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.
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 estrogen levels may be the culprit.
While low estrogen 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 estrogen 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 estrogen and what you can do to fix it.
Estrogen 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 estrogen is no different. The levels tend to fluctuate over a woman’s lifetime, especially when your menstrual cycle begins. As a result, low estrogen in women is not an uncommon phenomenon. Ovaries, the organ that produce estrogen, also reduce the production as you age. But consistent low levels of estrogen 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 estrogen levels may have gone off track.
Low estrogen symptoms – 6 Signs to look out for
Low estrogen in women who are in their 20s can manifest in a variety of ways.
Here are some of the common signs of low estrogen that you may experience:
1 – Sex is painful
Estrogen’s job is to keep things moist down there. So a deficiency of estrogen hormone can cause reduced vaginal lubrication, resulting in vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal wall.
As a result, penetrative 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 estrogen.
Irregular or absent periods are one of the common low estrogen 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.
But low estrogen 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, estrogen deficiency could be the reason.
4 – Mood swings and depressive symptoms
Mood swings are another common low estrogen 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.
Estrogen 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 estrogen 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 estrogen are essential for the proper development and functioning of breasts. Many may experience sensitivity in their breasts as a low estrogen symptom.
If you notice tender breasts or experience a lot of pain in your breasts, your estrogen levels may not be correct.
6 – Increased frequency of UTIs
Are you getting painful urinary tract infections too frequently? It could be a sign of low estrogen. Reduced estrogen 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 estrogen in women?
As estrogen impacts various bodily functions, it is difficult to pinpoint a single cause of reduced production. Some of the common low estrogen 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 estrogen 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 estrogen.
- 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 estrogen in your body as it continuously wants to save energy.
In fact, this is a common cause of low estrogen symptoms in teenage girls.
- Genetics: Have a family history of ovarian cysts or other hormonal issues? You are definitely at risk of suffering from estrogen 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 estrogen.
- Early menopause: So is low estrogen a sign of menopause? While the symptoms are very similar to what menopausal women experience, low estrogen 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 estrogen in your body.
How can I fix low estrogen in my twenties?
Low estrogen 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 estrogen. 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 estrogen symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider as soon as possible to chalk out the correct treatment plan.