Information About Estrogen
What exactly is it and why is it important?
Estrogen is a general term used to describe a group of hormones (estrone, estradiol, and estriol) responsible for the development of female sex characteristic and regulating the female menstrual cycle.
In addition, it has important functions effecting our cardiac, neurologic, psychiatric, and bone health, it also helps to regulate the liver’s cholesterol production, reducing the build-up of arterial plaque and development of atherosclerosis. In the brain, estrogen helps to regulate body temperature, mood, and prevents memory loss. It works with calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals to help maintain strong, healthy bones.
How is it produced?
It is present in both men and women. In women, the ovaries are primarily responsible for the production of estrogen. In men, estrogen production is regulated by the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen. In both sexes, it is produced in small amounts by the adrenal glands, liver, and adipose (fat) tissue. Very recent research has discovered that the hypothalamus, a region in the brain, is capable of producing and releasing the estrogen estradiol.
What causes levels to drop?
The primary source of estrogen production is via the eggs in a woman’s ovaries. Over time, through the process of ovulation and menstruation, the total number of eggs declines accompanied by a corresponding reduction in estrogen secretion. Estrogen levels will also be effected in women who have their ovaries removed surgically. Women who undergo total hysterectomy have their uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries removed. After the
procedure, they experience what is known as “surgical menopause” due to the disruption in ovarian hormone production.
When young women experience estrogen deficiency, it is generally secondary to an underlying disorder. Genetic diseases, thyroid disorders, anorexia nervosa, and female athlete triad syndrome can all lead to abnormally low levels.
What are the symptoms of a deficiency?
- Hot flashes
- Low libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased bone density leading to osteoporosis
- Joint pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain
- Weight gain
- Altered insulin sensitivity and increased blood sugar
How is estrogen replacement accomplished?
If it is determined that you could benefit from estrogen replacement, we will only recommend bioidentical hormones; the synthetic variety will not be prescribed. Synthetic estrogens (Enjuvia, Premarin, Prempro, etc) have been linked to a myriad of health risks due to their chemical structure and the way they are metabolized within the body. These risks are not associated with the bioidentical kind.
Bioidentical estrogens are natural, plant based hormones that are identical in molecular structure to the same hormones produced by your body. In essence, your body’s estrogen receptors can’t tell the difference between your own, and bioidentical estrogen. This means the bioidentical estrogen will bind appropriately to the receptor sites and are broken down along a metabolic pathway that is not harmful to your health.
Most of our patients requiring estrogen replacement accomplish this via compounded bi-est cream. The cream is called “bi-est” due to the fact it replaces 2 of the 3 hormones that make up your circulating estrogens. Bi-est cream only contains estradiol (E2) and estriol (E3), which are the 2 forms effected by menopause. Because estrone (E1) is primarily produced by adipose tissue, diminished ovarian hormone production does not significantly alter estrone levels. Excess levels of estrone have been linked to breast and endometrial cancers.
What are the benefits of estrogen replacement therapy?
- Improved quality of life
- Mood elevation
- Enhanced sleep quality
- Increased libido and vaginal lubrication
- Anti-aging properties
- Increased bladder and pelvic muscle tone
- Disease Prevention – Reduced risk for Colon Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Dementia, Osteoporosis
If you require additional information about your medication, give us a call today at 561-243-1219.