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The function of estrogen
Estrogens are the most important of the female sex hormones. Estrogen is actually made up out of a group of hormones: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2) and estriol (E3), although estradiol is biologically the most active during the fertile years of women.
Estrogens are responsible for:
The development of the female body, from girls to women
- The monthly regeneration and protection of the endometrium (womb)
- Breast growth
- The elasticity of the blood vessels
- Radiant skin and healthy hair
- Moist eyes and mucous membranes
- Clear thinking processes
- Stabilisation of moods
Together with the sex hormone progesterone, the estrogens regulate the menstrual cycle.
In the case of an ideal, typical 28 day cycle, the lowest estrogens levels are measured during the menstruation. This then increases until ovulation and then decreases, until reaching another smaller peak value on the 21st day (see Image). Afterwards, the estrogen levels continually decrease until the next period starts.
The sensitive balance between estrogen and progesterone
Not only during the menstrual cycle but also during the whole life span, the estrogen values tend to fluctuate – the strength of these fluctuations is different for each individual. The body reacts to these fluctuations with the related symptoms (see list above). It is not only an estrogen deficiency that can cause different complaints; an estrogen excess (also known as estrogen dominance) can also cause unpleasant inconveniences: water retention, nausea, depressive moods, tiredness, listlessness, difficulties concentrating, anxiety, breast sensitivity (pain, swelling), cysts and fibroids, painful menstruation or weight gain.
Although it may sound contradictory, an estrogen dominance can occur at the same time as an estrogen deficiency, due to the fine, coordinated balance between estrogen and progesterone: The estrogen levels define how much progesterone is needed. If the body is not producing enough progesterone, then in relation to the progesterone there is too much estrogen, resulting in an estrogen dominance. This can also be the case if not enough estrogens are being produced in general and at the same time still not enough progesterone.
Therefore, in the case of an estrogen deficiency it is important to not only determine the absolute values, but also the ratio of estrogen to progesterone. An imbalance can, under medical supervision, be treated with herbal remedies or bioidentical estrogen and progesterone creams/capsules if necessary.
How Verisana can help
If your are suffering from one or more of the symptoms stated above, we recommend the determination of your progesterone and estrogen values on the 19th, 20th or 21st day of your cycle, using a saliva test from Verisana*. The required sample can be easily collected by yourself, in the comfort of your own home. You will then receive your results in the post along with:
Your hormone values in graphical form – making it quickly possible to determine whether your progesterone and estrogen values are within the reference range and how the values are connected with one another.
- An easy to understand explanation regarding the functions of the tested hormones.
- A summary of the complaints that can come from a deficiency or excess.
*for the determination of estrogen, the estradiol is measured.