What is estrogen?
Estrogens are a group of hormones that promote sexual and reproductive development in women. They’re produced in the ovaries and, to a lesser extent, in fat cells, adrenal glands, breasts, the liver, and the brain. While there are several different kinds of estrogen—among them, estrone, estradiol, and estriol—they’re most often collectively referred to simply as “estrogen.”
Estrogen plays a key role in your brain, bone, heart, and skin health. It can also influence your mood, fat distribution, and cholesterol levels. During your reproductive years, estrogen promotes the development of secondary sexual characteristics (like breasts) and works with another hormone, progesterone, to help regulate your menstrual cycle.
Estrogen receptors are proteins found inside cells, and they exist throughout the body in different organs. When estrogen binds to these receptors, it causes changes in your health. For example, estrogen binding to receptors in a region of your brain called the hypothalamus is believed to play a role in regulating your body’s temperature.
Why does estrogen drop as we approach menopause?
As menopause nears, the body’s estrogen supply will begin to fluctuate and decline. This is caused by a depletion in the number of estrogen-producing follicles in the ovaries, which can lead to a drop in estrogen production of 80 percent or more.
What are the short-term (acute) symptoms of fluctuating oestrogen levels or low oestrogen?
The rapid fluctuation and drop in oestrogen is what is responsible for the miserable symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, night sweats, mood imbalances, weight gain, thinning skin and hair, vaginal dryness, and sleep disturbances. In the short term, you might experience the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes or night sweats: Less oestrogen binding to the hypothalamus can cause it to try to cool your body unnecessarily, triggering a sudden increase in blood flow to the skin (called vasodilation). This is known as “thermoregulatory dysfunction” and can lead to a hot flash.
- Vaginal dryness: The vagina is rich in oestrogen receptors that affect pH, elasticity, and lubrication during arousal. Less oestrogen binding to these receptors can lead to symptoms associated with vaginal dryness and painful sex.
- Weight gain: While more research is needed, appetite, metabolism, and fat distribution may all be influenced by lower oestrogen levels.
- Brain fog: With less oestrogen available for binding, the brain’s rich supply of oestrogen receptors can become understimulated and may lead to forgetfulness, as well as difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly.
What are the long-term effects of low oestrogen?
In the long term, the following chronic conditions may emerge:
- Osteoporosis: In the years after menopause, women can lose up to one-fifth of their bone mass. Bone cells depend on estrogen to grow and replicate. When estrogen levels are lower, the body’s reabsorption of old bone can overtake the growth of new bone.
- Cardiovascular disease: Estrogen has a proven beneficial effect on cholesterol. A drop in estrogen can cause a rise in LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and a dip in HDL cholesterol (the good kind). This can cause a buildup of fat and cholesterol in the arteries, which can in turn increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Cognitive changes: Because estrogen levels play a role in neuronal growth and the modulation of neurotransmitter systems, some (though limited) research suggests cognitive function may be impaired with lower estrogen levels.
- Osteoarthritis: Since estrogen is believed to help protect the cartilage between bones and joints from inflammation, the risk of developing osteoarthritis goes up in menopause.
- Body composition changes: Some studies suggest weight gain may accompany menopause. Several reports suggest that the effect of estrogen on body weight is either neutral or slightly beneficial.
- Skin changes: Because estrogen supports the collagen content of the skin, less estrogen can lead to more wrinkles and a loss of elasticity.
How is low oestrogen determined?
A doctor can diagnose you based on your description of your symptoms and health history or you can take estraval depot injection form FatBoyFitman. While blood work can be done, there is no evidence that treating women based on blood work is more effective than treating women based on their symptoms. In fact, most women will find that their hormone levels are in the ‘normal’ range despite still feeling off and experiencing symptoms. Women have an average of 40 years of experience getting to know the ups and downs of their menstrual cycles by the time they get to menopause. Do you need a blood test to confirm you are having hot flashes, insomnia, or anxiety around your menstrual cycle?