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Blog de Women's Health

@barnaclinic

11 August, 2021

Estrogens: What are they, how are they produced and what do they do?

Qué son los estrógenos, función y qué hacer ante la falta de estrógenos

The main female sex hormones produced by the ovary are: estrogens and progesterone. Under normal conditions, the ovary also produces androgens (typically male hormones), although in small amounts. The role of estrogens is quite varied and covers different aspects, all of them important for women’s health. So let’s see what estrogens are, what function they have and what happens if we have a lack of estrogens

WHAT ARE ESTROGENS?

As we have stated, estrogens and progesterone are the main female sex hormones. In the present case, these are steroid hormones, produced by the ovaries and, to a lesser extent, by the adrenal glands. They are the hormones responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in women after puberty. Thus, they are responsible for breast growth, the start of menstruation and the widening of the hips, among other things. Let’s see how and why…

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF ESTROGENS?

The female sex hormones produced by the ovary (estrogens and progesterone) are substances that, through the blood, carry messages to all the organs of the female genital tract (uterus, tubes and ovaries) to achieve their correct function.

1. They prepare for fertilization

They have the important mission of “getting everything ready” for ovulation and fertilization. Progesterone, on the other hand, transforms the tissue that lines the inner walls of the uterus, which is called the endometrium, to host the ovum if it is fertilized.

The rule or menstruation is one of the “consequences” of the action of estrogens. In fact, menstruation is nothing more than the elimination of this tissue (endometrium) along with the blood that develops in case a pregnancy does not occur.

2. They regulate cholesterol level

They influence the metabolism of fats and cholesterol in the blood. Thanks to the action of estrogens, cholesterol levels remain low and induce the production of “good cholesterol”. They also promote relaxation of the walls of the blood vessels and, therefore, increase irrigation and lower blood pressure.

For this reason, the lack of estrogens can directly affect metabolism. In the phases of a woman’s life when she suffers a decrease in this hormone, it is possible that weight is gained, fat is redistributed and blood pressure increases.

On the other hand, they help the distribution of body fat. Forming the feminine silhouette with more accumulation of fat in the hips and breasts.

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Estrogens prepare the female genital tract for ovulation and fertilization. In addition, they intervene in the metabolism of fats and cholesterol, lower blood pressure, distribute body fat, protect bones and, together with androgens, stimulate libido.

3. They protect the bones

The estrogens produced by the ovary during a woman’s fertile time protect her bones. Thus it is understood that, upon reaching menopause, due to the lack of estrogens, there is a progressive loss of bone mass. This loss will lead to a deterioration in bone quality that predisposes women to a greater risk of fractures.

4. They stimulate libido

Along with low levels of androgens, also secreted by the ovary, another function of estrogens is to stimulate libido. A good level of this female hormone allows a woman to have a satisfying sex life. For this reason, in the absence of estrogens or in menopause, when the woman has low estrogen levels, she will suffer a loss of sexual appetite.

5. They help the formation of collagen

Finally, the last but important function of estrogens has to do with the formation of collagen. Collagens are one of the main components of the connective tissue found in the skin. That is why, in the absence of estrogens or with low estrogens, in menopause, the appearance of the skin varies.


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