As an important part of the spinal column, the intervertebral disc (IVD) plays an important role in the intervertebral juncture and spinal movement in general. IVD degeneration (IVDD), which mimics disc ageing but at an accelerated rate, is a common and chronic process that results in severe spinal symptoms, such as lower back pain. It is generally assumed that lower back pain caused by IVDD can also develop secondary conditions, including spinal canal stenosis, spinal segmental instability, osteophyte formation, disc herniation and spinal cord and nerve root compression. Over the past few years, many researchers around the world have widely studied the relevance between oestrogen and IVDD, indicating that oestrogen can effectively alleviate IVDD development by inhibiting the apoptosis of IVD cells. Oestrogen can decrease IVD cell apoptosis in multiple ways, including the inhibition of the inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α, reducing catabolism because of inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases, upregulating integrin αβ and IVD anabolism, activating the PI3K/Akt pathway, decreasing oxidative damage and promoting autophagy. In this article, we perform an overview of the literature regarding the antiapoptotic effect of oestrogen in IVDD.