In the body, there are many systems that help it function properly, and one of them is hormones. Hormones are secreted through the endocrine system and help bring the body balance. However, when the body produces too many hormones it can cause the body to go haywire and cause many problems that a person does not need. For women, the two main hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and a small amount of testosterone that are produced from the ovaries and the adrenal glands. Since hormones naturally decline due to age, it can cause females to go through menopause to help replenish hormones in a female body. In this 3 part series, we will look at the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause as well as discuss the functions of different hormones in a woman’s body in part 1. Part 2 will be discussing the symptoms of DHEA dysfunction and the relationship between female hormones and insulin. Part 3 discusses the methods of hormone testing and the difference between natural and synthetic hormone replacement. Over the last decade, many of our patients have asked complex and insightful questions about hormone replacement therapies. By referring patients to qualified and skilled providers who specialized in hormone wellness services and we advise our patients to appropriately refer to our associated medical providers based on their examination. We find that education is the key when asking valuable questions to our providers. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
Why Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy?
In the body, hormones can naturally decline due to age, and for older females when their hormones decline it can cause the female body to go through menopause. So by using hormone replacement therapy or HRT the body can replenish the hormone levels in the body. Some of the benefits for HRT include:
- Relief of symptoms
- Prevention of memory loss
- Heart health
- Bone production
- Growth and repair
With HRT, it can help regulate and repair hormone growth in the female body.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a hormone response that is as unique to each person as their own fingerprints. In some cases, hormone replacement should not be considered without a thorough understanding of how all of the body’s hormones interact with each other. With menopause though, the normal age to go through menopause ranges from 35 to 55. Therefore, a woman may live one-half of her life without a menstrual cycle. Thus cycling after the age of 55 increases a women’s risk of breast cancer. Some of the symptoms include the following:
The Many Hormones In The Female Body
In the female body, the hormones control how the body is to functions properly and does not go off-balanced. When there is an abundance of hormones in the body it can lead to chronic illnesses and can cause pain. In the female body, there are estrogen and progesterone that help the female body to function properly.
Estrogen has approximately 400 functions in the female body. It can help stimulate the production of choline acetyltransferase, an enzyme that prevents Alzheimer’s disease. Estrogen can even help the body to regulate body temperature, prevent muscle damage, decrease the accumulation of plaque on the arteries and increase the water content of the skin while being responsible for the skin’s thickness and softness. Other functions include:
- Decreases lipoprotein(a)
- Protects against macular degeneration
- Increases HDL by 10 to 15%
- Aids in the formation of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin which decreases depression, irritability, anxiety, and pain sensitivity
There are some factors to consider when the body produces an excess amount of estrogen. Some of the symptoms can include:
- Cervical dysplasia
- Heavy periods
- Increased risk of breast cancer
- Increased risk of auto-immune diseases
All is not lost as there is a difference when individuals take synthetic estrogen and natural estrogen. Natural estrogen helps to protect against endothelial dysfunction by increasing endothelial nitric oxide, while synthetic estrogen is not the same chemical structure of estrogen that the patient’s body is born with.
Estrogen has about three components that can help the female body function properly. With these three components, we will be looking at what each of them does and how they contribute to the body. They are E1 (Estrone), E2 (Estradiol), and E3 (Estriol).
Estrone is the main estrogen the body makes postmenopausal and high levels many researchers believe may increase a women’s risk of breast cancer. However, its main purpose is that it is responsible for female sexual development and function, and even though it is less powerful than its other components it can serve as a repository for estrogen sometimes and the body can convert it to estrogen when it’s needed.
Estradiol has many functions in the female body but its primary function is to actually mature and maintain the reproductive system. Some of the other functions that estradiol provides are:
- Increases HDL
- Decreases LDL and total cholesterol
- Decreases triglycerides
- Works as an antioxidant
- Helps absorption of calcium, magnesium, and zinc
Not only that but there are results of a new trial that reveals that estradiol has a direct effect in reducing atherosclerosis by reducing cholesterol accumulation in the arterial wall.
Estriol is about 80 times weaker than estradiol, so has a lesser stimulatory effect, however, it is an estrogen hormone that women can produce naturally and is important to both the mother-to-be and the baby’s health. It can also help the GI tract maintain a favorable environment for the growth of lactobacilli and even help restore the proper pH of the vagina, which prevents urinary tract infections.
Progesterone is one of the sex hormones that are in the female body. It plays a role in menstruation, pregnancy, and the formation of embryos and is made in the ovaries up until menopause. After a woman goes through menopause though, it is made in the adrenal glands. Progesterone is made from pregnenolone and performs many functions in the female body.
Some of the functions that progesterone produces can act as a diuretic and is anti-inflammatory. Not only that progesterone can help aid in female ovulation and can balance out the estrogen hormone. Other functions that progesterone can offer include:
- Effects the potentiation of GABA
- Enhances the action of thyroid hormones
- Has a positive effect on sleep
- Helps build bone
- Helps maintain bladder function
- Induces conversion of E1 to the inactive E1S form
- Lowers LDL
- Modulates oxytocin receptor binding in the hypothalamus
- Promotes Th2 immunity
In total, the female body has to have the necessary hormones that can make sure that the entire system doesn’t crash and burn. When the body produces an enormous amount of estrogen and progesterone it can cause unwanted pathogens to enter the body and cause chronic illness. By regulating hormones the body can start on its wellness journey and the individual can continue its health journey for a better body.
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