Estrogen is a steroid hormone that is mainly produced in the ovaries, but is also produced by the adrenal glands and adipose tissue, and it is secreted by the placenta during pregnancy. Estrogen is responsible for developing and maintaining female reproductive tissues, including the uterus, vagina, and breasts. It also plays a role in developing secondary sex characteristics, such as pubic hair and skin changes associated with puberty. Hence, it is sometimes referred to as the “female hormone.” With these, here’s how estrogen affects you:
During your menstrual cycle, your body goes through many changes. Estrogen is one of the hormones that help regulate these changes. One of estrogen’s main jobs is to help control ovulation. It does this by making the lining of your uterus thick enough for an embryo to implant. If there is no embryo, estrogen levels drop, and your period starts. Moreover, estrogen also helps keep your periods regular.
While pregnant, estrogen can affect you in a few ways across your three trimesters. During the first trimester, the estrogen level increase may cause nausea and vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy. This can be attributed to rapid hormonal changes, and your body is still getting used to the new levels. By the second trimester, estrogen plays a vital role in developing milk ducts that enlarge breasts in preparation for nursing. This will enable you to provide proper nutrition for your baby after birth. Lastly, estrogen also plays a role towards the end of the third trimester. It helps develop receptors on the uterine wall that will bind with oxytocin, a hormone responsible for labor contractions, and help with the delivery of your baby.
As women age, their estrogen production begins to decline as a natural part of aging. This decline in estrogen can cause problems such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. These can cause major discomfort and interfere with your quality of life. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help alleviate these symptoms. For instance, vaginal dryness can result in itchiness or soreness around the area and can increase your risk for urinary tract infections. In this case, you can manage these symptoms by getting OTC vaginal moisturizer inserts to help with dryness. This treatment works by replenishing the moisture in your vaginal tissue, making you feel more comfortable.
Estrogen can also help maintain bone health. But as women age, their estrogen levels naturally drop, contributing to a bone density decrease. This makes bones more fragile and susceptible to fractures. Low estrogen levels and other factors such as poor diets and lack of physical activity can result in osteoporosis. This can also be further exacerbated by alcohol consumption and smoking habits. As such, osteoporosis is a condition that can cause bones to become thin and brittle. This leads to a stooped back, neck or back pain, and increases fracture risk. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see a doctor and get diagnosed. If left untreated, osteoporosis can lead to serious health complications. But while you’re still young, you can lower your risk for osteoporosis by taking certain precautions. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercises are two of the most important things you can do to keep your bones strong. You can also talk to your doctor about taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, which can help improve your bone health.
Estrogen can also play a role in the development of heart disease in older women. This is because estrogen can positively and negatively affect the heart and blood vessels. It can increase your good cholesterol and decreases your bad cholesterol, which helps the body to prevent heart disease. Hence, when estrogen levels go down, the risk of heart disease can go up. This is one of the reasons why older women are at higher risk of heart disease because they are no longer naturally producing estrogen as they did when they were younger. However, you can lower your risks for heart disease by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing any other risk factors that you may have such as high blood pressure or diabetes. If you have health concerns, it is always better to consult your doctor.
Estrogen is a hormone that plays many vital roles in the body during different stages of life. By understanding how estrogen works, you can better understand how your body works and take steps to improve your health. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing other risk factors, you can age gracefully and lower your risks of developing severe health conditions.