Most menopausal women experience low estrogen levels and the symptoms that go along with it.
Why Do We Have Low Estrogen?
Estrogen is actually a group of hormones (estrone, estradiol, and estriol) produced mainly in the ovaries.
Its task is to help us to have a healthy reproductive system and sexual function. It plays a large role in our monthly menstruations and in preparing our bodies for pregnancy. It also helps prevent heart disease and maintain bone density.
When we reach the age of menopause (typically around 45-50), our estrogen levels plummet as our bodies change focus. Our bodies are no longer geared toward reproduction, and so our ovaries stop creating estrogen in the same amounts that they did in our 20s and 30s.
Symptoms of Low Estrogen
Low levels of estrogen can create many unpleasant symptoms:
Another symptom of low levels that we don't feel in our daily lives is osteoporosis.
Since estrogen helps our bone density by helping our bones absorb calcium and vitamin D, without it, our bones get brittle.
Treating Low Levels: Your Three Options
You have three main choices when you are deciding how to treat your low estrogen levels. (affiliate link)
These are molecularly the same as the hormones in your body. Because of this, they are thought to give you fewer side effects than synthetic hormones. However, that point has not been proven, and experts are still unsure.
Our bodies contain many different types of estrogen, and bioidentical estrogen uses three naturally occurring estrogens: estradiol, estrone, and estriol.
You can get these with a doctor's prescription or over the counter in the form of estrogen cream, gels, pills, patches, lozenges.
Herbs and plants contain phytoestrogen or "plant estrogen." These are not the same as the estrogen found in your body, but they can boost your estrogen level by giving your body estrogen-like effects.
Some studies have shown herbs to effectively relieve symptoms of menopause, while others have shown that they are about as effective as a placebo.
But, because they don't contain "real estrogen," they don't increase your risk of getting breast cancer like other therapies.
The side effects of taking herbal supplements are few, which is one reason why many women choose to use them. Why not see if they work for your body?ground flax seeds or taking a flax seed supplement will provide similar benefits.
These are manufactured in a laboratory and are animal-derived (rather than plant-derived). They are not molecularly the same as the hormones in your body. You can only get them with a prescription from your doctor.
Some doctors suggest using these products for short periods of time as they may increase your risk for cancer. See your doctor to find the right plan for you.
Premarin is probably the most commonly used synthetic estrogen. It is made from the urine in pregnant mares, hence the name, Pre for "pregnant" and mar for "mare."
How Do I Know?
Your doctor can help you determine your estrogen level by giving you a blood, urine, or saliva test.
But, the usefulness of these tests are debated. An individual woman's normal hormone level can vary significantly from other women.
You may be experiencing hot flashes only to find that your estrogen and progesterone levels are in the "normal range."
Just because you may not fall into the "low estrogen level" category on a chart does not mean that your estrogen level may be too low for YOUR body.
But, if you are in the menopausal age range, and you are experiencing the symptoms above, chances are that your estrogen levels are low and you need a boost.
Talk to your doctor, talk to your friends, research your options, and start to feel better!
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The information on this site is my opinion only.
Consult your doctor before acting on any information found here.