Estrogen is a female hormone that is mainly produced by the ovaries. It serves many purposes including helping to regulate the menstrual cycle, preserving bone density and increasing uterine growth. An imbalance in estrogen levels can cause many problems and symptoms. Abnormal bleeding, infertility and menopause all can be caused by estrogen imbalances. A simple blood, urine or saliva sample can be evaluated to determine estrogen levels. Once levels are evaluated, treatment may help to alleviate symptoms of the hormonal imbalances.
Estrogen, a group of hormones, is produced in the pituitary gland and is mainly responsible for the development of female sex organs. It consists of three fractions: Estrone, which maily occurs after menopause; estradiol, which is produced in the ovaries and is responsible for ovulation and affects conception and pregnancy; and estriol, which commonly occurs during pregnancy. These three factions are all measured during estrogen testing.
The normal range of estrogen varies depending upon the patient's age. Typically a women aged 20 to 29 will have an average level of 149 pg/ml (pictograms per milliliter). A female aged 30 to 39 will average a level of 210 pg/ml. And those over 40 but not in menopause will have an average level of 152 pg/ml. These average levels can vary day to day depending on each female's menstrual cycle.
Low Estrogen Levels
Estrogen levels are considered low when the range is 10 to 20 pg/ml. This can be caused by menopause, anorexia and Turner Syndrome. Extreme endurance exercise also can reduce estrogen levels. Some of the symptoms of low estrogen levels are fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and difficulty concentrating. Low levels of estrogen can leave you feeling depleted and exhausted.
High Estrogen Levels
Levels above 200 pg/ml are considered high. Estrogen levels can be elevated because of obesity, cardiovascular disease and digestive problems. Stress also can contribute to a high estrogen level. Symptoms of high estrogen levels are anxiety, depression, mood swings and insomnia. It's important to reduce levels of estrogen to normal levels because high levels of estrogen also are associated with breast and uterine cancer.
Treatment for estrogen imbalance will include exercise and eating a healthy diet. Some other treatments may include estrogen replacement therapy and alternative medications. Estrogen replacement therapy has seen a decrease in use due to the possible link between it and uterine cancer, heart disease and stroke. It's important to discuss all treatments with a physician and to follow the recommended course of treatment to ensure estrogen levels are monitored.