Estrogen includes three kinds of hormones - estriol, estradiol, and estrone. Estriol is made from the placenta and is made during pregnancy. Estradiol is formed from developing ovarian follicles and
is the main sex hormone produced before menopause. Estradiol is responsible for female characteristics and sexual functioning. Estrone is found throughout a woman's body and is the only hormone present after menopause.
Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Once the last egg reaches maturity and is ejected from the ovaries, a woman enters menopause and will barely produce estriol or estradiol. Menopause is not the only reason women expeience estrogen changes. Levels of estrogen also drop after childbirth and during breast feeding. Other disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), anorexia nervosa, extreme exercise or training and some medications like clomiphene may reduce hormone levels as well.
Since estrogen is also produced from fat cells, those individuals with low body fat may not produce sufficient amounts of estrogen.
Low levels of estrogen in women can cause osteoporosis making them more prone to bone fractures. Low levels have also been linked to joint pain and memory loss. It also raises the level of serotonin and increases the number of serotonin receptors in the brain. It modifies the production and the effects of endorphins or "the feel good" chemicals responsible for mood. Estrorgen protects nerves from damage and may actually stimulate nerve growth.
Estrogen replacement has been shown to affect the entire body and is responsible for more than 400 different functions. It has a positive effect on many problems associated with menopause. Proper doses of estrogen can eliminate hot flashes and night sweats, improve moodiness, help with insomnia and sleep disturbances, strenghten and maintain the lining of the vagina, help with vaginal dryness and painful sex, increase skin collagen levels that help skin and muscle stretch. Help prevent osteoporosis by slowing down bone loss and promoting bone growth. It has been shown to reduce tooth loss and dental disease.
Just because menopause is considered a natural transition for all women between ages 40 and 55, you don't have to live with the consequences of decreased estrogen levels. New advances in medicine have discovered safer ways to replace this important hormone without increasing your risk for breast cancer. If you have questions, please contact our office, Dr. Motazedi is more than happy to address your concerns.
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