Everyone is familiar with the word "estrogen" and most people know that estrogen is vital to the body, but they don't understand what it is or what it does in the body. Some people might know that estrogen can impact cancer, but it is unclear exactly what happens in the body when estrogen levels change. In fact, some people are afraid of estrogen changes, because they assume that these changes will result in uncomfortable symptoms and poor health. "Estrogen dominance" and "hormone imbalance" are terms commonly used in the medical industry, and they mean that your body may have a little more estrogen than the other vital hormones (progesterone and testosterone). It is common for hormone levels to change, but the problem is that a small imbalance can cause big health problems. So, if you want to maintain good health, then you need to be aware of the estrogen levels within your body.
What is Estrogen?Estrogens are hormones that are important for sexual and reproductive development, and they are mainly found in women. The primary function of estrogen is the development of female secondary sexual characteristics, such as breasts, endometrium, and the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Over 15 forms of natural estrogen have been identified, including the top three which each have unique functions:
- Estradiol is predominant in women who are not pregnant and who are still in their reproductive years. It aids in the cyclic release of eggs from the ovaries, and it has beneficial effects on the heart, bones, brain, and colon. When estradiol levels are reduced, it results in common menopausal symptoms, including night sweats and hot flashes.
- Estrone, the second type of estrogen, is produced within the ovaries and is the dominant type of estrogen in women who have already been through menopause. This type of estrogen has been linked with many hormone based cancers.
- Estriol is the third estrogen, and it is secreted by the placenta during pregnancy. This estrogen is comparatively weak, and it is least associated with hormone related cancers. This form of estrogen is frequently used for hormone replacement therapy in Europe and Japan.