Hormones 101: Estrogen
How much do you know about some of the hormones that drive your menstrual cycle?
They do so many things for us, yet can feel like a bit of a mystery, right?
Let’s take a step back and have a look at estrogen, one of a woman’s primary female hormones.
A quick note: when we talk about estrogen, we’re mainly talking about estrodiol, the form of estrogen produced by the ovaries. This form of estrogen drives puberty and our menstrual cycle all the way to menopause.
There are two other forms of estrogen that are useful in different times of our lives: estrone (the dominant form of estrogen during menopause) and estriol (we have a high amount of this form of oestrogen when we’re pregnant).
Contrary to what many may think, estrogen is a wonderful hormone, responsible for so many body functions and events, from puberty, menstruation, perimenopause and menopause.
During our menstruating years, estrogen is mainly produced by a woman’s ovaries.
Did you know that women can also make estrogen in the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys, fat tissue and the placenta during pregnancy?
Our bodies are incredible, aren’t they?
It’s worth remembering with estrogen, we can have too little and we can have too much, so our body works hard to get the balance just right – similar to Goldilocks 😀
So what does estrogen do for us exactly?
In puberty, estrogen helps our breasts and body hair begin to grow and and gives our bodies the signal that it’s time for periods to start.
During our menstruating years, estrogen is one of the four major hormones that control the menstrual cycle.
You might be surprised to learn that it also:
- Affects our moods
- Helps women have strong bones
- Keeps our cholesterol levels under control: increasing HDL (the good cholesterol) and decreasing LDL (the bad cholesterol)
If you think back to the four phases of the menstrual cycle, it’s important to remember that your estrogen levels don’t stay the same throughout.
They’re generally at their highest point during ovulation, halfway through our menstrual cycles and at their lowest point on the first day of our periods.
This is why you might find that your moods are low right before or during your period and you might feel your best – your most energetic, sparkiest and brightest around the time of ovulation. Your libido will be its highest at this point too.
Do you notice the ups and downs of estrogen across your cycle?
Have you noticed it dropping as you approach perimenopause and menopause?
Do you have questions about estrogen and feel like you don’t know what’s going on with your estrogen levels, get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.
Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.
Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating.
They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.
Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle!