Is low estrogen in women dangerous?

Low Estrogen in Women

Hormones play an important role in keeping you healthy and regulating bodily functions.

One of these hormones is estrogen. It’s commonly known as a female sex hormone. However, men also produce estrogen, but in lesser amounts compared to women.

Estrogen levels change throughout the menstrual cycle. But there are instances when they  get too low — what happens then?

Why do estrogen levels matter?

Estrogen is responsible for:

  • Girls’ sexual development when they reach puberty
  • The growth of uterine lining throughout the menstrual cycle and at the start of a pregnancy
  • Breast changes in teenagers and pregnant women
  • Regulating food intake, body weight, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity.

The development of the brain, cardiovascular system, hair, musculoskeletal system, skin, and urinary tract are also affected by estrogen.

The body only produces small amounts of estrogen. But when they are too low, you can experience some health issues.

What affects estrogen levels?

There are various reasons for estrogen levels to change. Since it is primarily produced by the ovaries, anything that affects or damages the ovaries may result in lower estrogen levels.

Age is the most significant factor for low estrogen levels. It’s normal for women to have lower estrogen levels as they approach menopause.

However, women of all ages can develop low estrogen. For younger women, it may be caused by:

  • Excessive exercise
  • Being underweight
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Turner Syndrome
  • Low-functioning pituitary gland
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chemotherapy

If your family has a history of hormonal problems, it can also be a risk factor for low estrogen levels.

What are the signs and symptoms of low estrogen?

Common symptoms of low estrogen levels are:

  • Irregular or missed periods
  • Painful sex
  • Shifts in mood
  • Hot flashes
  • Increase in urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Some women report experiencing menstrual migraine, or severe headache before their period, due to the drop of estrogen.

Estrogen also works together with calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals that keep the bones strong. When estrogen levels are too low, it may lead to a decrease in bone density; thus, increasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

How is low estrogen treated?

Not all women need treatment for low estrogen. But there are treatment options for those who have bothersome symptoms.

Estrogen Therapy

Women with estrogen deficiency may be prescribed estrogen. This helps reduce the risk of bone loss, cardiovascular disease, and other hormonal imbalances. It may also relieve the severity of menopausal symptoms.

The dose will depend on how severe the condition is and how estrogen will be administered. It can be taken orally, topically, vaginally, or via an injection.

Estrogen therapy is typically recommended to last for 1-2 years only. But in some cases, long-term treatment may be needed even if estrogen levels have become normal.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

HRT increases natural hormone levels. It’s often prescribed for women who are approaching menopause or experiencing post-menopausal symptoms.

HRT can be administered, topically, orally, vaginally, or via an injection. The dose, duration, and combination of hormones can be adjusted according to individual cases.

Hormones, such as estrogen, are crucial in your overall health. And there are various reasons why hormone levels change.

Low estrogen isn’t necessarily dangerous. However, it can cause health issues and bothersome symptoms.

Not all cases require treatment. But it’s best to consult your doctor if you think you have low estrogen levels or if symptoms have been bothering you.


Villines, Z. (January 5, 2023). What happens when estrogen levels are low?. MedicalNewsToday. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321064

Davidge-Pitts, C. & Solorzano, C. (January 24, 2022). Reproductive Hormones. Endocrine Society. https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/estrogen 

Ginta, D. (February 15, 2023). What Are the Symptoms of Low Estrogen in Women and How Are They Treated? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/low-estrogen-symptoms#:~:text=Low%20estrogen%20levels%20can%20interfere,years%20and%20become%20more%20effective.

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