Role of Estrogen in women
The human body functions in a complex but in an integrated way. However, all the elements involved in normal body functioning of the body system, i.e. the nervous system, digestive system, among others have to be in a balanced state. For instance, the body hormones. The body has various hormones that are designated for different functions of the body. When they are perfectly balanced, normal body, functioning is achieved. However, in case they are out of balance, abnormal body functioning is seen. Take the example of estrogen that affects the body functions depending on its levels in the body.
What Is Estrogen?
Just like the male hormones, testosterone, estrogen is the female hormone. However, despite the fact that they are gender specific, they are found in both men and women. The difference comes in their roles. In women, estrogen is responsible for initiating sexual development and regulating the menstrual cycle. Therefore, it directly affects the reproductive system.
Role of estrogen in women
As mentioned earlier, estrogen hormones are responsible for sexual characteristics and reproductive system development in women. It is found in both humans and animals. Estrogen actually refers to a group of chemically similar hormones including estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries, fat tissues, and adrenal glands however, the estradiol and the estrone are specific to the ovaries and estriol to the placenta.
The estrogen normally circulate in the bloodstream while binding to estrogen receptors on specific cells that affect the brain, breasts, uterus, bone, liver, heart, among others. Estrogen is connected to the brain as it sends a signal during ovulation to release an egg. It helps to prevent bone loss, it can affect the vagina and the urinary tract, among other functions.
Generally, these effects are due to the level or amounts of estrogen in the bloodstream. High estrogen or popularly referred to as estrogen dominance may occur naturally and sometimes if they are too high it may lead to medication. Low estrogen on the other hand may cause the vaginal astrophy a condition where the vagina narrows.
For example, estrogen replacement therapy, a popular treatment during menopause, may cause the hormone to reach problematic levels. The body may also develop too little testosterone, which can upset the balance.
Symptoms of High Estrogen
- Breasts swelling and increased tenderness
- Low sex drive
- Abnormal or irregular menstrual periods
- Mood swings
- Fibrocystic developments in the breast
- Gaining weight
- Hair loss
- Cold hands or feet
- Feeling of exhaustion or no psyche from probably low energy
- Memory problems
- Premenstrual syndrome or PMS
If men also have estrogen, what happens when they have high estrogen?
If estrogen is high in men, they begin to experience unusual symptoms such as:
Infertility as estrogen is somehow involved in sperm creation. High estrogen leads to low sperm count or the semen level falls.
Too much estrogen in men may lead to abnormal conditions such as growth of large breasts (Gynecomastia) growth as estrogen is responsible for breast development.
It may also lead to erectile dysfunction as for normal erections; the estrogen and testosterone levels have to be balanced.
Diagnosing High Estrogen
Normally blood samples are tested in the lab to establish the level of estrogen.
Sometimes thorough brain scan are done to establish abnormal effects in the endocrine system.
DNA testing to identify genetic abnormalities
Hormonal contraception including the oral contraceptives, contraceptive patches and vaginal rings, hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, estrogen progestin, local vaginal estrogen therapy, among others.
Estrogen controls the development of sexual characteristics and reproductive system developments in the female body. Both men and women have estrogen and testosterone. There should be a balance of estrogen for normal body function;otherwise,there are abnormal conditions that will develop. Once the signs have been noticed, one should talk with their doctor for tests.