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The Importance of Estrogen in the Female Body

What is the importance of estrogen in the female body?

Estrogen is one of the two sex hormones a female body produces to play many essential functions, including maintaining reproductive health. It usually helps prevent vaginal dryness and hot flashes in females and maintain the menstrual cycle.

In females, during menstruation, their estrogen levels fluctuate, and at menopause, their level decreases to a minimal amount. However, consistently high or low estrogen levels can be an early sign of some medical conditions that doctors must diagnose and cure.

In this article, you will learn about estrogen’s effects on women’s health and reproductive health and the importance of estrogen even in other genders. The normal function of estrogen, its deficiency symptoms, and how it can be treated will all be discussed below:

Estrogen

What is estrogen?

Out of the two sex hormones, estrogen is the one that is associated mainly with the female at birth. Along with the second hormone, progesterone, estrogen play a significant role in maintaining the health of the reproductive system.

It is primarily produced from the ovaries. However, adrenal glands and fat cells also make small amount of estrogen in the human body.

It plays a vital role in developing secondary sex characteristics, including breast and hip curvatures, regulation of the menstrual period, pregnancy, and even menopause.

Moreover, estrogen also plays an essential role in other body systems, including regulating blood cholesterol and sugar level, treating heart disease, and affecting the functioning of the brain; that’s why it is produced in a minimal amount in both genders.

Estrogen is present in our body in either of these forms, including estrone (E1), the primary estrogen type produced by the body after menopause.

The second type is estradiol (E2), produced by the body during the reproductive years of females and is a necessary form of estrogen.

The third form is estriol (E3), made in the body of females during pregnancy [1].

What are the normal functions of estrogen?

Usually, estrogen plays an essential role in the functioning of different organs. It helps the ovaries to initiate the egg follicles’ growth. It also maintains the thickness of the vaginal walls, which helps in lubrication during intercourse.

In addition, the mucus membrane lining of the uterus, its thickness, and flow are also maintained by estrogen. Estrogen also plays a vital role in breast tissue formation and helps in reducing milk flow after weaning [2].

Women's Hormones

Estrogen affects several other non-reproductive functions. It helps to maintain cholesterol and sugar levels. Maintain bone and muscle mass, improve blood circulation and brain function, and promote collagen production.

What are the symptoms of estrogen deficiency?

When the estrogen level decreases, this can be a sign of menopause. In addition, it is an important marker of low fertility in young females. Some estrogen deficiency symptoms include tenderness in the breast, weak bones, hot flashes, sweats at night, improper periods, fatigue, drowsiness, sleeping problem, depression, and dryness of the vagina.

What are the treatment options for low estrogen levels?

Females with low estrogen levels can be benefited through hormone therapy. However, the symptoms of low estrogen can also be relieved by various non-hormonal options. Women at risk of uterine and breast cancer, blood clots in blood vessels, or liver diseases are prescribed non-hormonal therapy options [3].

Hormone replacement therapy (HT) is preferably used for low estrogen levels, mostly after menopause. Along with this treatment, the doctors prescribe small estrogen doses or a combination of estrogen and progesterone to enhance the estrogen level.

However, there are certain risks associated with HT, so one should contact their doctors to determine whether they can have this treatment.

Benefits of Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Those with low estrogen levels can benefit from estrogen replacement therapy or estrogen therapy. Otherwise, their risk of getting breast cancer and menstrual irregularities will be enhanced. In addition, estrogen therapy can help reduce menopause symptoms and improve female reproductive system health.

It optimizes the health of the female reproductive system.

Hormone replacement therapy help to maintain the level of estrogen that will help improve the health of the female reproductive system and women’s vaginal health. It helps to reduce vaginal dryness.

It counters symptoms of menopause.

Usually, the production of estrogen changes over time; at the time of puberty, more estrogen will be produced. But when menopause reaches the level of estrogen drops, females feel several menopausal symptoms.

So to treat those symptoms, doctors prescribe estrogen-containing drugs or hormonal therapy that can maintain the average estrogen level and counter menopausal symptoms [4].

It incredibly keeps your bone strong.

Estrogen helps to reduce bone loss after menopause. So, estrogen replacement therapy helps maintain normal estrogen levels, significantly preventing osteoporosis and bone loss [5].


References:

1.      Estrogen: Hormone, Function, Levels & Imbalances [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. 2022 [cited 2022 Nov 5]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/22353-estrogen

2.      Estrogen: Functions, uses, and imbalances [Internet]. www.medicalnewstoday.com. [cited 2022 Nov 5]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277177#levels

3.      Low Estrogen Symptoms: Identification, Treatment, and More [Internet]. Healthline. [cited 2022 Nov 5]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/low-estrogen-symptoms#treatment

4.      4 Benefits of Estrogen [Internet]. Healthline. 2022 [cited 2022 Nov 5]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/benefits-of-estrogen#menopause-symptoms

5. Levin VA, Jiang X, Kagan R. Estrogen therapy for osteoporosis in the modern era. Osteoporosis International [Internet]. 2018 Mar 8 [cited 2022 Nov 6];29(5):1049–55. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29520604/

 

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