Estrogen, a hormone commonly associated with the female body, plays a crucial role in female health. It is responsible for the female sexual development during puberty.
It controls the growth of the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy and is also involved in cholesterol and bone metabolism. Which is why low estrogen is a serious problem. And which is what we will address in this post. Just keep reading.
What Is Low Estrogen?
The estrogen hormone is produced in the ovaries, and anything that affects the ovaries causes a deficiency in the estrogen levels.
Several factors cause low estrogen levels. They include:
- Excessive exercise
- Chronic kidney disease
- Turner syndrome (a disorder where a female is born only with one X chromosome)
- A low-functioning pituitary gland
- Anorexia or other eating disorders
- Premature ovarian failure or any other autoimmune disorder
- Tubal ligation can inadvertently cut down blood supply to the ovaries and lower estrogen levels
- Magnesium deficiency
- The birth control pill suppresses both estrogen and progesterone
- Adrenal fatigue
- Yeast overgrowth with yeast toxins blocking hormone receptor sites
But how would one know if their estrogen levels are dropping?
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What Are The Symptoms Of Low Estrogen Levels?
Girls who haven’t yet reached puberty or women approaching menopause are at a higher risk of low estrogen. However, women of all ages can experience this condition.
Some of the common symptoms of this problem include:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Headaches (or even migraines)
- Issues with concentration and focus
- Irregular or even absent periods
- Urinary tract infections
- Painful sex (due to the absence of vaginal lubrication)
- Weak bones or frequent fractures (as estrogen works in conjunction with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, and its deficiency can mean a decrease in bone density)
Discussing the problem is important. But that doesn’t offer us the solution, does it? What can you do to prevent estrogen deficiency? Is there a way you can increase your estrogen levels? The good news is – there are multiple ways you might be able to avoid/treat this condition.
How To Increase Estrogen Levels
1. Get Your Levels Checked
Visit your doc. That’s the first thing you need to do. Even before you start off with an estrogen program (or any other way of increasing the levels in your body), take your doctor’s advice.
There are a variety of tests that can determine your hormone levels. Your blood might be tested for FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone). If that is all that is wrong, you might want to try estrogen therapy after consulting your doctor. The therapies can include pills, topical gels, or skin patches and they may be synthetic hormones or bioidentical However, there are many options to investigate before resorting to hormone replacement. Let’s see how you can help your body make its own hormones.
2. Quit Smoking
Kick the butt. Smoking can have detrimental effects on the endocrine system, and this can limit your body’s ability to produce estrogen.
3. Change Your Diet
Your endocrine system needs a healthy body to produce adequate levels of estrogen. Eat healthy. And consume foods that contain phytoestrogens. We know that soy products like tofu, soy nuts, and edamame produce phytoestrogens, which mimic the effects of estrogen. But soy is very hard to digest, and many people are allergic to it, so tread lightly. Other foods that contain phytoestrogens include peas, lima beans, cranberries, apricots, and prunes, broccoli, cauliflower, flax seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, red clover sprouts, mung bean sprouts, and whole grains.
Also, cut down on your sugar intake as it can lead to hormonal imbalances in the body. Sugar also contributes to yeast overgrowth, and yeast toxins can block hormone receptor sites. Adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet or magnesium supplements can help promote estrogen production and can diminish many of the symptoms of low estrogen.
4. Try Gaining Weight
In case you are underweight, that is. Being underweight can hinder your body’s ability to produce estrogen. Returning to a healthy weight can improve your estrogen levels. Young female athletes who are under 100 lbs can lose their periods to low hormone levels. You need body fat to produce hormones.
5. Consume Herbal Teas
Several herbal teas are found to enhance the estrogen levels. These include red clover, alfalfa, hops, licorice, thyme, verbena, and saw palmetto. You can simply steep the herbs in hot water for about 5 minutes and then drink the tea. But as with chasteberry, don’t go overboard. The best way to tell if you are stimulating too much estrogen is sore breasts.
Black and green teas contain phytoestrogens and can improve estrogen levels in your body.
6. Try Coffee
But not more than 400 mg of caffeine a day. Studies have shown that women who take more than 200 mg of caffeine a day have higher levels of estrogen than women who don’t.
But ensure you use organic coffee. Most coffee is heavily sprayed crop, which is why drinking organic coffee can keep you away from pesticides and other harmful fertilizers. And remember that caffeine is a strong stimulant, so don’t take it if you are already speedy.
7. Embrace Exercise
Though there is research that heavy exercise can lead to a drop in estrogen levels, moderate exercise is just plain healthy and can cut the risk of breast cancer and increase longevity.
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These are some ways you can increase estrogen levels in your body. But ensure the levels are not too high as that might lead to another set of issues.
What Happens With Excess Estrogen Levels?
Also called estrogen dominance, this condition is more common than low estrogen and is marked by the following symptoms:
- Decreased sex drive
- Mood swings
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Cold hands or feet
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Anxiety/panic attacks
- Memory issues
- Tender breasts/breasts containing fibrocystic lumps