Oestrogen is not only the best-known female sex hormone, but also the most important. It has numerous functions in the body. Accordingly, the effects of an oestrogen deficiency are far-reaching. In this article you will find out what causes such a deficiency and how it can be treated.
The most important facts about oestrogen deficiency at a glance
- In many cases, oestrogen deficiency in women can be attributed to the onset of the menopause.
- In younger women, oestrogen deficiency can be caused by malformations of the ovaries or a weakness of the corpus luteum.
- Possible symptoms of a lack of oestrogen include menstrual disorders, hot flushes and skin problems.
- If women experience symptoms of oestrogen deficiency, they should contact their gynaecologist as soon as possible.
- Under certain circumstances, taking hormones or hormone replacement therapy can be useful for treatment.
What are the functions of oestrogen in the body?
Oestrogen has many important functions in the female body. For example, the hormone is needed for the maturation of the female reproductive organs and the eggs. It also ensures, among other things, that pregnancy can be maintained and that the mucous membranes remain moist.
The oestrogen level is not always the same. It is naturally subject to certain fluctuations. The oestrogen level changes, for example, in the course of the female cycle or in the case of pregnancy. To a certain extent, these fluctuations are completely normal.
Causes: how does an oestrogen deficiency occur?
Oestrogen deficiency can have various causes. It happens when the function of the ovaries is disturbed and they can no longer produce enough of the hormone. Most of the time, this is simply due to age. When women reach the menopause, it is quite normal for the function of the ovaries to slowly decline.
However, oestrogen deficiency can also occur in younger women for various reasons. Possible causes include, for example, malformations of the ovaries and operations in which the ovaries were removed due to a disease.
In addition, oestrogen deficiency can also occur in young women, for example, due to a weakness of the corpus luteum, adrenal insufficiency or taking the pill.
Symptoms: how does an oestrogen deficiency manifest itself?
The insufficient production of oestrogen can manifest itself in affected women through a number of symptoms.
Typical symptoms of an oestrogen deficiency are, for example:
- Cycle disturbances
- Sleeping problems
- Heavy sweating and hot flushes
- Dry skin and mucous membranes
- Dry hair and hair loss
- Concentration problems
- Vaginal dryness
Diagnosis of oestrogen deficiency
When symptoms of oestrogen deficiency appear, it is important for women to contact their gynaecologist. The gynaecologist can measure the oestrogen level and check whether it is actually too low.
How can an oestrogen deficiency be remedied?
Correcting a mild oestrogen deficiency is usually not a problem. Depending on the cause, sometimes simple lifestyle adjustments are enough. A balanced diet and a moderate exercise programme can help normalise oestrogen levels.
In addition, the following treatment measures, for example, can also be useful:
- If necessary, vitamin D and calcium can be taken as dietary supplements.
- Monk's pepper is also said to help normalise the hormone balance and thus the menstrual cycle.
- If symptoms such as vaginal dryness occur, the gynaecologist may prescribe creams containing oestrogen.
- If the oestrogen deficiency was caused by the pill, it may be advisable to switch to a different preparation.
In addition to the oestrogen deficiency and the symptoms it causes, it is of course also necessary to find out the cause of the deficiency and, if necessary, treat it with the right measures.
Treating oestrogen deficiency with hormone preparations
In many cases, locally applied oestrogen preparations are sufficient. In certain situations, however, the deficiency may need to be corrected by taking oral hormone preparations or with hormone replacement therapy.
This may be necessary, for example, if there are very severe symptoms during the menopause due to the falling oestrogen levels. However, because of the risks involved, the use of such preparations should be discussed in detail with the gynaecologist in charge beforehand.