Estrogen hormone guides the functioning of critical body organs and body systems such as cardiovascular system, nervous system, metabolic functions, musculoskeletal system, and urinary system.
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What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a steroid hormone that controls the physiology, growth, and functioning of the female reproductive tissues. It is present in both males and females, but in much higher amounts in females. It is the primary hormone related with female reproductive health. However, the functions of Estrogen are not just limited to its reproductive action.
What causes low Estrogen?
Estrogen is naturally produced in a woman’s body during the regular menstrual cycle. This helps to maintain Estrogen balance in healthy adult females. During the perimenopause phase, ovaries shrink and egg production slows down, resulting in lesser production of Estrogen and Progesterone.
What are the symptoms of low Estrogen levels?
Estrogen levels dwindle down as women age, hence triggering health issues related to bones, heart, weight, vision, and moods.
- Frequent Urinary Tract Infections UTI
- Loss of Libido and or Painful Intercourse
- Atrophic Vaginitis
- Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
- Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto in extreme cases
- Poor Metabolism and Weight Gain
- High cholesterol and Poor Lipid profile
- Apple shaped Body with deposition of fat around the belly
- Bone Health Issues – Brittle Bones, Joint pain, Backache
- Heart health issues
- Irregular Menstruation and Missed periods
- Cataract and Vision problems
- Dry, inflamed, and wrinkled skin
- Hair loss and thinning
- Anxiety, Poor memory, and Palpitations
What are the health risks of high Estrogen Levels?
In modern times, we often get exposure to high Estrogen levels due to environmental pollutants, hormone fed meat and dairy, and from water sources, where Estrogen hormone enters through the cycle of oral contraceptives.
Some of the health risks associated with high Estrogen levels include Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Infertility, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, early-onset menopause, Hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth), Breast Cancer, and Uterine Cancer.
There are Three types of Estrogen Hormone
The female sex hormone estrogen has three components:
Estradiol is the most potent naturally occurring estrogen hormone. It is abundant in younger women as it is regularly produced during each menstrual cycle by the ovaries. Estradiol levels decline during menopause. However, it is still produced by the ovaries in much smaller amounts after menopause.
Estriol is the primary estrogen produced by the placenta during pregnancy. It is the weakest of all three forms of Estrogen. Estriol is present in maximum concentration during pregnancy.
Estrone is the primary estrogen produced post menopause. Estrone is largely produced intracellularly by the peripheral tissues (all tissues other than the reproductive system tissues) through conversion of DHEA hormone, which is secreted by the Adrenal glands (80%) and the Ovaries (20%). Estrone is most abundant in the body after menopause. It is less potent than Estradiol and more potent than Estriol.
Estrogen Function in Human Body Systems and Health Effects
Estrogen Hormone effects Mental Wellness
- It controls the functions of the nervous system
- It improves the effects of endorphins (feel-good chemicals). Low Estrogen causes anxiety issues.
Estrogen maintains your body Temperature
- Estrogen acts on the hypothalamus and helps to maintain body temperature, thus keeping the body warmer or colder through peripheral functions as sweating and blood circulation.
- This is the reason for Hot Flashes and Night Sweats experienced during pregnancy, menstrual cycles, and during Menopause.
Estrogen supports Bone Health
Low or no Physical Activity, low level of Nutrition, and Low Estrogen together hit the bone health very hard in and after Middle Age. More than 50% of women complain of joint pain or back pain.
- Estrogen promotes growth of bone tissues as it supports the osteoblasts, the cells that form new bone, and accelerates their function.
- Estrogen hormone regulates bone density and improvises bone strength.
- It reduces leaching out of Calcium, hence prevents bone loss. Low Estrogen level during and after Menopause is also the reason of poor bone density and bone health issues.
Skin and Hair Health
- Estrogen controls quality of hair tissues. It directs growth of hair follicles and prevents hair loss and thinning.
- Estrogen improves skin quality and elasticity.
- It guides protein metabolism and enhances collagen production.
- Low Estrogen levels are often the reason behind dry, inflamed, and wrinkled skin in Menopausal women.
Estrogen maintains your Heart Health
Estrogen directs heart health and vascular function. Low Estrogen levels topped with sedentary lifestyle, and faulty foods put middle aged women at risk of HEART ATTACKS and HEART FAILURE.
- Estrogen receptors have been found all over the cardiovascular system.
- It lowers blood pressure by relaxing the arterial vessels. This reduces the resistance to blood flow and lowers heart load.
- Estrogen directs cholesterol production in the liver.
- It controls production of LDL – bad cholesterol and promotes synthesis of HDL – good cholesterol.
Estrogen supports Thyroid Function
- Estrogen promotes liver synthesis of (TBG) thyroxine-binding globulin.
- TBG increases the activity and effectiveness of Thyroxine hormone or Thyroid function.
- Low Estrogen often triggers Hypothyroidism and less frequently Hyperthyroidism in Middle Aged Women.
Estrogen Function in Women Health
In females, Estrogen hormone is produced by ovaries. Post-Menarche, the ovaries release Estradiol in every menstrual cycle. Along with Progesterone, it is one of the most significant hormones for the health of women.
- Estrogen Hormone helps in the regulation of the menstrual cycle and directs the functioning of the reproductive system.
- The influence of Estrogen causes the structural differences between the male and female bodies, for example, the pelvis in females is wider and they have more permanent hair on the head.
- It enhances the process of development and growth of female secondary sexual characteristics, such as breasts, pubic and armpit hair.
- It acts as a chemical messenger that instructs specific tissues to act and grow accordingly in both males and females.
- Estrogen enhances and helps to regulate vaginal acidity. This reduces the risk of uterine and vaginal infections in females.
- It gives rise to a proper environment for the fertilization and implantation of the embryo. It also ensures required nutrition is provided to an early embryo.
How can I increase my estrogen levels naturally?
Estrogen rich foods or phytoestrogens are one of the best ways to top up your Estrogen levels through diet. Phytoestrogens can be found in more than 300 varied food items including vegetables, fruits, cereals, seeds, nuts, grains, and beans.
Phytoestrogens act selectively and help increase the efficacy and action of Estrogen produced in our body as well. Include a variety of Estrogen Foods in your diet to increase your estrogen levels naturally. It is important for women to consume Estrogen rich foods early on, so that they can avoid health issues later in their lives.
What are Phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens are plant based Estrogen hormones. They can be derived from lentils, beans, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. They have similar structure and functioning to that of human Estrogen hormone but have much lower potency.
Phytoestrogens help to maintain the hormonal balance and keep your health in check. If your hormones are in a state of imbalance, it can have an effect on your mood, sleep, and ability to conceive, and you will be more prone to hormone-related medical conditions.