Role Played By Estrogen In Women
Estrogen – the well known hormone is immediately linked to females as it is mistakenly thought that estrogen is a ‘female only hormone’. The truth is that it is produced by men as well! But it is found more in women that too in women of reproductive age. So let us move on to see what role the hormone plays in women.
Estrogen and reproduction
Estrogen is produced in the following parts of the body:
- The ovaries
- The adrenal glands
- The fat tissues
Estrogen is a sex hormone that is responsible for development of female sexual characteristics and reproduction. It has a pivotal role to play when it comes to pregnancy. It is responsible for thickening of the uterus lining each month and when there is no fertilization, it sharply declines causing menstruation. Another hormone called ‘progesterone’ works along with estrogen.
Estrogen and bones
The estrogen that is produced by the ovaries prevents bone loss. It is known to work along with vitamin D, calcium and other minerals and hormones to help in building bones.
Till the age of 30 the body makes more new bones than it brings down. The process slows down once the level of estrogen starts showing a declining trend. Post menopause, the body rebuilds lesser bones than it brings down. Just after menopause a woman may lose 20% of her bone mass. Don’t panic this rate of bone loss levels off post menopause. But it becomes a challenge to keep the bones healthy. Many women suffer from osteoporosis during their later years. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and brittle. Doing day to day activities becomes difficult.
Estrogen’s effect on vagina and urethra
After menopause the vaginal wall thins down and the vagina gets drier. The urethra(which is the tube from which urine leaves the body) also gets thinner and due to this some women get infection in their urinary tract.
Estrogen and cholesterol
Estrogen increases HDL (the good cholesterol) and reduces LDL (the bad cholesterol). Women always have a higher level of HDL than men. This can be the reason why women suffer less from heart ailments 🙂
Estrogen and skin
Estrogen plays a role in maintaining skin health too. Estrogen is known to improve the quality and content of collagen along with increasing skin thickness and the supply of blood to the skin. Estrogen also helps in maintaining skin moisture and prevents skin aging.
Estrogen and mental health
Estrogen is also known to have an effect on the mental health of a woman. A sharp decline in the levels of estrogen in the blood can lower a woman’s mood. Usually this decline in estrogen happens after delivery or after menopause. Lower levels of the hormone can lead to depression also.
Estrogen and the menopause transition
Fluctuation of estrogen during perimenopause (menopause transition) can cause certain physical and emotional changes. This transition phase lasts for about 2 to 8 years. Even after an year of menopause, there can be fluctuations in estrogen levels.
Common symptoms of perimenopause
- Hot flashes
A woman suddenly feels hot in the chest, neck and face that can make her sweat. There is an increase in pulse that results in nausea or dizziness. A hot flash can last for 3 to 6 minutes. This can disrupt sleep if it happens at night.
- Mood swings
A woman can suffer from mood swings during the perimenopause phase. Some women feel anxious and irritable.
- Irregular menstruation
Irregularity in periods is also a symptom of perimenopause.
- Tenderness of breasts
Though such a feeling can happen to any women, it is a signal of perimenopause.
- Weight gain
Apart from all the above, women nearing menopause have to face weight gain too!!
Did you find this post about the role played by estrogen in women informative?
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