Does estrogen deficiency really exist?

Credit: Rubab Khalid
Credit: Rubab Khalid

The big problem with estrogen deficiency as a symptom or diagnosis is that it is a catchall term that plays into a cultural notion that estrogen is what makes a woman a woman. I am now 77 years old and am 20 years into my own menopause. Yet, I robustly argue that I am not “estrogen deficient.” Why? Because my low estrogen and progesterone levels are normal for my age. And menopause is a normal life phase.

Does “estrogen deficiency” even exist? Not alone, it doesn’t. 

Important new information says that, to be healthy as well as fertile, women need balanced actions of both estrogen and progesterone during menstruating years. 

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Thus, the term, “estrogen deficiency,” does not accurately and scientifically describe amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, PCOS, perimenopause nor menopause. Further, it doesn’t tell us what therapy is best for each of these potential issues across a woman’s life cycle. The goal of these therapies in younger women should be to restore a healthy estrogen-progesterone balance with regular, ovulatory cycles.

So, why are do we keep hearing about “estrogen deficiency”? Because it is a very effective marketing term. It was made by and for estrogen-selling companies. It implies that estrogen, and estrogen alone, is a necessary and effective treatment. 

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