Estrogens are considered to be the main female hormones. They make a woman special and largely determine her attractiveness, charm and charm. And estrogens are very directly related to women’s health. Different periods of life from puberty to menopause are somehow associated with an excess or deficiency of estrogens. We will tell you about the effects of these hormones, and why they have such an impact on the beauty and health of women, in this article.
Testosterone and estrogen – what is the connection?
Is there anything in common between testosterone and estrogen? It turns out that both female and male sex hormones are produced in the body of women.
Estrogens are secreted mainly by the ovaries and placenta, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands and adipose tissue. There is evidence that brain cells also produce estrogen, which is necessary for maintaining connections between neurons. By the way, this aspect is not yet fully understood and represents a broad platform for research.
But the synthesis of estrogens in its pure form is not the only mechanism for the formation of female hormones. It turns out that the precursor of estrogens are… androgens – male hormones. In particular, the well-known testosterone.
Where do male hormones come from in the female body? Oddly enough, they are also produced by the ovaries and adrenal cortex.
By the way, similar processes occur in the male body. In the testes, along with male hormones, estrogens are secreted, although in much smaller quantities. But that’s a different story.
Let’s go back to estrogens. Female hormones are steroid hormones, the precursor of which is cholesterol. Guess what a low-cholesterol diet can lead to? That’s right, to estrogen deficiency. What this is fraught with, we will analyze a little further.
The effect of estrogens on the female body
The effect of estrogens is difficult to overestimate. Estrogens have various effects in the female body:
- Sexual and reproductive function. Estrogens are involved in puberty, support the menstrual cycle, determine the ability to bear and give birth to a child;
- Ensure the correct distribution of subcutaneous fat in the female type. There is a definite link between estrogen levels and being overweight;
- Control the development and formation of the central nervous system;
- Take part in the formation of mood, depression, anxiety disorders, pain;
- Protect the brain from stress;
- Reduce the risk of developing schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy;
- They participate in the formation of the so-called ” female verbosity”;
- Normalize the blood lipid spectrum-reduce the level of “bad “cholesterol, increase the level of” good”, thereby preventing the development of atherosclerosis.
- They give beauty to the skin – its elasticity, smoothness, color, the presence of wrinkles depend, among other things, on the level of female hormones. The amount of estrogen in menopause decreases, so the aging process is more intense. By the way, relatively recently developed effective anti-age products – creams with estrogens for skin care;
- Strengthen hair and nails;
Noticeable hair loss after childbirth, which every second woman faces, is also the result of the influence of estrogen. During pregnancy, this hormone is a lot, and therefore it prolongs the life of the hair. After childbirth, the level of estrogen is noticeably reduced and those hair that should have fallen out with pleasure leave the head. It happens so spontaneously and quickly that some women are horrified. Don’t worry, this process is reversible.
- Formation of a pleasant female voice. Blocks the action of androgens and other hormones during the period of active growth of the body. Thus, the laryngeal cartilage and vocal cords do not increase in size, due to which a soft high-pitched voice is formed;
- Normalization of the cardiovascular and nervous system;
- Ensuring the strength of bones, stimulating the absorption of calcium in the intestine.
That is, estrogen literally creates a woman, makes her feminine, attractive, forms her character and emotions. The value of estrogens in the body is not yet fully understood. Most likely, their effect is much wider than we assume. Estrogen receptors are found in almost all organs and tissues. And if they are, then it means that estrogens somehow affect the entire body as a whole. Perhaps in the near future we will learn a lot of interesting things about female hormones.
Estrogens and excess weight
Fat metabolism is closely related to the level of female hormones. Thanks to estrogens, fat is deposited in the adipose tissue of the female type, namely in the abdomen, buttocks and thighs. This has important physiological significance, as fat is a source of nutrition for significant weight loss. During pregnancy, estrogens are produced in an enhanced mode – this is how nature took care of the energy reserve for the fetus in emergency cases.
A feature of adipose tissue in the abdomen, buttocks and thighs is the predominance of lipogenesis (fat deposition) over lipolysis (fat breakdown). That’s why this part of the body is the most problematic for weight loss.
During menopause, the need for this energy depot is no longer there, the level of estrogens decreases and fat is distributed to other areas.
Adipose tissue has a rather interesting feature. Having a pronounced sensitivity to estrogens, she herself is able to secrete and accumulate these estrogens. Yes, that’s right – adipose tissue has an endocrine function. And with age, the role of adipose tissue in the synthesis of female hormones becomes higher, and reaches a peak during menopause. This is quite natural, because against the background of fading ovarian function, the body is looking for options to compensate for the lack of estrogen.
That is why it is very important not to get carried away with weight loss. Significant loss of adipose tissue leads to a sharp decrease in the level of sex hormones, which leads to amenorrhea (lack of menstruation), and, as a result, infertility in women under 40 years of age. And after 40 years, a lack of estrogen in women leads to early menopause (menopause).
It is quite obvious that nature did not create a woman exhausted. Moderate deposits of adipose tissue on the thighs, buttocks and abdomen are quite normal. Moreover, it is an important factor in women’s health.
Signs of estrogen deficiency in women
Lack of estrogen in women leads to:
- Depression or irritability;
- Soreness and swelling of the breast;
- Disorders of the menstrual cycle, up to amenorrhea;
- Osteoporosis (destruction of bone tissue);
- cardiovascular diseases.
The classic symptom of a lack of estrogen is the manifestation of vegetative-vascular dystonia-sweating, hot flashes, causeless fever.
It is due to their dependence on estrogens that women are much more likely than men to be subject to mood swings, depression, or vice versa, high emotional arousal. The nervous system has nothing to do with it, it is not at all different from the male nervous system. Just a woman’s mood is controlled by hormones, and this is a fact.
A sign of a lack of estrogen is also a problem with the bones-they become more fragile, as the female hormone normally inhibits their destruction.
Also, against the background of low estrogen levels, the work of the cardiovascular system is disrupted. This is primarily manifested by jumps in blood pressure and different variants of arrhythmias. If women under 45 years of age suffer from these diseases 5 times less often than men, then after menopause their number increases dramatically.
The main source of estrogen is the egg. If for some reason it does not work, the body begins to deposit fat in adipose tissue, which should make up for the lack of these hormones. Estrogen deficiency and excess weight are frequent companions. That’s why very often after menopause, women complain that they can not lose weight.
Compensatory increase in adipose tissue volume plus a natural slowdown in the level of metabolism after menopause lead to a set of extra pounds. On average, if you keep the same diet and do not increase physical activity, during this period you can gain an average of 3-4 kg per year.
The reasons for the decline in estrogen levels in women
- Hormonal imbalance after pregnancy and childbirth;
- Endocrine diseases;
- Taking hormonal drugs, chemotherapy;
- Irregular sex life;
- Excessive weight loss, cholesterol-free diets.
How to increase estrogen levels
As a rule, estrogen preparations are recommended for hormone replacement therapy. These are synthetic analogues of estrogens, or phytoestrogens.
Synthetic estrogens are prescribed for deeper disorders that are accompanied by pronounced symptoms.
Phytoestrogens are prescribed for less pronounced signs of estrogen deficiency. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that act like natural hormones. They are found in some foods. Often women are interested in-what products contain estrogen? Phytoestrogens are not hormones, they are only able to interact with estrogen receptors. At the same time, the effect of phytoestrogens is many times weaker than the action of the natural female hormone.
Phytoestrogens are found in some foods — flax seeds, legumes, cereals (oats, barley, rice), apricots, apples, and some herbs (sage, hops, ginseng root, arnica, chamomile, lime blossom, licorice root).
To date, the role of phytoestrogens in the human body is not fully understood and therefore causes a lot of controversy in the scientific world. For example, there is an opinion that beer contains phytoestrogens, and therefore causes the deposition of fat on the female type in men (stomach, chest, thighs). Apparently, this version did not like the beer companies very much, and everyone literally started talking in unison that this is a myth and nothing more. This point of view is argued by the fact that although phytoestrogens can bind to estrogen receptors, but their activity in comparison with natural hormones is negligible in order to cause significant changes in the human body. What is true and what is not is not known for certain. However, the literature describes cases of menstrual disorders in women who harvest hops. In addition, it is difficult not to notice that the figure of beer lovers is far from ideal.
Drugs and dietary supplements with phytoestrogens improve the condition of at least half of women after 45 years of age who take these drugs. In addition, it was noted that phytoestrogens can inhibit the development of tumors and act as antiandrogens, improving the condition of the skin in adolescence-the activity of the sebaceous glands decreases, the pores narrow. Phytoestrogens are part of some cosmetic products of dietary supplements, which are designed to improve the condition of the skin and strengthen nails and hair.
Signs of excess estrogen in women
We already know that with a lack of estrogen, a woman loses her femininity, attractiveness and most importantly — health. However, this does not mean that estrogens should be in excess. Excess estrogen is a serious hormonal disorder that manifests itself in a number of symptoms:
- Excess weight;
- Mood swings;
- Menstrual disorders;
- Painful heavy periods;
- Increased blood pressure;
- Skin problems-acne, comedones;
- Hair loss, brittle nails;
- Swelling of the mammary glands;
- Formation of ovarian and breast cysts;
- The proliferation of the endothelium of the uterus (endometriosis).
The reasons for the increase in estrogen can be excessive production of it by the adrenal glands, ovaries, adipose tissue or placenta (during pregnancy), hormonal imbalance, stress, serious physical exertion or the intake of hormones from the outside, for example, when taking hormonal drugs. Also, an increase in estrogen is often observed in overweight women.
How to reduce the level of estrogen in women?
High levels of estrogen in women are also subject to correction. After the examination, the doctor will prescribe the drug that is necessary in your case.
To reduce the level of estrogen, you need to follow certain recommendations:
- Stick to a low-carb diet. Exclude from the diet of sweet and flour. First, this is the right step to deal with extra pounds. And secondly, it is a method of combating harmful bacteria in the intestines, which inhibit the elimination of estrogen from the body.
- Exclude products containing phytoestrogens. Although they have a weaker effect, but an extra effect on the receptors with high estrogen will be very inappropriate.
- Estrogen metabolism occurs in the liver and intestines, so it is necessary to adjust the work of these organs. If you have any medical conditions, consult a gastroenterologist.
- Introduce fruits and vegetables containing fiber into the diet.
- If possible, reduce physical activity and limit stress.
As we can see, the role of estrogens for a woman’s health cannot be overestimated. And it is very important that the level of these hormones is normal. At the same time, it is impossible to consider estrogen in isolation from other hormones, and they are synthesized in the body more than enough, and many of them directly or indirectly affect both the level of estrogens and women’s health in general. Symptoms that are caused by a lack or excess of estrogens can occur in a number of diseases, and in addition, the synthesis of other hormones in the complex can also suffer. Only a doctor can assess your condition and make a diagnosis. Therefore, do not rush to take into account the advertising of medicinal products and independently prescribe different dietary supplements. You can not joke with hormones – one wrong step and it will be very difficult to restore their balance!
Let your hormones will always be the norm!
Read the answers to questions about estrogens here