Estradiol and Progesterone
Estrogens are the most important of the female sex hormones. Estrogen is actually made up of a group of hormones, but Estradiol is biologically the most active during the fertile years of women.
It is responsible for:
- The development of the female body, from girl to woman
- 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
Progesterone is produced by the ovaries shortly after ovulation in order to prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy and to protect the mucous lining of the uterus. Together with Estrogen, the most important of the female sex hormones, progesterone regulates the menstrual cycle.
The sensitive balance between estrogen and progesterone
Estrogen levels exhibit fluctuations throughout a woman’s life, extending beyond the menstrual cycle. These fluctuations vary in intensity from person to person, and the body’s response manifests in diverse symptoms. Physical discomfort is not solely a consequence of estrogen deficiency; an excess of estrogen, known as estrogen dominance, can also lead to a range of undesirable symptoms, including water retention, nausea, mood swings, fatigue, lethargy, reduced concentration, anxiety, breast sensitivity, cysts, fibroids, painful menstruation, and weight gain.
Interestingly, estrogen dominance and estrogen deficiency can coexist simultaneously due to the delicate, interconnected balance between estrogen and progesterone. The levels of estrogen dictate the required amount of progesterone. An estrogen dominance scenario arises when the body fails to produce adequate progesterone in proportion to the estrogen present. Thus, it can occur even when the body is not producing enough estrogen (referred to as estrogen deficiency) if the relative amount of progesterone is insufficient.
Consequently, in cases of estrogen deficiency, it is essential to assess not only the absolute hormone levels but also the ratio of estrogen to progesterone.
DHEA and Cortisol
Cortisol and DHEA are both synthesized within the adrenal glands. Cortisol, aside from adrenaline, is the most pivotal stress hormone, facilitating the body’s response to specific pressures. It mobilizes energy reserves, priming the body for either “fight” or “flight” in scenarios involving intense physical exertion, competitive sports, psychological stress, physical strain, mental stress, or severe illness.
Cortisol and DHEA also play vital roles in various metabolic processes within the body. In immune processes, cortisol contributes through its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, significantly contributing to overall health maintenance.
DHEA serves as a precursor to both female and male sex hormones. Its production diminishes with age, typically starting around 30 years old, and its deficiency can lead to a range of health issues.
It is responsible for:
- Burning of body fat
- Prevention of osteoporosis
- Minimizing cancer and heart diseases
- Strengthening the immune system
- Slowing down the aging process
- Positively influencing memory performance
However, both too low and too high levels can cause unpleasant symptoms.
It is widely recognized that chronic stress has detrimental effects on health, with stress being the primary trigger for elevated cortisol levels. When cortisol levels become excessively high, it can lead to a range of symptoms, including weakened immunity, depression, physical fatigue, metabolic disturbances, diabetes, obesity, and sleep disturbances. Elevated cortisol levels can indeed result in uncomfortable symptoms.
Conversely, excessively low cortisol levels can also disrupt overall well-being, as cortisol plays a crucial role not only in supplying energy reserves but also in maintaining cardiovascular health, gastrointestinal well-being, immune function, and brain functions. Similarly, DHEA is indispensable in this regard. Low DHEA levels are suspected to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease, and obesity. In women, elevated DHEA levels can lead to a deeper voice and increased body hair growth.
Testosterone is a sex hormone that is mainly associated with men – after all, it is responsible for the characteristics that distinguish the appearance of men from women, such as beard growth. It also ensures the development of the male sex organ and is responsible for sexual potency and fertility. In addition, it strengthens the heart, brain and bones, supports muscle growth and fat decomposition, counteracts diabetes and high blood pressure, and helps to lower cholesterol levels.
However, testosterone is also important for women, even though they produce 20 to 30 times less testosterone than men. Testosterone has a mood lifting effect, ensures for more assertiveness and enhances the desire for sex in both women and men. It also enhances sexual sensitivity, making it easier for women to reach orgasm.
The body can only profit from all of these positive properties by having a healthy testosterone level; a deficiency can cause various complaints and an excess can, amongst other things, lead to excessive aggressiveness, acne, oily skin and unwanted body hair (face and body) in women.
Testosterone deficiency can affect women as well as men.
Some of the symptoms connected with a testosterone deficiency:
- Decreased libido, potency problems (♂), orgasm difficulties (♀)
- Decrease in muscles / few distinctive muscles
- Fat deposits in the stomach and breast areas
- Cellulite, varicose veins
- Slack arms and face, wrinkle development, dry skin
- Decreased hair growth (e.g. beard (♂))
- Low stamina, consistent tiredness
- Low assertiveness, uncertainty
- Decreased stress resistance, nervousness
- Anxiety, depressive moods