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Estrogen Deficiency Signs and Symptoms

Written by Author - Authors Medical experts of the National HRT Clinic - December 9, 2015

Estrogen deficiency is often associated with the onset of hot flashes and drenching night sweats that occur when menopause arrives on the scene. Many women would say that these are the two most dreaded symptoms associated with this inevitable change in life. While that may be so, there are still many other variances that can occur in a woman’s body that can range from mildly annoying to potential health concerns.

First to explore are the physical estrogen deficiency signs and symptoms that may interfere with some part of daily life. These changes include the following:

  • Fatigue, loss of energy, decreased endurance
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Hot flashes
  • Incontinence
  • Irregular bleeding or spotting
  • Low libido
  • Night sweats
  • Osteoporosis
  • Painful or uncomfortable intercourse
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sleep issues, insomnia, frequent waking
  • Testosterone deficiency or imbalance
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vaginal infections, candida
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Weight gain

While it is clear that symptoms such as fatigue or night sweats may be bothersome, other issues such as osteoporosis can have long-term ramifications that can even take away a person’s independence down the road. Fractures become increasingly dangerous in later years of life.

There are some potentially serious symptoms of estrogen deficiency that can affect a woman on a mental basis, including:

  • Concentration and focus issues
  • Forgetfulness
  • Learning retention problems
  • Memory loss
  • Verbal communication decline or concerns

Finally, there are some possible emotional estrogen deficiency symptoms that must be addressed:

  • Anxiety
  • Crying
  • Depression
  • Despair
  • Emotional instability
  • Mood swings
  • Outbursts
  • Poor outlook for the future

Every issue mentioned above can affect a woman personally, professionally, as well as interfere with her ability to perform up to the standards she has set for herself in all areas of her life. That is why it is essential to seek out help and treatment from a knowledgeable professional if any of these symptoms of estrogen deficiency start to become a concern or problem.

Direct Treatment for Estrogen Deficiency

Estrogen Deficiency Signs

Many of the symptoms of estrogen deficiency can last for up to four years, or longer. Up to 10 percent of all women have reported symptoms lasting as long as 12 years. This is not only unbearable on a physical level, but can take quite an emotional toll, as shown in the previous section. That is why seeking direct treatment for this hormonal decline is essential.

Treatment with estrogen replacement therapy can help ease the effects of these undesirable symptoms. Estrogen deficiency that is left untreated can lead to cardiovascular disease, dementia, and stroke, in addition to the aforementioned osteoporosis. Each of these concerns can leave a person dependent on others for her care, or at worst, can end one’s life.

The use of hormone replacement therapy in women under the age of 40 who are dealing with premature menopause, or those under 45 facing early menopause is highly recommended. Estrogen deficiency treatment beginning up to the age of 51 is suggested under the current guidelines. Women older than 51 are at a higher risk of complications from estrogen therapy, and other methods of treating their symptoms may be better options. For some, that may mean turning to testosterone replacement. This is also a viable choice for those females at a higher risk of breast, cervical, or endometrial cancer, stroke, and blood clots.

Any form of hormone replacement therapy must be individualized to the client’s needs. This will require blood analysis and physical examination prior to any medication being prescribed. Estrogen therapy comes in numerous forms, including:

  • Transdermal Estrogen – lower risk factors
  • Oral Estrogen – higher risk factors
  • Vaginal Estrogen – lower risk factors

Using an estrogen patch, cream, or gel bypasses the liver (an issue with oral preparations) and can reduce triglycerides and have less effect on blood clotting factors. This treatment is often better for women with the following risks or conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Taking enzyme-inducing drugs
  • Gallstones
  • Liver disease
  • Migraines
  • History of malabsorption
  • Thrombosis

If the majority of a woman’s symptoms are vaginal or urinary in nature (vaginal dryness, UTI’s, bladder or vaginal infections), low-dose estrogen taken vaginally via the following ways may be the better choice:

  • Cream
  • Tablet
  • Vaginal ring

Each woman will work closely with her doctor to determine the proper form of estrogen deficiency treatment for her direct needs.

Alternate Treatments for Estrogen Deficiency

There is a large population of women who are not candidates for estrogen replacement therapy due to preexisting medical conditions or certain risk factors. That does not mean that they have to resign themselves to many years of suffering in silence with the estrogen deficiency signs and symptoms that have been bothering them. There are other options for treatment.

It turns out that blood analysis often shows that the same women who are deficient in estrogen are also facing a decline in testosterone production. Both of these hormones are produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands, and when the ovaries start to slow down secretion as menopause arrives, declines occur in both hormone levels.

Treatment with testosterone replacement therapy is considered to be much safer than estrogen and is available as a compounded cream designed for each woman’s personal needs. Since excess testosterone is converted in the body to oestrogen, this treatment effectively solves both problems. Women who cannot use estrogen replacement will be provided with an estrogen blocker to stop the conversion process.

Natural Alternatives

Today, many people want to turn to natural alternatives to combat medical conditions, including estrogen deficiency and menopause. The following suggestions are provided:

  • If you are a smoker – stop smoking
  • If you are overweight – lose weight
  • If you are a recreational drinker – limit alcohol consumption
  • Cut down on caffeine intake
  • Regular aerobic exercise is important
  • Maintain an intake of 700 mg/day of calcium – either through food or supplementation
  • Consume foods high in phyto-oestrogens including soy products, nuts, oilseeds, and wholegrain cereals
  • Take phyto-oestrogen supplements containing concentrated isoflavones such as red clover (not for use by women with breast cancer history or risk, or those taking anticoagulants)
  • Try black cohosh, but follow the same risk guidelines as mentioned above for red clover
  • Consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day
  • 400 IUs of natural vitamin E may help with hot flashes
  • B vitamins may help alleviate some of the stress associated with menopause and estrogen deficiency symptoms
  • Black currant or evening primrose oil provide essential fatty acids that can help reduce the effects of menopause symptoms.
Medically reviewed by   Reviewers National HRT Staff - Updated on December 11, 2023

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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