Estrogen refers to a group of hormones that play an essential role in the development of female reproductive processes and sexual characteristics. Not only is estrogen important to female development, it can also effect various aspects of a female’s well-being. There are three hormones that make up estrogen:
Functions of Estrogen
Estrogen is produced in the adrenal glands, ovaries and fat tissues and has 400 functions in the female body, including:
- Development of breasts
- Development of pubic and armpit hair
- Menstrual cycle regulation
- Bone formation
- Regulation of cholesterol levels
- Accelerates the burning of body fat
- Decelerates height increase
- Reduces muscle bulk
Estrogen also plays a large part in a woman’s menstrual cycle and in menopause:
- Estrogen works during the menstrual cycle with progesterone (another hormone produced by the ovaries) to prepare the uterus for the possibility of a fertilized egg by thickening the lining of the uterus. If there is no fertilized egg, the progesterone levels in a woman’s body will drop and the lining of the uterus breaks down and is released.
- During menopause, a woman’s ovaries stops producing eggs and the production of estrogen and progesterone decrease. This causes a number of disruptive symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings and night sweats.
Estrogen and Hormone Imbalances
Menopause is not the only reason that estrogen levels may fluctuate. Weakened function of the ovaries (hypogonadism), polycystic ovarian syndrome, extreme exercise and anorexia can contribute as well. It is important to remain proactive about checking your estrogen levels. By remaining aware of any fluctuation, you can begin appropriate treatment, such as hormone replacement therapy.
Fluctuation of estrogen levels and hormone imbalances can lead to symptoms such as:
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Decrease in sex drive
Hormone Therapy and Treatment
Menopause and the fluctuation of estrogen levels is a natural occurrence due to age. This can be corrected, and symptoms can be resolved through treatments such as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy is a method of treatment that works to restore the balance of your hormones as your body changes over time. Dr. Waller provides patients with custom hormone treatments that replace the diminished hormones with ones that are identical to the natural ones in your body. Through this treatment, you can be relieved of the disruptive symptoms caused by your estrogen or hormone imbalances.
As a woman, estrogen plays a large part in your wellbeing, so it is important to maintain that wellbeing throughout all stages of your life.