Estrogen In Women: Meaning, Types, Functions, And More

A set of hormones known as estrogen is generated by the ovaries in women and, to a lesser extent, by the adrenal glands, adipose tissues, and testes in men.

Because it is produced by and affects the reproductive organs, it is regarded as a sex hormone.

Your body produces hormones, which function as chemical messengers to assist regulate and coordinate how your body functions and reacts to its surroundings.

Your body contains unique glands that create and release hormones in response to signals from your brain.

Additionally, your body has unique hormone-specific receptors that can pick up these chemical messages.

Estrogen is a hormone that both men and women generate, but because men have lower levels than women, it is frequently referred to as a female hormone.

Estrogen interacts with estrogen receptors on cells as it travels through the bloodstream.

The hormone affects metabolic processes, including cholesterol levels, and has impacts on the brain, liver, bone, heart, and other body tissues.

In this article, we will be looking at various factors of estrogen and how it impacts women.

Estrogen In Women

Estrogen has a critical role in the sexual and reproductive development of females. Estrogen is vital during pregnancy and helps control a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Estrogen is essential for the growth of the breasts, the distribution of fat in the legs, hips, and breasts, as well as the development of the reproductive system.

Two more hormones, relaxin and inhibin, are also secreted by the ovaries before childbirth (used to inhibit follicle-stimulating hormone secretion). 

Once you reach puberty, your ovaries begin to release one egg per month, a process known as ovulation.

High amounts of estrogen are brought on by pregnancy, which stops the maturation of more eggs. More hormones are released during pregnancy than at any other point in a woman’s life.

Estrogen levels rapidly decrease at menopause, which signifies the end of fertility. Different menopausal symptoms may result from this.

Types Of Estrogen

There are three major types of estrogen present in women, namely-

  • Estradiol

    The strongest of the three hormones is estradiol, also referred to as oestradiol.

    The most prevalent form of estrogen in a woman’s body during her reproductive years (i.e., post-pubescence and pre-menopause) is estradiol.

    The reproductive system’s maturation and maintenance are estradiol’s primary roles.

    To enhance the likelihood of implanting a fertilized egg, it accomplishes this by assisting with egg release and thickening the uterine lining.

    Additionally, it encourages the growth of breast tissue.

    Acne, a decrease in sex drive, constipation, and sadness can all be brought on by too much estradiol.

    Extremely high amounts can lead to weight gain and cardiovascular problems.

    Mood swings, osteoporosis, poor bone health, and delayed puberty can all result from insufficient estradiol.

  • Estriol

    Estriol, an estrogen hormone, is produced in large amounts by pregnant women. Their uterus grows and remains healthy thanks to this hormone.

    Additionally, it gets their body ready for breastfeeding and deliveries.

    An issue with pregnancy or the infant may be indicated by excessively high or low estriol levels.

    Estriol is another hormone therapy that practitioners may employ to lessen menopause symptoms.

    Right before giving delivery, the estriol levels are at their maximum. They aid in getting your body ready for giving birth.

    The levels, however, are essentially undetectable in non-pregnant individuals. E3 and oestriol are other names for estriol.

  • Estrone

    Another female sex hormone is estrone. It is usually increased after menopause and is the lowest form of estrogen.

    Estrone promotes female sexual function and growth, like all estrogen.

    Symptoms like lethargy, irregular bleeding, or mood swings might be brought on by low or high estrone levels.

    Estrone is the least potent of the three estrogens. The only kind of estrogen that your body continues to naturally produce after menopause is estrone.

    Estrone levels are usually higher in postmenopausal individuals than in premenopausal individuals.

    Estrone is present in men and those born with a male gender designation, but in significantly fewer concentrations than in those born with a female gender designation.

Function Of Estrogen In Women

The ovaries in women are where estrogen is mostly made. The uterus is surrounded by grape-sized glands known as ovaries, which are a component of the endocrine system.

When puberty first begins, estrogen contributes to the growth of female secondary sexual traits like breasts, pubic hair, broader hips, and armpit hair.

The hormone estriol, a form of estrogen, is produced by the placenta throughout pregnancy.

Estrogen regulates breastfeeding and other breast changes, including those that occur during pregnancy and puberty.

With the help of other hormones, such as calcium, and vitamin D, estrogen can successfully break down bones and rebuild them in accordance with the body’s natural processes.

The process of repairing bones slows as estrogen levels start to fall in middle age and postmenopausal women eventually lose more bone than they gain.

Postmenopausal women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than males.

What Can Cause Low Estrogen Levels In Women?

Here are some reasons for low estrogen in women-

  • Menopause

    In women, menopause could cause hormonal changes. The onset of hot flashes during menopause is linked to declining estrogen levels.

    However, women with a high body mass index are also more likely to experience hot flushes.

    Premature Ovarian Failure

    Premature menopause is another name for this, and it typically happens before the age of 40.

    Early menopause happens at or before the age of 45, however, both can be triggered by medical treatment or can happen naturally.

    When menopause happens prematurely or early, the ovaries stop producing certain hormones, most notably estrogen.

    Although it’s not always the case, premature ovarian failure frequently runs in families.

  • Contraceptive Pills

    The contraceptive tablet known is a synthetic version of the female sex chemicals progesterone and estrogen.

    The pill prevents ovulation by maintaining constant hormone levels. The ovary won’t release an egg if there isn’t a surge in estrogen, which inhibits pregnancy.

What Can Cause High Estrogen Levels In Women?

Here are some reasons for high estrogen in women-

  • Antibiotics

    Several antibiotics, to continue the topic of drugs, can seriously disrupt hormone balance.

    You may already be aware that drugs like antibiotics purge the body of healthy bacteria, which explains why so many people have yeast infections if they do not take probiotic supplements.

    But some drugs can also alter the chemistry of your body in ways that make women produce more estrogen.

  • Beauty Or Cosmetic Products

    The skin is intended to serve as a barrier of protection for our interior organs, which are the most vulnerable.

    Even skin, the largest organ in the body, may absorb up to 80% of what is on the surface, making it a vulnerable organ.

    In addition, a substantial hormone disruptor known as xenoestrogens is included in many shampoos, cosmetics, body lotions, shower gels, soaps, and sunscreens.

    This substance artificially raises estrogen levels in females, which interferes with thyroid function.

    The relationship between estrogens and the thyroid would also explain why xenoestrogens help your thyroid gland malfunction.

  • Gut Infection

    You may be familiar with the gut-brain link. There is also a gut-hormone link. Out of the roughly 50 hormones, we depend on, 20 are produced in the gut.

    As a result, your hormones, especially estrogen, are greatly influenced by the composition of your gut microbiota.

    Disruptions in a group of microorganisms known as estrobolomes can be linked to estrogen-related conditions like endometriosis and PCOS.

Conclusion

Physical, mental, and sexual health are a few of the areas of general health and well-being that can be impacted by estrogen levels.

They might also raise the chance of major illnesses like osteoporosis, obesity, and heart disease.

Although the main treatment for imbalanced estrogen is hormone replacement therapy, it isn’t appropriate for everyone.

Treatment results for women with high or low estrogen levels can differ. Consult with your healthcare professional if you are exhibiting signs of high or low estrogen.

Early treatment for imbalanced estrogen levels can result in a better treatment outcome.

When used early in the postmenopausal years, estrogen may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Generally speaking, it’s advisable to speak with your healthcare professional to determine what is best for your particular situation.