Estrogen is the name given to female sex hormone produced by ovaries. Estrogen constitutes group of sex hormones namely estrone, estriol and estradiol. Among these, estradiol is the hormone that produces female sex characteristics and sex functions. Estriol is secreted during pregnancy. Any fluctuation in estradiol can cause endometriosis, fibroids and cancers in female sex organs. Estrone is the hormone produced in the body even after menopause.
Causes of low levels of Estrogen :
Certain factors and medical conditions like pituitary gland disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome, menopause stage, hypogonadism and eating disorders like anorexia nervosa can reduce the levels of estrogen. Vigorous exercise and workouts may also lower the level of female hormone. At the time of breastfeeding and childbirth women may have very low levels of estrogen which may increase gradually.
Risk Factors :
Women athletes and with low body fat may have low levels of sex hormones. Women with intense eating disorders may also have this problem and can also develop osteoporosis (weakening of bones).
Menopause is the condition faced by aged women where they may not have normal menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels can get reduced drastically after menopause. She may undergo various physical as well as psychological changes at this stage. Increase in body weight, irregular periods, getting hot flashes and vaginal dryness are common symptoms of menopause. Menopause can occur anywhere between 41-55 years. Women may not show interest in sex as before. Many women may develop depression and mood disorders at or after this stage.
Testosterone Level in Women :
Women also produce sex hormone testosterone to some extent. There is no problem if the levels are at normal range. Producing high levels of testosterone can interfere with the normal menstrual cycle in women. Body hair can grow in excess producing ugly appearance. It can also cause increased muscle mass (like men), balding, hoarse voice and enlargement of clitoris. In addition it can also cause fertility problems and getting pregnant is difficult for such women. They may gain weight and secrete more of male hormones in their body. They can develop problems like insulin resistance and in due course the levels of good cholesterol may decrease and bad cholesterol may increase. They become more prone for heart problems and blood pressure.
Testosterone Therapy for Women :
Some women with intense sexual problems are given testosterone therapy to induce sex drive or libido. But how far this therapy yields result is not known. It is for your doctor to decide whether you are a good subject for this therapy. Women should have high level of estrogen to undergo this treatment. Women having low sex drive and often feeling fatigue after menopause are suitable for this therapy.
Women with cardiovascular problems and history of any type of cancer are not given testosterone therapy due to increased risk of developing breast cancer. Therapy can be given in the form of oral pills, creams, gels and patches. Before taking this treatment you should know about its side effects properly.