Estrogen is actually a class of hormones with three different subgroups: estrone, estriol and estradiol. This group of sex hormones is produced primarily by the ovaries in premenopausal women.
Following menopause, estrogens are produced to some extent by the adrenal glands and by certain fat cells. More recently, synthetic forms of both estrogen and progesterone (examples are Premarin, PremPro, Progestin) have come into use.
Estrone, also known as E1, is naturally produced by the ovaries, the adrenal glands and in body fat. It becomes quite prolific in the time just before natural menopause (also called perimenopause) and is the predominant circulating hormone after menopause.
It is the precursor hormone to estriol. Estrone, along with estradiol, is known to promote cell proliferation especially in hormone sensitive tissue, i.e. the breast and the uterus. Estrone’s role is very similar to that of Estradiol, but its effects are considered to be weaker.
Estradiol, also known as E2, is produced mainly by the ovaries in premenopausal women. It the most predominant of the hormones throughout a woman’s life and is considered to be the strongest of the three.
Estradiol is often the hormone of choice in conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy, as it is most effective for relief of hot flashes and other severe menopause systems.
Because of its potency it is suspected to be the cause of certain types of cancer. Unopposed estradiol is commonly linked to breast cancer.
Estriol, also known as E3, is the most dominant form of estrogen during pregnancy. In contrast to Estradiol and Estrone, it is considered to be a protective hormone . It does not appear to promote cancer, and some researchers now believe that it possesses anti-cancer activity.
For women with a history of breast cancer, estriol may prove to be of great benefit. Due to its protective properties, it is sometimes employed in natural HRT programs. In recent years, estriol replacement has come under more scrutiny in the mainstream medical community, so you may encounter resistance about estriol and whether or not it should be part of your natural hormone replacement therapy.
When properly balanced with progesterone, estrogens (as a group) provide significant and beneficial health benefits.
Some of these benefits:
- Protects against bone loss
- Reduces or eliminates hot flashes, night sweats
- Enhances sleep quality
- Enhances mental clarity
- Enhances weight control and management
- Believed to reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease
- Believed to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease
- Improves overall mood, sexuality and sex drive
Much as an automobile requires a quality fuel, the female body requires an optimum mixture of hormones. When there is an imbalance, illness and dysfunction may begin to occur.
Years may go by before such imbalances, and the resulting health consequences, are fully realized. It is important to know our bodies AND communicate openly and honestly with our trusted healthcare practitioner!
Ok, now that we know the good effects estrogen has on our bodies, let’s look at the negative effects when there is too much.Some symptoms of estrogen excess, also known as estrogen dominance:
- Adrenal fatigue/exhaustion
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Hair Loss
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain, typically fat gain around the abdomen, hips and thighs
- Brain fog, memory and concentration difficulties
- Loss of sex drive
- Thyroid dysfunction
- General fatigue
- Anxiety and/or irritability
- Inability to conceive
- Irregular and/or difficult periods
- Severe PMS symptoms,water retention, bloating
Other serious health issues are also thought to be linked to excess estrogen:
- Breast Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
- Autoimmune disorders, such as Lupus and Fibromyalgia
- Gallbladder disease
- Colon dysfunction and digestive problems
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or other medical condition. This information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult with your doctor should you have specific health questions or concerns.