers their risk for death linked to heart disease and hip fracture. However, it has also been shown that extended use of HRT is linked to a small increase in breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases and stroke risks. Women going through symptoms of low estrogen levels should check with their physician to decide whether treatment is needed.

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    References

    Blanchard RN, K. (2009, October 27). Low Estrogen Symptoms in Younger Women. Retrieved January 8, 2011, from Livestrong.com: http://www.livestrong.com/article/22600-low-estrogen-symptoms-younger-women/

    Grodstein F, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Manson JE, Joffe M, et al. Postmenopausal hormone therapy and mortality. N Engl J Med 1997 Jun 19;336(25):1769-75.

    Symptoms of Low Estrogen Levels. (2007). Retrieved January 7, 2011, from Women's Menopause Health Center: http://www.womens-menopause-health.com/symptoms_of_low_estrogen_levels.htm

    Treatments for Estrogen Imbalance. (2010). Retrieved January 8, 2011, from Natural-Hormones.net: http://www.natural-hormones.net/estrogen-imbalance-treatments.htm