Women & HRT
What are sex hormones and their functions?
The sex hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone ( yes women we do produce and NEED testosterone! ).
Estrogen: the function of estrogen is to make everything grow. It makes the lining of the uterus grow, it makes the breast tissue grow, and it keeps the vagina moisturized.
There are three main types of estrogen that a woman produces:
- Estradiol (E1)-80% of a woman’s estrogen
- Estriol (E2)
- Estrone (E3)
Estradiol is produced directly in the ovaries, estrone is produced from estradiol, and estriol is produced in large amounts during pregnancy. Estradiol is the most potent of the three estrogens.
Other functions of Estrogen:
- Alleviate symptoms caused by the natural decrease in hormone production in the body
- Re-establish the individual's hormonal balance
- Provide protective benefits that were originally provided by the body's naturally occurring hormones.
- Prevents bone destruction thus prevents osteoporosis.
- Protects the cardiovascular system reducing blood pressure by relaxing the lining of blood vessels, and preventing plaque buildup.
- Reduces incidence of diabetes and protects insulin sensitivity through lower insulin levels.
Protects nerve cells and brain function thus helping our memory, improving learning abilities and providing a better quality of sleep.
Works as an antidepressant by increasing serotonin levels.
Progesterone is made in the ovaries after ovulation. Progesterone keeps the estrogen in check by preventing the overgrowth of endometrium, protects against fibrocystic disease.
Symptoms of Estrogen deficiency
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- vaginal dryness
- sagging breasts and/or loss of breast fullness
- mental fogginess
- changes in mood
- decreased sense of sensuality and sexuality
What is Progesterone?
- Oldest known sex hormone
- Present in every human regardless of age
- Produced by the ovaries and adrenal gland
- Secreted by corpus luteum
- Has receptors in nearly every cell in the body
- Acts on uterus, kidneys, brain, smooth muscle, breasts, bones, and cellular membranes
- Metabolized to other active hormones
What are some of the functions and roles of progesterone in the body?
- Counteracts estrogen's tendency to induce excess growth in the endometrial lining of the uterus
- Builds new bone tissue, leading to increased bone mass and density
- Necessary for maintenance of pregnancy
- Decreases uterine contractions
- Prepares and maintains uterine lining for implantation of fertilized egg
- Prepares breasts for lactation
- Assists in raising HDL-cholesterol levels (if combined with estrogen therapy) and ultimately reduces risk of heart disease. Synthetic progesterone (progestin) has an overall negative effect on HDL-cholesterol levels because it vasocontricts