Estrogen is the name given to a family of ovarian hormones which all have similar characteristics. Estrogen hormones are sometimes mistakenly referred to as exclusively female hormones when in fact both men and women produce them. In order to understand the important role estrogens play, it is important to know something about hormones in general.
Often referred to as “chemical messengers”, hormones carry information and instructions from one group of cells to another. In the human body, hormones influence almost every cell, organ and function. They regulate our growth, development, tissue function, the way our bodies use food, sexual function, the reaction of our bodies to emergencies and even our moods.
Effects and Symptoms of Low Estrogen Levels
In women, estrogen circulates in the bloodstream and binds to estrogen receptors on cells in targeted tissues, primarily the breast and uterus. Estrogen hormones have many effects on your body, for example they are responsible for the growth and development of female sexual characteristics and reproduction. The image below shows some of the effects estrogen has in the brain, bones, ovary, heart and other tissues.
Estrogen controls the growth of the uterine lining during the first part of the menstrual cycle, what makes the receiving and nutricion of a fertilized egg and later a developing fetus possible. The natural estrogen hormone also causes changes in the breasts during adolescence and pregnancy. Additionally estrogen regulates various other metabolic processes, including bone growth and density as well as the production of cholesterol.
Estrogen plays a very important role in the development of a fetus. Without estrogen, the lungs, kidneys, liver, adrenal glands and other organs would never be triggered into maturation. In fact, the placenta itself would never grow and operate properly if estrogen is missing. Also, an important role of estrogen during pregnancy is to regulate the production of progesterone over the full term. As estrogen is produced by the placenta, progesterone production is stimulated and regulated.
There are many more effects of estrogen hormones to the female body. The list below shows some of these:
• Helps to protect against heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis
• Assists in the lactation process
• Maintains the endometrium during pregnancy
• Promotes blood flow within the uterus
• Maintains, regulates and triggers the production of other hormones
As stated above, estrogen plays a crucial role in a woman’s body. You can imagine what effects hormonal imbalance can trigger. Every woman will experience the symptoms of low estrogen levels during menopause. In fact, the low estrogen levels causes menopause itself and the noticeable physical and emotional changes, including hot flashes, irregular menstrual periods, vaginal dryness, stress incontinence and mood swings.
The information presented herein by Corner Drugs is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult a physician.