Oestrogen(s) the so called ‘female’ hormone – not 100% true. Men have oestrogens too, just as women have testosterone. The major difference is in their levels. Women have higher levels of oestrogens to testosterone than men and men have higher levels of testosterone to oestrogens than women. It is these levels that differentiate women from men. Both of these hormones are needed at optimal levels, for both sexes, for the body to function correctly – at optimum
In women, oestrogens are produced in the ovaries and work in harmony with progesterone, which is also produced in the ovaries. Oestrogens are the hormones that sing with a woman’s body. They make us curvaceous and sexy, they regulate our menstrual cycle, fertility and, as they plunge drastically, our passage into menopause.
Why are Oestrogens so important?
For many, many reason. Oestrogens prevent migraines related to menstruation. They soften the cervix and produce the vaginal secretion that lubricates during intercourse – they make sex more comfortable – no more ‘ouch’, let’s say, and they enhance the quality of sexual pleasure! They prevent depression, keep us happy, enthusiastic, bouncy, and positive. They retard osteoporosis, protect the brain (helping to protect against Alzheimer’s and senility), reduce the risk of heart disease (heart disease is the number one killer in both men and women after menopause), and they support the immune system.
They increase lean muscle mass and play an important part in the distribution of body fat, they increase mental and physical vitality, and help maintain a more youthful skin. Now, apart from all the other things, who doesn’t want a beautiful skin? It is important to keep levels at optimal to protect yourself!
Oestrogens are not a single hormone, they are made up of class of many different yet similar oestrogens. The major three are E1, E2 and E3. It is the balance and ratio between these three oestrogens that have an influence on whether or not a woman is more or less likely to contract oestrogen(s)-sensitive cancers, such as breast and uterine cancer. It is all to do with balance!
In menopause, both oestrogens and progesterone decline rapidly.
Usually, progesterone declines first, which will create an imbalance between these two hormones, and is generally known as ‘oestrogen dominance’. As hormones interact with each other, either low or high levels of oestrogens in the body can cause problems amongst other hormones – in this case, progesterone. Often, the symptoms of perimenopause are characteristic of a progesterone deficiency, rather than low oestrogens. It is this imbalance that is the main cause for the menopause symptoms women experience. Progesterone and oestrogens counteract each other, balancing one another out, so any deficiency or excess (an imbalance) of either can result in unpleasant symptoms:
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- mood swings
- tender and swollen breast
- unexplained weight gain
- bladder problems / infections
- aching joints and stiffness
- brittle nails
- dry eye
- muscle soreness
- increased facial hair
- anxiety attacks
- food cravings
- fibromyalgia pain
- memory loss
Balance is best!