Understanding Estrogen in Women
Every day we hear from women who are frustrated. They’re frustrated with the inadequate treatment they’re receiving from their primary care physician or their gynecologist. Or they’re frustrated because they can’t find treatment at all. In particular, women are frustrated by how difficult it is to get good information about treatment options.
Due to the abundance of misinformation available, this frustration is frequently focused on estrogen. Allow us to shed some light on this very misunderstood hormone.
A Brief History of Estrogen
Confusion about estrogen has abounded in recent years. And it’s no wonder. First women were told that replacing estrogen during menopause is healthy. And for decades, that’s what they did. To their collective relief, estrogen replacement reduced or eliminated unpleasant symptoms from menopause.
Then results were released from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in 2002 that cited adverse health effects from replacing estrogen. The knee-jerk response by healthcare practitioners was to take most women off of estrogen. It has been the most controversial and misunderstood hormone ever since.
Today we know that the WHI study was poorly structured, the results were not interpreted correctly, and medical professionals were grossly misinformed. Nevertheless, estrogen continues to be lost in the shuffle.
The Facts about Estrogen in Women
- Synthetic hormones, not bioidentical ones, were behind the negative outcomes women and doctors heard about following the WHI study. Adverse health effects caused by synthetic hormones include breast cancer, heart attack, and even stroke. The results from more recent studies speak to the safety and benefits of bioidentical estrogen therapy, and to the weaknesses in the WHI study.
- When replacing hormones, it’s critically important to use only bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical estrogen comes from plant sources, like soy and yams. Bioidentical estrogen is identical in structure to the estrogen produced by a woman’s body.
- Properly administered hormone therapy depends on balance. Efficacy and safety involve more than just the right type and dose of estrogen. The balance of other hormones, particularly progesterone, is also important.
Benefits of Estrogen
Estrogen is the feel-good hormone for women. You simply won’t feel your best without an adequate supply in your system. Optimal estrogen levels can help with the following:
- Decrease “bad cholesterol” (LDL), and increase “good cholesterol” (HDL).
- Protect your arteries by keeping them open and flexible.
- Lower your risk of a heart attack.
- Reduce homocysteine levels in your blood.
- Protect your brain and your memory, and reduces the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Increase your ability to concentrate.
- Promote the production of collagen, which helps your skin to maintain its elasticity.
- Help your skin retain moisture, minimizing wrinkles.
- Maintain the elasticity of your vaginal tissue.
- Prevent osteoporosis.
- Keep your teeth healthy.
- Increase your metabolism and reduces your appetite, which helps to prevent weight gain.
- Protect the health of your eyes.
- Prevent colon cancer.
- Protect your lungs from cancer.
- Keep your voice strong and steady.
- Reduce insulin sensitivity, and makes your blood sugar more stable.
The effects of estrogen can be found everywhere in your body. It keeps everything moving and functioning optimally. Take away estrogen, and things don’t work as well. Replace estrogen, and everything functions better. Estrogen is key to healthy aging for women.
The Right Amount and the Right Kind
While your body needs estrogen to function at its best it is critically important that the right types of estrogens be prescribed and only in conjunction with balancing your other hormones.
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