Side Effects & Symptoms of Low Estrogen

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Estrogen is a hormone present in both males and females, but predominant in females. Hormones are messengers that transport information and instructions to different parts of the body and affect nearly every cell and organ. Estrogen is required for several crucial functions in a woman's body. It keeps the skin smooth and moist, keeps the body's internal thermostat operating properly, assists in the regulation of cholesterol levels, prevents memory loss, is necessary for proper bone formation and the growth and development of female sexual characteristics and reproduction.

Symptoms of Low Estrogen

  • Estrogen deficiency causes hair loss, sagging skin, weight gain, itching and dry skin. Estrogen deficiency can also cause pain, such as headache, backache, abdominal pain, and (in severe cases) pain from spinal lesions and thinning bones. Common symptoms of estrogen deficiency are hot flashes, irregular menses, vaginal dryness, incontinence and mood swings.

Causes of Deficiency

  • Estrogen production in the ovaries slows down and eventually stops around the age of 50 when a woman reaches menopause. At that time, all estrogen produced in the body comes from the adrenal glands. Other factors can cause an estrogen deficiency at earlier times in a woman's life, such as having a hysterectomy.

Psychological Effects

  • Common psychological symptoms associated with low estrogen levels are anxiety, mood swings, irritability, depression, frustration, nervousness, impatience and lack of concentration. For many women, these effects can have a far-reaching effect on their lives, causing difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships, dealing with stress, and maintaining emotional health in general.

Long-Term Risks

  • A chronic state of estrogen deficiency can lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Several studies also indicate faintness, dizziness, anxiety and heart palpitations are all common in women with chronically low estrogen levels. Any of these symptoms can be a sign of an existing or developing cardiovascular risk. A long-term deficiency can lead to other problems, too, such as vaginal infections, osteoporosis, severe depression and digestive disorders.

Warning

  • Hormone drugs, commonly prescribed for estrogen imbalance or deficiency, are known to cause cancer, heart disease, and many other serious health risks. Alternative solutions do exist that are natural, nontoxic, and don't carry these dangerous risks. For example, soy protein and several herbs contain phytoestrogen (plant estrogen). Phytoestrogen mimics the estrogen produced by the body, and carries out the same functions in the body. Many women have successfully corrected a hormone imbalance naturally---without drugs.

References

  • Anti-Aging Manual: The Encyclopedia of Natural Health; Joseph B. Marion; 2003.
  • Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis and James F. Balch, M.D.; 2000
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