So you are in your 20s, and you suddenly start experiencing crippling fatigue that leaves you in bed for days. Then like clockwork, the hot flashes follow, and you find yourself waking up at night drenched in sweat. Before you know it, your monthly cycles come to a screeching halt, and you also start experiencing excessive vaginal dryness. You could use intimate moisturising oils but what happens when it becomes excessive?
Initially, you may be pretty dismissive about this and even blame these issues on your increasing stress levels or poor lifestyle choices. Then you dig deeper — maybe your mother is experiencing menopause right now, and your symptoms look identical to hers, but since you are not even close to menopausal age, why are you feeling as if you are going through menopause?
You may not necessarily jump into thinking that your low oestrogen levels may be the culprit.
While low oestrogen is a scary thought when you are several years away from menopause, one can be affected by it at any age. There are several low oestrogen symptoms you should watch out for, especially when you are unsure what might be the cause behind sudden changes in your body.
Want to recognize the symptoms that might be throwing your hormone out of whack but not sure where to begin? Let’s look at the common signs of low oestrogen and what you can do to fix it.
What is oestrogen?
Oestrogen is one of two female sex hormones. It plays a crucial role in supporting a host of functions of your body — right from mood regulation to maintaining optimum bone density. It also helps your body during puberty, keeps your monthly cycles on track, and assists you when you want to get pregnant.
Hormones, by nature, are extremely sensitive and oestrogen is no different. The levels tend to fluctuate over a woman’s lifetime, especially when your menstrual cycle begins. As a result, low oestrogen in women is not an uncommon phenomenon. Ovaries, the organ that produce oestrogen, also reduce the production as you age. But consistent low levels of oestrogen is not healthy and can leave you feeling miserable.
So if you are experiencing symptoms out of the blue that mimic those of menopause, it’s a telltale sign that your oestrogen levels may have gone off track.
Low oestrogen symptoms – 6 Signs to look out for
Low oestrogen in women who are in their 20s can manifest in a variety of ways.
Here are some of the common signs of low oestrogen that you may experience:
1 – Sex is painful
Oestrogen’s job is to keep things moist down there. So a deficiency of oestrogen hormone can cause reduced vaginal lubrication, resulting in vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal wall.
As a result, sex may start becoming very painful for you, even with a healthy serving of lube.
2 – Changes in your periods
Are you suddenly experiencing extremely light periods with two normal flow days and very light bleeding after that? While you may feel relieved, especially if you are someone who’s worried about stocking up menstrual hygiene products to deal with a heavy flow, very light periods could be a sign of low oestrogen.
Irregular or absent periods are one of the common low oestrogen symptoms as this hormone primarily regulates the menstrual cycle. Left unchecked, it can ultimately result in issues with ovulation and fertility.
3 – Frequent headaches and fatigue
Headaches and fatigue have many causes, and these days, it is extremely common to experience such conditions. Increased screen time and increased anxiety about the state of the world around us can all result in chronic headaches and leave us exhausted. You can try using herbal headache patches to reduce and relieve the pain.
But low oestrogen in women can also cause these issues. If you’re experiencing the same type of headache every month during your cycle or you find yourself more exhausted even after clocking in 8 hours of sleep, oestrogen deficiency could be the reason.
4 – Mood swings and depressive symptoms
Mood swings are another common low oestrogen side effect. The hormone plays a vital role in regulating your neurotransmitters and stabilizes your mood. When the levels are low, you can experience extreme mood swings.
Oestrogen is also responsible for boosting serotonin production, which keeps your mood high and wards off depressive symptoms. Ever been told that those sudden mood swings that you experience right before your period begins are all in your head? Turns out that if your oestrogen levels are low, feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine get produced in lesser quantities and leave you feeling depressed and anxious.
5 – Breasts feel tender
Adequate levels of oestrogen are essential for the proper development and functioning of breasts. Many may experience sensitivity in their breasts as a low oestrogen symptom.
If you notice tender breasts or experience a lot of pain in your breasts, your oestrogen levels may not be correct.
6 – Increased frequency of UTIs
Are you getting painfulurinary tract infections too frequently? It could be a sign of low oestrogen. Reduced oestrogen levels result in thinning of the urethra, which makes it easy for bacteria to move up to the bladder.
What are the causes of low oestrogen in women?
As oestrogen impacts various bodily functions, it is difficult to pinpoint a single cause of reduced production. Some of the common low oestrogen reasons include:
- Excessive exercising: Staying physically active and working out regularly is key to optimal health. But if you are going way too hard in the gym or overdoing those HIIT exercises to achieve that extra-toned ab, you may be unintentionally reducing your oestrogen production.
- Chronic kidney disease: If you suffer from chronic kidney diseases, your gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) production may be disrupted. This can create an abnormal sex hormone profile and result in low oestrogen.
- Eating disorders: If you have a history of disorder eating, your endocrine system (which includes your ovaries) may not be functioning correctly. Persistent malnutrition and self-starvation can result in ovaries producing less than the required amount of oestrogen in your body as it continuously wants to save energy.
In fact, this is a common cause of low oestrogen symptoms in teenage girls.
- Genetics: Have a family history of ovarian cysts or other hormonal issues? You are definitely at risk of suffering from oestrogen deficiency.
- Pituitary gland dysfunction: The pituitary is the master gland as it tells the other glands to release appropriate hormones. If this gland is dysfunctional due to a tumor or any other reason, your ovaries may not receive correct signals to produce oestrogen.
- Early menopause: So is low oestrogen a sign of menopause? While the symptoms are very similar to what menopausal women experience, low oestrogen is not always a sign of menopause. But if you suffer from an autoimmune condition such as hypothyroidism or lupus, it can increase your risk factor, and you may start experiencing menopause even in your 20s. This can slow down the production of oestrogen in your body.
How can I fix low oestrogen in my twenties?
Low oestrogen level is not a death sentence — you don’t have to live a miserable life forever!
You can explore natural remedies to address signs of low oestrogen. These include following a healthy and balanced diet, managing stress levels, and reducing exercising if you are overdoing it. Depending on your condition, age, and severity, your doctor may also prescribe synthetic hormone supplementation through hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
If you are experiencing low oestrogen symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider as soon as possible to chalk out the correct treatment plan.
Have you ever experienced any of the above mentioned symptoms?