Estrogen is one of the hormones produced by a woman's ovaries. When the ovaries no longer produce adequate amounts of these hormones (as in menopause), bioidentical hormones can be given to supplement the body with adequate levels of estrogen.
Estrogens: The Hormones of Menopause
Did you know estrogens have more than 400 functions in a woman’s body? From memory and energy to mood and concentration to libido and sleep and from effects on the heart, blood vessels, bones, muscles, and uterus and beyond, estrogen is a vital hormone for women.
There are hundreds of different types of estrogens in a woman’s body. Known as the major estrogens, the most notable are estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estradiol gets the most attention of estrogens because although it’s critical to a woman’s health and well-being, it is also the topic of controversy for its possible role in promoting breast cancer growth.
Understanding Estrogen Replacement Therapy
Estrogens are present in both men and women, but are a key issue for women before, during, and after menopause. Let’s explore several key aspects about estrogen replacement therapy women need to understand before pursuing hormone optimization.
The Menopause-Estrogen Connection
When a female’s estrogen hormone
levels are too low, it can cause a chain reaction that causes problems with other hormone levels. Progesterone
imbalances can be a root cause. In fact, women who are experiencing perimenopause
symptoms are often feeling the effects of low progesterone rather than low estrogen. Since estrogen and progesterone balance each other out, when either is too low or too high it can cause uncomfortable symptoms.
When to Pursue Estrogen Replacement Therapy
At the root of menopause is falling estrogen levels, which is typically not a straight decline but often bouncing around erratically. You might call it an estrogen roller coaster, and it leads to stereotypical symptoms, like hot flashes. As menopause progresses, the estrogen levels continue to decline. When this happens, women experience additional symptoms, such as memory, night sweats, mood swings, and sleep problems.
Although bone mass naturally diminishes as we age, estrogen keeps the healthy bone on the bone. When estrogen levels begin to decline, so does the maintenance of bone tissue, which can lead to osteoporosis. Other symptoms include skin changes, such as collagen reduction. Lower collagen can cause dry and wrinkled skin.
On the intimacy side, the symptoms of low estrogen include a lower sex drive and vaginal walls that thin and dry out, making intercourse painful. At the same time, women with low estrogens may have a more difficult time reaching orgasm and the orgasms may be less intense.What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance, a term coined
by Dr. John Lee, might be better known as “progesterone deficient.” If a woman’s body does not have enough progesterone, the body acts as if it has too much estrogen. If a woman is being treated for menopause with estrogen without progesterone, or she is being given too much estrogen, the body also acts as if it has too much estrogen. Symptoms can include irregular periods, allergies, breast soreness, anxiety, fatigue, weight gain, and headaches.
There are several other possible causes of estrogen dominance, including diet and lifestyle. Xenoestrogens, man-made pollutants that have estrogen-like actions, are found in some foods that can lead to estrogen hormone imbalances. High stress
lifestyles could also be to blame. What’s more, stress causes the production of a hormone known as cortisol, which reduces progesterone levels.Balancing Estrogen Hormones
Hello, sex drive... Bye bye, memory loss and mood swings! The good news is bioidentical estrogen replacement therapy can help women balance estrogen hormone levels and relieve these symptoms of menopause and aging. Chicago's Ageology physicians begin by exploring diet and lifestyle issues that may be contributing to estrogen imbalances. But we also assess saliva, urine, and blood work to determine, when necessary, how to best optimize hormone levels. When your estrogen and progesterone are balanced--and when you lead a healthy lifestyle--you can feel young again.