Estrogen is a hormone that plays an important part in the female reproductive system. It helps to control uterine lining growth during menstrual cycles, as well as in the beginning stages of pregnancy, creating a healthy environment where fertilized eggs can implant into the uterus and develop. This hormone also contributes to changes in the breasts in teenage girls and pregnant women, aides in the growth of the vagina, and stimulates the growth of egg follicles in the ovaries.
Estrogen is also the hormone that makes female bodies different than male bodies; for example, it increases the storage of fat in the thighs and hips, influences the way body hair grows in, making it less coarse and less pronounced, and it shortens the length of the vocal chords and allows makes the voice box smaller, which is why females’ voices are higher pitched than males.
Low estrogen levels can occur for a number of reasons, with hereditary and age being the primary causes. When levels of this hormone are low, noticeable symptoms will arise. Here’s a look at 16 of the most common signs of low estrogen.
1. Changes in the menstrual cycle
The most common sign of low estrogen is changes in a woman’s period. That is because this hormone plays a crucial part in the menstrual cycle. If your estrogen levels are low, your periods can go from being regular to extremely light, they can come at irregular times (you might miss a month or two, for example), or they may cease altogether.
Estrogen helps to thicken the uterine lining, the part of the female reproductive system that is shed during the menstrual cycle. If the lining of your uterus isn’t thick enough, there won’t be enough lining to be shed, which can make your period much lighter or less frequent than normal, or it can make it stop completely. Since estrogen levels tend to decrease with age, missed periods in older women are one of the telltale signs of pre-menopause; however, low estrogen can also affect younger women and impact their menstrual cycle, too.