Spring bank holiday delivery updates: Order by 2:30pm on Tuesday 21st May for standard delivery or Wednesday 20th May for next day delivery, to receive your items before the bank holiday.

    Women's Health
    1234 · 20 min read

    Low Oestrogen: A Beginner's Guide To Managing Symptoms

    In this beginner’s guide to low oestrogen, we'll explain what oestrogen is and why it's essential for your health. We'll also discuss the common signs of low oestrogen levels and what might be causing them. Lastly, we'll provide practical advice on managing these symptoms. If you want to understand oestrogen's role in your well-being and how to handle its effects, this guide is perfect for you.

    A woman with lots of treatment options being presented to her to treat low oestrogen

    What is oestrogen?

    Oestrogen is a vital hormone in the human body, particularly for women. It's one of the primary female sex hormones but is present in smaller amounts in men as well. This hormone is produced primarily in the ovaries, although the adrenal glands and fat cells also produce small amounts (Mayo Clinic, 2024). Oestrogen is a fundamental hormone that influences several aspects of a person's health and is especially important in the context of female reproductive and hormonal well-being.

    What function does oestrogen have in the female body?

    Oestrogen plays several important functions in the female body. It is the primary driver of the menstrual cycle (Reed & Carr, 2018). It helps control the growth of the uterine lining (ACOG, 2022), which is essential for a healthy menstrual cycle. It is also responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in females such as breast development, body hair patterns, and the distribution of body fat (Medical News Today, 2021). As well as these functions, it also helps to regulate mood (WebMD, 2022), vaginal and cardiovascular health and can contribute to the health of skin and hair (Stevenson & Thornton, 2007). 

    What are the common symptoms of low oestrogen levels?

    Low oestrogen levels can lead to a range of symptoms, and these can vary from person to person (Verywell Health, 2023). Here are some common signs and symptoms associated with low oestrogen levels:

    • Irregular Menstrual Cycles

    • Hot Flushes and Night Sweats

    • Vaginal Dryness

    • Mood Swings

    • Fatigue

    • Difficulty Sleeping

    • Joint Pain

    • Changes in Sex Drive (Libido)

    • Changes in Hair and Skin

    • Cognitive Changes (Memory Loss, Difficulty Concentrating)

    It’s important to note that these symptoms will vary in severity and not everyone will experience all of them. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you may wish to consider speaking to your doctor for further advice.

    How can low oestrogen level symptoms be self-managed?

    Managing low oestrogen level symptoms involves a combination of lifestyle changes and self-care strategies. Here are some self-management techniques to consider:

    Dress Comfortably

    • Wearing light and breathable clothing, both during the day and at bedtime, can help with temperature regulation (Health & Her, 2023). Opt for natural fabrics like cotton, which can help manage hot flashes and night sweats.

    Stay Cool

    • Using mini fans or handheld fans can provide quick relief during hot flashes (Bupa UK, 2022). Keep one nearby, especially during warmer weather or in heated indoor environments.

    Get Regular Exercise

    • Engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, can help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being (Mishra et al, 2011). Exercise can also support bone health which may be affected by low oestrogen levels.

    Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet

    • A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can contribute to overall health (WebMD, 2022). Include foods with phytoestrogens like soy, flaxseeds, and legumes, which may help alleviate some symptoms.

    Stay Hydrated

    • Staying well-hydrated is essential (Healthline, 2023). It can help with temperature regulation and overall comfort.

    Prioritise Sleep

    • Prioritise good sleep hygiene (Sleep Foundation, 2024). Create a cool and comfortable sleeping environment, and establish a regular sleep schedule.

    What are the differences between low oestrogen and an overactive thyroid?

    There are a few major differences between low oestrogen levels and an overactive thyroid. Here is a handy table that outlines the main differences between these two conditions:

    Aspect

    Low Oestrogen

    Overactive Thyroid

    Hormones InvolvedOestrogenExcessive Thyroid Hormones T3 and T4
    Primary Affected GenderFemalesBoth Males and Females
    Most Common Symptoms
    • Irregular Periods
    • Hot Flushes and Night Sweats
    • Vaginal Dryness
    • Mood Swings
    • Cognitive Changes
    • Unexplained Weight Loss
    • Rapid Heart Rate
    • Increased Appetite
    • Heat Intolerance
    • Difficulty Sleeping
    Causes
    • Menopause
    • Ovary Dysfunction
    • Certain Medications
    • Surgery or Medical Treatment (Radiation)
    • Low Body Weight
    • Graves Disease
    • Thyroid Toxicity
    • Thyroid Inflammation
    • Tumors in the Thyroid Gland
    Management
    • Self-management
    • Lifestyle changes
    • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
    • Medications
    • Surgery

    What are the differences between low oestrogen and an underactive thyroid?

    Like an overactive thyroid and low oestrogen, there are also differences between an underactive thyroid and low oestrogen levels. Here is a table highlighting the key differences between the two conditions:

    Aspect

    Low Oestrogen

    Underactive Thyroid

    Hormones InvolvedOestrogenInsufficient Thyroid Hormones T3 and T4
    Primary Affected GenderFemalesBoth Males and Females
    Most Common Symptoms
    • Irregular Periods
    • Hot Flushes and Night Sweats
    • Vaginal Dryness
    • Mood Swings
    • Cognitive Changes
    • Unexplained Weight Gain
    • Fatigue
    • Cold Intolerance
    • Hair Loss
    • Mood Swings
    Causes
    • Menopause
    • Ovary Dysfunction
    • Certain Medications
    • Surgery or Medical Treatment (Radiation)
    • Low Body Weight
    • Medications
    • Thyroid Surgery/Radiation
    • Iodine Deficiency
    • Pituitary Gland Disorders
    Management
    • Self-management
    • Lifestyle changes
    • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
    • Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy

    What causes low oestrogen levels?

    Can menopause cause low oestrogen levels?

    Yes, menopause is a natural biological process that can indeed lead to low oestrogen levels in women. During menopause, which typically occurs in a woman's late 40s to early 50s (Mayo Clinic, 2023), the ovaries gradually reduce their production of oestrogen and progesterone, two essential hormones for female reproductive health.

    As a result of this decline in oestrogen production, women often experience a range of symptoms associated with low oestrogen levels such as irregular periods, hot flushes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and changes in bone density. These symptoms are collectively referred to as "menopausal symptoms."

    What are the common symptoms of menopause?

    Menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life, and it can bring about a variety of symptoms due to hormonal changes (NIA, 2021). Common symptoms of menopause include:

    • Irregular Periods

    • Hot Flushes

    • Vaginal Dryness

    • Mood Swings

    • Disturbed Sleep

    • Cognitive Changes

    • Sex Drive/Libido Changes

    • Weight Gain

    • Changes in Breasts (Less firm and full)

    Can cancer treatment cause low oestrogen levels?

    Yes, some cancer treatments including some chemotherapy drugs can damage the ovaries and result in low oestrogen levels (Cancer Research UK, 2022). In some cases, chemotherapy medications can damage the ovaries to such an extent that they can no longer produce oestrogen. It should be noted that not all cancer treatments will cause this. If you are concerned about your cancer treatment you may wish to discuss with your healthcare provider about the effects it will have on your oestrogen levels.

    Can Turner Syndrome cause low oestrogen levels?

    Turner Syndrome is a female-only genetic condition that will affect around 1 in every 2,000 baby girls that are born (NHS, 2021). Girls with Turner Syndrome only have one X sex chromosome rather than the usual two (NHS, 2021). One of the symptoms of Turner Syndrome is that the girl will not produce enough oestrogen or progesterone, which means that they may not begin sexual development and may not start their monthly period naturally. 

    Can contraceptive pills cause low oestrogen levels?

    Yes, some contraceptive pills may cause low oestrogen levels in some people. When you introduce hormones externally from sources such as pills your body will naturally decrease the amounts of these hormones it produces (Healthline, 2023). This may not necessarily mean that your oestrogen levels will become low, however, they will be affected. It is important to note that the type of pill you use may influence hormones differently as some pills contain only progesterone.

    Can a woman's menstrual cycle cause low oestrogen levels?

    Yes, a woman’s menstrual cycle may influence oestrogen levels (Hackney, A.; 2021 ). It is normal for oestrogen levels to alter during a period. During this time, levels will dip slightly as pregnancy is not occurring. On the other hand, oestrogen levels will rise during ovulation as your body prepares itself for potential pregnancy (What To Expect, 2022). These fluctuations in oestrogen levels will only be for a short period of time and will not usually cause any symptoms of high/low levels.

    Can too much exercise cause low oestrogen levels?

    Yes, excessive levels of exercise can cause hormonal imbalances and fluctuations (Forth With Life, 2023). This does not mean that you should avoid exercise however. A combination of high-frequency, high-intensity exercise alongside a lack of calories consumed and time rested may lead to a decline in oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels. During this time, you may also begin to feel more stressed. Exercise is important, but must be done safely and not excessively. 

    Can being underweight cause low oestrogen levels?

    When someone is underweight, their body may be deprived of the nutrients it needs to regulate hormone levels (Aladashvili-Chikvaidze et al, 2015). Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia will lead to reduced levels of oestrogen as the body is not receiving the nutrients it needs. Eating disorders can increase the risk of other conditions, some caused by low oestrogen levels, such as breast cancer.

    Can premature ovarian failure cause low oestrogen levels?

    Premature ovarian failure is a condition that is also commonly known as early menopause (Jankowska, 2017). Early menopause can happen naturally if the ovaries stop producing oestrogen. Oestrogen levels and early menopause go hand in hand and low levels are one of the primary causes of early menopause. When someone has premature ovarian failure they are more susceptible to conditions such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases due to their lowered oestrogen levels.

    How are oestrogen levels tested?

    Oestrogen levels are usually tested at your surgery by a healthcare provider. Usually, oestrogen levels are tested by providing a blood or urine sample that is then sent to a lab for testing (WebMD, 2022). A blood test is the most common method for testing oestrogen levels and can provide results about oestrogen, testosterone, cortisol and thyroid hormone levels. 

    Can you test oestrogen levels at home?

    Yes, you can test oestrogen levels at home by using an at-home test. At-home tests typically involve providing a sample of blood or saliva. Once you have collected your sample you will send it off to a lab and then your results will be sent to you. At-home testing is an option, however, people will tend to visit their doctor or healthcare provider to complete a hormone test. At UK Meds, we provide the yorktest Menopause Test that checks for key notifiers of menopause. 

    What is HRT?

    HRT, which stands for Hormone Replacement Therapy, is a medical treatment that involves replacing hormones, like oestrogen and progesterone, in individuals, typically women, who are experiencing hormonal imbalances or going through menopause (NHS, 2023). It's a common approach to alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances.

    How does HRT treat low oestrogen levels?

    HRT provides externally sourced oestrogen to the body. It supplements the declining oestrogen levels in the body. It helps to maintain the benefits that oestrogen provides the body by supporting bone health, regulating the menstrual cycle and providing relief from hot flushes and vaginal dryness. One of the primary goals of HRT is to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms associated with low oestrogen levels. 

    Do I need HRT?

    This is a question that many people all over the world will ask themselves at some point during their lives. Whilst you could visit your doctor for advice, you can also complete our free online quiz to give you a quick answer about whether or not you need HRT. 

    Should you speak to a healthcare professional for advice if you think you have low oestrogen?

    Yes, if you suspect that you have low oestrogen or are experiencing symptoms associated with low oestrogen levels, it is highly advisable to speak to a healthcare professional for guidance and advice (NHS, 2022). A healthcare provider can conduct the necessary tests, such as blood tests to measure hormone levels, to confirm whether you indeed have low oestrogen. Accurate diagnosis is crucial to understand the root cause of your symptoms.

    Which HRT treatments are available at UK Meds?

    HRT treatments have been in short supply in recent times for a number of reasons. However, despite this, you can purchase HRT treatments online from UK Meds. Our range of HRT treatments includes:

    Sources

    Johns Hopkins Medicine - Effects of Oestrogen

    NCBI - Oestrogen Information

    Verywell Health - What Is Oestrogen?

    Cancer Research UK - Sex Hormones

    Macmillan - Menopausal Symptoms and Cancer

    Wikipedia - Oestrogen

    PubMed - Oestrogen Research

    NCBI - Oestrogen and Health

    Healthline - Birth Control Effects

    NHS - Menopause Treatment

    NHS - Coping with Menopause

    Healthline - Low Oestrogen Symptoms

    NHS Inform - Menopause and Mental Wellbeing

    NHS Inform - Treating Menopause Symptoms

    Mental Health Foundation - Menopause

    Hormone Health - Managing Menopause Mood Swings

    WebMD - Oestrogen Testing

    UK Meds - Hormone Replacement Therapy

    LetsGetChecked - Checking Estrogen Levels at Home

    Here to help you

    Our Customer Service is available Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm. If you need urgent assistance, do not use this service. Call 111, or in an emergency call 999. Visit our help section