Stage : Follicular Phase = Increasing Estrogen
Estradiol is mostly made within the ovaries. In the first part of the cycleâthe follicular phase, from the start of your period until ovulationâestradiol is produced from sacs that contain your eggs, called follicles. Estradiol stimulates the growth and thickening of the endometrium .
Near the end of the first phase, estradiol levels peak, triggering the brain to release two hormones: a large surge of luteinizing hormone , and a smaller surge of follicle stimulating hormone . This then triggers ovulation. Just before ovulation, the follicle stops producing estradiol and its levels drop .
Why You Need Estrogen
Estrogens main function is to control reproductive changes in women, but it serves other roles in both male and female bodies, including:
Each of these phytoestrogens has antioxidant properties. This means that in addition to the nutrients potential health benefits, they fight cell damage in our bodies linked to a wide range of chronic diseases.
The best dietary sources of phytoestrogens include:
Flaxseeds are the richest dietary source of lignans . Researchers believe they lower breast cancer risk. You can sprinkle flaxseeds on many dishes, bake them into bread and cookies, or blend them into smoothies and spreads.
Soy contains high levels of isoflavones, phytoestrogens that may mimic estrogens effects and reduce the risk of both breast and prostate cancer. Soy is also rich in a range of essential vitamins and minerals. It can support heart health as an alternative to red and processed meats. Its also extremely versatile you can include soy in your diet with foods like tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soymilk.
Because of their high lignan content, studies show that eating two servings of peaches or nectarines a week reduces a womans breast cancer risk. Researchers find similar effects from consuming blueberries and strawberries.
5. Red Wine
6. Sesame Seeds
What Are The Side Effects Of Hrt
About 5 to 10 percent of women treated with HRT have side effects which may include breast tenderness, fluid retention and mood swings. In most cases, these side effects are mild and do not require the woman to stop HRT therapy.
If you have bothersome side effects from HRT, talk to your doctor. He or she can often reduce these side effects by changing the type and dosage of estrogen and/or progestin.
If you have a uterus and take progestin, monthly vaginal bleeding is likely to occur. If it will bother you to have your monthly menstrual cycle, discuss this with your health care provider.
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Reducing Aromatase Enzyme Activity
We have already discussed a couple of ways to reduce aromatase enzyme activity like decreasing body fat, reducing insulin resistance, and increasing the intake of phytoestrogens.
Another way to reduce the aromatase enzyme is by supplementing with the following nutrients:
Zinc is the number one inhibitor and commonly a nutrient that is deficient in men and women. It is recommended to take 20 – 50 mg of zinc a day, depending on the person.
In order to prevent any possible side effects, it is better to consult a functional medicine doctor or naturopath regarding the dosage of selenium, magnesium, and zinc per day.
Is Hrt The Same As Birth Control
No. Although women who take birth control pills are also taking estrogen and progestin, the effect is not the same. Women who take birth control pills have not been through menopause and need higher levels of hormones to prevent ovulation. HRT is not a high enough strength to stop ovulation.
After menopause, estrogen levels are low and HRT is used at a low dose to restore hormone levels to a more normal level.
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What Do The Results Mean
Our hormones are like fingerprints and we all have different levels that may be considered within our normal range. The amount of estrogen measured can also vary greatly depending on your age, time of life, and where you are in your menstrual cycle. This means that the results from estrogen testing will vary from person-to-person and may indicate different things depending on the individual.
The goal of any test is to learn how well your body is working and provide more information to help diagnose diseases or conditions that might not be obvious. Test results could indicate estrogen levels that are too high, too low, or just right.
Test results that reveal low levels could signal health concerns such as ovarian failure, menopause, a failing pregnancy, or even more serious issues like Turner syndrome. High levels of estrogen could indicate estrogen dominance, tumors, liver damage, early puberty, or menstrual issues.
Testing is often the first step in assessing your overall health and identifying ways you can improve your well-being.
Hormone Replacement Therapy May Cause Side Effects Tell Your Doctor If Any Of These Symptoms Are Severe Or Do Not Go Away:
- changes in sex drive or ability
- brown or black skin patches
- swelling of hands, feet, or lower legs
- bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods
- changes in menstrual flow
- dark-colored urine
- light-colored stool
Hormone replacement therapy may increase the risk of developing endometrial cancer and gallbladder disease. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
Hormone replacement therapy may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .
Understanding Hormones: The Roles Of Estrogen And Progesterone
How Estrogen and Progesterone levels affect women and men.
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that are important for sexual and reproductive development in women. Estrogen and progesterone help to regulate a womans menstrual cycle and play an important role in pregnancy. While they are often thought of as female hormones, both estrogen and progesterone are also found in men.
To understand how these hormones are manufactured we need to look more closely at the ovaries, the site of production of estrogen and progesterone in women. The ovaries produce and release the two groups of sex hormones progesterone and estrogen.
Estrogens are broken down into three groups, known as
- Estradiol : the most common type in women of childbearing age
- Estrone : the only estrogen your body makes after menopause
- Estriol : the main estrogen during pregnancy
These substances work together to promote the healthy development of female sex characteristics during puberty and to ensure fertility. Estrogen also has other functions:
- Keeps cholesterol in control
- Protects bone health for both women and men
- Affects your brain , bones, heart, skin, and other tissues
Estrogen is instrumental in breast development, fat distribution in the hips, legs, and breasts, and the development of reproductive organs. The ovaries also release two other hormones, relaxin and inhibin
How Estrogen levels affect you
Men. High estrogen in men can cause:
What Is The Role Of Estrogen And Progesterone
Estrogen is the hormone responsible for sex characteristics and reproductive abilities in women. Progesterone is the hormone that plays a supporting role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. When you have low levels of estrogen and progesterone, such as during menopause, it can negatively affect your mood, sexual desire, bone health, and more.
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What Are The Risks Of Hrt
The health risks of HRT include:
- Increased risk of endometrial cancer For women who have had a hysterectomy , this is not a problem
- Increased risk of breast cancer with long-term use
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increase in inflammatory markers
- Increased risk of blood clots and stroke, especially during the first year of use in susceptible women
All women taking hormone replacement therapy should have regular gynecological exams . The American Cancer Society also recommends that women over age 50 should:
Can I Check My Hormone Levels At Home
You can check your hormone levels at home with an at home hormone check that involves a simple self-blood collection.
It is now possible to check your hormone levels at home via female hormone checks that involves taking a blood sample at home. Blood samples are the most accurate way to check your hormone levels.
Taking a progesterone test will prove insightful if you suspect that you are living with estrogen dominance as it measures the volume of circulating progesterone in the blood.
LetsGetCheckeds range of Female Hormone Tests provides a broad picture of a womans hormonal health. This can provide you with an insight into your current fertility status or potential shifts in hormones with online results available in just 5 days and medical support available over-the-phone for support and guidance.
You should consider taking a female hormone test if:
- Youre looking to start a family
- Youre thinking about pregnancy down the line
- Youre interested in knowing more about your hormone levels
- Youre experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance
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Normal Estrogen Levels In Women
As levels fluctuate throughout the month this is going to depend on when you do your hormone test.
Hormone testing is usually done around day 3 or 21 of your cycle depending on what you want to assess.
If you are measuring serum hormones, then measuring estradiol along with LH and FSH on day 3 is a good idea to assess PCOS and the brain-ovarian connection.
Estrogen levels peak around day 14 so testing at this time along with progesterone can help assess ovulation.
The reference range for serum hormones varies a lot, so it is important to assess all of your hormones along with signs and symptoms.
The DUTCH test measures the hormones in the luteal phase. This is a better time to assess the hormones when trying to work out if you have estrogen dominance.
The DUTCH hormone test will also give you the optimal hormone reference ranges.
Estrogen Treatment: Topical Creams Gels And Sprays
- What are they? Estrogen gels , creams , and sprays offer another way of getting estrogen into your system. As with patches, this type of estrogen treatment is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream. The specifics on how to apply these creams vary, although they’re usually used once a day. Estrogel is applied on one arm, from the wrist to the shoulder. Estrasorb is applied to the legs. Evamist is applied to the arm.
- Pros. Because estrogen creams are absorbed through the skin and go directly into the bloodstream, they’re safer than oral estrogen for people who have liver and cholesterol problems.
- Cons. Estrogen gels, creams, and sprays have not been well-studied. While they could be safer than oral estrogen, experts aren’t sure. So assume that they pose the same slight risk of serious conditions, like cancer and stroke.One potential problem with using this type of estrogen treatment is that the gel, cream or spray can rub or wash off before it’s been fully absorbed. Make sure you let the topical dry before you put on clothes. Always apply it after you bathe or shower.
Because the estrogen is absorbed right through the skin, don’t let other people in your family touch these creams or gels. If they do, they could get dosed with estrogen themselves. For the same reason, make sure your hands are clean and dry after applying the medication.
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High Estrogen In Women What Does It Mean
High estrogen in women is a clear indicator that you have a hormonal imbalance. While your body needs estrogen whether as estradiol, estrone, or estriol too much can be just as problematic as not enough of it.
An increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers is among the most serious health concerns associated with high estrogen. Women using hormone therapy to alleviate menopause symptoms face the same risk, because the therapy may increase estrogen levels to the point where theyre too high.
Additionally, high estrogen levels lead to a higher chance of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, menstrual issues, constipation, and weight gain thats extremely hard to get rid of .
Blood Estrogen Levels And Breast Cancer After Menopause
Studies have shown postmenopausal women with higher blood levels of the estrogen estradiol have an increased risk of breast cancer .
A pooled analysis of data from 9 studies found the risk of breast cancer was twice as high among women with higher levels of estradiol compared to women with lower levels .
Health care providers dont use blood estrogen levels to assess breast cancer risk. However, this measure may be useful in the future .
Certain factors may increase breast cancer risk by affecting estrogen levels.
Body weight is an important example. Estrogen is produced in fat tissue. In general, higher weight means more fat tissue and higher estrogen levels. This likely explains, at least in part, the increased breast cancer risk in women who are heavy after menopause.
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Natural Solutions For Dryness
At menopause, vaginal blood flow falls. Dryness and irritation can occur, and bacteria infections that pass to the urinary tract are more likely.
What is to be done? First of all, even after the ovaries stop, the adrenal glands and the fat tissue continue to contribute to estrogen production after menopause. In addition, phytoestrogens in plants provide weak estrogen effects. Soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, and miso, contain huge amounts of these natural compounds.
The plant-derived estrogen and progesterone creams described above can be helpful. Used on a regular basis, these creams maintain a moist vaginal lining. However, please note that they should not be used as a sexual lubricant. Estrogen cream is a medication, not a lubricant, and it goes through any skin it touches, including mens. Many women prefer to avoid hormone creams entirely and use ordinary lubricants or moisturizers instead.
How Do You Fix High Estrogen In Women
Lets face it our daily lives are full of sources that can potentially raise your estrogen levels and kick your body out of balance.
However, there are several ways to regulate your estrogen levels and these options vary from medication-based treatments to natural remedies and lifestyle changes that you can make to get back to your best self.
There are times when medical treatment is the best option. Thats when youre facing an immediate, serious, and acute situation that needs to be addressed. Such cases include spotting lumps around breast tissue or experiencing extremely painful cramps, which could be a sign of endometriosis.
These types of pressing issues call for a medical professional to examine you. Oftentimes, lumps are simply cysts or they are small, benign tumors. However, the diagnosis calls for a doctor because it could turn out to be something serious.
On the other hand, natural treatments are optimal when youre experiencing a collection of chronic symptoms, instead of acute.
For example, you may be experiencing weight gain, thinning hair, stress, brain fog, PMS, and a few other symptoms of high estrogen in women. Youve been tracking this over time and its affecting your quality of life.
Thats when you can address these issues using natural methods like taking supplements and making lifestyle changes like consistent exercise.
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Estrogen Levels Vary On A Daily Monthly And Yearly Basis
This variation NEEDS to be taken into account when testing estrogen.
If you go into your Doctors office and your Doctor orders an estrogen on just some random day, it’s almost impossible to make any sort of claim based on that single lab test about your estrogen level.
The only exception is probably menopause because at this time in your life your estrogen is no longer fluctuating on a monthly basis and will stay relatively stable.
Because it is known that estrogen varies based on the day of the month lab tests come equipped with “ranges” which are designed to help with interpretation.
The problem with these lab tests is that the reference range is very wide :
You can see from this example that mid-follicular phase estrogen may vary from 27 to 123.
Mid-luteal phase estrogen can vary from 49 to 294.
So why is this a problem?
Let’s say that you are suffering from some symptoms, such as menstrual irregularities, which leads you to the Doctor for testing.
If your Doctor tests your estrogen and you come back in the normal range for the mid-luteal phase estrogen with a value at 58 you may be considered “normal”.
But what if the true “normal” for you is closer to 200? There would be no way to know what is actually your normal unless you have a baseline testing of estrogen .
This is just one way in which testing for estrogen is not as straightforward as it might seem.
Choosing The Best Type Of Estrogen Therapy
When deciding what type of estrogen therapy to get, work closely with your doctor. While oral estrogen has been around for a long time and is well studied, some modes of taking hormone therapy are not. They may have lower risks or different risks that we don’t know about yet. Your doctor should be up to date on the latest research.
Right now, the full risks of hormone therapy are unclear. So if you do decide to get ERT, experts generally recommend that you get it at the lowest dose for the shortest time possible. Talk to your doctor about how long you should expect to take ERT and how you can limit your risks.
ACP Medicine web site: “Menopause.”
Canonico M et al, Circulation, Feb. 20, 2007 vol 115: pp 840-845.
MedicineNet web site: “Hormone Creams: Safe and Effective?”
National Cancer Institute web site: “How to Deal with Surgical Menopause.”
National Institutes of Health web site: “Facts About Menopausal Hormone Therapy.”
National Institutes of Health Medline Plus web site: “Estrogen,” “Estrogen Vaginal,” “Estradiol Topical,” “Estradiol Transdermal.”
National Women’s Health information Center: “Menopause and Menopause Treatments.” WebMD Medical Reference: “Estrogen Replacement Therapy,” “Low Dose Estrogen for Dryness and Atrophy.”