Symptoms of Low Estrogen And What You Can Do About It

by | Apr 7, 2020

As a woman, estrogen is one of your most important reproductive hormones. Low levels of estrogen can impact your mood, fertility and overall health and wellness. But how can you tell if your estrogen levels are low — and that this problem may be contributing to infertility?

woman in a black dress

Read on to discover the symptoms of low estrogen (and what you can do about them) so you can go on to have a healthy, happy pregnancy!

 

What is Estrogen’s Role in the Body?

Hormones like estrogen are present in the body in small amounts — but according to Healthline, they have a big impact on your overall health.

Estrogen is responsible for female sexual development, triggering the growth of breasts, pubic hair and other sex characteristics during puberty. This hormone also plays an important role in maintaining your reproductive health by controlling the growth of the uterine lining at the beginning of your menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.

However, estrogen plays an important role in your overall health, too. Estrogen regulates your bone and cholesterol metabolism, as well as your body weight, glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

As a result, low levels of estrogen can impact many systems in your body — not just your reproductive health. In the next section, we’ll talk about the signs and symptoms of low estrogen levels in the body.

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Signs Your Estrogen Levels Are Low

Suspect your estrogen levels may be low? Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Missed or late menstrual period
  • Fatigue and/or trouble sleeping
  • Depressed mood
  • Painful sex due to a lack of lubrication
  • Frequent urinary tract infections due to the thinning of the urethra
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches or worsened migraines
  • Hot flashes and/or night sweats
  • Low libido

Estrogen levels may also drop due to extreme weight loss or excessive exercise associated with an eating disorder. Contact a psychological professional if you suspect that you or someone you love may be suffering from an eating disorder.

If you suspect you may have low estrogen levels, contact your doctor, who can run a panel of tests measuring the levels of hormones in your body. Regular exercise and eating a balanced diet can also help to balance your hormones.

 

Can I Get Pregnant with Low Estrogen?

As a woman who is trying to get pregnant, you may be worried if you display symptoms of low estrogen. But just how does low estrogen impact your ability to get pregnant?

One of the leading causes of female infertility is infrequent ovulation. This can result in missed or irregular periods that impact your ability to get pregnant.

Low estrogen may be a cause of infrequent ovulation since estrogen plays a role in triggering the ovaries to release an egg. As a result, raising low estrogen levels can help you ovulate more regularly and improve your chances of conceiving naturally.

 

How to Raise Low Estrogen Levels

Whether you are looking to get pregnant or want to alleviate the symptoms of low estrogen levels, you may be wondering what you can do to rebalance your hormones and get back to normal.

First, it’s important to recognize that not all estrogen is created equal. Some types of estrogen have a negative effect on overall health and may increase your risk for health conditions such as breast cancer. Other types, however, are healthy for the body and help maintain healthy menstrual cycles and fertility.

As we mentioned previously, exercise and diet play a large role in improving estrogen levels. Incorporating certain foods into your everyday diet may help you raise estrogen levels. These foods function as phytoestrogens, mimicking the role of estrogen in your body and helping your body get rid of bad estrogen in the body (so you can raise levels of good estrogen!). Some of these foods include:

  • Flaxseeds
  • Soy foods (ex: tofu and tempeh)
  • Dried fruits
  • Broccoli
  • Alfafa sprouts

While regular exercise can help the body keep bad estrogen levels in check, it’s important to refrain from over-exercising. Too much exercise (such as the excessive exercise seen in some eating disorders) can lower estrogen levels and increase testosterone, leading to irregular or missing periods and impacting fertility. If you have low estrogen levels, you may want to consider nixing heavy cardio and weight-lifting in favor of gentler forms of exercise, such as long walks or yin yoga classes.

Hormonal imbalances like low estrogen levels can create challenges for people who are looking to conceive or get rid of uncomfortable symptoms of low estrogen. It’s important to recognize when low estrogen is contributing to infertility or other symptoms so you can take action to treat this condition. Hopefully, this blog post has given you the tools you need to spot the signs of low estrogen and how it might be affecting your fertility and overall health.

✔️ Medically Reviewed by Dr Roohi Jeelani, MD, FACOG and Lauren Grimm, MA

roohi jeelaniDr Roohi Jeelani is Director of Research and Education at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Dr Jeelani earned her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica. She then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center, where she was awarded a Women’s Reproductive Health NIH K12 Research Grant. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr Jeelani has authored numerous articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific meetings. A Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Jeelani is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists.

Lauren Grimm is Research Coordinator at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, where she also completed her masters in Medical Sciences. Lauren has worked alongside Dr. Jeelani for the last 3 years, authoring a number of abstracts and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific conferences. Lauren will be continuing her education this fall at Rush University Medical College in Chicago, IL as an MD candidate.

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