All stages in a woman’s life, from puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, to menopause, are inseparable from the role of the hormone estrogen. What exactly is meant by estrogen and how does this hormone work?
Estrogen is a term for a group of hormones that play an important role in the development and growth of female sexual characteristics and reproductive processes. This hormone is actually not only produced in the female body, but also in the body of men with much lower levels. It’s just the role of the hormone estrogen in a man’s body is not known with certainty.
Hormones themselves are chemical substances that are produced in the body to control and regulate the activity of certain cells or organs. In general, hormones play a role in:
- Bring messages or instructions from one cell group to another cell group.
- Affects the function of organs and cells.
- Regulate development and metabolism
- Determine sexual function and reproductive tissue.
- Impacts the mood.
- Regulates how the body utilizes incoming food intake.
- Manage the body’s reaction to danger.
Recognizing the role of hormones, especially the hormone estrogen in the body, can make women better understand the various changes in the body.
The Role of Estrogen from the Brain to the Bones
The hormone estrogen specifically plays a role in the growth and development of female sexual organs. This hormone is produced by the ovaries, fat tissue, and adrenal glands. This group of hormones consists of estriol, estron, and estradiol. The hormone estradiol has the highest levels in the female reproductive period. Estriol is produced by the placenta during pregnancy, while estradiol and estron are produced mainly by the ovaries during premenopause.
In a woman’s body, this hormone flows in blood vessels and affects many organs, such as the brain, liver, and motor system (movement) including muscles and bones.
The following is the role of estrogen in various organs of the body.
- Helps maintain body temperature.
- Delay memory loss.
- Helps manage the part of the brain that prepares the body for sexual and reproductive development.
- Helps maintain cholesterol production by the liver thereby reducing the risk of plaque buildup in the coronary arteries.
- Stimulate mature ovaries and stimulate the start of a woman’s menstrual cycle. This condition indicates the reproductive system has matured.
- Stimulate the uterus maturity and help prepare the uterus as a place of development
- Together with progesterone, estrogen plays a role in preventing egg release when fertilization has occurred.
- Estrogen contained in oral contraceptives can relieve menopausal transition symptoms and menstrual cramps, as well as managing the menstrual cycle in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Stimulate breast development at puberty and prepare the breast glands to produce breast milk.
- Helps maintain bone density.
- Together with vitamin D, calcium, and minerals, the hormone estrogen helps prevent bone loss which is at risk of causing osteoporosis. Human bones will continue to regenerate, but new bone formation will slow down after the age of 30, along with a decrease in estrogen levels.
Heart and heart
Ovary and uterus
The Role of Estrogen from Time to Time
At puberty, increased estrogen levels cause female breast growth, as well as hair growth on the genitals and armpits.
During pregnancy, usually a woman will produce more estrogen than in her whole life. The role of estrogen is very important during pregnancy because it can improve vascularization (formation of new blood vessels), transfer nutrients to support the development of the baby, and play a role in helping the fetus develop and mature.
In the menopausal transition period or before menopause, estrogen levels generally fluctuate before eventually decreasing and causing physical and emotional changes.
Overcoming Decreased Estrogen Levels in Menopause
During menopause, low estrogen levels can cause the vagina to become dry and the vaginal wall to thin, so sexual intercourse becomes painful.
Decreased estrogen levels in menopause can also affect sleep cycles and muscle tension, especially in the pelvis. Skin elasticity decreases and wrinkles appear more prone. Hot flashes also occur as a sign of menopause. Diseases such as osteoporosis and urinary tract infections are more prone to occur in those who experience menopause.
Estrogen hormone replacement therapy can be used to overcome the effects of decreased estrogen levels. However estrogen replacement therapy cannot be given to all women and needs to be considered given the long-term side effects of estrogen replacement. A study that states that osteoporosis in menopause can be prevented by taking vitamin D and calcium supplements, together with estrogen hormone replacement therapy. However, this still requires further research.
Several types of antidepressant drugs can be used to reduce hot flashes, and topical estrogen can be used to treat vaginal dryness. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can also reduce stress arising from menopause.