Many women understand their symptoms during menopause are related to their drop in estrogen levels; however, menopause is not the only reason a woman’s estrogen levels may decline. Women can experience a drop in estrogen levels due to a variety of health factors at any age. Estrogen production is a vital part of women’s health, and when estrogen levels significantly decline, it not only triggers hot flashes, but it also brings about infertility, weak bones, depression, and an increase in urinary tract infections.
Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating all carry a variety of health risks. Healthy eating and exercise not only impact a person’s metabolism, but it also has an impact on the body’s production of hormones. Individuals who suffer from these eating disorders not only see an irregularity in thyroid, growth, and stress hormones, but also reproductive hormones such as estrogen. A decline in estrogen due to an eating disorder will cause irregular periods, infertility, weakened bones, and a decline in sex drive. Due to the deprivation of necessary nutrients, the body responds in a manner allowing it to conserve energy and prevent reproduction. Once a person receives the necessary help and is able to form healthy eating habits, estrogen levels should return to normal.
A person’s thyroid is located in the front of your neck. This important gland creates hormones that impact every system in the human body, as it stands as the center of communication for all hormones between the brain, adrenal gland, and ovaries. A thyroid disorder often means this communication center is damaged, causing your sex hormones, neurotransmitters, stress hormones, and metabolism to all fall out of sync and lead to a hormone imbalance. This can lead to missed periods, low sex drive, infertility, and fatigue prior to your period.
Low-Functioning Pituitary Gland
The pituitary gland plays an important role in producing several hormones. A hypopituitary will not produce the correct hormones for several important areas such as the thyroid-stimulating hormone as well as the follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone that control sexual function and the production of estrogen. With this decline in estrogen production, women will experience irregular periods and infertility.
Women who have undergone chemotherapy will also experience a decline in their estrogen levels. Once chemotherapy treatment is finished, estrogen levels should return to normal; however, it could take up to 6 months or longer to see this.
While the average age for a woman to go through menopause is 51, some women may experience an early onset of menopause before the age of 40. Women can experience premature menopause due to genetics, medical procedures, or illness. The symptoms are the same as those of menopause such as hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, sleeplessness, and decreased sex drive.
How to Tell?
Are you unsure if you’re experiencing menopause or premature menopause? Make an appointment to visit with your doctor and explain your symptoms. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and order bloodwork and testing to ensure the root problem isn’t your thyroid and to see what your estradiol levels are. They will also test to see what your follicle stimulating hormone level is. Once your doctor has the results of the bloodwork and testing, they will be able to give you a proper diagnosis.
If you’re experiencing low estrogen, you have options available. If your estrogen levels have dropped due to diet or exercise, your estrogen levels can return to normal naturally with a healthy exercise routine that doesn’t overwork the body and maintaining a healthy diet that includes all of the necessary nutrients your body needs.
Another option to help ease the symptoms of a decline in estrogen due to menopause or premature menopause include hormone replacement therapies. There are many hormone replacement therapy options available from synthetic to natural bioidentical. If you think natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is right for you, or are interested in learning more, schedule your consultation with Renewed Vitality today!