Symptoms of Low Estrogen

If you notice changes to your period, moods, or sex life, you could be experiencing symptoms of low estrogen. That’s because estrogen has an impact on your entire body. It is a hormone responsible for maintaining vaginal blood flow and lubrication, thickening the lining of the uterus during the menstrual cycle, and preserving bone density.

Low estrogen can happen across life stages. If you suspect you may have a low estrogen level, talk to your doctor to find out and address what's causing it.

Close-up shot of a woman suffering from a headache and rubbing her temples at home

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Frequent Symptoms

Symptoms of low estrogen include:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Amenorrhea (missing periods often, or never starting your period)
  • Headaches or worsening of migraines
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain 
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Adverse affect on sexual development for people going through puberty
  • Thinning of skin and hair

Complications

Women with low estrogen levels may not have noticeable symptoms. This can increase the likelihood of not catching the problem early on and experiencing complications.

Potential complications of untreated low estrogen include:

  • Heart disease: Estrogen has protective effects on your artery walls and helps keep blood vessels flexible while also increasing healthy cholesterol (HDL) and decreasing unhealthy cholesterol. So when estrogen levels decline, the reverse happens. It can lead to the buildup of fat and cholesterol in the arteries that contributes to the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Mood disorders and depression: Mood disorders and depression are associated with fluctuating estrogen levels, particularly during perimenopause, the period of time right before menopause that's linked to increases in new-onset and recurrent depression.
  • Skin changes: Your skin has receptors for estrogen, which helps with moisture retention. Estrogen-deficient skin is associated with aging. It has fine wrinkles and less elasticity, as well as dryness and poor wound healing.
  • Osteoporosis: Low levels of estrogen are associated with osteoporosis, which weakens bones and makes them more prone to fractures, and a reduced ability to rebuild bone and preserve density. The loss of estrogens and androgens in elderly men can contribute to the development of osteoporosis as well.

When to See a Doctor

If you notice signs and symptoms of low estrogen, you should contact your doctor to discuss what’s happening. You can discuss with your doctor if there are blood tests recommended to check your overall health. Make sure you are up to date on your Pap smear test, which checks for cervical cancer. 

Call your doctor if:

  • You’ve missed a period or more: This could be a sign of pregnancy or the result of certain medications, an underlying illness, or perimenopause.
  • You’ve not had a period for a year and start bleeding or spotting: In women who have gone through menopause, spotting or light bleeding could be caused by endometrial cancer or other serious health problems.
  • You are 16 or older and have not started menstruating: This could be a sign of delayed puberty due to hormonal imbalance.
  • You think you may have an eating disorder: Eating disorders can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. They can cause deficiencies that can compromise estrogen production. 
  • You are feeling overwhelming sadness or having suicidal thoughts: Reach out to a mental health professional to get the help and support you deserve, and talk to your doctor about possible treatment options.

Summary

Low estrogen levels affect your whole body. While they could be a normal part of life, especially during puberty and perimenopause, they could also be a result of certain medications or conditions. If you have symptoms of low estrogen, check with your doctor to make sure there isn't something more serious going on.

A Word From Verywell

Whether you're in the diagnostic process or still working to balance your hormones, having low estrogen is something you can't put to the side every morning when you start work or when you need to be there for your partner, friends, children, or pets. Sometimes it can be hard for others to understand what you are going through, and it's not because they are purposely trying to misunderstand.

The more you communicate what you're comfortable sharing about your experience, the better your loved ones and support network can rally together however you need as you work with your doctor to determine the best next steps.

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9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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