Saturday, September 30, 2023

How Does Estrogen Affect The Body

Sexual Development & Reproduction

How do your hormones work? – Emma Bryce

In Women

Estradiol is important for female development since it is the main source of estrogen. It drives the development of secondary sex characteristics from birth to puberty .

It also affects the brain and behavioral differences between males and females .

Estradiol controls gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion .

During the menstrual cycle, estradiol helps increase hormones that induce ovulation .

Estradiol also plays a role in pregnancy. At normal levels, it helps maintain pregnancy. But at high levels, estradiol reduces fertility. A combination of synthetic estradiol and progesterone is used in birth control pills to prevent ovulation and pregnancy .

In Men

Males also need estradiol for their sexual development and function as it helps with erectile function, sperm formation, and sexual libido. However, its exact roles are still unknown .

On the other hand, too much estradiol may decrease sex drive. Also, high estradiol and low testosterone may cause breast development in men and other issues due to hormonal imbalance .

What kinds of secrets could your genes hold? Read this guide and find out how you can take your health into your own hands and find the root cause of your issues through gene-based health.

Possible Effects Of High Estrogen Levels

On the contrary, elevated estrogen levels can also provoke effects in women:

Reproductive tract

Uterine cancer can occur from an estrogen imbalance as estrogen impels the endometrial lining to continually thicken. Further high estrogen health conditions affecting the reproductive tract include ovarian cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and others.

Heart and blood vessels

Fluctuating hormonal levels and unnatural spikes in estrogen can cause heart palpitations, abnormal heart rhythms, and blood clotting.


Because estrogen has anti-inflammatory effects on the body, when levels unhealthily fluctuate, women can suffer from chronic inflammation and arthritis.


Women who have dominating estrogen levels are at an increased risk of contracting breast cancer. It is reported that about 70 percent of breast cancers are sensitive to the hormone.3 There is also an increased risk of breast tenderness or fibrocystic breasts.


One of the first signs of a hormonal imbalance can be dry, itchy skin. Furthermore, this can be a warning sign of more concerning health conditions, such as thyroid dysfunction and autoimmune disorders like allergies and allergic reactions.


Estrogen dominance – in which there is too much estrogen relative to progesterone – can principally lead to hair loss as well as other unsightly symptoms, such as abdominal weight gain.

Mucous membranes

Pelvic muscles


What Role Does Estrogen Play In Reproductive Health For Men Or Amab

Estrogen affects the reproductive health of people who are assigned male at birth , too. In cisgender men, transgender women and nonbinary people with penises, estrogen impacts sex drive and the ability to get an erection and make sperm.

Too little estrogen can lead to a low sex drive. Too much of it can cause infertility and erectile dysfunction. Excessive estrogen can cause gynecomastia, or enlarged breasts.

If youre assigned male at birth and concerned about your estrogen levels, speak with an endocrinologist or a functional medicine specialist for help.

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How Estrogen Affects The Female Body

Estrogen is a hormone that supports the growth and maintenance of female sex and reproductive characteristics in the human body. While a female’s ovaries produce the most estrogen hormones, fat cells and the adrenal glands can also produce small amounts of these hormones.

Estrogen is a vital component of the development of the female secondary sexual characteristics that emerge during puberty, including the breasts and pubic hair. It also regulates the female body’s menstrual cycle and the reproductive system.

Why Is This Medication Prescribed

How Stress Affects Your Menstrual Cycle

Combinations of estrogen and progestin are used to treat certain symptoms of menopause. Estrogen and progestin are two female sex hormones. Hormone replacement therapy works by replacing estrogen hormone that is no longer being made by the body. Estrogen reduces feelings of warmth in the upper body and periods of sweating and heat , vaginal symptoms and difficulty with urination, but it does not relieve other symptoms of menopause such as nervousness or depression. Estrogen also prevents thinning of the bones in menopausal women. Progestin is added to estrogen in hormone replacement therapy to reduce the risk of uterine cancer in women who still have their uterus.

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Estrogen Supports The Testicular Function

Estrogen exhibits a regulatory and protective role in testes primarily because biosynthesis of this hormone in testicular cells and the absence of estrogen receptors can induce adverse reactions on spermatogenesis and steroidogenesis. Like other effects, a delicate balance between estrogen and testosterone is necessary for these functions.

What Are The Causes Of Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance may arise due to an overproduction of estrogen or changes in how the body breaks down or removes estrogen. This causes an imbalance in the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio.

While sometimes estrogen dominance develops naturally, lifestyle factors can also contribute. These include:

  • Obesity: Estrogen is produced and stored in your bodys fat tissue. The more excess fat youre carrying, the more estrogen will be circulating.
  • Stress: When youre stressed, your bodys demands for cortisol increase. This can cause your body to use progesterone to make more cortisol, which can throw off your estrogen-to-progesterone ratio.
  • Alcohol: Your liver breaks down excess hormones, including estrogen. But it cant do its job effectively if youre drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. This can cause estrogen levels to rise.
  • Gut dysbiosis: If your gut is harboring too many harmful species of bacteria, it can overburden the liver. This makes it more difficult for the liver to remove excess estrogen.
  • Medications: The contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy may increase estrogen levels.
  • Synthetic xenoestrogens: Certain chemicals mimic the way estrogen acts in the body. These include bisphenol A and phthalates, which are found in plastics and personal care products.

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Practical Considerations To Maximize Performance And Minimize Injury

In postmenopausal women, the strategy is less clear. In this population, hormone replacement improves muscle mass and function by improving muscle repair, and the response to feeding and exercise. Bone mass and function is also improved by HRT . The problem is that long term HRT use is associated with decreased tendon cross-sectional area, especially in an active population . The result may be a bigger, stronger muscle pulling on a small brittle tendon that is in turn connected to a stiffer bone. This would result in increased impedance mismatch, differences in stiffness between connected tissues, that can produce strain concentrations, and promote injury. However, not taking HRT would accelerate sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Therefore, to date the data suggest that HRT is beneficial for musculoskeletal function in postmenopausal women, but extra care should be taken to maximize tendon function. What is really lacking for these women is a way to get the positive effects of estrogen on muscle and bone repair and anabolic responses to loading and nutrition without the negative long term effects on tendon. Phytoestrogens may provide some hope, but much further work is needed to establish the efficacy of these natural products.

What If My Oestrogen Levels Are Too High Or Too Low

The effect of estrogen on the brain

Oestrogen affects many parts of your body, and can cause problems when it is off balance. Having too much oestrogen can lead to a small increase in your risk of some serious conditions such as blood clots, stroke and gallbladder inflammation. Having too little oestrogen can cause problems such as osteoporosis and symptoms of menopause.

Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about any of these conditions.

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How To Manage Estrogen Dominance

The best estrogen dominance treatment depends on the cause of your high estrogen levels. Sometimes, making some simple lifestyle changes can help lower them. Essentially, the healthier you are, the better!

According to research, the following are proven to help:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Avoiding xenoestrogens

Your doctor can also help you get your estrogen levels under control. If your estrogen dominance is a result of the prescription hormones you are taking, these may be adjusted.

Or, if there is a risk of more serious health complications, such as cancer, you might be prescribed medication. Estrogen dominance treatment with medication may include:

  • Aromatase inhibitors: prevent fat cells from producing estrogen and are used to help treat breast cancer.
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists: prevent your ovaries from releasing estrogen.

What Are Normal Estrogen Levels

Estrogen levels rise and fall throughout life. The fluctuation is normal. For instance, its normal for estrogen levels to rise during puberty and decline as you approach menopause. Its normal for estrogen levels to rise during ovulation so that your body can prepare itself for pregnancy. Its normal for levels to dip during your period when the pregnancy changes arent needed.

Levels that are consistently low or high may signal an underlying condition that requires your providers attention.

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Side Effects Of Oestrogen

The main side effects of taking oestrogen include:

  • swelling in other parts of the body

These side effects will often pass after a few weeks. To ease side effects, try:

  • taking your oestrogen dose with food, which may help feelings of sickness and indigestion
  • eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, which may reduce breast tenderness
  • doing regular exercise and stretching, to help leg cramps

If side effects persist, your GP may recommend switching to a different way of taking oestrogen , changing the medicine you’re taking, or lowering your dose.

When You Have Too Much Estrogen

All About Endocrine Disruptors

Women can have too much estrogen. When this happens, the following can occur:

  • Weight gain, typically in your waist, hips, and thighs
  • Light or heavy bleeding during your periods
  • Intensified premenstrual syndrome symptoms
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Fibroids in the uterus
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Feeling depressed or anxious

When mens estrogen levels are too high, they can have enlarged breasts , infertility, and difficulty maintaining an erection.

Based on what your doctor determines is causing your high estrogen levels, he or she may prescribe a medication, suggest surgery, or recommend dietary changes to help lower your estrogen levels.

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Why Is Estrogen Important

Estrogen helps bring about the physical changes that turn a girl into a woman. This time of life is called puberty. These changes include:

  • Growth of pubic and underarm hair

  • Start of menstrual cycles

  • Estrogen helps control the menstrual cycle and is important for childbearing. This hormone has other functions:

  • Protects bone health for both women and men

  • Affects your brain , bones, heart, skin, and other tissues

  • Can You Increase Estrogen Through Diet And Lifestyle

    You can often address low estrogen levels related to certain behaviors by making lifestyle adjustments.

    • Aim for a healthy body weight: Being underweight is a risk factor for low hormone levels. Talk with your provider about dietary changes needed to ensure youre getting the right amount of calories each day.
    • Moderately exercise: Overexercise can contribute to low estrogen. Exercise in moderation is good. Overdoing it can deplete the important resources your body needs to function.
    • Reduce stress: Too many stress hormones can cause the hormones that regulate your reproductive system to become imbalanced. Incorporating stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine is good for your overall well-being and your hormones, too.
    • Get enough sleep: Sleep recharges your body so that your hormones can function properly. On average, adults need from seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

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    Estrogen Regulates Bone Health

    Evidence confirms there is a strong association among estradiol levels and bone mineral density, bone turnover, and bone loss. The impact of estrogen on bone health in men could be stronger than testosterone.

    Men with excessively low estrogen levels could be more prone to fractures and other problems.

    When Estrogen Is Lower During The Late Luteal Phase And The Start Of The Period You May Notice Some Changes

    The Endocrine System and Hormones | Merck Manual Consumer Version
    • Your overall body temperature will increase slightly during this phase.

    • One study found that 2 out of 5 women report more sensitive skin, which researchers suspect could be due to low levels of estrogen during this time .

    • Premenstrual symptoms also show up during this time before the period starts, when estrogen are low.

    • Some people may even get migraine headaches that are related to the drop in estrogen levels .

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    Treatment For Low Estrogen

    One way to prevent symptoms of low estrogen is to replenish your estrogen supply. You can increase the levels of estrogen in your body through estrogen replacement therapies. At the Center for Womens Health, our team, led by Sharon Breit, MD, diagnoses and assesses your estrogen levels and symptoms in order to prescribe the best options for your issues.

    Hormone replacement therapy comes in many forms, including pills, creams, patches, and injections, and with the hormone progestin or estrogen-only. Another option is BioTe® Hormone Pellet Therapy, which contains bioidentical hormones derived from plant extracts.

    For more information on how estrogen affects your body and what you can do about it, call us at the Center for Womens Health in Wichita, Kansas, or make an appointment online.

    Who Does Low Estrogen Impact Most

    Estrogen affects people assigned female at birth most. But everyones bodies make estrogen.

    Youre most likely to be impacted by low estrogen if:

    • Youre experiencing menopause or postmenopause. Your ovaries make the majority of your estrogen in your reproductive years. During menopause and postmenopause, your menstrual cycle stops and your ovaries no longer make estrogen. Instead, fat cells start making the majority of your bodys estrogen. Menopause officially begins when you havent had a period for twelve consecutive months. Postmenopause is the period that follows.
    • Your ovaries were removed or injured during treatment. Your body will only produce small amounts of estrogen if your ovaries were removed as part of treatment for a condition . Similarly, radiation therapy can injure your ovaries so that they produce small amounts of estrogen.

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    What Should I Know About Storage And Disposal Of This Medication

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from heat and moisture .

    Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

    It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location â one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.

    What Are Normal Levels Of Estrogen And What Are Normal Levels During Pregnancy Perimenopause

    The Endocrine System

    Since estrogen levels fluctuate greatly throughout the cycle, a ânormal levelâ of estrogen changes every day .

    But if youâre experiencing unexpected symptoms and suspect your estrogen is high or low, you might ask your healthcare provider to run tests. These levels may differ. Differences in laboratory procedures, population served by the laboratory, and testing technique can also impact resultsâso lab results should always be interpreted using the laboratories reference values .

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    How Do I Know My Estrogen Level

    There are three types of estrogen that your body makes. An estrogen test can measure all three: estrone , estradiol and estriol . Your provider will do a simple blood draw and send it to a lab for analysis.

    • Estrone is the primary hormone your body produces during menopause and postmenopause. Its a weaker form of estrogen than estradiol .
    • Estradiol is the primary hormone your body produces in your reproductive years.
    • Estriol is the primary hormone your body makes during pregnancy.

    Post Menopausal Hormon Replacement Therapy

    How prevalent is heart disease among women?

    Female Reproductive Organs

    Cardiovascular disease is NOT just a mans disease. Cardiovascular disease is the Number 1 killer of women over age 25 in the United States, regardless of race or ethnicity. Once a woman reaches the age of 50 , the risk for heart disease increases. In young women who have undergone early or surgical menopause, the risk for heart disease is also higher, especially when combined with other risk factors such as:

    • Elevated LDL cholesterol
    • Low HDL cholesterol, sometimes called “good” cholesterol
    • Family history of heart disease

    What is menopause?

    Technically, menopause is the end of a womans reproductive cycle, when the ovaries no longer produce eggs and she has her last menstrual cycle. The diagnosis of menopause is not confirmed until a woman has not had her period for six to twelve consecutive months.

    Menopause usually occurs naturally in women between ages 45 and 55 . However, loss of estrogen can also occur if the ovaries are removed during surgery or if a woman goes through early menopause.

    How is heart disease associated with menopause?

    • Estrogen helps a younger womans body protect her against heart disease.
    • Changes in the walls of the blood vessels, making it more likely for plaque and blood clots to form.
    • Changes in the level of lipids in the blood occur.
    • An increase in fibrinogen . Increased levels of blood fibrinogen are related to heart disease and stroke.

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