Complications of Low Estrogen

Wednesday 21 April 2021
Hormones

Table of Contents


I. Identifying Low Estrogen

II. Osteoporosis

III. Heart Disease

IV. Depression & Menopause

V. Sex & Menopause


Identifying Low Estrogen

Low estrogen levels can significantly affect the everyday habits of women. Estrogen levels fluctuate throughout a woman’s life, but this female hormone takes the most drastic dip during menopause. Menopause occurs when a woman’s menstrual cycle stops and having children is no longer possible. Estrogen is a key part of pregnancy. When estrogen levels decrease drastically, many symptoms may occur.

Menopausal symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some women may only experience hot flashes, while others may suffer severe side effects of low estrogen. Common symptoms of low estrogen include:

  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Breast tenderness [1]

an older woman looking out to the ocean

These symptoms often remedy themselves with time, but you may be prescribed estrogen-replacement medications like Climara patches, Estraderm patches, or Prometrium (progesterone). These drugs can help prevent serious complications of low estrogen. Read on to learn more.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can lead to bone fractures, most commonly in the hip, backbone, and wrist. This disease is dangerous because many people do not know they have osteoporosis until a breakage occurs. After 30, bone mass stops increasing in the bones, and bone mass may break down quickly once estrogen levels are depleted. Menopausal women are at a high risk of osteoporosis. Women may also be at risk for osteoporosis if they have the following risk factors:

  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Broken a bone before 50 years old
  • If you smoke
  • Lead an inactive lifestyle
  • Low calcium or vitamin D throughout your life [2]

Taking estrogen replacement medications like Climara patches can significantly improve your menopausal symptoms and prevent a rapid degeneration of bone mass. 

Heart Disease

Age is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. Women usually go through menopause in their 50s. Low estrogen levels mixed with age can make heart disease more likely. Scientists are not 100 percent sure why cardiovascular disease occurs more commonly in menopausal women, but they posit that low estrogen levels may be a factor.

someone holding a snow heart in their hands

The American Heart Association cites that three out of four female adults have some form of cardiovascular disease. These same studies show that heart attacks among women increase dramatically in the ten years after menopause begins. Heart disease rates go up because the likelihood of high cholesterol and high blood pressure also increases with age. Together, these factors can significantly increase heart disease post-menopause. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, so talk to your doctor about ways to improve your heart health during and after menopause. [3]

Depression & Menopause

Many women are familiar with the mood swings before and during a menstrual period, and these symptoms may become more prominent during perimenopause and menopause. Unpredictable hormone fluctuations can take a toll on a woman’s body image, sexuality, and relationships. “Menopause blues” is a common symptom of menopause, but it is important to determine the cause and type of depression you are experiencing.

Feeling depressed is different from actual clinical depression. You may experience a depressed mood, which is incredibly common and normal. These feelings usually go away themselves and rarely require treatment. If you experience a depressed mood for two years, you may have depression and require talk therapy or antidepressants. Clinical depression is the most serious type of depression due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. If you feel like you are experiencing depression, it is important to share your feelings with your doctor or therapist. [4]

an older couple laughing together

Sex & Menopause 

A woman’s sex life and sex drive may change as they enter menopause. The loss of estrogen and testosterone can lead to many changes in the body. Women may notice they are not as easily aroused and have less interest in sex. Less estrogen in the body can also drop the blood supply to the vagina and affect vaginal lubrication. Less vaginal lubrication can make sex uncomfortable. It is important to keep open communication with your partner so they understand what you are going through.

Luckily, there are several ways to combat menopausal sexual symptoms. Your doctor may recommend using estrogen replacement methods like Estraderm patches, or Prometrium (progesterone) along with over-the-counter lubricants like Astroglide or KY Jelly. Talk to your doctor today to decide the right method for you to improve your sex drive and symptoms. Complications of low estrogen can wreak havoc on a woman’s life, so it is important to be aware of these complications and take the necessary steps to avoid long-term complications. [5]

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.