Could Your Fertility Struggles Be Caused by Low Oestrogen?
Oestrogen is one of our fundamental sex hormones, its responsible for many important tasks in the healthy female body, and particularly for our healthy fertility.
Unfortunately it does tend to have a bad reputation!
It's absolutely true that the majority of women in their fertile years are more likely to struggle with an excess of oestrogen than a deficiency in oestrogen.
But its important to remember, this hormone is a fundamental part of your healthy, fertile cycle and female wellness! Your oestrogen levels maintain healthy bones, maintain cognition and reduce brain fog. When oestrogen drops too low your health suffers.
Symptoms of Low Oestrogen
Look out for symptoms like these as they can indicate your oestrogen levels are too low.
Changes in menstrual flow
Scanty pinkish flow
Super late or super early ovulation
Fatigue and poor sleep
Missing or irregular periods
Mood swings and anger
Can You Get Pregnant with Low Oestrogen Levels?
Unfortunately, it is a lot harder to conceive when your oestrogen levels are low -
Without enough oestrogen your follicles, and the eggs within them won't grow and mature enough to be released and fertilized.
Without enough oestrogen, the feedback to your brain to instruct a release of LH - to trigger ovulation, doesn't happen.
Without a nice healthy oestrogen rise in your follicular phase the early development of your embryo friendly uterine lining doesn't happen.
Without a healthy rise in oestrogen your cervical crypts are not stimulated to produce healthy, egg white-like cervical mucus, this is necessary to keep sperm healthy while they wait for an egg to be released.
So the next question is - how much oestrogen is enough?
Testing your oestrogen just one time in your cycle gives you very limited understanding of your true levels throughout a cycle. To learn more about your oestrogen levels you'll need to assess your levels 4-5 times in your follicular phase ( the days from beginning o flow until ovulation). Oestrogen should be at its lowest at day 2 or 3 of your cycle, testing now provides your baseline levels. At this point of your cycle you can expect your oestrogen ( oestradiol specifically) to be 150-250 pmol/L.
Your oestrogen begins to rise gently from around day 4, then more sharply from day 7. Then in the last few days before you ovulate it climbs to peak at between 850 - 1200 pmol/L in a healthy fertile cycle.
If you suspect from the symptoms listed that your hormone levels may be low, it important to get them back to healthy levels. You can work on improving your production naturally. Finding the cause of low oestrogen production can be a good first step in getting back on track.
What Causes Low Oestrogen?
Extreme dieting for weight loss
Chronic high stress
Super low-fat diets
Pituitary gland problems
Peri-menopause or menopause
Genetic defects - causing conditions such as premature ovarian failure
Anorexia or Bulimia
Effects of chemotherapy
Any condition that damages the ovaries
Most, but not all of these issues are manageable. Once oestrogen comes back into healthy range, you will enjoy healthier, more fertile cycles. You'll feel fresher, happier and more energized!
Boost your Oestrogen production with these vital nutrients -
B complex vitamins
Omega 3 fatty acids
Increase your Oestrogen with these foods -
Dried figs, apricots and dates
Soy Beans - tofu and soy milk
Peaches & Berries
Botanical medicine is another powerful way to optimise your oestrogen production.
Some of the herbs I use in clinic with patients to boost their natural oestrogen production are Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Rehmannia, Peony, Chaste tree and False Unicorn root. We see results between 2-4 months after starting on personalized herbal formulas.
Remember cyclical changes are always slower to notice than treatment on many other body systems, so be patient!