Hormones are the messengers in the body that travel through the blood stream to start, stop, speed up or slow down your physical and chemical functions and processes across all body systems. Your ovaries are the source of estrogen and progesterone, the two key hormones that control the reproductive system, including the menstrual cycle and fertility in women. You are born with all the eggs you will ever have. The eggs are in the follicles, which are found in the ovaries. 

As a woman, it is crucial to know about this female hormone it importance to your ova-all well being.

Estrogen is a group of sex hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics in the human body.

 It is secreted into female’s bloodstream by the ovaries, like two walnut-size organs in the pelvic cavity. (the ovaries also secrete progesterone, another important female hormone.) Estrogen plays a part in every part of our reproductive life, from puberty to menopause.  

When as a female child, you hit puberty, estrogen causes you to develop what’s referred to as secondary sex characteristics: Your breasts develop, your hips widen, and you grow pubic hair and armpit hair.

Estrogen also tells your body to start menstruating at around the age of 12 and to release an egg every month. During the months that you don’t become pregnant, estrogen instructs your body to begin a menstrual period, during which you shed the extra cells in your uterine lining that you only need if you’re pregnant.

During the menstrual cycle, estrogen produces an environment suitable for the fertilization, implantation, and nutrition of an early embryo.

If estrogen is not balanced, its lead to a range of health problems and unwanted physical changes. During puberty, the ovaries begin releasing estrogen hormones in line with each monthly menstrual cycle. The estrogen level rises suddenly halfway through the cycle, which triggers the release of an egg. This level then quickly decreases after ovulation.

Estrogen is one of the most important hormones for women, alongside progesterone. Progesterone helps to maintain pregnancies and implant an egg in the uterus.

Estrogen and pregnancy

Pregnancy brings a variety of changes to the body. They can range from common and expected changes, such as swelling and fluid retention, to less familiar ones such as vision changes. 

Pregnant women experience sudden and dramatic increases in estrogen and progesterone. They also experience changes in the amount and function of a number of other hormones.

If you have sex after ovulating, or releasing an egg, estrogen plays a part in helping you become and stay pregnant. Then, after you give birth, estrogen helps your body produce breast milk.

Estrogen and progesterone are the chief pregnancy hormones. A woman will produce more estrogen during one pregnancy than throughout her entire life when not pregnant. The increase in estrogen during pregnancy enables the uterus and placenta to

  • improve vascularization (the formation of blood vessels)
  • transfer nutrients
  • support the developing baby

Also, estrogen is thought to play an important role in helping the fetus develop and mature.

Estrogen levels increase steadily during pregnancy and reach their peak in the third trimester. The rapid increase in estrogen levels during the first trimester may cause some of the nausea associated with pregnancy. During the second trimester, it plays a major role in the milk duct development that enlarges the breasts.

Progesterone levels also are extraordinarily high during pregnancy. The changes in progesterone cause a laxity or loosening of ligaments and joints throughout the body. In addition, high levels of progesterone cause internal structures to increase in size, such as the ureters. The ureters connect the kidneys with the maternal bladder. Progesterone is also important for transforming the uterus from the size of a small pear — in its non-pregnant state — to a uterus that can accommodate a full-term baby.

Estrogen and menopause

During menopause, the number of ovarian follicles declines and the ovaries become less responsive to the two other hormones involved in reproduction—Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH). As your ovaries age and release fewer hormones, FSH and LH can no longer perform their usual functions to regulate your estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These inevitable changes in your hormones and natural decline of estrogen levels during menopause can significantly affect your health for years to come.

As your childbearing years wind down, and you begin to transition into menopause, your body reduces its production of estrogen and progesterone.

Estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decline starting around your late 30s. Most women enter menopause in their early 50s, after 12 months without a menstrual cycle.

Estrogen and hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. It is usually recommended for uterine fibroids (the most common reason for hysterectomy), heavy or unusual vaginal bleeding, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, adenomyosis (when the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus), cancer, abnormal uterine bleeding, or chronic pelvic pain. There are four different types of hysterectomy surgeries:

 Total hysterectomy – removal of the entire uterus and cervix
• Total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy – removal of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes (salpingo) and ovaries (oophor)
• Supracervical (also called subtotal or partial) hysterectomy – removal of the upper part of the uterus leaving the cervix in place
• Radical hysterectomy – a total hysterectomy that also includes removal of structures around the uterus

This procedure puts a woman into surgical menopause. Unlike natural menopause, surgically induced menopause causes an immediate decline in progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone production, rather than the natural, gradual decline that occurs in these hormones over the years. As a result, a woman will feel a dramatic change in her body as she experiences the symptoms of rapid hormonal decline.

If you have your ovaries removed during a hysterectomy, either by themselves or with your uterus, you go through what’s known as surgical menopause. Your ovaries make most of the estrogen in your body, so when they’re surgically removed, your estrogen levels drop off rapidly.

Estrogen and symptoms

Decreases in estrogen due to natural or surgical menopause can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Skipped or irregular periods
  • Lower energy levels
  • Mood changes and sleep problems
  • Urinary urgency or frequency
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Discomfort or pain while having sex
  • Weight gain and a slower metabolism
  • Dry skin or thinning hair
  • A reduction of fullness in your breasts

Estrogen replacement

Women who experience unpleasant symptoms due to lower levels of estrogen have several options for relieving those symptoms. You may have the choice of taking low-dose systemic estrogen, which comes in the form of a pill, skin patch, gel, cream, or spray.

Taking estrogen can relieve some symptoms, such as hot flashes, low energy, insomnia, and mental fogginess. It may also protect your heart and bones, because estrogen plays a role in heart and bone health as well as reproductive function.

However, not all women should take estrogen. For example, it may not be recommended  for women with a history of hormone-sensitive breast cancer.

You may also feel relief with other medications, as well as lifestyle changes and mind/body strategies, such as meditation or yoga.

To learn more about how estrogen affects your health and how you can cope with changes in your estrogen levels, call our office for an appointment or click the “book online” button to schedule a visit.

Types of Estrogen:

 Estrone (E1):  The main form of estrogen produced during menopause.  Produced mainly in your liver and fat cells.  Since toxins such as xenoestrogens, heavy metals, and other pollutants that directly affect hormone levels are stored in your liver and fat cells, individuals with higher levels of toxicity have altered and contaminated forms of estrone.

Estradiol (E2):  The major estrogen made in the ovaries.  This hormone is known to play a huge role in energy, sleeping, pleasure, sex drive, and healthy bones, skin, & hair.  It also helps support the mucous membranes, providing moisturization for the skin, lips, eyes, GI tract, and vagina.  Estradiol is a very strong growth stimulator and elevated levels are linked to greater risk of breast, uterine or overian cancers.

Estriol:  (E3):  Made in the liver and breast cells.  Also, primarily made by the placenta during pregnancy.  It is suggested that this form of estrogen is a key regulator in determining which cells are turned on or off to estrogen.  This is a highly protective form of estrogen that reduces cellular growth factors and other estrogens.  Estriol reduces the more aggressive estradiol and protects against radiation induced cancer of the breast.


Minimize the Usage of Endocrine Disruptors:  Get off all oral contraceptives, hormone creams, and hormone based prescription medications, etc.  You should consult your doctor about this and weaning stages may be necessary.  This also includes plastics, personal hygiene products, makeups, etc.

Drink Hydrating Fluids:  Be sure to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of clean, filtered water daily.  Adding lemon/lime or apple cider vinegar to your water enhances the detoxifying effects.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet:  Keep grainssugars, bad fats and commercialized meat out of your diet.  Load up on non-starchy veggies, low-glycemic fruit (lemons/limes, grapefruit, berries, granny smith apples), organic meat, good fats (coconut, grass-fed butter/ghee, olives, olive oil and avocados).  Use herbs in abundance and fermented foods and tonics like apple cider vinegar

Practice Intermittent Fasting:  Doing a liquid fast for 16-24 hrs daily or even just a few days a week can be an incredible practice to improve detoxification pathways.  

Outside of meal times, should drink plenty of water, greens powders or green juices sometimes and herbal teas.

Use Di-Indole Methane (DIM):  DIM is an extract from broccoli sprouts that helps the body to neutralize reactive estrogen metabolites (4 hydroxy and 16 hydroxy estrone and estradiol) and influences the production of non-reactive estrogen production.

 300-600mg daily of Estro-Protect is a great DIM formula for clients that have estrogen dominance.

Regular Exercise:  Moving your body improves your respiration and perspiration outlets.  It also helps mobilize body fat stores where many toxins reside and gets these toxins into our circulation.  It is  recommended that you do lots of low-intensity movement each day such as walking, light bicycle riding, dancing, recreational sports, etc.

It is also recommended that you do high-intensity strength training several times per week in the form of resistance training and surge training.

Juice Greens or Use Greens Powders:  Juicing greens provides a tremendous amount of chlorophyll and phytonutrients that enhance the detoxification process.  

Use Essential Oils:  Using an essential oil diffuser in your home and applying essential oils can be of great benefit for detoxification.

Practice Oil Pulling:  This is an outstanding way to remove microbial debris from the body on a regular basis.  

 Improve Your Gut Motility:  Improving bowel movement frequency and consistency is a key detoxification concept.  Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet with good fiber sources such as  chia seed and flax seed, using bone broths, fermented foods and probiotics will improve bowel motility.

Use a High Quality Detoxification System:  Using a detoxification system can help sweep out the toxins you are exposed too on a daily basis. This is not a harsh colon cleanse that leaves you on the toilet all day, but instead it promotes a gentle and comfortable detoxification process that will not interfere with your daily life.

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