Estrogen (also referred to as oestrogen) is the sex hormone in females. The production of estrogen occurs in the ovaries. The term ‘estrogen’ consists of all similar chemical hormones: estriol, estrone, and estradiol. In puberty, the estrogen hormone is usually responsible for developing secondary sex characteristics. These include hair growth in pubic areas, development of breasts, and broader hips.
Estrogen is essential in the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Estrogen also regulates lactation and other changes in the breasts. Here are important facts about estrogen levels and their functions.
1. Development Of The Female Body And Sexual Characteristics
A significant function of estrogen is the development of female sexual features. Estrogen helps to slow down the height increase in females during puberty. It also speeds up the burning of fat and reduces muscle.
Estrogen stimulates the growth of the uterus’s inner lining (or endometrium). When a woman is in her menstrual cycle, it builds up the uterine and promotes the vagina’s lubrication. It maintains vaginal wall thickness while increasing blood vessels to the skin.
2. Estrogen Is Also In Male
The production of estrogen occurs in females and males alike. It is produced in larger quantities in females than in males. In males, estrogen helps in the production of sperm. Estradiol handles initiating spermatogenesis or the formation and maturation of sperms in men. (1)
Unfortunately, too much estrogen in men is bad. Men who have high levels of estrogen have a low sex drive. They lose hair in their body, reduce bone density, and reduce the growth of testicles.
Men also suffer erectile dysfunction when they have high estrogen. To overcome this, they have to lose weight and engage in physical exercise. While women need more estrogen, men only require little.
3. Estrogen Is Essential In Skin Development
A function of estrogens is that the hormone is necessary for the maintenance of human skin. They cause the improvement of collagen content and quality. Estrogen also escalates skin thickness and improves blood supply to the skin.
The quantity of estrogen receptors changes depending on the parts of the body. The face, thigh, and breast areas on the skin have the highest estrogen receptors.
This phenomenon may explain why most women have more subtle and gentle skin.
4. Estrogen Is Vital In The Development Of The Fetus
One of the functions of estrogen is in the development of the fetus. The hormone helps in the fetus’s physical differentiation to either males or females. This activity depends on their genetic code. While testosterone makes a male fetus, estrogen gives the feminine fetus quality.
The estrogens’ primary sources are the ovaries and the placenta. These are the temporary organ that nourishes the fetus and remove its wastes.
5. Estrogen Regulates Body Weight
Hormones, including estrogen, play a role in weight management and fat storage. Having low estrogen levels may sometimes lead to weight gain.
Women store fat in their thighs and hips, but those areas can change due to decreased estrogen levels.
If you suspect your weight gain is due to estrogen levels, change your diet. Taking part in some exercise will help you lose weight.
Adopting intermittent fasting is another great way to check your weight. Before you adopt fasting, make sure you see a doctor for guidance.
6. No Production Of Estrogen Means A Woman Is In Menopause
As a woman comes closer to the stage of menopause, the ovaries reduce estrogen production. When this decrease occurs, your menstrual cycle (period) starts to change. It can become irregular and then stop.
Estrogen levels begin to lower several years before menopause occurs (perimenopause). When this happens, you don’t need to panic. Many women still live extraordinary life after menopause.
7. Low Estrogen Can Result In Infertility
Not having enough estrogen levels in the body prevents ovulation. As a result of this, getting pregnant is slim, which can lead to infertility.
The fertility level of a woman is dependent on the level of estrogen in the body. The estrogen level of the body is necessary for the uterus to function. (2)
For the sustenance of a woman’s pregnancy, there must be growth and maintenance of the woman’s uterine lining. The estrogen level of the body must be regulated and healthy for this to occur.
If you suspect this; you might need to see a doctor. In the meantime, start eating food that boosts estrogen. Foods like flaxseed and soybeans.
8. Estrogen Regulates The Menstrual Cycle
A function of estrogen is to help regulate the menstrual cycle. It is also responsible for controlling the uterine lining’s growth during the cycle. There is a decrease in estrogen levels when there is no fertilization of the female eggs.
When there is the fertilization of the eggs; estrogen and progesterone work together. Their effort helps to stop ovulation when the woman is pregnant. Premenstrual symptoms occur before the period starts when estrogen is low.
9. Estrogen Keeps The Bone Healthy
Estrogen can help you have very healthy bones. It plays a vital role in the health of women. Estrogen is a hormone that is of utmost importance to female bone health.
Because it promotes the activity of osteoblasts, which are cells that produce bone. One of its functions is that; it protects your bones and helps keep them strong and healthy.
Estrogen also plays an essential role in the maintenance of a functional bone matrix. Menopause and low estrogen result in the decline of bone mineral density. When this happens to a woman, she is prone to bone fractures.
10. Extreme Dieting Can Result In A Low Estrogen Level
Your diet plays a significant role in the increase and reduction of estrogen levels. The food we consume can affect hormones’ secretion by direct actions on the gut.
Your diet also affects nervous reflexes or circulating gut hormone levels. So when one diets too much, the food you consume may not be enough to develop your hormones.
To ensure a balance in your estrogen levels, also include estrogen-boosting food in your menu.
8 Estrogen building foods
- Tofu (produced from soya milk)
- Flax Seeds.
- Dried fruit
- Sesame Seeds.
Who can take estrogen?
There is still a lot of controversy about estrogens, but everybody agrees they are suitable for the bones. It improves bone density and decreases the risk of osteoporotic fractures. (3)
- Women who have a risk of developing osteoporosis and are within 5 years of menopause can take estrogens.
- Estrogens might worsen heart disease for women who are more than 10 years past menopause.
- Estrogens can protect against heart disease in women when given right after menopause.
- Estrogens should not be taken by women who have had blood clots or breast cancer.
- Estrogens can cause cancer of the lining of the uterus in women.
We have seen that estrogens are hormones that play numerous roles in the body. It helps develop and sustain the reproductive system mainly in women. Estrogen also helps in cognitive health, bone health, cardiovascular system function, and other essential bodily processes. (4)
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