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How Does Oestrogen Affect Women's Health

Apr 11, 2024

4 min read

Oestrogen affects so much more than just female reproductive health. Bone strength and overall wellbeing, including mental health is affected by its levels.

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Jyoti Kumari- Fluent Health

JYOTI

KUMARI

Oestrogen, also known as estrogen, performs the vital function of regulating the development and growth of the female reproductive system. A type of sex hormone, it also affects other facets of physical and mental health. It’s time to better understand the importance of this critical hormone. 

What is Oestrogen?

For women to grow, reproduce, and maintain general health, the ovaries create a class of hormones called oestrogen. In addition to affecting breast growth and body fat distribution, it is crucial for controlling the menstrual cycle and prepping the uterus for pregnancy. 

Ostradiol, oestrone, and oestriol are the three primary forms of oestrogen. The ovaries mainly produce it, although the placenta and adipose tissue produce small levels during pregnancy. The levels of estrogen fluctuate during every woman's lifetime. They peak during the reproductive years and start to decline following menopause. 

Oestrogen's effect on the female body

Oestrogen, a critical hormone, plays a significant role in the female body, impacting reproductive and general health. Let's look at oestrogen's effect on the female body:

  • Menstrual cycle regulation
  • Uterine development and fetal support
  • Regulation of uterine mucous membrane
  • Epithelial mucosa cell proliferation in the vagina 
  • Body fat distribution 
  • Growth and appearance of secondary sexual features like breast and pubic hair 

Oestrogen also plays a massive role in maintaining the lifespan of women, as imbalances in oestrogen levels can lead to health issues. 

  • High amounts can lead to acne, decreased libido, and a higher risk of breast and uterine cancer. 
  • Low oestrogen levels can contribute to weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood changes, and vaginal dryness.

Remember, oestrogen levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle and decrease during menopause. Therefore, it is crucial to know these hormonal variations to understand women's health better.

Oestrogen's role in reproductive system development

Being a critical factor in the development of the female reproductive system, oestrogen is essential for the development and maturation of reproductive organs such as the uterus, fallopian tubes, and vagina, especially during puberty. 

Oestrogen has an essential role in controlling the menstrual cycle. To get ready for the possible implantation of a fertilised egg, it promotes the growth of the uterine lining. When fertilisation does not happen, oestrogen levels decrease. This results in the uterine lining shedding and the beginning of menstruation.

Oestrogen's influence on mood and cognition

Throughout their lives, women's moods, memory, and cognitive abilities are greatly influenced by oestrogen. Different menstrual cycle stages can cause mood swings, impatience, and concentration problems. 

Studies also suggest that oestrogen may offer a shield against diseases such as Alzheimer's and cognitive decline. It has been shown to improve cognitive function by supporting the growth and survival of brain cells, particularly in postmenopausal women.

Oestrogen and cardiovascular health

Premenopausal women have a lower risk of heart disease than males, as oestrogen is an essential factor in preserving cardiovascular health. It improves blood vessel dilatation, lowers inflammation, and improves lipoprotein profiles—all of which reduce the risk of heart disease.

But as oestrogen levels drop after menopause, the benefits of cardiovascular health become less significant. Women are more susceptible to cardiac disease, which is why postmenopausal women are recommended to adopt and keep up good lifestyle practices.

Oestrogen and metabolism

Oestrogen is essential to maintain glucose homeostasis, lipid metabolism, and energy expenditure. In addition to controlling fat storage, oestrogen is vital for blood glucose regulation, possibly lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. Understanding how oestrogen affects metabolism enables us to comprehend its effects on metabolic health beyond its role in reproduction.

The complex connection between oestrogen and metabolism shows the hormone's varied functions in preserving women's metabolic balance and general health. 

Finally

One of the most critical hormones in the female body, the effects of oestrogen on the female body profoundly impact many facets of growth, reproduction, and general health. It is in charge of maintaining metabolic and cardiovascular health, controlling the menstrual cycle, and developing secondary sexual traits.

An ideal hormonal balance must be maintained to support women's health and wellbeing. Healthy oestrogen levels can be supported by implementing behaviours, including eating a balanced diet, exercising frequently, and maintaining a healthy weight. However, if you are experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance, such as mood swings, hot flashes, or irregular periods, consult a physician immediately. 

Medically Reviewed by:
Dr Pankaj Ferwani - Endocrinologist


Jyoti Kumari- Fluent Health

Jyoti Kumari is the co-founder of Little Duck Productions, which lets her travel the country in search of offbeat experiences. Based out of Pune, she previously headed a wellness app and was the Managing Editor at Condé Nast Traveller. She's also written a collection of short stories and spent years editing books. When she’s not planning her next meal, she can be found at home with her husband, 5 cats, and one dog.


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