Can Low Estrogen Levels Affect Ovulation?




Estrogen is considered as being the principal female reproductive hormone and is the term used to describe a family of ovarian hormones that have similar characteristics.

Starting at puberty, a woman’s ovaries begin to release estrogen in synchronization with each of her monthly menstrual cycles. In the middle of a cycle, estrogen levels will quickly rise, triggering the release of an egg – this is called ovulation. Those levels then fall just as quickly. During the remainder of the cycle, estrogen levels rise and fall steadily. The Luteinizing Hormone (LH) controls the production of estrogen both indirectly and directly during the menstrual cycle. The LH stimulates the “Yellow Body” (corpus lutem) to produce estrogen. Prior to ovulation, the follicle’s granulosa cells are stimulated to create estrogen through an enzyme called aromatase.

Therefore, it is easy to understand that estrogen does indeed play a vital part in female fertility, and especially in regards to ovulation. Estrogen is the most dominate hormone during the first half of a woman’s menstrual cycle; estrogen remains an integral aspect throughout the remaining half the cycle as well.

If a woman’s estrogen levels are low, an imbalance in her natural menstruation cycle may occur because of the normal feedback mechanisms of the hypothalamus and pituitary malfunctioning.  In such a case, a woman will find that the lining of her uterus is inadequate and unhospitable for pregnancy to occur. Most of the time, in such a situation, ovulation may not even occur.

Symptoms of Low Estrogen Levels

There are quite a few symptoms of low estrogen in women:

  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Vaginal infection
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Low self esteem
  • Memory lapses
  • Difficult concentrating
  • Night Sweats
  • Hot Flashes
  • Joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Dry skin
  • Loss of libido
  • Artherosclerosis

Estrogen Levels and Ovulation

If a woman is reproductively healthy, but there is an absence of ovulation, it is thought to be caused by a hormonal condition – usually low estrogen. This is caused by two factors: The ovaries are not being instructed properly, or the ovaries are unable to release an egg.

The Ovaries Are Not Being Instructed Properly

There are many factors affecting the pituitary gland, such as excessive exercise, low body weight, and even eating disorders. These factors prohibit the pituitary gland from sending proper signals to the ovaries. According to The Merck Manual this means that the ovaries will produce too little estrogen and therefore, ovulation will not occur.

The Ovaries Are Unable To Release an Egg

If the ovaries cannot release an egg, the pituitary hormone, FSH, is usually to blame. Produced by the pituitary gland, FSH is continually sent to the ovaries in order to force the ovaries to create estrogen and release an egg. When the ovaries do not respond, the pituitary gland will increase FSH production.

Women, who have very high levels of FSH, may also experience anovulatory cycles.

Treatment Options

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, and/or have had anovulatory cycles, or sporadic cycles, then you should discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible. You may be prescribed estrogen-containing medications to induce ovulation.

Natural remedies like Dong Quai and Soy have been shown to improve estrogen in some women as well.



  • Skittles_And_Baby_Fever

    I had endometriosis from too much estrogen. I found it was most helpful to start exercising and watching what I eat, but I am also ordering a natural supplement to help me get pregnant.

  • bev

    Why have i been on a period for 4 weeks if my estrogen is low

  • Vickie B.

    It sounds like you really should be contacting your doctor about this issue as it isn’t a typical situation.

  • confused

    I was on birth control for 10 years- normal periods. Just stopped and did not get a period but weighed 98lb and exercised too much. Reduced exercise and gained weight. Doctor gave me provera for 10 days- still no period. Took birth control again for one month, got normal period. She suspected low estrogen. Started taking pregnitude twice a day. Last period was Nov 13th. Did ovulation predictors twice a day, none showed ovulation. ( One did have a 2nd line, but it just was not as dark-cycle day 10). Took pregnancy test on Dec 5th- negative. Now it’s Dec 11th, no period. My doctor said I probably need to gain more weight, currently 108lb and 5’4″, but I had periods when I weighed this amount. She prescribed provera again to see if that will work. I have read good and bad things about soy and flaxseed. Is it an estrogen problem? Any advice….?

  • FreshAir_1

    Eating raw cacao butter increases estrogen level. I ate a tablespoon of cacao butter a day and started menstruating after a year without having a period. Try it.

  • Jenna

    Hi I was on the depo jag and stopped taking it 9 month ago this is the first month I have ovulated I had the wee smiley face on my ovulation test does this mean my oestrogen levels are ok?

  • Vickie B.

    It means your body is producing enough to encourage ovulation. When the estrogen level is too low, ovulation may not even occur. The smiley face is a good sign that estrogen is high enough :)

Last modified: June 12, 2014

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