Of all the female hormones, estrogen is the most popular. It is known as the woman’s primary sex hormone and is produced by the almond-shaped ovaries in a monthly cycle. Estrogen is also produced by the adrenal cortex, breasts, liver, placenta, and fat cells but in smaller amounts.
There are three types of estrogen, namely, estradiol, estriol, and estrone. It is commonly referred to as the ‘female’ hormone, but males also have them but in smaller quantities.
Estrogen can be a woman’s best friend, but it can also be her worst enemy. Wonder why? Here are 10 reasons why estrogen is both a woman’s friend and enemy. But let’s first talk about why estrogen is best friend material.
1. It helps you get back up every time you fall
Why? Estrogen protects your bones from osteoporosis and poor bone health. It encourages the production of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for bone production. Estrogen helps prevent bone loss along with the help of vitamin D, calcium, and other hormones.
Low estrogen levels increase the risk of having osteoporosis while optimal estrogen levels protect the bones from becoming weak and brittle. Estrogen helps preserve bone density.
2. It protects your heart
An optimal level of estrogen in women helps decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The estrogen increases good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein while it decreases bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein. The bad cholesterol initiates plaque buildup in the arteries that often leads to cardiovascular diseases.
3. It brings out the “WOMAN” in you
Estrogen is responsible for the development of the female reproductive system and secondary characteristics in every woman; the development of breasts, broadening of the hips, thighs, curves, soft and supple skin, and more.
Estrogen makes you capable of bearing and sustaining a child. It stimulates the maturation of a woman’s ovaries, prepares the uterus for the development of a fetus as well as the mammary glands for future milk production.
The distinct characteristics you have as a woman can be credited to your estrogen levels.
4. It safeguards your memory
Memory loss has been associated with low estrogen levels. Estrogen helps protect the functions of the mind such as memory, comprehension, cognition, attention, mood, and language skills.
Several regions of the brain need estrogen activation to stimulate processes that are helpful to the brain, such as memory, mood, autonomic functions, and motor coordination.
Estrogen levels decline as a natural part of aging; this is why most menopausal women tend to suffer from memory loss and forgetfulness.
5. It keeps you young-looking and beautiful
Estrogen is an essential key to achieving and maintaining beautiful skin. It has been shown to bring positive effects on the skin.
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In fact, a study at the School of Medicine at the University of California proved that estrogen can prevent and reverse skin aging. More than that, estrogen can also improve healing of wounds, especially in elderly women.
In menopausal women where the estrogen levels fall, acne is commonly experienced. Estrogen checks on a woman’s androgen levels. High levels of androgens in women can cause clogged pores that may lead to acne.
However, too high levels of estrogen can be your worst enemy. Estrogen imbalance can lead to unpleasant signs and symptoms.
When there is too little progesterone in women, estrogen dominance happens. Health problems arise when the low levels of progesterone fail to balance the effects of estrogen in a woman’s body.
What Harm Can Estrogen Dominance Do To You?
1. It can promote weight gain and make you fat
Excess estrogen production or estrogen dominance promotes weight gain around the butt, abdomen, hips and thighs. In simpler terms, estrogen dominance can make you fat.
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Estrogen dominance slows down metabolism while increasing sweet food cravings and consistent feelings of hunger. More than that, the estrogen produces fatty tissues, and the fat tissues produce estrogen, making estrogen dominant bodies store more and more fat.
2. It can affect your fertility and your chances of being a mom
A hormone imbalance between the progesterone and estrogen can lead to infertility. Too low levels of progesterone with too high levels of estrogen can produce polycystic ovaries.
A surge in progesterone is essential when an egg is released from a woman’s ovaries. Without it, the brain commands the ovaries to produce more estrogen leading to more released eggs. When these eggs are produced but not released, they grow into cysts and disrupt a woman’s ovulation cycle. Polycystic ovaries decrease the chances of a woman to conceive.
3. It can increase your risks of developing cancer
Female hormone imbalance specifically estrogen dominance can increase risks of cancer in women. Excess levels of estrogen can lead to breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and tumor growth.
Estrogen plays a role in cell and tissue growth, including the growth of harmful cells that lead to tumors. To avoid this, a healthy estrogen hormone balance must be maintained.
4. It can diminish your sex life
Symptoms of estrogen dominance include low sex drive or libido, fibrocystic breasts, anxiety, migraine, mood swings, and fatigue that can reduce a woman’s appetite for sex.
Estrogen is a testosterone aggressor. It means that the more estrogen a woman has, the lesser testosterone can rev up her sexual libido. Estrogen dominance can lead to sexual dysfunction.
5. It can lead to other undesirable symptoms
Hormone imbalance in the form of estrogen dominance has numerous side effects not only to women, but also to men.
Other side effects of estrogen dominance include autoimmune disorders, allergies, memory problems, uterine cancer and fibroids, mood swings, osteoporosis, fatigue, and many more. It can also increase prostate cancer risks in men.
“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little,” says Edna Ferber. To reap the benefits of estrogen, you must keep it balanced. Through the help of natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, you can correct and restore your estrogen deficiency, or your estrogen dominance.
Balance is key to optimal health and life. Make estrogen more of your friend than your enemy!